How To Lower Your Unsubscribe Rate

I’m sure everyone who has a list has experienced seeing their once happy, loyal subscribers unsubscribe. As a list owner too, it’s not fun to see them go.

It mainly hurts because subscribers equal money. For the most part, the bigger your list, the more money you can potentially make when you email out an offer, so losing subscribers is like losing money that you could have made.

But when we get down to it, everyone is going to have unsubscribers. It’s a part of having a list. We can’t stop unsubscribers, but we can help reduce the unsubscribe rate.

I bet you’ve wondered why people unsubscribe and come up with a few possible reasons. Here are some questions you might ask yourself when you see your subscribers leave your list, but are they the real reasons?

Truths Or Myths?

Do I Send Too Many Emails?

Yes, I would have to say that this is probably the #1 reason for people unsubscribing and why I unsubscribe from other’s lists – I just don’t want to get that many emails from them. If you notice a large number drop every time you blast an email, you could try spreading out the times between mailings.

There isn’t a rule to go by because every niche is different. In the MMO niche, I think that more than 3 a week is too many. Everyday is pushing on the borderline of spam.

Do I Sell Too Much?

Contrary to popular belief, sending too many promotional emails is not a big reason for people unsubscribing.

Of course, 100% promotional emails one after the other is not good, but readers expect to be sold too. In fact, tests have revealed that sending too much free stuff and no offers to buy anything will kill a list. People love to see what’s for sale, which is great news for us email marketers.

I would say I send a ratio of 80% promotional and 20% free content. This seems to work for me. The funny thing is, people will unsubscribe even when I send free stuff. So, no, sending too many promos is not a big concern.

Are My Emails Boring or Unrelated?

This is the 2nd biggest reason for people unsubscribing. If the reader isn’t getting any value out of your emails, they will want out. Understand that their time and inbox space is valuable so they only want stuff that will help them.

Some ways to keep emails interesting are to share your personality, let then in on your private life a bit, keep them up to date on a goal you have set, throw in a random (but related) link to a cool story or video you found etc. Mix up the style of writing too, mix up the lengths… send some short and some long, greet and sign off in a different way each time, etc.

Did I Make A Good First Impression?

You may or may not have thought about this before, but it is actually a very, very important factor to keeping a loyal readership. The first time contact with your subscriber can be a big deciding factor to whether your readers will like you and want to read your emails.

I read in a forum thread recently that one marketer experienced drastically lower unsubscribe rates when he started using a video of him talking to his new subscriber on his ‘thankyou’ page.

So, first impressions do count. If you notice that people unsubscribe a lot right after they sign up, then you might want work on a better first impression.

I hope these little tips help you keep your subscribers happy an keep unsubscribes to a minimum. A happy list means a happy and wealthy marketer.

If you have any other methods you’ve used or have heard about to lower your unsubscribe rate, please leave them in your comment below.

Stu “Sensei” Stirling

3 thoughts on “How To Lower Your Unsubscribe Rate”

  1. Hi Stuart,

    In early January I received an offer of a video, to which I subscribed. Was I impressed? Great content, all of it exactly what I was looking for. I presumed that this guy was a genius. I soon found out that he’d struck it lucky, and the video had nothing to do with him personally. Then he proceeded to wack me with up to 10 emails per day! I’ve unsubscribed.

    Another pet hate. You receive a OTO freebie and subscribe. But the offer comes from Joe Brown, and the freebie, or whatever, comes from “Thank You”, or “Downloads @” or any one of a dozen other email addresses Joe Brown uses. How do you find him again other than to read through hundreds of emails every day? Why can’t the download name match the offer name?

    I’ve got a long list of “pet hates”, so I’d better send more later, or I might end up sounding like my pet hate above.

    Derek

  2. Thank you Stuart for these valuable tips!

    I personally experienced that a spread of mails between every 5, 7 or 10 days works best. Your 80% / 20 % rule for commercial and free items is perfectly true. To keep my readers interested in my nex mail, I sometimes give them a hint for the next free item they can get. And from my Educational Newsletter the subscribers can get a lot more free content and tutorials. The idea with the video for the first impression is excellent, for sure I will try it out…

    Martin Bigler

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