Reducing Unsubscribes: Actionable Tips from Email Marketing Experts

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 Do you send out the same generic email to one and all in your list?
 Do you bombard your subscribers with too many emails?
 Is sending relevant content to your subscribers a priority for you?
 Do you care to take feedback or ask preferences of your customers?

If your answers are Yes, Yes, No, and No, it’s time to look at your unsubscribes and list churn rate.

25% of your email marketing list decays every year. When you flood your subscribers’ inboxes with emails that are not relevant or useful to them, they tend to stop engaging. And then, the only engagement you do get is an unsubscribe (if you’re lucky and they don’t mark you as spam).

There’s no such thing as zero unsubscribes (in reality), but you can reduce their likelihood by following some proven email marketing best practices. Let’s take a look at what experts say you can do to reduce email churn rate.

Segment Your List
Sending relevant content to targeted groups of subscribers from your list will yield better results, including fewer unsubscribes. That said, it does take some to enable segmentation.

Take a look at your data and see how you can create segments with your email marketing list. Start with those who have opened and clicked (and segment from those who haven’t). Or separate purchasers from non-purchasers. You can also ask your subscribers for additional information and preferences.

Why go through this exercise? Let’s say you are a clothing brand. It would make sense to send different emails to men and women, right? If someone has set preferences for certain categories of products, you can send them emails related to those categories. With this knowledge of customers’ interests, you can better keep them engaged with your brand, thereby reducing your email unsubscribe rate.

Customize Your Email Frequency
Email frequency is one of the main factors influencing unsubscribe rates. When the subscribers are bombarded with emails too frequently, they tend to lose interest in the brand. And yet, what may seem like too much email for one subscriber may be the perfect amount for another. Use your segmentation data and test frequently to determine the best frequency for sending emails to a particular group. That frequency likely can be higher for your most engaged customers and much lower for those who interact less often with your brand.

Send Relevant Content
The one-size-fits-all kind of email program does not work efficiently in the case of content. Once you learn what your subscribers like, you need to create content that matches their interests and behavior. Consider what kinds of offers you send out regularly and match that content to what you promised at opt-in. Test different copy and image combinations, calls to action, subject lines, and other content elements frequently as well.

Offer Alternatives to Email
Say what? But you said this is a post about how to reduce email unsubscribes?
That’s right, I did. Here’s why: Some subscribers do not want their inbox to be clogged with emails and prefer other mediums to get information from brands like yours. Why not maintain this positive connection by offering alternatives like SMS, Twitter, or other social media platforms.

Another idea would be to offer an “opt-down” option to reduce email frequency, thereby trying to prevent to full opt-out. Just make sure if you do offer an opt-down option that you actually MEAN it.

Ask For Feedback
When your customers do opt out, add a short survey after the unsubscribe process is complete asking them for their reasons. It could be they are no longer interested, or don’t like your content, or you’re emailing too much. Watch for trends in these reasons and adjust your email strategy accordingly.

You’ll never be fully rid of the unsubscribe, but you can do your best to keep it from happening.

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About Author

Scott has been living and breathing email marketing since 2007. With both agency and client-side end-user experience, Scott brings a unique perspective to email marketing that combines best practices with real-world-tested strategy and tactics.

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