How to Learn from Subscribers with an Unsubscribe Survey

Illustration of an owl and a computer.

No one likes to say goodbye, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t learn something from the experience. In this post, we’ll be looking at how an unsubscribe survey can help you obtain valuable unsubscribe data.

It’s not me, it’s you

While you don’t deserve an explanation as to why your users hit “unsubscribe”, it’s always helpful to try and find out. This is usually done in the form of a one-question survey.

The best (and most likely-to-succeed) way of doing this is to add this survey to the unsubscribe page itself. If you’re not using a custom unsubscribe page, you can learn how here. At this point, the user has already been unsubscribed, so you won’t have to have a separate form submission in order to send the survey result to a third party site.

What survey tool should I use?

Here at MailPoet, we use TypeForm and PollDaddy (its basic, free plan is easy to set up, and we’ll use it for the examples below). Of course, there are many others, such as SurveyMonkey and KwikSurveys. As long as you have the ability to embed the survey on your own website, it’s should be fine. Or, for a super easy alternative, use the plugin WP-Polls.

What type of question should I ask?

To maximize the chances of getting a response, it’s usually best to ask a question with a limited number of possible answers. You can allow the user to choose between multiple options, but I find it’s easiest to make them choose the single most important reason for unsubscribing.

You might word it like this:

To help us improve and learn, tell us why you’re unsubscribing:

  • Too many emails
  • I stay in touch in other way (like Facebook/Twitter)
  • I’m no longer interested in the content
  • I don’t use (product/service) any more
  • I didn’t sign up
  • I don’t use this email address any more

This is just an example, and you may want to add or remove reasons depending on their relevancy to your situation. You may also wish to add an “Other” reason but only use this if you can collect more information, otherwise it renders it pretty useless.

Add your unsubscribe survey to your page

WordPress doesn’t like you adding <script> or <iframe> tags to the content editor. As a result,  they’ll get removed when you preview/publish. This means you need to create a new page template and then paste the survey code into the template itself.

In my example, I added the survey after the WordPress editor content, so I could add a message before it.

After this, create/edit your Unsubscribe page and select your new page template. It’s under Page Attributes(on the right hand side of the page editor).

Page attributes - change page template

We customized the unsubscribe copy and kept it very simple. Some people like to remind (former) subscribers that they can always sign up again, but, at this point, it’s probably wise to keep the length of the copy short.

The final unsubscribe page with survey

MailPoet unsubscribe page