The comprehensive guide to setting up the unsubscribe link

As this is a recurrent request in this community, here are the various ways of setting up the unsubscribe links in Marketo, and when one should use them.

0-Summary

The following table summarizes the possible approaches, when to use them and what chapter you should read:

IfRecommended implementation steps
You want a quick and minimal version that works well and guarantees compliance
  1. Customize the default code (See 2)
  2. Customize the default page (See 3)
You want to properly brand your unsubscribe landing page, and continue using Marketo default or system token
  1. Create a new Unsubscribe page with your own template. Place it preferably in a marketing activities program together with it's follow-up page and any smart campaign you may need
  2. Redirect the /UnsubscribePage.html URL to your page (See 4)
  3. If you plan to use it, customize the default code (See 2)
You need various unsubscribe pages for different audiences (segments, language, ...)
  1. Create your various unsubscribe pages. Place them preferably in marketing activities programs together with their follow-up pages and any additional smart campaigns you may need
  2. Add a snippet element in a dedicated module at the bottom of your email templates (or a text element if you are still using email 1.0)
  3. Deactivate the default link (6)
  4. Create unsubscribe snippets using the customized URL (See 5 ). You can even make these snippets dynamic if the various Unsub LP's are linked to segments.

1-The 3 ways to add an unsubscribe link to an email

There are 3 ways to get the unsub link added to an email:

  1. just ignore the problem. When you send an email, Marketo will detect that no unsubscribe link is included and will automatically add it's default one, that is defined in the admin -> email section and which code is:
    • <p><font face="Verdana" size="1">This email was sent to {{lead.Email Address}}. If you no longer wish to receive these emails you may <a href="%mkt_opt_out_prefix%UnsubscribePage.html?mkt_unsubscribe=1&mkt_tok=##MKT_TOK##">unsubscribe</a> at any time. </font></p>

  2. add the {{system.unsubscribeLink}} to your emails as the href in an <a> tag. This can be done in the template (even hard coded there) or left to the user. That will be enough and Marketo will automatically understand that it should replace the token with the proper link and that it should not add the default unsubscribe link. So <a href="{{system.unsubscribeLink}}">my unsub link</a> will become <a href="http://mktolpsubdomain.company.com/UnsubscribePage.html?mkt_unsubscribe=1&mkt_tok=##MKT_TOK##">my unsub link</a> at runtime.
  3. Add a link towards any LP in Marketo, with "?mkt_unsubscribe=1&mkt_tok=##MKT_TOK##" at the end of the href. This will be enough for Marketo to know not to add the default link to the email.

2-Customize the Marketo default code

The default admin-> email code can be customized by anyone who knows some rudiments of HTML. Text, fonts, colors, layout, etc.. can be changed. Just always make sure you do not remove the "?mkt_unsubscribe=1" from the link href.

Typically:

<table align="center" width="600">
     <tr>
          <td style="font-family: helvetica; font-size:10px; color:#555;">
               This email was sent to {{lead.Email Address}}. In order to stop receiving our spammy emails <a href="
http://mktolpsubdomain.company.com/myniceunsubpage.html?mkt_unsubscribe=1&mkt_tok=##MKT_TOK##" class="mktNoTrack" target="_blank">click here.</a>
          </td>
     </tr>
</table>

will work perfectly well.

Please note that, in order to prevent Marketo to track the click on the link, you will have to add class="mktNoTrack" to the <a> tag.

3-Customize the Marketo Default page

By default, all Marketo instances come up with an unsubscribe page that use the ugly akward Standard free form template:

pastedImage_1.png

This page will be located in the design studio, and it's name will be localized in the language in which you instance was initially created.

The most obvious and simplest move is to customize this page and make it a little more looking like a page from your company

You can also move this page in a program in the marketing activities. As long as it's URL keeps being UnsubscribePage.html (see below) it will continue to work.

4-Redirect the default link to another, nicer, page

Now, maybe you would like to use another template for your landing page. Or maybe you want to replace this unsubscribe page with a thoroughly designed subscription center. But you want to keep the usability for your Marketo users, so you would like to keep the {{system.unsubscribeLink}} token or the Marketo Default driving the visitors to your nicer LP.

For this, you need to know that, whatever the config of your instance, the {{system.unsubscribeLink}} token always direct to /UnsubscribePage.html. So you will just need to have this URL reassigned to your new and nice unsubscribe page. This is again quite easy using Marketo URL tools. Once your new unsubscribe page is ready and tested:

  1. Go to your old unbsubscribe page. In Marketo UI, click the Landing Page actions -> URL Tools -> Edit URL settings:pastedImage_9.png
  2. In the dialog box, change the URL to anything (I personally simply add "old" to the end of it.
    pastedImage_13.png
    Tip: What is important here is to throw away to previous URL so that the URL becomes available
  3. Then go to your new unsubscribe page and do exactly the same thing, granting this new page the UnsubscribePage.html URL

To run this process, wait until a moment when no email has been sent in the past hours, since you will have no unsub page available between steps 2 and 3.

5-Use a different URL for the unsubscribe page

May be you want to use a different URL for this page, or even have various URLs for various contexts. In fact, nothing mandates you to always use the {{system.unsubscribeLink}} or the /UnsubscribePage.html URL. Any Marketo LP URL will do the job here, as long as it is appended with the "?mkt_unsubscribe=1" to indicate to Marketo that this is an unsubscribe link. You should also add the &mkt_tok=##MKT_TOK## to make the click on the link carry the token value and enable cookie value reconciliation. Please also note that, in order to prevent Marketo to track the click on the link, you will have to add class="mktNoTrack" to the <a> tag.

The following is a perfect unsubscribe link in an email template:

<tr><td>This email was sent to {{lead.Email Address}}. In order to stop receiving our spammy emails <a href="http://mktolpsubdomain.company.com/myniceunsubpage.html?mkt_unsubscribe=1&mkt_tok=##MKT_TOK##" class="mktNoTrack" target="_blank">click here.</a></td><tr>

As you can see, it takes no token and not event the /UnsubscribePage.html URL.

This method will be necessary in a multi language / international roll out: you will need to have multiple, different Unsubscribe pages for each language and the Marketo default or {{system.unsubscribeLink}} token can only link to one of them.

Also please note that the unsub code can be added to snippets, which in turn can be added to the emails for maximum flexibility.

6-Disable the default Marketo unsub link.

If you are sure that your email templates always include the necessary links and you want to avoid Marketo adding it's own link just replace the default unsubscribe links with HTML comments in admin->email

pastedImage_35.png

Hope this helps,

-Greg

54 Comments

Hi Scott,

Sorry for the late answer, I was off.

Yet, AFAIK, the mkt_unsubscribe=1 should prevent the addition of the default link. But apparently, from your tests, it does not ?

Honestly, for years now, I use custom URL or the token and I always deactivate the default link (§6), so It's been a long time since I gave it a check. In fact, deactivating the default is one of the first thing we do when we setup a new Marketo instance.

-Greg

Anonymous
Not applicable

I have found another way to hide the default footer by using a hidden tag that includes the default link. 

<a href="{{system.unsubscribeLink}}" style="display: none; font-size: 0; color: transparent"></a>

Got this from here.

Thank you for this article.  It was most helpful.

Hi Scott,

I prefer to remove it than leave it hidden though

-Greg

added the need to add a mktoNoTrack class to prevent click tracking, following this post : Marketo sees the (custom) unsubscribe link as traceable link

-Greg

Anonymous
Not applicable

Hi Greg

my instance does not have the unsub default page- i have created one and want to make sure I am doing it accurately in terms of getting the email unsubscribed when it is submitted on our page. I have created a smart campaign- it is has a smart list that is "Unsubscribes from Email" Email is any - the Flow is Type: Email Description: Unsubscribed from {{trigger.Subject}} - is that accurate?? I apologize if this is the incorrect avenue to ask this. I appreciate the feedback and guidance. I am not a programmer so I am doing my best:) thank you.

Hi Brienne,

Normally, if you set it up with a form that has the "unsubscribe" field as a hidden field and you setup the unsubscribe link as explained above, you do not need the smart campaign.

-Greg

I have used the parameters, but the system is still inserting the default unsubscribe link, also.  The only option that works is to do what Scott described above.  Grégoire Michel​ did you change the system default or is the tag suppressing it for you?  I opened a ticket with support and they said ...

There are two options:
1. Include {{system.unsubscribeLink}} in the HTML of the email where it is not displayed, then Marketo will not append the global unsubscribe footer, and you may continue to use.
2. Update the global unsubscribe footer under Admin -> Email.

Here is a sample of my link...

<a href="https://mydomain.com/PT-Unsubscribe-Page.html?mkt_unsubscribe=1&mkt_tok=##MKT_TOK##&Country={{lead.Country}}" class="mktNoTrack" target="_blank">clique aqui</a>

Hi Blane,

Yes, you have to disable the default link, as described in point 6 of the post above.

Sorry for answering late, I am quite busy at the moment and spending less time in the community. Better to open a new question, next time

-Greg

Anonymous
Not applicable

Hi Greg,

Thanks for your detailed guide on setting up the unsubscribe link.

1. Multi-Brands

We would like to use one marketo account for 5 different brands. As there are overlap subscribers between the 5 brands. Customer A unsubscribed Brand A before. But Customer A is still a subscriber for Brand B.

2. Different Unsubscribe Fields, Unsubscribe Pages and Templates

We have set up unique unsubscribe field and unsubscribe land page for each brand. Also, the html code was updated in the unique email template for each brand according to your guidence. When customer click the unsubscribe link in the email, it will turn to the unsubscribe landing page for the specific brand.

3. Problem

The unsubscribe data on the dashboard for a campaign is incorrect. Around 200 people click the unsubscribe link. However, it only record 20 people unsubscribed from the email. It seems that the dashboard unsubscribe is for the default unsubscribe.

How can we solve the problem?

Thanks,

Ellen

Level 10 - Champion Alumni

Custom unsub pages like this will not typically register on the unsub counter in reports.