How to set up a Soft Opt-Out

Feb 4, 2022Email Marketing Best Practice

What is a Soft Opt-Out?

A soft opt-out is a neat way to let your subscribers remain on your list WITHOUT leaving it completely as they would if they unsubscribed.

This how-to article describes a strategy to use when sending email campaigns using a theme that might be sensitive to some of your audience.

Valentine’s Day Themed Emails

For example, you may be sending out Valentine’s Day themed emails to your list.

But have you considered that for some people on your list, the mere mention of the word Valentine may be triggering – in a negative way?

Maybe they just split up with their partner, or they’re going through a messy divorce, or perhaps their partner died.

I doubt you want to be associated with anything that’s a negative trigger for a segment of your audience.

So, here’s a neat way to overcome that that I’ve been using myself and for clients.

The Soft Opt-Out Strategy

It involves a soft opt-out.

A soft opt-out is a way to let your subscribers remain on your list WITHOUT leaving it completely as they would if they unsubscribed.

What you need

Send your list an email prepping them about what’s coming up and giving them the option to opt-out without totally unsubscribing.

When someone clicks that link that automatically removes them from receiving that campaign you just told them about.

Here’s the how-to broken down in 5 simple steps.

1. Prepping email

Set the expectation.

Precede your Valentine’s Day themed email campaign with an email that tells everyone what’s coming and giving them the option to ‘soft opt-out’.

Something like this, but in your own words.

2. Landing page

Next you need a link to a web page that people end up on when they hit the CLICK HERE link in the above prepping email.

It could be your homepage, but best would be to create a dedicated landing page that acknowledges their decision to opt-out of your campaign.

That way it’s a more complete experience for your subscriber when they click your soft opt out link.

It confirms to them you’ve done what you promised which solidifies trust.

The page can be hosted as an invisible page on your website.

I call it the ‘NOTED’ page.

Here’s an example.

Use your own words and terminology.

Alternatively, if you can’t easily add pages to your website, then check your email marketing tool as some have the facility to create landing pages within them. Constant Contact is one that does.

3. Create a tag

Then in your email marketing tool, create a tag (or list – the terminology may be slightly different, depending on the platform you use). Call it something meaningful like SOFT OPT OUT VALENTINES

Next, in the setting the prepping email, you set the link up to go to your new ‘NOTED landing page for the CLICK HERE and you make it a trigger link.

A trigger link means that some internal action will happen when someone clicks that link.

In this case when someone clicks the link they get tagged with the tag you set up above.

5. Automatically exclude the soft opt outs

So now you’re ready to send your Valentine’s campaign.

All you need to do is exclude the people tagged ‘soft opt out valentines’.

Your email platform may allow you to set up a segment that excludes people tagged with the soft opt out tag you created.

That way you don’t have to manually remove anyone from your list (and add them back in when your campaign is done).

The Bonus PS

Include a PS with the soft opt out link in your Valentine’s themed emails to give your readers a chance to soft opt out in case they missed your prepping email.

That’s it!

You’re good to go.

You can use this strategy not just for Valentines Day, but other potentially risky/triggering days e.g. mother’s day, father’s day.

Next steps

I get that this can be confusing, so if you would like this kind of strategy in your emails and want my help, set up a Pick Vee’s Brains Session.