If you run an email marketing campaign, or are thinking of starting one, you must have heard of how email unsubscribe rates can affect your performance.
Users unsubscribe for various reasons. They might not be interested in your content anymore, they might think that you email too often… No matter what you do, it will happen every now and then. 🙁

However, there are proven ways to reduce your unsubscribe rates and keep your readers engaged. In this article, we’ll show you the steps you should take to avoid unsubscriptions. But first, let’s look at some general information about unsubscribe rates.

How Do You Calculate Your Email Unsubscribe Rate?

If you need to calculate your email unsubscribe rate, simply take the number of unsubscribes and divide it by the number of all emails delivered. Then, simply multiply that value by 100 to get a percentage.

Most email marketing tools show you this information without the need to calculate it, but it’s important to know where those numbers come from.

What Is A Good Unsubscribe Rate?

Studies state that the average unsubscribe rate is somewhere between 0.12% and 0.26%.

However, each industry and business have different results, according to their target audience and other specificities.

One thing you should keep in mind is that specific kinds of emails get a higher unsubscribe rate than others. 📨

Welcome emails are an example of emails that have a high unsubscribe rate. This is due to the fact that the reader might have just signed up to get a specific offer and was not really interested in your content. Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do in this situation, but you can try to create an engaging welcome series that will keep new readers interested.

In the next section, you’ll find more reasons why readers may unsubscribe from your mailing list.

Reasons Why Readers Unsubscribe

1. Not recognizing the sender name

This is commonly referred to as one of the main reasons why readers unsubscribe. If they don’t recognize the name of the sender, they’re very likely to unsubscribe. 🙅‍♂️

A way to fix this is to have something like “Vanessa From Platformly” in your sender name, showing which brand you represent. This will present you to the new reader and they’ll know who you are and, probably, why you’re getting in touch.

2. Email content is not relevant

When your content is not relevant to your readers, you might as well not send anything.

This seems harsh, but there are ways to improve your content relevance.

We recommend testing different subject lines with different user groups, especially A/B testing.

Run a survey about what your readers would like to see in your emails. Offer a freebie in exchange for their participation. 🎁

After all, you cannot make your content better without finding out where you are failing or what you are doing well.

3. Unsolicited email

This is a very serious misdemeanour when it comes to good email marketing practices. If your user is not expecting you to email them, and have no idea where you come from, they’re going to unsubscribe, or even worse, mark your email as spam.

Getting tagged as spam can damage your sender reputation forever. So, make sure you only send emails to those who have subscribed to your communications.

Email Unsubscribe

4. Too many emails

Your readers might be interested in your content, but don’t push your luck. Sending too many emails is a recipe for disaster.

Tell your readers what to expect in terms of frequency, and let them decide which kind of emails they want to receive. 🗣️

How To Reduce Unsubscribe Rates – Top Tips

1. Use segmentation

With Platformly, you can use segments and tags to divide your mailing list into different groups. These can be related to interests, demography, current occupation… anything. 💯

By segmenting your list, it’s easier to target each group with emails that are relevant to them. This makes your readers interested in what you are going to send the next time, avoiding those undesirable unsubscribes.

When your messages are part of a lead nurturing sequence, you can keep on collecting more data about each user, each segment, and so on. This will help you improve your segmentation, making it more detailed and efficient.

2. Create a content map

Now that you have more data about your readers, you can match certain groups with certain messages and design a content map.

We recommend using a Google Sheets file, or maybe Notion. This map will let you know which email to send to who, at what time and even after a specific action from the user. 📍

This will also make it easier to develop relevant content for each touchpoint with your brand. Mapping your content for relevant messages will decrease the chance of users unsubscribing due to the content you’re sending.

You should also add some targeted content according to each part of the sales funnel that the user is in. A person who has just heard about your product is interested in general information, whereas someone who has been through the lead nurturing process will want content that is specific, detailed and tailored to their wants and needs.

This tactic can make or break your email marketing strategy, so make sure to take your time going through this step.

3. Allow readers to decide on frequency

If you send too many emails, you might annoy some readers – while others might think the frequency is okay. 💡

So, we recommend giving your readers a choice. It’s easy these days to just add a link at the bottom of the page that allows each reader to decide on frequency.

Customizing frequency gives readers the control, and you can also allow them to choose what kind of emails they are interested in: purely transactional emails, news from the company, new products, discount codes… and so on.

As a last effort, you can also give that choice in the landing page for unsubscribing.

It is also recommended to send an email about these options to recent unsubscribers, as that might have been the issue that led them to unsubscribe in the first place. Some readers do not notice they have the option to change email preferences without unsubscribing fully.

Email Unsubscribe

4. Test your email frequency

Even if you give readers the option to customize their email preferences in every email, some of them aren’t going to notice the link. So, a great way to understand your general audience’s preference is testing email frequency often.

To test this, create different groups (you can use your previously mentioned segmentation) and test different frequencies between them. 🏃‍♂️

These tests should give you insights into what your audience generally prefers, or what each group expects from your emails.

5. Keep a regular sending schedule

We also recommend keeping a regular sending schedule. Users should be expecting your emails; don’t keep them waiting.

We recommend sending your emails at the same time of day so that you don’t bother your readers at a time when they're busy and not expecting to hear from you. That would only lead to unsubscribes, and worse, marking you as spam. Make sure to respect your readers’ time.

Define this schedule from the beginning so you can manage expectations easily. Don’t promise emailing twice a week if you can only send one email a week. ⏰

6. Create exclusivity

A good way to keep readers interested in your emails is by generating a sense of exclusivity. This can be achieved by several tactics: exclusive discounts for subscribers, new arrivals, limited time offers…

Exclusivity makes the readers feel special and in the know, and you should leverage those feelings to reduce your unsubscribe rate. 📮

Of course, your users are not always going to buy every time you email them. However, if they are interested in your brand they’ll keep on opening your emails, or at least stay subscribed.

Email Unsubscribe

7. Make sure your emails load fast

An email that takes ages to load is always going to be annoying for your readers. This ends up affecting your emails’ performance, and therefore increasing your unsubscribe rate.

We recommend using a minimal amount of HTML in your emails, and avoiding large images that aren’t optimized for emails.

This means that text-only emails tend to perform better when it comes to loading speed. If you need to send a message that does not require images per se, don’t add any. 📓

If you want to create a better looking email, you can use code and images – keeping in mind that you optimize everything in the email to keep a decent loading time.

8. Avoid “open in browser”

An option to open your email in a web browser should always be available on your emails. If for some reason the email platform (or client) does not open your email, you should give users an alternative.

However, it’s better to avoid sending emails that need to be open in the browser. This is an extra step for readers, and as you might know, internet users don’t like to wait. 🌐

We have become increasingly impatient when accessing emails, website pages, apps… So, if you can make sure your email opens directly, it is usually better.

To prevent losing subscribers over this, we recommend testing several email platforms and clients before sending.

9. Use feedback to improve

Using feedback seems obvious, but you’d be surprised at how many companies do not collect feedback or do not analyze it and improve accordingly.

When someone unsubscribes from your emails, give them the option to say why they are unsubscribing. Maybe you’re sending too many emails, maybe they don’t find the content relevant… Simply show this question in your unsubscribing confirmation page or email. 🗒️

By asking what went wrong for these users, you’ll find out what you can do to prevent the same issue from happening again.

10. Try other channels

Although it has been proven that the majority of users prefer to get brand updates through email, that does not mean that you can’t reach out on other channels.

If email is not resonating with your audience, you can try SMS marketing, social media, video platforms… 📱

Even though email is the most popular channel for communicating with customers, each brand has their specificities. Some brands do better with SMS, while others get the most leads from Facebook or Instagram. We recommend testing, as usual, to make sure you are reaching out to your leads and customers where they are.

Wrapping Up

No matter how hard you work on your campaigns, there will always be some people who will unsubscribe at some point.

The way to deal with this is to find out what happened, learn from your mistakes and move on.

And of course, some errors can be prevented if you follow this short guide. Before you even send any message, there are things you can do to reduce unsubscribe rates.

What do you think? Did we miss anything? Use the comment box here, or find us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

If you're looking for a powerful email marketing platform with high deliverability rates, make sure you give Platformly a try!


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About Author

Deeply passionate about writing, copy, and social media. Digital Marketing Assistant at Platformly.


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