Email users are more than ready to hit the ‘report spam’ button for emails they no longer wish to receive, spam or not, so making the unsubscribe process quick and easy is essential.

Still, some email marketers have yet to take this on board if the following example from Real Networks is anything to go by.

The unsubscribe link is in pretty small text, but at least it is where you would expect to find it, and Real has included a message at the top of the email telling users where to find it:

Email unsubscribe link

Here’s where it starts to get complicated. After clicking on the unsubscribe link I’m directed to this page where I first have to enter my email address:

email unsubscribe step two

After this step I am unsubscribed from the email, but I am warned that I may still receive emails for 3-5 days afterwards. Why can’t they remove me straightaway?

Email unsubscribe confirmation

It gets worse though. I thought I had unsubscribed from all of Real’s emails, but this is not the case. Apparently I am subscribed to another 5 emails from Real:

Email preferences

So, to really unsubscribe from Real’s emails, I now have to log in to my Real account, for which I had forgotten the password:

Email unsubscribe login

Then I need to untick the various emails I had been subscribed to and save the changes:

Email unsubscribe process step 5

After this, I am finally unsubscribed, but did it really have to be so complicated? How many email users would choose to go through this unsubscribe process when they can just hit the spam button and achieve the same effect for far less hassle?

If brands want to reduce the number of recipients marking their emails as spam, and improve deliverability, they are going to have to make unsubscribing as easy as possible.

This means a one or two step unsubscribe procedure which does not make the customer jump through hoops, unticking boxes, logging in and so on.

Check out this post for more tips on the unsubscribe process.

Related research:

Email Marketing Briefing – March 2008

Email Marketing Platforms Buyer’s Guide 2007

Related stories:

Do ISPs need to change the ‘report spam’ button?

UK retailers failing to follow email best practice