What is the most common reason for unsubscribing from an email list?


Collecting emails is one of the most valuable things you can do for your business however, no one wants their inbox flooded with irrelevant emails or constant promotions.

Creating a successful email list is about offering information that is relevant, somewhat exclusive and maybe even personalised. There also needs to be a ratio between asking your subscribers to do something such as download, purchase and opt-in, and offering value or freebies. It’s all about giving and receiving.

No matter how brilliant your content and offers are, unsubscribing is to be expected to some extent. Don’t despair. Those who unsubscribe, especially early on in the process, are probably not your target audience anyway.

Besides ensuring your emails are valuable, here are 5 other ways to decrease your unsubscription rate:

1.) Preferences:

There are many email marketing tools out there that will allow your subscribers to select preferences about when they receive emails and what content they wish to receive. Install the preference options to come up when they click subscribe and see if it convinces your subscribers to stay. You can also analyse the preferences to see what your subscribers are jiving with and what they are not.

2.) One Click Unsubscribe:

Should you make it easy for your subscribers to leave? Yes, because otherwise they will start flagging your emails as spam which will end up hurting your company down the road.

Making your unsubscribe button a one click process is not only convenient for your customers (or ex-customers) but it also means that your email list can become more targeted to people who will actually purchase your products or services.

3.) Ditch the Feedback:

They were once popular, but the archaic “feedback” forms can instantly end you up in spam folders all across the country. Back in the day, it was typical for marketers to get unsubscribers to fill out a feedback form before leaving, but this has no longer is proven to work. People are busy, they don’t want to fill out a feedback form. Ditch the form and save your reputation.

4.) Unsubscribe Confirmation Landing Page:

Once your subscribers do opt out of your email list, sending them to a confirmation landing page may help increase your chances of them opting in again. Use clever language in your confirmation page such as- “We miss you” or “We hope you come back” etc. The chances of a fresh unsubscriber opting in again is probably small, but at least you are in with a chance. You could get more aggressive by offering them a freebie or some sort of incentive to re-join. Just be careful here as you don’t want to be too aggressive- they opted-out for a reason, so maybe it is time to move on.

5.) Email Frequency:

One survey found that over 35.4% of consumers reported that email frequency was the primary reason for unsubscribing from an email list. Really analyse whether each email you are about to send is relevant and necessary. Becoming more selective about the content you send out can also help increased the perceived value of your emails. While email frequency will depend on your business model, typically 1-2 per week is a good place to start.

While these 5 tools may help decrease your opt-out rate, there are also 4 pitfalls that email marketers can make. If these pitfalls are not addressed, no amount of “unsubscription strategy” will work.

They are-

1.) Poor email design or copy: this goes without saying (but we said it anyway). Keep your emails clean, easy to read and keep the content relevant and engaging. One study found that 24.5% of customers will unsubscribe if the content of the email is not relevant.

2.) Sending Emails Without Permission: If your customers did not opt-in to your email list on their own accord, don’t send them emails. This is the quickest way to get them to unsubscribe and they also lose your trust.

3.) Misleading Subject Line: If your headline does not match your email content, or your subject line is offensive, people are more likely to opt-out. While your subject line can be engaging and have “wow” factor, keep it friendly and relevant.

4.) Lack of Personalisation: What separates the content on your email from the content on your website? Personalisation. And if you are not taking advantage of it, you are not maximising your email list. Time and time again, personalisation has been shown to increase click through and conversion optimisation rates.

While this is probably already enough information to drastically reduce your opt-out rates, psychologists  have also chimed in on strategies that can help.

Here are the 3 top strategies from psychologists that you may also want to implement in your emails:

1.) Quit: There are negative connotations with the word “Quit” which is why opt-out rates reduced when one email marketer changed “unsubscribe” to ” I want to quit”.

2.) Position of Unsubscribe link: there is a recent trend that has seen moving the unsubscribe link from the bottom of the email to the top. This typically makes your link harder to find as most are used to seeing it on the bottom. Test this one with caution however. If your unsubscribe link is not easy to find you may get marked as spam.

3.) Repeat your Brand Name: One e-commerce company tested using their brand name in both the “from” and “subject line” field. When they did this, they experienced a 20% increase in open rates and a 15% increase in click throughs.

What changes are you going to make to your email list today?