Email marketing – How to reduce your unsubscribe rate

Marketing list churn is expected. On one side, it’s a good thing. Unsubscribes help keep your mailing lists healthy. But a clear sign that your email marketing is working is a growing database of readers engaged with your efforts. So, the higher your unsubscribe rate, the worse it seems your marketing is doing.

No matter how hard you try, there’s no pleasing everybody. People will always opt-out of your email marketing.  

But that doesn’t mean you should let them go without a fight. You want inactive subscribers to leave to improve your deliverability, but you don’t want more than that.  

Anything below 0.5% is considered to be a good unsubscribe rate. 0.2% for an email campaign indicates that you’re well within the average range and your marketing is going well. A rate above 0.5% means you have some work to do.  

Why do people unsubscribe?  

There have been a lot of studies on why people unsubscribe from email marketing. As marketers, we’re always looking for information that will help stop our customer churn. Despite the many reasons offered by consumers when they unsubscribe, the most common reasons identified are:  

  1. They receive too many emails  
  2. The emails are irrelevant to the subscriber 
  3. Content which they receive is boring and repetitive  
  4. Emails are poorly designed or render badly on their device 
  5. Subscribers don’t recognize the brand emailing them 

But fear not! We have put together some of our top tips to help you reduce your unsubscribe rate.  

How to reduce your unsubscribe rate  

These strategies have been collated to address the common reasons for email marketing unsubscribes.  

1. Use your preference center 

Preference centers are one of a marketer’s most powerful tools. They empower the subscriber to feel in control of their relationship with your brand while giving you the information you need to deliver relevant and engaging emails.  

A good preference center will collect customer data such as gender and location. An excellent preference center will ask subscribers about their interests – what topics and products do they want to hear about? What newsletters and content do they want to receive?  

By giving recipients the option to choose which newsletters they want to read and the frequency with which they’ll receive them, you can ensure that they’re only getting relevant emails.  

2. Segment your email marketing  

Segmentation is a simple form of personalization on a grand scale. It’s the easiest way to ensure you’re sending relevant emails to your readers.  

You can use the information you collect in your preference center to get started. When you divide your audience based on gender or age range customers feel a stronger connection to your brand. The more you segment and deliver relevant content, the happier recipients will be to give your more personal data about themselves.  

Segmentation is an easy tactic you can adopt to reduce email unsubscribes. When a subscriber consistently receives unsegmented and impersonalized content, they’re going to be unengaged with your efforts. So, get started with segmentation today and regularly get subscribers to update their preferences.  

3. Re-invent your newsletters 

How many sale-orientated emails do you have in your inbox right now? My guess is it’s a lot. Now how many emails do you have that actually require you to read? To spend more than five seconds looking at the pictures before you move onto the next? Not a lot, right? 

It’s feels as though somewhere along the line, marketers lost the ability to create genuine and engaging newsletters. And by that we mean content designed to engage, educate, and inform.  

Newsletters are a key opportunity for you to create a strong connection with your reader. Show them what makes your brand different from your competitors. Show them the personality behind your log. This will help keep recipients regularly engaging with your content.  

4. Discover your friendly “from” name 

There are many elements in your email marketing that you can test and your friendly “from” name is one of them.  

Your “from” name is one of – if not the – first thing a reader sees when an email lands in their inbox. It helps recipients immediately identify your emails. Most brands use their brand name to make it obvious who the email is from. However, this is not the only tactic you can use. Depending on the nature of your business, it might be more beneficial to use the name of an account manager, particularly if you’re a B2B business or offer a bespoke one-to-one service.  

The only way you’ll know what works best is by testing. Try a couple of variations and go with what works best with your audience.  

5. Test before every send 

There’s nothing worse than working on an email campaign only to discover it’s not rendering properly in the inbox. After all your hard work you want it to land with maximum impact.  

The only way you can prevent this from happening is by testing every send before it goes out. Your reporting will tell you on what device your audience is opening your emails on. Mobiles are still growing in popularity, so it’s vital to test how these emails look before your press send.  

And don’t just test with people in your organization. Different email providers can display your emails differently, so make sure you have a number of test accounts including Gmail and iCloud Mail.  

 Stop unnecessary customer churn 

While we recommend you use all these tactics to reduce your unsubscribe rates, there are a couple of quick-wins you can implement today to get started.  

  1. Exit surveys: adding an exit survey to your unsubscribe page is a must. It will help you identify the areas you need to focus your efforts on first and address issues facing many subscribers.  
  1. Double opt-in: getting customers to confirm they want your emails will significantly improve the quality of leads in your customer database. They have confirmed they want your marketing and are therefore unlikely to unsubscribe anytime soon.  
  1. Set expectations: when a new subscriber joins your mailing list, you should immediately let them know what they can expect from your marketing. By adding this as part of your welcome program customer feel more informed and engaged with your brand.  

Customer retention tactics 

Acquiring new customers keeps your mailing lists growing but it’s not always cost-effective. By improving your unsubscribe rate even a little, it’s possible to improve your profits by 25%. As we get ready for a new year, it’s time to turn our attention to new strategies that will retain customers for longer.

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