Email How-To Tip

Q: How can I obtain information about unsubscribes in LISTSERV Maestro?

Acting faithfully on a user's request to unsubscribe is one of the many important best practices for operating a mailing list. Using a LISTSERV Maestro subscriber list means that you don't have to worry about this thanks to the special functionality of the {{*UnsubscribeURL}} system drop-in. If a user clicks on the automatically generated URL, then (after confirmation) not only is the subscription profile removed from the subscriber list, but in addition, LISTSERV Maestro also records a special protection entry that makes sure that you don't accidentally re-import the subscriber from a backend source. The unsubscribe is also counted so that you can later run reports about the unsubscribe rate metric.

Accessing the addresses of users who unsubscribed is not directly possible for many reasons, the most important of which is that it's considered a bad practice to contact people who have unsubscribed.

However, if you are operating your subscriber list in combination with a backend database, then you may want to remove unsubscribed addresses from your backend as well. If your backend database has an unsubscribed address still on record, then it's certainly safe to regularly update subscription profiles in your Maestro subscriber list from the backend because the protection feature mentioned above makes sure that you don't re-import an unsubscribed address and start sending to it again.

This tip describes how to obtain a list of unsubscribed addresses with the purpose of removing these addresses from your backend.

How LISTSERV Maestro Handles Unsubscribes

In all default LISTSERV Maestro content templates, the unsubscribe link with the {{*UnsubscribeURL}} drop-in is located in the footer area of the template.

In the delivered messages, this drop-in is replaced with a customized URL that identifies the mail job, list and user:

If the user then clicks on this URL, this screen is shown:

Previously, the record with this address existed in the list, as shown in the following screen snippet:

After the user clicks the "Yes" button, the associated subscriber record is removed from the list and the unsubscribe action is counted:

Obtaining Unsubscribe Details

Since your task is to remove unsubscribed addresses from your backend database, you can use the following method to obtain the necessary information. Start by defining a subscriber importer that re-imports the addresses from your backend into the subscriber list:

On the screen that follows, choose the "Create Reusable Importer" option and define the settings similarly to the screen shown below. Note that you need to use a reusable importer for this task. Using "Import Subscribers Now" performs a correct import but does not provide the additional information about people who have unsubscribed that you need.

In the importer settings, it's sufficient to use the "Add" type and only map the email address field. Then save the importer and launch it. You will see something like this:

Click OK to return to the list of importers, which now shows a "View History" link:

Clicking on the "View History" link shows a screen similar to this one:

Click the download link to download a file with all of the importer launch details:

You will now be able to identify all of the users in your backend database who have unsubscribed from the list, allowing you to remove them for your backend.

Next Steps

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