6 ways to reduce unsubscribe rate


Not many marketers know how to respond to the unsubscribe rate. Also, the focus is usually on open, click and response rate. But there are multiple instruments that you can use to reduce the unsubscribe rate. Some unsubscribers really don’t want to receive your emails, that’s okay, but a lot of your subscribers can be saved.

Understand unsubscribers?

To get a better understanding of the unsubscribers we will first need to understand them a little bit better. There are basically three types of unsubscribers:

  • Annoyed by your emails
  • Do not remember they subscribed at all
  • No connection to your brand anymore

First short tip: Ask why customers are unsubscribing from your list to get a better understanding of the problem you and your customers are having.

1. Segments on activity

For most of us, just a small percentage of your customers buys at your store every week. All the other subscribers simply subscribed to be updated from time to time. When you send those subscribers 2 or 3 emails every week, eventually they will get tired of your emails and unsubscribe. Can you think about a commercial email that you open every time? I don’t. You don’t want to annoy those people that are interested in your brand and products, but just not for 2 times a week.

You can build segments on their activity. You can have for example three segments: heavy users, average users, and sleepers. Use your data to build these segments: buying behavior, open and click history or ask their activity in your shop.

2. Use email to engage

To elaborate on that, there is also no one that buys your product 2 times a week, unless you are in the FMCG sector. Therefore, sending a sales email multiple times a week, will not help you to increase sales in the long term. Instead, try to use email as an engaging channel. Increase that open and click rate. When subscribers get more engaged you can use sales emails to make them convert.

3. Give me a break

Sometimes you just have no clue when to send to which customers. For example in Leisure, it is hard to extract from your data when your subscriber is orientating on a new holiday. Especially for those kinds of situations you should include a ‘give me a break’ option. Where the user can set a short break from your campaigns. That way, you will give your subscriber an extra option next to unsubscribing.

4. Memorable subscription

To prevent those unsubscribers that do not remember they even subscribed to your list, make a subscription extra special. Think about the ways you collect email addresses, is it something noticeable? Or is it just a pre-filled checkbox at the end of a form? Make sure that every subscriber is aware they are receiving emails when they submit, so even with that pre-filled checkbox.

Always include a confirmation email that is memorable. Make it a party and welcome email that they won’t forget. For example, personalized videos and GIFs that stand out.

5. Reconnecting to your brand

Customers will lose the interest in your brand or products eventually, that is okay because every day new customers are born. But at least we can make an effort to keep them because we all know that it is easier to retain customers than to attract new ones.
Create behavioral emails that trigger on inactive customers. That can be triggers on buying behavior but especially on opening your email, which is faster to detect. If a person doesn’t open your emails for three months, it is already clear that you are losing him. And for most brands, not buying for three months is not that conspicuous.

6. Set a frequency

A popular option nowadays on your unsubscribe page is to set the frequency of the newsletter. But in fact, you are already too late! Most of your subscribers will not choose the option to set a frequency because you already annoyed them. Instead, place a button or text link next to the unsubscribe link and let your customers set the frequency before they get annoyed.

These six tips are not all easy to achieve. But try to switch focus on opens and clicks on the short term to accounting all email metrics. Unsubscribe rate is definitely a long term metric and will eventually also have an effect on open and click rates.

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