User Friendliness of Email Unsubscribe Flows

Email marketing is a strong piece of the backbone of any consumer internet product. Recently, I went through the email unsubscribe flow of a couple of my favorite products: Sosh and Zipcar. While going through the respective flows, I noticed that one was a lot more user-friendly than the other. Let’s take a look.

Here’s Sosh:

Image

Image

Here’s Zipcar:

Image

Image

Image

As shown above, the Sosh flow is a simple one step process with a CTA in the email followed up with a confirmation screen on the Sosh site. In contrast, Zipcar requires the user to first login before they are able to unsubscribe.

The Zipcar user experience is clearly less user friendly. But is this so bad? The advantage of the Zipcar approach is that they are creating more work for a user who wishes to unsubscribe and thus decreasing the amount of users who unsubscribe. However, this could be problematic. When a user goes to unsubscribe from a marketing email, they already have a semi-sour taste in their mouths about that product. When you create another (in their view) unnecessary hurdle in order to get them to perform this action, that semi-sour taste might turn into full blown disappointment and anger toward your product. Furthermore, the user can “punish” the company by going to their email client (i.e. Gmail) and marking the marketing email as spam. This may cause future marketing emails (even those sent to users who want to receive such emails) to be more likely to be marked as spam by the email client.

Eventbrite’s Sketchy Email Acquisition Technique

Recently, I purchased a ticket to a concert on Eventbrite. Here is the order confirmation page: 

Image

 

I was not pleased to find the following message on the order confirmation page:

By purchasing a ticket, you will also receive weekly email blasts from Ruby Skye about upcoming events, guest lists and more.

The reason why this message irked me is because it was never shown at any point prior in the purchase flow. The user was never properly warned that a purchase would result in this added consequence of having their email added to a mailing list. Sure, at the end of the day, it’s not a huge deal and I can eventually get out of it with a simple unsubscribe. But that’s a waste of the user’s time — not to mention that this technique of acquiring emails is dishonest and not customer centric.