The blog discusses the importance of reducing email subscription cancellation rates to improve profitability. It provides effective strategies, such as setting expectations, using single and double opt-ins, segmenting lists, writing clear subject lines, editing content, and seeking feedback to keep subscribers engaged.

It's impossible to please everyone. Some will opt out of your email list, but don't worry, you're not the problem. This is a common challenge for many entrepreneurs. According to InsightSquared, acquiring a new customer can cost up to 25 times more than retaining an existing one.

However, you can increase profitability by 25-95% by reducing customer churn by just 5%.

Among all marketing channels, email generates the highest number of conversions. Understanding the significance of email subscription cancellation rates is crucial for your business. While you can't always prevent readers from unsubscribing, you can reduce the chances by applying proven strategies. Even with a rapidly expanding online audience, your efforts will be futile if more people are unsubscribing than subscribing.

What is a good subscription cancellation rate?

Understanding what constitutes a healthy subscription cancellation rate is essential before learning how to reduce email subscription cancellation rates for your business:

A recent SignUpTo survey revealed that the average email subscription cancellation rate is 0.52%.

This varies significantly by industry. According to Mailchimp research, the average subscription cancellation rate varies by sector, reaching 1.13% for telecommunications and 0.10% for daily deals. If your rate is below 2%, as suggested by Campaign Monitor, you're doing well. The following tactics will help further reduce your rate if it's not.

How to reduce the email subscription cancellation rate?

Set Expectations

Promise a friend to meet at a specific place at a certain time, but occasionally, you get distracted, making them wait. While your friend may forgive you, consistency is key. Inconsistency leads to questioning moral character. Setting expectations with your audience about email frequency and schedule is crucial for building trust.

  • Paul Jarvis sends emails every Sunday.
  • When asked, "When do you prefer to receive emails from TED?".

This is how you set expectations for your audience.

Single and Double Opt-ins

Use both single and double opt-ins. If you've been in marketing for a while, you've likely pondered: Should I use single or double opt-ins?

A visitor doesn't need to confirm their subscription with a single opt-in; they are immediately added to your list when they provide their email. Requiring confirmation for subscription is a double opt-in. Double opt-ins result in fewer spam complaints and subscription cancellation rates, according to a Mailchimp study. While the more successful approach is uncertain, each has its pros and cons.

Here's a solid general rule:

  • Use a single opt-in if offering content updates.
  • Use a double opt-in if collecting email addresses from other sources, such as your homepage.

Getting readers to confirm subscriptions is a challenge with double opt-ins. In reality, up to 20% of your website visitors who subscribe don't verify their email address. To ensure email opens, stand out, as the average person receives up to 122 emails a day. Incorporate urgency in the body and subject line, or let subscribers verify their emails.

For content updates, use single opt-ins; for anything else, use double opt-ins. Make an effort to make your confirmation email stand out.

Segment Your List Based on Interests

What do you get when you read an article, subscribe, or accept a bonus? Content unrelated to the original purpose of subscription. It's the third most common reason for email subscription cancellation. What's the remedy?

Use segments to send specifically targeted emails. Segment your subscribers as soon as they subscribe to your email.

To reduce the number of readers unsubscribing, use segments in your email marketing software and send targeted messages.

Use Standard Subject Lines

There's a lot of noise on the internet. Many companies resort to dubious marketing strategies to grab attention, such as creating fake email subject lines.

So, refrain from:

  • Writing everything in uppercase is equivalent to shouting at your customers. Don't do it. Why would you shout at your customers via email if you wouldn't do it in person?
  • Aside from being annoying, writing words in uppercase in the subject can trigger spam filters.
  • Using combative or incendiary texts. If you've ever received an email with subjects like "Open! This is important" or "Do you hate me?" you probably unsubscribed, as most people do. Using intimidation tactics won't help you succeed in life or marketing.
  • Using "spam triggers." What do terms like "free," "discount," and "now" have in common? Any of them can trigger email spam filters.
  • Using fake response indicators. It may seem clever to use "re:" or "forward" in emails when you're not responding or forwarding, but it deceives recipients. Building trust on the internet is already a challenge, but once it's gone, it's much harder to regain.

Writing a standard subject line means being as direct as possible with your audience and letting your brand do the hard work, not skimping on clever writing techniques.

Don't use deceptive strategies when writing to your audience; treat them as you would a friend or coworker.

Edit Your Copy

Unsubscribe + click = no more emails.

On the other hand, some companies are challenging reader assumptions by experimenting with what is considered the norm in email marketing.

  • The phrase "Unsubscribe" was changed to "Update my preferences" in Neil Patel's text.
  • Helpscout changed the position and color of the unsubscribe link.

It's not about deceiving the reader. Offer alternatives, such as adjusting email frequency, before they unsubscribe. Reminding readers how they first joined your list is another clever writing technique.

  • This is why Michael Hyatt includes a detailed explanation of how he joined his list in the footer of every email.

Of course, give readers the opportunity to unsubscribe, but always provide other options to make the decision less likely.

Follow-Up Emails

It's easy to think you've lost a consumer forever when they unsubscribe. However, that's not entirely true. Follow-up emails are becoming popular among companies as a way to maintain reader interest after receiving an email.

It's crucial to note that not all readers will unsubscribe due to your actions. Priorities may change from time to time. Sometimes, too many emails may irritate them. In any case, look for ways to stay in touch outside of email.


Asking a direct question in a follow-up email to a reader who unsubscribed is another popular strategy among influencers. The explanation often catches them off guard. While many email marketing companies offer the option to survey unsubscribed readers, not many entrepreneurs do it.

This benefits both parties. Have these tactics helped keep subscription cancellation rates low? Let us know.


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