10 things I hate about your email subscription settings


Fun fact: 30% of subscribers change email addresses annually

Not-so-fun fact: Those are the potential customers you risk losing if you don't configure your email subscription settings the right way.

I'm one of these subscribers, and the next paragraph is the TL; DR version of my story.

Once upon a boring Sunday afternoon, I decided to create a new email address for my subscriptions. Little did I know that my journey to the world of email preference centers and unsubscribe pages would involve hurling expletives at my laptop screen.



Because while some businesses gave me a quick-and-easy way to change my email address, others made it difficult for me to do so. Looking at you, ConvertKit, Infusionsoft, and ActiveCampaign users. (Some of you at least.)

Read on to learn more about these ugh-inducing email marketing mistakes (...while basking in the nostalgia of a '90s rom-com hit).


These mistakes turned me into a... uhm... let's just say Kat Stratford.


(1) I have a brand spankin' new email address, but you won't let me update my profile


You didn't think there are fickle subscribers — like moi! — who love creating new email addresses just 'coz?

Look, I want to keep receiving your emails. I think you're cool. You know what's not cool? Clip-on man buns. And the fact that I need to unsubscribe first and then resubscribe with my new email address. 

Why you no want my new email address?!! $#&%

Why you no want my new email address?!! $#&%


(2) You want me to click the unsubscribe link to change my email address


If your subscribers want to change their email address, why would they think of clicking the unsubscribe link? Especially when the accompanying text reads, "If you no longer wish to receive our emails, click the link..."

Let's take a look at Drip's unsubscribe page, for example. Notice that you can do two things here: unsubscribe or update your information.

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If you're a Drip user and you use the individual Liquid shortcodes for unsubscribing and updating, you go, Glenn Coco!  A million brownie points for you. (Glenn Coco is me.)

If you don't want two separate links in your email footer, at least change the description to let your subscribers know that they can unsubscribe OR change their email address using the same link.

(3) I can't find your unsubscribe link


Oh, there it is — camouflaged with the rest of your email footer text. Sneaky Waldo!

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Sorry, James Altucher. "Click here" didn't make me think that I need to click there to unsubscribe. You mean I have to read 54 words before I figure it out? Ain't nobody wanting to unsubscribe and resubscribe got time for that.

You know what your subscribers can easily do? Mark you as spam. Low email deliverability rate, say what?!

Okay, okay. At least you have an unsubscribe link. I'll give you that. Some business owners don't include one at all. Calling FTC! 

What's that you say? Maybe they forgot? Uh-huh. Insert dramatic eye-roll.

(4) You make me take an extra step before letting me unsubscribe


You want me to answer a survey first? I'm gonna need another order of dramatic eye-roll over here, pretty please. 

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You want me to type my email address first? I thought I just clicked the unsubscribe link on the email I want you to remove from your list.

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So you want to know where I am in this galaxy. You sending me a box of farewell pizza or sumthin'?

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I understand the logic behind these email marketing strategies. But making them a prerequisite for unsubscribing feels like you're holding my email address hostage. 

And when I finally succumb to your demands just so you would stop sending emails to my old inbox, you send yet another email confirming the unsubscription. Nope. All the nopes to all these extraness. (Those are legit words, right?)

(5) You're still sending newsletters to my old email address


First of all, why are you still calling it a newsletter? That is so 1538

Second, when I check your email preference center, it is showing my new email address. What kind of email marketing sorcery is this?

There was no clear warning that it might take a million years for the change to take effect. So I'm not sure until when I'll receive emails on BOTH my old and new email addresses.

But no worries. I discovered a solution. You're welcome.

I only need to click the unsubscribe link on the email you sent to my old email address.

Are you forkin' kidding me?!

(6) You don't have an opt-in form on your home page


Do you want subscribers or nah? 

I donned my Sherlock Holmes hat and kept looking and looking and looking until — EUREKA! I found your opt-in form...

In. Your. Blog.

Now, tell me the truth.

When you want to subscribe to an email list, do you instinctively go to a website's blog page, read a random blog post, and use the power of positive thinking to manifest an opt-in box?

Didn't think so.

(7) You hid your opt-in form, and I have to search for it using Google

It's either your opt-in box is not on any active pages or my eyesight is getting worse. 

(Alexa, set an appointment with Warby Parker.)

I had to rely on Google to help me find your precious opt-in page and finally give you my precious new email address. 

Here's what I did:

  1. Google [domain name]+subscribe

  2. Google [domain name]+newsletter

  3. You're really gonna make your other subscribers do #1 or #2? Seriously?

(8) You want me to download your lead magnet again

You may have the planet's best lead magnet, but do I really need to download it twice? I still have the old copy in my PDF collection, you know. Maaaybe.

Worst, I have to go through your welcome sequence. Again.

I have to wait a few days before I could receive your regular daily/weekly/monthly emails.

I could have avoided this torturous rigmarole if you had let me change my email address.

(9) You sent me a generic welcome email 


After making me jump through all sorts of hell and hoops... after all that... you sent me a system-generated gratitude. #ktnxbye

At this point, I deserve a pink carpet and a shower of white confetti. 

You got none of that?

I'm sure you can do better than a robotic email though.

I know someone who can help you write welcome emails that make subscribers connect with your brand. You're currently on her website.

*cracks knuckles*

*clears throat*

(10) You say nothing at all 


I started questioning my hippocampus. 

Did I subscribe? Or did I not? 

I subscribed again and noted to myself to buy ginkgo biloba. 


I subscribed for the third time to make sure you got my new email address. 

No dice. Not a lick of word. Not even a generic "Thanks for subscribing!"

You shy, fam? 

Do me a solid for the sake of your other subscribers' sanity. 

Please give your email subscription settings a makeover. Of course there's gotta be a makeover in this story!

But this is what I hate the most...

I did everything I could to stay on your email list. I enrolled in your mini course that I've previously completed. I opted into your 3-part video series that I've already seen. I even opened ALL your emails to help improve your open rate.

Because I hate the way I don't hate you enough to say Bye, Felicia for good.