Why People Unsubscribe from Your Emails and How to Keep Them

Each month at Boston Interactive, we try to create valuable content to send you in our newsletter. Whether it’s advice on digital marketing or education around the latest trends, we want to offer you a piece of content that helps your career or lifestyle. So how do we do this and steer clear of the average unsubscribe rate, which is 0.25%? Well, providing value is one way. But there are also more tactical approaches we follow at Boston Interactive every day. Normally, we wouldn’t give away our secrets to the very people we’re trying to keep from unsubscribing – but providing value can lead to new opportunities.

1. You have no connection to your reader

You don’t want to send emails to people who have no association to you or your company. To make your list organic and filled with subscribers who actually want to open and read your content, create options to encourage email signups with clear communication about what the campaign offers the reader. You can be creative with these signups, such as discounts on your products or free consultations, find a unique way to engage your audience to sign up by offering them an exclusive deal or invaluable information. By giving someone an easily-accessible opportunity to subscribe you are growing your list organically, giving your company more recognition, and stirring the potential for new business.

2. You’re sending too many emails

According to Database Marketing Institute open rates are highest when a company sends two emails per month. However, this formula isn’t for everyone. There isn’t one set formula because every group of subscribers is different. The only way to determine the way your campaign functions efficiently is to constantly test and measure correspondence until you find the sweet spot for your business. Some audiences prefer frequent touchpoints while others react better to one monthly touchpoint. Make sure you know your audience and keep testing your theories until you find one that sticks!


3. You’re not sending relevant content for your audience

Hubspot argues that your newsletter should be 90% educational and 10% promotional. Even if a reader wants to do business with you, they’ll quickly lose interest if 100% of your emails push what you’re trying to sell. Self-promotion isn’t going to win you readers, so unless there is something hugely exciting and newsworthy happening for your business, keep the promotion to a minimum and focus on content that will benefit your subscribers. It is important to be informative, compelling, and attentive to surfacing trends. The Nielsen Norman Group conducted a study to determine the four main reasons that a user considered a newsletter valuable. Roughly 40% of the participants selected the following:

  • Work-related news and/or activities in their own companies (mentioned by 2/3 of users)
  • Personal interest and hobbies
  • Events, deadlines, and important dates
  • Prices and sales

If your readers don’t walk away from your newsletter with some piece of new information, you will most likely lose their subscription.

4. Your emails aren’t mobile friendly

Because of our busy lifestyles, we have to account that the majority of email-reading is done on phones while rushing to work, grabbing a cup of coffee, or in between meetings. Emailmonday statistics reveal that 55% of emails are opened on a mobile device as of 2016 because smart phones cater to real-time needs in the workplace. To accommodate your readers, be sure your emails are mobile-friendly, not text-heavy, and get to the point quickly.


5. Your emails are unprofessional looking

The average reader spends only 51 seconds looking over a newsletter; therefore, every image, blurb, and statistic should be carefully organized and placed to maximize your subscriber’s time spent reading.

One of the things I look forward to the most when composing my monthly newsletter is sitting down with the design team to come up with just the right images. Do the images relate to the content? Are they clever and aesthetically pleasing? I go through this checklist with a fine-tooth comb to be sure that my emails are professional and reflect our agency in a positive manner.

My goal, like any good marketer, is to be a valued source of information for my subscribers, so that each email is a resource full of new, relevant, and inspirational material for the reader. See room for improvement? Shoot me a message me onTwitter or LinkedIn.


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