Hey there Monkey Podders!
It’s your (arguably biased) favorite guest author back with another blog post that has some ground level technical wizardry in it.
I’m going to show you something I’ve been personally using for years in my own newsletter that is really easy to do once you understand what is going on. First, before we get into that, I have to share with you what problem we are solving for in the first place…
Infusionsoft Unsubscribe Links
Email subscriptions have gone though several evolutions since I’ve been using Infusionsoft. The legacy unsubscribe links were very powerful, but not well documented and susceptible to abuse. What I mean by “abuse” is that people were using a hack on subscription (confirmation) links to redirect and omit the confirmation message. In essence, they were tricking people into confirming their email addresses. This is an Acceptable Use Policy no-no. Unfortunately, the same “engine” was used on both link types.
As a result, when unsubscribes were introduced into Campaign Builder, the functionality was severely limited because confirmations were severely limited. They have opened up the restrictions a bit lately. Specifically, you have more control over text before/after the unsubscribe link as well as the link text itself. You also have justification options (right, left, center).
Definitely a massive improvement for the kinds of automated experiences you can create.
So what’s the problem?
Even if you use the ~OptOut_xx~ merge field hack, you are still limited to a text-based link only that stands by itself.
But what if you want to use an image to entice people to opt out? Or what if you want to embed an unsubscribe link within the middle of a sentence, like I do in my newsletters?
Until this moment in the blog post (technically further down), you would be out of luck.
Not today! I’m going to show you how to turn any link anywhere into an unsubscribe link 🙂
First, you have to make an unsubscribe link and send yourself an email containing it. You’ll see why later.
To do this, we start by going into our Marketing > Settings and go to Automation Links. From there we can add a new unsubscribe link. All you need to do is give it a name, some placeholder link text, and Save (not Save & Close).
When the page reloads, pay attention to the ID in the URL. We are going to need this.
Now, go into any email and put in the merge field ~OptOut_xx~ where “xx” is the ID we just obtained; you’ll know you did it right if you see the link text in your preview.
Now send that email to yourself. Here’s where we get really under the hood.
Hover over the link in your browser and right click on it. Copy the link location and bring it into a Notepad. Paste it into your notepad.
By now, you should have a link that looks like this:
You may notice something, our link ID is in that URL right after the “/optOut”. I noticed that too. I also noticed that that random hash string of characters (in this example asfasdf), was the same for every opt out link in every email each time. That got me thinking, there has to be a way to manually construct a link with the same structure!
Knowing how the system works, I also observed that the number after the random hash string was an Infusionsoft batch/email ID. Then I remembered: we have a secret merge field for the batch ID (and the other one)!
I discovered these one afternoon many moons ago when I converted an email with the social sharing widgets (remember those?) into a code builder email for some reason. In that moment, I learned of two secret merge fields that I had never seen before:
That’s how the system was building those social share links on the backend. Every email has its own send ID and a unique hash key unique to the specific send and it was “assembling” a link using the social share parts of the system.
If we replace those last two numbers with those secret merges, we now have a re-usable link URL for an unsubscribe, that can be used anywhere a link can be configured in an email.
Remember, for you, your app name will be different and you’ll have different unsubscribe link IDs (xx) and a unsubscribe link hash key (yyyyyyyyyyyy). But, in essence, you can now set any link to that destination and it will function as a unsubscribe link.
What do you think? Pretty cool, huh?
Now go out there and invite people to unsubscribe in clever, conversational ways or using graphics 🙂
Leave a comment below if you have any other secret merge fields that you’ve uncovered on your own!
Update: Want to do this same thing but with a custom opt-IN link? Check out this tutorial on creating your own Infusionsoft confirmation links from Infusionsoft Certified Partner Jessica Dohm.
Very clever, does the same thing work with confirmation links too?