Looking for a way to reduce email unsubscribe rates? Here are 8 simple tips that are guaranteed to keep subscribers on your email list.
Approximate read-time: 5.5 minutes
If you’ve spent a lot of time building an email list, it can be painful to watch unsubscribes happen. You might wonder what you’re doing wrong. Paranoid thoughts might begin creeping in...
Am I the problem? Do people hate me?
Not likely! If subscribers didn’t like what you are doing, they wouldn’t have subscribed to your email campaign in the first place. But if you find that people are unsubscribing at a high rate, there’s a lot you can do to improve the situation.
And you really should consider improving your unsubscribe rate. After all, email is still one of the most important tools in the digital marketing toolbox. Ignore it at your peril!
In this post, we are going to talk about 8 ways you can reduce unsubscribes. And along the way, we’ll teach you how to improve your overall email marketing strategy too.
How many email unsubscribes are too many?
Before we get started, let’s confirm that your email unsubscribe rate is out of the ordinary. The general consensus is that an unsubscribe rate of 1% or lower is just fine.
Of course, there are some industry-specific variables to take note of. For example, if you are in the retail business, you can expect to see a higher rate of email churn (also known as subscriber churn).
Some industries enjoy stickier rates too. For example, media, finance, and health have typically lower email churn. However, these industries have higher bounce rates too. That means building a list is difficult in those industries, but maintaining it is a bit easier.
How to track your unsubscribe rates?
When tracking your email stats, there are two major considerations. First, does your email provider give you stats? Second, is your subscriber form helping you to attract the best subscribers?
The good news is that most email systems will provide a ton of stats to work from. Some are better than others, but MailChimp, ActiveCampaign, and Aweber are some good options. That said, there are a number of great choices out there.
Another consideration is the signup form you use to gain subscribers. The trouble with the above email platforms is that they don’t always have the best form options for your website. If you use WordPress, there are a number of form builders that can help.
👉 Learn more about Formidable’s form building features
Of course, you’ll want to choose one that integrates seamlessly with your email platform. WordPress form builders like Formidable Forms (the authors of this article) integrate with all the major platforms, including CRM focused platforms like Hubspot.
A great way to stop unsubscribes from happening is to improve the quality of your subscribers. Adding a double opt-in on your subscription form can ensure that users really want to be on your list.
Besides, making sure you are communicating with the right target audience is an important part of any marketing campaign. This is true is social media, content creation, and sales. Email marketing is no different!
👉 Learn more: 6 Ways to Increase Email Signup Conversions
How to reduce email unsubscribes
With all that in mind, let’s take a look at some easy ways you can reduce unsubscribe rates across your email campaigns.
1. Improve your subject lines
It can be tempting to use compelling subject lines to improve email open rates. And it can actually work very well. But beware! This is a double-edged sword.
Using a clickbait-style subject line can actually anger your subscribers. They might open the email expecting something different, then unsubscribe out of frustration. Naturally, your email unsubscribe rates will be affected.
It’s a delicate balance. When writing your subject line, try to put yourself in the shoes of the audience. Prioritize a subject line that your email can actually follow-through on.
2. Send fewer emails
We get it - you’ve just got so much to share! But remember that you are not the only person or business that your users subscribe to.
Think in terms of maximizing each interaction. But beyond that, it’s easy to tell when your email frequency is too high. If you are seeing more unsubscribes than usual, you are sending too much.
3. Segment your email list
It’s naturally easier to send all your emails to your entire list, but the easiest solution may not always be the best. You may want to consider dividing your subscribers into different segments.
By doing this, you can focus on sending the best possible content to the people who want it most. An easy example would be blog subscribers versus paying customers. Perhaps people who subscribe to your blog would like to see more blog content and fewer promotional emails?
Segment your list to improve unsubscribe rates as a first step. Then, continue with the other tips below!
4. Refine your email design
Don’t judge a book by its cover. Okay - that works for books... but how about emails?
The fact is that the competition in the email landscape is fierce. There are many professional email marketers who spend their full-time work hours on email and email only.
Can you compete with them? Maybe, maybe not. But the truth remains: design matters.
And email design isn’t just limited to pretty pictures. It’s about the format, font choices, and the overall presentation as well.
You aren’t going to become a designer overnight. If in doubt, go for a clean look. You can also find an endless amount of inspiration simply by searching Google for email template ideas or other similar terms.
5. Improve your email copywriting
Design is one thing, email copy is another. And yes, there are indeed email copywriting professionals who spend all their working hours on email copy too. There are a special few who can do it all, but the point we are making is that it’s difficult to write well!
So although you may not be a pro copywriter, you can still devote a little more time to improving your email copy. And if you find it especially challenging, don’t be afraid to invest in getting help!
6. Personalize your emails
If people feel that you are actually speaking to them, they’d be far less likely to walk away. It’s why walking away from a speech is much easier than walking away from a person speaking directly to you.
The simplest way to personalize your emails is by using subscriber info in your emails. Even a simple action like personalizing the call to action can go a long way. Many email platforms have automation built-in to assist with personalization.
Of course, personalization can be difficult if you are only collecting email addresses and first names. You can still attempt to give your emails a more personal flair when writing them though. This is easier said than done, but it will help keep your subscribers on your list.
7. Optimize email for mobile devices
Part of the challenge of designing a solid email? Ensuring it is responsive. Will it display properly on a mobile phone, a desktop, or a tablet equally well?
This isn’t as easy as it sounds. Yet another reason why email professionals are so sought-after. Luckily many email platforms offer templates that will work across all devices.
If you haven’t optimized your emails for mobile yet, you should! Customers are in the mode of expecting that emails will behave properly no matter what device they happen to open them on. If what you’re sending to customers won’t display properly, expect email unsubscribe rates to go up.
8. Get feedback
One way to know exactly why your subscribers are leaving? Ask them. It’s fairly standard practice to ask people why they are unsubscribing when they are in the process of doing it. But you can actually get started earlier than that.
For example, you could make a page on your site where you survey your audience. Ask them if they enjoy the content you are creating. Perhaps you could incentivize the feedback somewhat. It’s just another way to create value and keep people on your list.
👉 Learn more: How to Create a Survey in WordPress
We hope your eyes have been opened! Even if you were able to tackle just a few items on this list, your email unsubscribe rates will surely improve. At any rate, thanks for stopping by! For more marketing tips, stay tuned to the Formidable blog. Adios!