8 Ways to Reduce Your Email Unsubscribe Rates

avoid email unsubscribes

Halloween is just around the corner, and what’s scarier to an email marketer than email unsubscribe rates?  *shudder*

I get it – unsubscribes can be a huge mood killer.  But hey, you can’t please everyone. 

Avoid email unsubscribe rates going up

You have to take the good with the bad.  People opt out of emails.  You should expect a decrease in your email list every now again, it happens!

After GDPR, many email lists suffered, but that’s not a bad thing.  Your new, cleaner email list is full of good quality leads, who genuinely want to engage with your brand.

However, if your list is getting smaller and your email unsubscribe rates are getting higher, it might be a good idea to look at your email marketing strategy.

Avoid email unsubscribe rates going up

Think your email unsubscribe rates are too high?  We’re not judging.

Here are 8 things you can do to stop your email unsubscribe rates from looking a little scary:

1. Segment your list correctly

Your subscribers aren’t all the same.

Email segmentation can massively improve your email marketing.  It ensures that you only send the most relevant, tailor-made content to your subscribers.

It’s all about personalisation.  If you understand what your customer is interested in, you can create email campaigns that speak directly to their interests.  You can give them exactly what it is they’re looking for.

The more specific your segments are, the better your emails will be.

A great idea is to segment your subscribers immediately after signing up.  Ask them what they’re interested in.  This one from Peacocks is a great example:

Avoid email unsubscribe rates going up

This way, they will receive only the content they want to receive, your engagement will go up, and your email unsubscribe rates will go down.

Everyone’s a winner!

2. Don’t send too many

Deliver on your promises.  It’s that simple.

According to a survey by Technology Advice, 43% of consumers wanted businesses to email them less frequently.

Consistency is key.  If you promised someone that you’d send one email a week, then you have to stick to that.

When someone provides you with their email address, they’re trusting you to do the right thing with it.  Don’t bombard them with loads of self-promoting emails.

That’s why your opt-in form and welcome email campaign are super important.  These are where you’ll make your promises to be a good, upstanding email marketer.

Avoid email unsubscribe rates going up

In this welcome campaign from Firebox, they deal with this in a funny, personal way.  Although they don’t give an exact amount of how many emails they’ll be sending, they reassure their reader that their inbox won’t be blasted.

A great idea is to automate your emails.  Coordinating email timing with the customer lifecycle will allow you to increase engagement and reduce unsubscribes.

3. Don’t be boring

You can get everything right in your email marketing, but if you don’t nail the content then – you guessed it – your subscribers are going to unsubscribe.

So, how do your email campaigns stay young and hip in the inbox?

Avoid email unsubscribe rates going up

You have to deliver relevant, interesting content to your subscribers to keep them engaged and coming back for more.  Try to avoid sounding too “salesy” in all of your emails, as this can quickly put someone off.

You can get a good feel for how well your emails are performing by keeping tabs on the open and click-through rates of your emails.  See which subject lines get the most opens and what type of call-to-action buttons get the most clicks.

Remember, don’t be afraid to ask your subscribers what kind of content they want to receive.

4. Stay out of the junk

When your subscribers have had enough, they might either click ‘unsubscribe’, delete the email, or worse – they put you in the spam folder.

Avoid email unsubscribe rates going up

To stay in your subscriber’s good books, email on a schedule and stick with it.

If you decide to change the frequency of your communications, tell your readers in advance.  Let them know why it’s worth sticking around.

The key here is to be totally transparent.  Your subscribers will thank you for it.

5. Make sure they work on all devices

More than half of all internet traffic comes from a mobile device.

It’s now easier than ever to simply swipe and delete an email.  It’s essential to make sure that your emails translate well.

Nothing will make a subscriber look for an exit option quicker than an email that’s distorted and difficult to read.

Avoid email unsubscribe rates going up

Check and test all of your email campaigns before sending.  Does it look as good on a tablet as it does on a desktop?  Make sure your email template is optimised for all devices, or risk increasing your email unsubscribe rates.

Using an email marketing platform will tell you the devices which your emails are being viewed on.

6. Treat your subscribers to exclusive offers

Make your readers feel really special and valued with exclusive discounts.  Or maybe give them early access to your sales.

Avoid email unsubscribe rates going up

Make sure you offer different content, so they have a reason to sign up.  A lot of your audience might already be following you on your social media, so why should they subscribe to your emails if they’re just going to receive the same content?

It’s important not to make your subscribers feel like you only send out emails when you want something.  You should give a little back sometimes, too.

Avoid email unsubscribe rates going up

This email from Monica Vinader uses the subject line ‘Shhhh…A secret offer, just for you!’.  They make it sound as though receiving their emails means the subscriber is part of a secret group.

7. Offer a different communication method

Maybe an email recipient unsubscribes simply because their inbox is receiving too many emails.  Or maybe they had to sign up to buy something, but they didn’t want to receive any future communications.

Avoid email unsubscribe rates going up

There’s no way to avoid some unsubscribes, and that’s okay.  It’s better to have an engaged and interested email list that might be a bit smaller rather than a huge email list full of people who just never engage.

Lucky for you, emails aren’t they only way that someone can keep up with your company.  Give them other options to interact with you, like your social media networks or your company blog.

Provide them with links to your other channels in their unsubscribe confirmation.  You never know, if they really like your other content, you might win them back.

8. Ask them why

Despite all of this hard work, your email unsubscribes rate might still go up.  But why?

There’s no shame in asking.

Often, the reason might surprise you.

Avoid email unsubscribe rates going up

Your audience has opinions, and they’re probably willing to share them.

Asking them to fill out a quick survey will help you to understand the reason why they opted out.

Getting constructive feedback will mean you can improve your emails for your remaining subscribers.  Take it on the chin, learn from it, and then act on it.

Maybe you can’t bring someone back, but you can try to stop someone else from leaving.

Over to you

Growing an email list is pretty easy.  The real challenge lies in making your readers want to stick around.

Remember, your subscribers aren’t just names on your email list – they’re real people.  They have interests, goals, and pain points – just like you do.

If you keep your readers’ best interests at heart, then you’re well on your way to having a successful email marketing strategy.

Want more inspiration for your email campaigns?  You can download our complete guide to email marketing here.



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