Three Top Examples of Unsubscribe Emails (and Why They Work!)

You've finally crafted the perfect email. It's pure art - how have you managed to match that Schitt's Creek gif so perfectly to the bullet points?! But wait, what's that? Someone's unsubscribed? You're not appreciated in your time. 

One of the most important parts of email marketing is providing content that is relevant, interesting, and informative. But what if this content just isn't right for one of your readers? No fault on either end of course, sometimes a relationship doesn't work. There's plenty more fish in the sea. 

But you want to end things on good footing, of course. They might come back. They might not. But email churn is a natural part of life. In fact, it can be anywhere between 25-30% a year. 

Unsubscribe emails and email hygiene: a match made in heaven

Unsubscribe emails, therefore, are essential in both keeping your list clean and clear, whilst also controlling this churn to some extent. It gives customers the ability to leave, or the choice to stay on different terms. And both of these have their benefits. 

So, giving them the option to leave means you're trading a larger unsubscribe rate for higher clicks, opens and conversions. 

With a huge, unwieldy email list, you might find yourself in a difficult position. Though you might think: "Look at me, I've got all these subscribers, chomping at the bit to read my email, clicking refresh on their inbox to devour it the second it comes through", but this might only be the case for a percentage of your list.

For every interactive super-fan email address, you might have one that's unresponsive or even fake. And remember, with an unorganised list you might find that:

  • You can't personalise emails due to lack of info
  • Your leads and customers aren't very well organised in the list
  • You get complaints from sales about false data
  • ROI isn't is as high as you'd expect it to be 
  • Your conversion rates remain low - an undeliverable email can never convert

On the other hand, with this form of email, you're at last chance saloon. It's a chance to reach out to customers, to remind them why they subscribed in the first place. As a result, it's not enough to just provide an "unsubscribe" button - being boring and impersonal just confirms to them they're making the right decision. 

But letting them go can be bitter sweet. Just make sure you don't burn bridges when they leave. 

So, what's a good email unsubscribe rate?

According to averages, the average rate stands at 0.1%. If you're far over this, it might be time to start reconsidering your strategy. 

If it's super high, it might even hamper the growth of your business. 

Like we've mentioned above, this makes unsubscribe emails crucial in maintaining a relationship, changing the decision of your customer, or making sure you're not marketing to the wrong people. So, let's jump into some examples.

1: Betalist

The main success of this example is that the subscriber is offered another option. Though they might not be happy with the newsletter, they might consider subscribing to the weekly newsletter instead of the daily version. 


Plus, the playful tone can be a way of reminding the customer why they subscribed in the first place. Remember how much fun we had together? Those were the days. 

Within the copy, Betalist gives subscribers a few different options, for a few different things. As well as the newsletter frequency choice, they also have the ability to amend a mistake, ask a question, or even give feedback on why they unsubscribed. All of this maintains a certain level of contact with the brand, and means that they feel they have been listened to. 

Studies show that consumers innately want choices, so providing them with a supportive exit keeps the brand in high esteem. 

2: Charity: Water

According to MilwardBrown, 69% of successful ads used humour to captivate the imagination of their customers. So, why not apply this to your email marketing? 


This is something Charity: Water does well. They designed an email template that offers users a choice to watch how their CEO was ambushed with water balloons, or unsubscribe without watching it. And we all know how popular video marketing can be.

In fact, according to a recent study by Animoto, over 76 percent of small businesses say they can measure a marked result from the video content that they’ve created. 

So the charity, who's email marketing means contact with valuable supporters, can remind customers of how much fun it is to remain in contact with them. 

And this worked. Charity: Water provided insights to their results: out of over 70,000 emails that were sent, 100 unsubscribed and 740 watched the video. Pretty impressive. 

3: Sidekick


You wouldn't expect anything less than a perfect email from Hubspot's email tracking function, Sidekick. 

This one was sent to subscribers who had not been interacting with their emails frequently. The email says, “Happy Holidays – we’re unsubscribing you!” with a CTA at the end - “Wait, keep me subscribed!”. 

The choice streamlines the whole process. If people want to stay, they have to re-opt in, so you know you're only getting engaged and enthusiastic subscribers. And if they want to leave, they just have to continue what they're doing - nothing. 

Basically, this is an email version of a wellness check. It's all about choice  they can either unsubscribe, guilt-free, or be reminded of why they subscribed after being re-engaged.