GDPR-Compliant Newsletter Unsubscribes

Joana Rüdebusch
SEO Managerin & Content Creator
GDPR-Compliant Newsletter Unsubscribes

What do I need to know about unsubscribing to make sure I meet legal requirements?

Newsletter recipients who have subscribed to your newsletter must get the chance to change their mind at any time. It’s not just polite, it’s a legal requirement under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). So, there are a few things you have to keep in mind when managing email unsubscribes. The good news: the automatic CleverReach unsubscribe management takes care of the most important tasks for you.

Implementing GDPR-Compliant Newsletter Unsubscribes: What Do I Have to Do?

The GDPR specifies how recipients can unsubscribe from a newsletter. According to the GDPR, the unsubscribe process has to be transparent, simple, and immediate. These are the key points you need to consider as an email sender:

  • Transparency: You need to make it clear to subscribers how they can unsubscribe from your newsletter. Hidden or difficult to access opt-out options are a violation of the GDPR.
  • Simplicity: The unsubscribe process should be as simple as possible without unreasonable barriers. Unsubscribing should be no more complicated than subscribing.
  • Immediacy: According to the GDPR, opt-outs must be effective immediately. This means that you need to make sure that subscribers do not receive any more emails after they unsubscribe.

Are Unsubscribe Links Required in Newsletters?

Newsletter recipients must be able to unsubscribe from the newsletter at any time and without having to give a reason. A clearly visible unsubscribe link in your newsletter is therefore not only good practice, but a legal requirement that all email marketers must comply with.

You often read about having to provide an “unsubscribe” button, which is the same as an unsubscribe link. Unsubscribing from a newsletter is also referred to as “opting out”.

How Do I Insert an Unsubscribe Link in My Newsletter?

CleverReach users do not need to worry about the unsubscribe link, as it is included by default in all of our newsletter templates and in every email you create in our online newsletter editor in the footer above your legal notice. This is already where most recipients expect an unsubscribe link to be.

How Do I Insert an Unsubscribe Link in My Newsletter? (Screenshot)

If you accidentally remove the automatic unsubscribe link or use your own newsletter template, you can easily add the unsubscribe link as a placeholder hyperlink or HTML tag.

What Happens After the Unsubscribe Link Is Clicked?

Recipients can easily unsubscribe from your newsletter by simply clicking on the unsubscribe link. Unsubscribing immediately switches their email address in your recipient list to inactive and they won’t get any more of your emails. You can see unsubscribes via a newsletter link in your Reporting.

The easy unsubscribe option also protects your reputation as a newsletter sender. It is therefore in your best interest to provide an easy unsubscribe process. If they can’t find the unsubscribe link or it doesn’t work, recipients might simply delete your email without reading it, which has a negative impact on your open rates. In the worst case, they may even mark your newsletter as spam, negatively impacting your sender reputation.

Why Don’t Unsubscribed Recipients Simply Get Deleted?

It may seem counterintuitive not to remove unsubscribers from your list, but there are good reasons to do so. Unsubscribed recipients are marked as inactive. A newsletter tool like CleverReach recognizes the address even if it is re-imported and automatically excludes it from sending. This way, you can be sure that the unsubscribe process is being followed and that you are not accidentally sending emails to the recipient’s address. However, if you delete the unsubscribed recipients, those addresses will no longer be recognized as unsubscribed and will reappear in the recipients list the next time you import addresses.

Newsletter Unsubscribe via Single-, Confirmed- or Double-Opt-out?

Senders have several methods to offer newsletter unsubscribe options: single, confirmed and double opt-out. CleverReach allows senders to select the right process for their business and create the necessary steps, such as the unsubscribe form or opt-out email.

In contrast to the subscription process, a direct unsubscribe link is allowed for newsletter unsubscribes. This is called Single-Opt-out, recipients get unsubscribed by the click of an unsubscribe link in your newsletter. This unsubscribe option has the advantage that the recipient can unsubscribe easily and directly. But there’s a danger: Automatic link clicks, such as those enabled by Apple Mail Privacy Protection, could inadvertently lead to unsubscribing.

With Confirmed Unsubscribe, subscribers click the unsubscribe link and are taken to a form where they must actively confirm their unsubscribe. This process virtually eliminates accidental unsubscribes and is still quick and easy for the recipient to complete. This is why we at CleverReach recommend the confirmed opt-out for newsletter unsubscribes and have set this option as a default setting.

With double opt-out, recipients receive an additional confirmation email after unsubscribing via the unsubscribe form, in which they have to click on a link to confirm that they really want to unsubscribe from the newsletter.

Design Your Unsubscribe Form

CleverReach makes it easy to customize the newsletter unsubscribe form for confirmed and double opt-out. You can design the form and insert your own text or logo in addition to the various form fields.

The unsubscribe form is also a place where you can ask for the unsubscribe reasons. To make the unsubscribe process as easy as possible for the recipient, it is best to use predefined response options that they can select from a drop-down box. This will also make it easier for you to evaluate the results afterwards.

Design Your Unsubscribe Form with CleverReach

You can also use our Preference Center and suggest alternatives to unsubscribing. For example, you can allow recipients to unsubscribe only from certain topics, reduce the frequency of the newsletter, or pause the newsletter for a period of time.

Remember, however, that unsubscribing must still be easy and directly accessible for the recipient. Therefore, it must be possible to unsubscribe directly from the newsletter via the unsubscribe form without having to fill out a bunch of information. The unsubscribe reason or Preference Center should not be mandatory fields.

GDPR-Compliant Email Unsubscribes with CleverReach

Meeting GDPR requirements for unsubscribing is critical for every sender. Thanks to CleverReach, you can be sure that your unsubscribe process is transparent, simple and instant. Automated unsubscribe management with built-in unsubscribe links and multiple opt-out options ensures compliance and a positive user experience.

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