Don't trick people on to your email list

Don’t trick people on to your email list

Unsubscribing from an email list can be a really positive thing to do. I am on hundreds of people’s email lists as they can be a very useful source of information, advice, and ideas.

Every so often I go through them all and take myself off the lists that are no longer relevant, useful or interesting.

Part of this process has led me to discover some downright cheeky tactics.

One such example, from a leading American expert in the world of online marketing, caused the air to turn blue in my office.

I clicked the unsubscribe button at the bottom of the email and it opened a web page. So far, so standard. The web page asked me to enter my name and email address, rather than picking it up automatically, which is a real bug bear of mine. So, I was a bit irritated by this but duly entered it and clicked the unsubscribe button.

This then opened a web page, which was a bit weird because it is standard practice to see a confirmation of unsubscribing page. I didn’t think too much of it though and moved on to the next person on my list of things to unsubscribe from.

About 10 minutes later, I got an email from the American expert, thanking me for requesting his latest PDF guide.

Whaaaaat? No, I unsubscribed!

I have just had another email from him, with the subject line “I’m a failure”. I expected this to be an apology for the automated unsubscribe error, but no, it was a sales email. Hmmm. So, I scrolled to the bottom and once again clicked the unsubscribe button. The page opened and I started to type in my email address again, but this time I noticed his downright sneaky tactic…

The button you clicked after putting in your email address didn’t say unsubscribe, it said subscribe.

That’s a dirty trick.

I think he (rightly!) assumed that no one reads the text on a unsubscribe page and so tweaked his content so he actually got you to opt in to a new list. That isn’t good practice. Sure, it will build up the number of people on your email list, but people who haven’t intentionally subscribed to your content.

There appears to be no way of actually unsubscribing from this person’s list, and I, for one, would not want to take advice from this “expert” if that is their standard business growth tactic. It’s deceitful and also against the code of conduct for email marketing.

Honesty in your marketing – heart-centred marketing – is always the way to win friends and influence people. Choose that approach instead!


Email marketing is a vital part of growing your business and we talk about it a lot in my Marketing Megastars programme. Click here to find out more.