How to Reduce Your Marketing Email Unsubscribe Rate

Sep 15, 2022

If you send marketing emails, then subscribers unsubscribing from your messages is something that you have to be prepared for.

No matter how many steps you take to engage your readers with your content and try to keep them on board, some people just might not be interested in it for many reasons. Most of the time, it’s not personal – they aren’t interested in what you have to offer for their own reasons. However, in some cases, especially if you’ve noticed that your unsubscribe rate is rising steadily, your emails may be the problem. Subscribers can feel that they aren’t getting any value from your emails anymore and that receiving them is a waste of time, or maybe you’re sending too many, and they’re tired of seeing you cluttering their inbox. If your unsubscribe rate is on the rise, or you want to take proactive steps to ensure that it doesn’t get to that point, then keep reading to find out more.

What is an Unsubscribe Rate?

The unsubscribe rate refers to the number of users unsubscribed compared to the number of emails delivered. You can calculate it using the following formula:

Number of unsubscribes/Number of emails delivered x 100.

For example, if you deliver five thousand emails, and one hundred subscribers opt-out or unsubscribe from getting further emails from you, then your unsubscribe rate would be 2%. Ultimately, this means that 2% of your subscribers are no longer interested in hearing from you.

A good unsubscribe rate can vary based on a lot of different factors, including your industry, the size of your email list, the type of email marketing campaign you’re running, the type of emails that you send, and more.

What is the Average Unsubscribe Rate for Email?

Similar to determining what is a good or bad email unsubscribe rate, it’s hard to determine the average unsubscribe rate for any given email campaign. This is because all the same individual factors will apply. What might be a good unsubscribe rate for a certain industry could be fairly average or even a bad rate for another. Similarly, an average unsubscribe rate for a campaign with a huge number of subscribers might be seen as fairly bad for a campaign with only a small list. Since people unsubscribe from receiving marketing emails for a host of different reasons that are often personal to them, it’s best to simply focus on improving your unsubscribe rate instead of worrying about how your campaign stacks up in comparison with an average.

What is the Average Unsubscribe Rate for Email Campaigns?

Although it’s hard to determine what an average unsubscribe rate should be because it is based on so many different factors, there are some general benchmarks that may be worth keeping in mind. According to different email marketing tools, there are some figures that it might be worth trying to keep your unsubscribe rate under. Mailchimp, the popular email marketing platform, reports an average email unsubscribe rate of around 0.26%. On the other hand, Campaign Monitor’s average rate is lower, at 0.17%. According to GetResponse, there are different averages based on different factors. For example, the email type can impact the average number of unsubscribes – surprisingly, welcome emails have the highest unsubscribe rate at 1.19%, while newsletters are much lower at just 0.11%.

What Are the Reasons Behind Your Email Unsubscribe Rate?

The truth is that it can be impossible to figure out exactly why your subscribers are unsubscribing. Sometimes, it will be through no fault of your own. Maybe your subscribers can’t afford the products or services that you are offering, or don’t find the content you send useful. Perhaps they are simply clearing out their email inbox and want to reduce mail in the future from senders that they do not engage with a lot.

While playing the guessing game could go on forever when it comes to figuring out the reasons behind the unsubscribes, there are some things that you can do to get some firm answers. One of the best ways to do this is to trigger an email that is sent whenever a user unsubscribes with a survey asking them to answer a few questions about the reasons behind their decision before you remove them from your list. While you can’t guarantee that every user is going to take the time to give their answers, those that do can help you get some valuable insights into why your unsubscribe rate is where it is. You can then use this information to take further action, improving your campaign to prevent further unsubscribes.

How to Reduce Your Email Marketing Unsubscribe Rate

No matter where your email marketing unsubscribe rate currently stands, the good news is that there are several things that you can do to successfully reduce it. Some of the most effective ways to prevent unsubscribes and reduce your unsubscribe rate overall include:

Double Opt-In Can Reduce Average Email Unsubscribe Rate

Double opt-in refers to a process where subscribers are given a second chance to confirm that they actually want to hear from you after signing up to your email list. This is sent in the form of an email that will usually contain a link that they will be able to click through to in order to confirm. If confirmation is not received, then the recipient should not be added to your list. Although doing things this way will mean that you are likely to end up with a smaller list compared to only using single opt-in, one of the biggest advantages is that you know that every subscriber on your list definitely wants to be there, which ultimately reduces the number of future unsubscribes.

Don’t Purchase a List

Purchasing an email list can often seem like a quicker, easier, and more convenient way of gathering emails to send marketing messages to. However, this can often be a sure way towards getting a high unsubscribe rate as the recipients that you have on your list may not even know that they have been added to it, let alone have given their consent to it. When you purchase an email list compared to building your own, the main problem is that you don’t know if the people you are sending marketing emails to are even interested in what you are offering. Chances are that a lot of them are not going to be and will unsubscribe immediately.

Clean Your Email List to Improve your Average Unsubscribe Rate Email Marketing

Regularly cleaning your email list can help you reduce unsubscribes, as you will be able to remove any unengaged or inactive users before they finally click on the unsubscribe button. If you are still sending emails to people who aren’t engaging with your messages or perhaps have never engaged since you started sending them, then all you are doing is encouraging them further towards unsubscribing. It’s best to take the hint – if they’re not engaging now, chances are that won’t change in the future, so it’s best to remove them from the list.

Segment Your Email List

Receiving irrelevant content that they are simply not interested in is one of the top reasons behind why many subscribers decide to hit the unsubscribe button and stop receiving email marketing content from a certain company. By segmenting your email list, you can ensure that you are sending more relevant content and that your subscribers are only going to be receiving email messages that they are actually interested in. For example, if you are sending emails regarding a new product launch, then you will probably get better results from only informing people who are already engaged with the product or similar products, compared to telling everybody, including those recipients who might not care any less.

Give Users Preferences

Getting too many marketing emails or a lot of emails that they are not interested in could also push some recipients towards clicking on the unsubscribe button. Because of this, another good way to manage and reduce your unsubscribe rate is to provide users with the option to manage or update their preferences, in order to keep them happy by only sending them information that they want, in a way and at a frequency that they prefer.

Personalize Emails

If you are not personalizing your emails, then your unsubscribe rate might be unnecessarily high as subscribers may not really feel much of a connection with the interactions that they have with your company. There’s nothing like a boring, generic email that doesn’t even mention the subscriber by name to kill engagement, so it’s worth employing as many personalization tactics as you can. Along with making sure that all recipients are referred to by name, base your emails on their individual preferences and actions, whether that involves basing drip campaigns on things they’ve done on your website recently, or sending emails based on products and services they have already purchased.

While it’s impossible to prevent all unsubscribes, understanding your unsubscribe rate, where it should be, and what you can do to improve it is crucial for successful email marketing.

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