Four reasons to accept — and even embrace — email unsubscribes

Since the beginning of email marketing, there’s been a fear of decreasing in list size. People unsubscribe for many reasons – loss of interest, content not being relevant to the subscriber, and more – but are unsubscribes always a bad thing? Here we offer four reasons to accept — and even embrace – a subscriber bowing out from receiving your emails.

Reason 1: It’s a natural part of marketing

The average unsubscribe rate for all industries is 0.17%, and the average email list churn rate is 20-30%. In other words, every company everywhere has opt-outs.

If your main point of contact at a prospective company leaves, can you really blame them for opting out? What if a lead goes into a new job in a different industry? Will it be beneficial for you if they stay on your list? Probably not.

Make sure the preferences and unsubscribe options are visible in all your emails, preferably in the header or footer.

Reason 2: They lead to better engagement rates

So what’s worse: a large subscriber list with emails going to junk, or a smaller list that immediately boosts your engagement rate? We’d like to think the former.

As your list of subscribers grows, your open rate percentage shrinks. On the other hand, if every disinterested subscriber opted out instead of continually not opening your emails, you’d see a much higher open rate percentage.

As you can see, an opt out is your former subscriber — in a way — doing you a favor!

Segment your emails so that the right people get he right emails. That directly leads to almost 15% higher open rates and 100% more click-through’s according to this study at Mailchimp.

Reason 3: You gain valuable feedback

You won’t be able to please everyone — and you shouldn’t aim to. Most unsubscribe pages give the subscriber an option to tell you the reason why they are opting out (if yours doesn’t we definitely recommend it).  Below are a few things you can list for unsubscribers:

  • I never signed up for these emails
  • These emails are not relevant to me
  • A free field where they can explain why they are unsubscribing

We’ve found that showing genuine interest, even when they are opting out, is a natural segue to increasing sales opportunity. So if you happen to find a new product/content idea in the process of reading an opted-out subscriber’s feedback? Well, it’s a win-win.

In your unsubscribe page, try asking subscribers what they would prefer to hear from you instead. For instance, if they click “unsubscribe” you can direct them to a page where they can choose to opt out of your newsletter, but choose to stay subscribed to other content you have such as blog posts or special offers. Look to this article at Impact for ideas on how to make this page creative.

Reason 4: They save you money and time

If the other three reasons didn’t change your mind, maybe this reason will get your attention: Unsubscribes can save you money.

Most email providers charge you based on the size of your list, so if your open rate is 20%, you are still paying for the other 80% of subscribers who do not interact with your emails. Unsubscribes help you get rid of the dead weight, so if a prospect is unlikely to convert, it’s better to remove that person from your list than to keep chasing a cold lead.

It’s recommended that you clean your lists at least once a year, so when people unsubscribe they are also saving work for your team or a 3rd party service!

All in all, unsubscribes are not a bad thing and quality is always more important than quantity. See unsubscribes as an opportunity to market to the people that want to receive your amazing content. Who knows, you could also learn some ways to improve from unsubscribers along the way!

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