Email Opt-Out Traps to Avoid

A great way to market your call center or answering service is with email marketing: you collect email addresses and send regular messages that contain value. A key to email marketing success is to make it easy for subscribers to opt-out of receiving future messages. That’s right; make it simple for them to stop getting your emails.

If you make it difficult for them to halt delivery, you will incur their wrath and they will flag your messages as spam. This will hurt the chances of your other subscribers receiving the messages you send to them.

Some marketers make the error of pretending to follow this opt-out advice while stealthily trying to subvert it. You want to avoid their traps.

Small Point Size: Don’t use a small point size for your opt-out message. Ideally the unsubscribe text should be the same size as the rest of the email, but no more than two points smaller. The goal is for people to be able to read it, not have to squint to make it out.

Faint Color: Another mistake is using light color text on a white background. This makes the opt-out message hard to see, as well as hard to read. Don’t disguise the instructions and link that informs people how to stop receiving your emails. Gray scales are out. Bold colors are in. Use them. When in doubt go with black.

Odd Text: Next don’t pick a strange font that is hard to read, such as script or flowery lettering with embellishes. Use a sans serif font for your opt-out message, just as you use in the rest of your email. While serif typestyles dominate the print publishing industry, sans serif fonts predominate in the online world, including email.

Other Language: Putting your main message in one language and your unsubscribe message in a different one is both rude and insulting. While some subscribers may be bilingual, assume that they aren’t. Stick to one language for opt-out success.

Wrong Link: The last trap to avoid is courtesy of underhanded marketers who appear to do everything right, but the link to unsubscribe doesn’t let them unsubscribe. Instead it takes readers to a sales promotion. The subscriber doesn’t want to read your messages and wishes to stop them, do you really think they’ll respond if you cheat and take them to a sales page instead? Of course not.

To keep your email list clean and up-to-date, make it easy for people to unsubscribe. This improves your online reputation as an email marketer and increases the likelihood that the people who want to read your messages will actually receive them.


Janet Livingston is the president of Call Center Sales Pro, a premier sales and marketing service provider for the call center and telephone answering service industry. Contact Janet at or 800-901-7706.

Peter Lyle DeHaan is a freelance writer from Southwest Michigan.