As the CEO of an e-mail marketing company, VerticalResponse, it might seem strange for me to write about how companies should handle e-mail unsubscribes, but I had to do it.

You see, I make my e-mail address very prominent on my company's website and as a result, unscrupulous businesses scrape it, load it into their e-mail lists and spam the heck outta me.

It's the process that some businesses require for people to unsubscribe that ticks me off because, as an e-mail service provider, my company tries to make it as seamless as possible when someone wants to unsubscribe from our lists or one of our customers' lists. Others, however? Not so much.

To stay in the good books with your subscribers, avoid these nine don'ts I've honed over the last 12 years in the e-mail marketing biz:

  1. Don't provide an opt-out e-mail address that doesn't work.
  2. Don't tell me my "request" for an unsubscribe has been received and will be processed. Just do it.
  3. Don't ignore my unsubscribe request. 1) It's against the law and 2) it's not good for your brand.
  4. Don't make me fill out my e-mail address on a form. You sent me an e-mail; you should already know it.
  5. Don't ask me if I'm sure. Automatically unsubscribe me.
  6. Don't redirect me to your website's home page to shop; redirect me to a "you've been unsubscribed" confirmation page.
  7. Don't send me an e-mail telling me you've unsubscribed me. Hello, I just unsubscribed from your e-mail! Don't send more of it.
  8. Don't obscure the "click here to unsubscribe" link or have it in four-point-sized font.
  9. After I click unsubscribe, don't send me to a page that has a box checked to subscribe me. Then when I check the button to take me off of all lists, you make me then check another box to unsubscribe me. #fail

There you have it; nine simple rules to make your unsubscribe process a good customer experience for everyone involved. Want to know how to keep your subscribers engaged in the first place? Check out this post I did recently for Inc. and kick unsubscribes to the curb.

Have you had to jump through hoops to unsubscribe from an e-mail list? Share your experience in the comments (and companies, listen up!).

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