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What is Email Unsubscribe Rate? + 11 Proven Ways to Reduce It

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The email unsubscribe rate shows the percentage of people who lost interest in what you do. It’s undoubtedly a bummer for any company and deserves much more attention than it usually gets. 

Even though some people will inevitably unsubscribe, there are many ways to reduce the email unsubscribe rate. In this blog, we’ll go over the most effective ways of reducing the email unsubscribe rate and everything else you need to know about it. 

First, let’s get familiar with what’s email unsubscribe rate and how to calculate it.

What is the email unsubscribe rate?

The percentage of people who decided to stop receiving emails from a certain list after having previously subscribed is known as the email unsubscribe rate. Just like click rate and click-through rate, it’s a crucial indicator of how successful your campaign was. 

Industry, email content quality, email frequency, and email relevance are just some of the variables that significantly impact the unsubscribe rate. A high number of subscribers opting out of emails is a red flag that your audience is not finding your emails relevant.

Since the appropriate unsubscribe rate can vary across industries and audiences, there is no single standard against which all can be measured.

However, research shows that between 0.2% and 0.5% of subscribers will opt out of future emails. If it’s more than that, you should recheck your email marketing strategy.

How to calculate the email unsubscribe rate? 

email unsubscribe rate

Measuring the email unsubscribe rate of a campaign is possibly the easiest task of the whole campaign. You can calculate the email unsubscribe rate of your campaign by following the steps below:

  • Determine how many unsubscribed throughout the campaign 
  • Find the total number of email recipients
  • Plug the numbers into the formula: (Number of Unsubscribes / Total Number of Email Recipients) * 100
  • The resulting percentage is the email unsubscribe rate

For example, let’s say you have sent emails to 5000 recipients during your campaign and the number of unsubscribers is 50. According to the formula, your unsubscribed rate would be, 

(50/5000)*100 = 1%

Why do people unsubscribe?

Before we go over the ways to reduce email unsubscribe rates, let’s investigate the possible reasons that may make your subscribers opt out of your emails.

There may be numerous reasons behind an individual unsubscribing and you can’t keep everyone on your list forever. But if you see an alarming unsubscribe rate, the possible reasons may be: 

  • You send Irrelevant content that doesn’t align with your user’s needs or interests
  • You don’t know the email frequency rules, and your campaigns are overwhelmingly frequent 
  • Your email content is poor, lacks value, or contains errors
  • Your subscribers may have changed their preferences
  • Being on your email list no longer serves their purpose
  • The users are concerned about privacy or don’t trust your business
  • Unpleasant user experience (difficult to unsubscribe, complicated opt-out process).
  • Switching to other communication channels or platforms

If you think one or more reasons reflect your case, we got your back. With just a few tweaks, you can turn the table in your next email marketing campaign. 

11 effective ways to reduce email unsubscribe rate

Reducing email unsubscribe rate is surely no rocket science and it’s no surprise if you already can guess a few ways of doing that. Nonetheless, we won’t leave you guessing and have compiled just the list you’ll need. 

Here are the 10 proven ways to reduce email unsubscribe rates:

1. Don’t buy email lists 

Many email marketers buy email lists to start their email marketing journey. If you have done the same, it’s no surprise that your campaign’s email unsubscribe rate is high. 

Buying email lists comes with various risks and getting loads of unsubscribes from each campaign is one. As the recipients of your purchased email list usually don’t share a common interest, a huge number of them unsubscribe immediately after receiving your emails.  

That’s why you should build your email list and start sending emails to them. This will not only decrease email unsubscribe rates but also increase overall conversions. 

2. A combination of single and double opt-in

While single opt-in is a more easy and hassle-free method of adding a user to your email list, it has some disadvantages too.

Single opt-in will get you:

  • People who are not interested 
  • A huge number of emails may be fake
  • Frequent unsubscribe from your list 

On the other hand, double opt-in is surely a bit complex and might reduce the chances of making someone subscribe, but it comes with a few benefits. 

From double opt-in, you get:

  • Genuinely interested people
  • Better email open and click-through rate 
  • Guaranteed engagement 

But according to a study, almost 20% of people who subscribes are not interested in going the extra mile to confirm their email address. 

What should you do? 

Well, we’ll suggest using a combination of these two.

  • Since sales emails are at high risk of triggering spam filters, use double opt-in to avoid spamming
  • On the other hand, a single opt-in is fine for newsletters.

To find out the golden ratio of these two, keep on testing and see what works for you the best. You can also check out our guide to get people to opt in.

3. Segment your email list

When it comes to email marketing, segmentation is the key. Without segmenting your contacts, you won’t be able to provide your users with what they are looking for. Hence, your email unsubscribe rate will go higher.

You should segment your users based on various metrics, behaviors, actions, etc. Once you have done so, then you should run your campaigns directly targeting specific groups of people. By doing so, you’ll be able to add value to the recipients through your emails.

As a result, your recipients will be looking forward to receiving more emails from you instead of unsubscribing.

4. Personalize your emails

Sending a generic email to all your recipients is a very common mistake that most email marketers make. This makes the users feel less valued and they don’t feel interested about getting any further emails.

On the flip side, if you tailor all your emails to specific segments of your contact list, you’ll be able to develop nicely personalized emails. These emails will make your users feel valued, and they’ll stay in the loop willingly.

5. Let your recipients decide what they want to receive

Might sound surprising, but giving your users complete freedom to customize things like when they want to receive emails, what type of emails and an easy opt-out process will actually reduce the overall unsubscribe rate. 

Guess how? 

Whether someone is going to stay subscribed or not depends entirely on how you make your users feel. If they feel like you are not taking advantage of them and they are free to choose what they want to receive, they’ll choose to keep receiving your emails instead of unsubscribing!

6. Make users feel valued by taking feedback

We bet you feel super good when you are asked for feedback after taking any service or buying any product. While it can be annoying sometimes, let’s not forget how it feels when a company changes something based on our feedback.

The same is key for every company that’s sending emails to their subscribers.

By asking for feedback, we don’t mean that you should only take feedback and stay put. Only if you utilize those feedback and be better as a company, the users will feel good. And who would ever unsubscribe from an email list where they are valued to such an extent?

7. Maintain a good email frequency ratio

While sending emails at the right time can do wonders for your business, sending too many emails or sending them at the wrong time can do the complete opposite.

The first thing you want to ensure even before starting your email marketing campaign is how many emails you are going to send and when. Sending more emails does not necessarily mean better results. Rather, sending emails at the right frequency is what will drive the results.

For example, if the first email of your email sequence is a welcome email, don’t send the next email immediately. Wait for a day or two and then send your other onboarding emails. 

This way, you will be able to get what you want and no one will unsubscribe from your email list due to annoyance. 

8. Provide useful and relevant content 

You may have heard here and there that the content is the king and for email marketing, it indeed is. If your content fails to add value to your users, no matter what optimizations you do for your campaign, you’ll get a disappointing unsubscribe rate. 

On the other hand, sending helpful and relevant content will make your emails appealing to the users. They will wait for your next email and the email unsubscribe rate will decrease dramatically. 

9. Focus on your subject lines

Whether or not your emails are going to be opened often always depends on the subject line. And if you keep sending your users emails they don’t even feel like opening, one day they’ll just unsubscribe to stop receiving such emails. 

That’s why writing catchy subject lines and A/B testing them is crucial. Once you know which subject lines perform better, you’ll be able to make your users read your emails regularly. Once the open rate gets higher, it will automatically decrease the unsubscribe rate. 

10. Optimize for different devices

Optimizing your emails for all sorts of devices is a must in this competitive digital marketing scene. If you don’t provide the best experience for your users through each marketing channel, you run into the risk of losing them. And that’s exactly what happens when your emails are not optimized for your recipient’s devices.

The recipients unsubscribe from those emails that are not easy to access from mobile or are not readable. That’s why you need to be careful about the email format, design, and media files you are attaching to your emails. 

11. Provide regular offers

Among all the different sorts of things you can send to your users through emails, guess what has the best chance of winning them? 

Coupons, discounts, and gifts!

These three magical elements can make any subscriber open the email and click on the link. And if you have witnessed an alarming unsubscribe rate on your recent email marketing campaigns, try providing offers the next time.

Offers will not only reduce the unsubscribe rate but also increase the overall open rate, click rate, and conversions.

Wrapping up

Even though many email marketers don’t prioritize email unsubscribe rates as they do for other metrics, we hope you have understood how important of a metric it is. Now, with your newfound knowledge, we hope you’ll be able to reduce the unsubscribe rate for your email marketing campaigns.

If you have any suggestions or hacks that are helping you to keep the email subscription rate low for your business, don’t forget to let us know through comments!

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  1. Clipping Path Avatar
    Clipping Path

    Each and every points are must for bloggers. Thank you for sharing

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