Should I Give My Cold Email Addressee a Way to Opt-Out?

Cold Email Opt-Out

The first thought to this question is, Yes! Yes, you should put an unsubscribe link. While the answer can differ for some. The answer is more complex than it seems. So you might want to check what your first answer is.

Check this article for a non-radical but common-sense approach to opt-out in a cold email. 

Table of Content

  1. What’s a legal stance on email opt-out?
  2. Is Unsubscribe a good opt-out language for B2B cold emails?
  3. Break-up Email
  4. So, what’s the difference between the two?
  5. Are Email opt-outs Necessary?

What’s a legal stance on email opt-out?


Each B2B cold email including a commercial offer should give away for the addressee to sign out from receiving further mails. An insightful summary of the CAN-SPAM act mentions the easiest way to give your prospects a clear way to opt-out is to include an Unsubscribe link. Also, he lists 3 following types of emails that we may send to our prospects:

a) Cold emails

b) Opt-in marketing messages

c) Transactional messages

The opt in marketing messages obviously have to have an Unsubscribe link. It makes perfect sense – you’ve subscribed to a newsletter, so you are given an easy way to Unsubscribe. Simple as that. But what about the other types of email?


Under GDPR, it should be clear to the addressee that you’re processing their personal data. You can do so by putting a short disclaimer at the end of your email. The disclaimer should convey the following: 

  • tell the prospect that you are using and processing their personal data;
  • Reasons to why you are processing it;
  • Explanation of how they can change their data or request removing their data from your list.

An example of GDPR-compliant disclaimer: 

I chose to contact you because I have strong reasons to assume that you can benefit from what I present in this email. I’m processing your name and email address only because I wanted to send you this message. If you want me to change the data I used to contact you, or remove your data from my list, hit reply and let me know.

This statement fulfills all the boxes, but it can be precise too.  This disclaimer informs the addressee that you process their personal data and tells them why you do that. It also lets them know what to do in case they want to have their personal data removed. But the question remains the same; should there be an unsubscribe link? Should we include that?

GDPR says that organizations should follow a clear and simple procedure of giving a choice to readers of opting out from receiving correspondence. Once somebody opts out, you have to respect their wish, erase their personal data, and never contact them again.

Interesting Read : Your email will never fall into the spam folders with these techniques

Is Unsubscribe a good opt-out language for B2B cold emails?

After writing those cold emails, many of you may be tempted to put an ‘unsubscribe’ link. But is it a good decision?

Now, there is a difference between cold emails and opt-in marketing messages. The only common thing between the both is; if written badly and is targeted poorly, both can land up in the SPAM category

Unfortunately, we all see a lot of poorly written emails. Cold emails and newsletters, both have to be written awesomely and personalized genuinely to make it valuable to your addressees.

Our prospects will notice the difference between the two only if you notice the difference first.

What opt-out language to use instead of the Unsubscribe link?

The CAN-SPAM Act and GDPR recommend that the addressee of a cold email should be provided in a way that they can opt-out. What can we do to avoid writing the word unsubscribe as we do in newsletters?

There are a few ways to solve that problem within the copy of our email. Here are some examples: 

Disclaimer below the signature


Well, this email is written with a good intention but the 6 lines look scary for someone to read. 6 lines of script, that might sound like a scam to many people. 

Also, this looks like a generic gibberish that nobody wants to read. Whereas, your intentions are that people read your mails and reply to them. 

This email is in red, and red signifies trouble which is not acceptable for many people of course. Red usually means we did something wrong, or are about to do something wrong. Everyone avoids trouble and hence, the addressee of such a massage would most probably DELETE this email.

In another example, there is an alternative to unsubscribe link but presented a solution that causes even more trouble.

Here’s a disclaimer from another email:


This one looks better in terms of language, which is simple; but the light-grey fine print is a no no. It can barely be seen. Avoid such things if you want your addressees to treat your message seriously. This is not a way to gain trust or get replies for that matter. Be more natural and personal.

In the next example, 

Post Scriptum


The mechanism for opting out in this one is actually exactly the same as in the two previous examples above. The only difference is that this one sounds more human and friendly. 

This line sounds better though; 

“If you’re not the right person to contact for this, please let me know.”

Remember, to present the info that you are processing, the personal data to be GDPR compliant when you send emails to the EU. Actually, we can also provide an easy way to opt out …

Within the body of our email 

Or in the CTA to be precise. For instance:

“Let me know if you’d be interested in this.”

In this case, the prospects can opt out only with a message, “I’m not interested. Thanks.” Or something similar, like “NO”

One should not worry if they reply with “no” because they simply don’t have time to spend on pleasantries. It’s not that they don’t like you or something. 

Break-up Email

This is an old but effective way to send to your prospects; a “break-up email” can be sent as one of your follow-ups. These sound like so: 


This has received many positive responses, even when our prospects were not interested in our offer. This method is used by a lot of people these days. You need to be careful because chances are that your target group is already receiving a lot of such emails and have seen this method before.

We have received some responses that we are quoting here: 

odpowiedź - Elias

So, what’s the difference between the two?

  1. Subscribers of a newsletter have intentionally opted-in for a list of newsletters whereas the cold emails’ addresses did not. Cold emails, as the definition says, are sent to people who have not had previous contact with us, our company or its services. They have not subscribed to anything.

Therefore, an unsubscribe link at the end of your cold email message, as opposed to our newsletter email, is simply illogical and may be confusing to the addressee.

  1. Secondly, whereas newsletters are in definition sent to a large group of people at the same time, the addressees expect a mass message (which should nonetheless involve valuable content as well-personalized as possible).
  2. On the other hand, the cold email addressees do not expect anything, as they have no idea they are going to get our message until they actually get it.

To make the cold email actually valuable in someone’s mailbox is personalization. The message HAS TO look personal. Full stop.

And imagine getting a personal email with an Unsubscribe link at the end? That would be just ridiculous, right? 

Interesting Read : How to Select Right Email Finder Tool?

Are Email opt-outs Necessary?

So the simplified answer to the question: Should I type in ‘unsubscribe’ as a way of opting out from my cold email?

It is not necessarily to be written in that form, but one should inform their readers how can they opt out from your messages or emails. 

Email opt outs are an integral and rightful part of your messages. Therefore it has to be in sync with the other parts and has to be personalised too. It should not sound mechanical; it has to be natural and match the personal tone of your email.

Think of something light and creative before you ruin your whole message with a word Unsubscribe or a legal formula in the red fine print. There are some more pleasant ways to give your prospects a clear way out of further correspondence.

Write the mail in your original idea. Use the opt-out as another way to show them you’re a great person, and that it’s worth opt-in by hitting “Reply”.

Along with that, if you still receive the option that they don’t want to receive your emails anymore, respect their choice and delete them from your contact list.

Let us know in the comments below if you have more options to create the best unsubscribe statement. 

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