Painless Unsubscribe

Not a subscription deviceDo yourself a big usability favor today. Have a friend or relative who is not connected to your business subscribe to your blog or newsletter or other piece of push content while you’re on the phone.  Ask them to narrate what they’re doing and take careful, fast notes.  Record with a little digital recorder if they’ll let you. Now have them immediately unsubscribe and talk through the process.

You’re listening for non-verbals, sighs and other sounds of frustration. This is your friend.  Imagine someone you don’t know.  Learn where your pain points are and fix them now.

I had two experiences recently that were opposite ends of the spectrum.  In the first case, I tried a version of a music library called Songbird.  It was nice enough, but didn’t present enough differentiation for me to switch.  Uninstalling was pleasant, and the company’s automation hit all the right tones.

Later in the day, I tried to unsubscribe from a newsletter that someone had subscribed me to after we were introduced in email.   I didn’t ask this person to start spamming me so they broke Seth Godin’s first rules of permission marketing.  What made the situation worse was the form I was driven to when I unsubscribed. The fields asking me why I was unsubscribing were required! Now I was not only miffed that the company was spamming me from a “no-reply” email address, but actually had the chutzpah to force a survey at me.   Do you really think the results they get will be valuable?

Test your subscription process now.  Make it painless, without any friction.  If you like, ask someone to scroll down once they’re unsubscribed and answer 10 seconds of questions.  They’re moving on.  If you can find out why, great, but don’t blow up a bridge that has already been burned.

Photo: Klaus_w_K via Creative Commons

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