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What is list-unsubscribe header?

As an email marketing professional, your goal is to reach the members of your desired audience with resonant messages and establish strong relationships with them. When you do manage to build a strong email list populated by your target demographic, it’s natural that you should do everything in your power to keep them engaged and receptive to what your brand has to say.

At the same time, successful email marketers are those who respect consumers and have a strong sense of ethics when it comes to how they communicate with their subscribers. Moreover, in the age of email regulations, such as those set out by the CAN-SPAM Act, email marketing best practices dictate that a permission-based approach is ideal.

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Nowadays, there are a variety of options that marketers can use to provide their subscribers with freedom of choice, and the list-unsubscribe head is one such feature.

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The list-unsubscribe header Why should you implement the list-unsubscribe header? More credibility
Protects sender reputation
Improves list hygiene
Conclusion

The list-unsubscribe header

As the name suggests, the list-unsubscribe header is a header that allows users to unsubscribe from email communication with a specific brand. It is located in the header above the message in an email client.

The list-unsubscribe header should not be confused with an opt-out mechanism that appears in the actual content of an email. 

For one, the list-unsubscribe header is native to the email client that displays it and is not controlled by the sender beyond enabling it. 

More importantly, the list-unsubscribe header is not considered a replacement for an unsubscribe message, as including opt-out mechanisms in commercial emails is critical to staying compliant with CAN-SPAM regulations.

Instead, the list-unsubscribe header should be viewed as a convenient alternative that allows users to unsubscribe easily without needing to search for the opt-out mechanism within the email. 

Using the list-unsubscribe header is not mandatory, nor is the option supported by all major clients. However, in situations where it is applicable, it can be of benefit to both the sender and recipient.

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Why should you implement the list-unsubscribe header?

It may seem counterintuitive to present such a clear exit route to subscribers that you otherwise want to keep hold of, but it is a viable approach. Including the list-unsubscribe header can be advantageous in a few different ways, such as the following:

More credibility

Implementing a list-unsubscribe header is not the same as encouraging your subscribers to opt out. In truth, it may increase loyalty and engagement.

Including such an option in the header of your emails communicates a couple of important things to your subscribers. 

The first is that it shows you respect their preferences and their time, since you won’t make them jump through hoops to opt out. The second is that you have the utmost confidence in the content you are sending them.

All of this indicates that you represent an organization that is both trustworthy and competent, and this can strengthen your bond with your subscribers.

Protects sender reputation

Respecting your subscribers’ time can also help to keep your sender reputation in good shape in some instances.

Many email users are highly busy, and the prospect of searching for an opt-out mechanism in an email can seem like an inconvenience. 

In such cases, your recipients may be tempted to use the spam report button for lack of an easily-accessible native unsubscribe option. As a result, your sender reputation and deliverability can suffer.

The list-unsubscribe header alleviates this issue by turning the list unsubscribe option into the path of least resistance for email users, thus reducing the chances of needless spam reports.

Improves list hygiene

Even if they aren’t a risk in regard to spam reports, it’s not always good to hold onto every subscriber.

For instance, subscribers may become disengaged without taking any action to cease communication, neither reporting you nor taking the time to utilize the opt-out options included in your emails. 

This may seem harmless on the surface, but because disengaged subscribers negatively affect key metrics such as open rate and click-through rate, keeping them on your list can be detrimental to your email marketing success in the long term.

The list-unsubscribe header allows disengaged users to quickly remove themselves from your email mailing list. This means your lists will remain high-quality for longer and require less maintenance.

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Conclusion

In the age of CAN-SPAM regulations, marketers must take care to remain compliant and ethical at all times in the pursuit of their objectives. 

Though it is important to grow subscriber lists and expand your reach, it is equally important to respect the priorities of those subscribers and allow them to make their own choices.

The list-unsubscribe header is a useful feature for marketers who want their campaigns to place an increased focus on user permission. 

By providing subscribers with a simple and convenient way to stop marketing communications, the list-unsubscribe header can help you ensure that your email lists are populated by highly-engaged subscribers who are receptive to your brand messages.

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