HOW TO REDUCE EMAIL UNSUBSCRIBE RATE?



Introduction

Email marketing is an essential tool for any business, allowing companies to reach their target audience. Whether managing an e-commerce store with attractive offers or providing specialized services, it is crucial to maintain a clean email list. Regular validation of the email list can significantly improve marketing efforts, reducing shipping costs and improving the sender's reputation.

A critical aspect of achieving success in email marketing, as in any other activity, is being able to effectively measure the campaign's performance. One way to do this is through user satisfaction surveys using tools like Google Forms, which are easy to share and cover a huge range of users, allowing the results to be visually represented through graphs at the end of the survey. Another way is through indicators, better known as KPIs (Key Performance Indicators).

Each business will need different indicators according to its objectives and needs. However, there are some indicators that are necessary to measure at the beginning of any business or campaign to increase the probability of success. These indicators are:

  • Open rate
  • Click-through rate
  • Response rate
  • Bounce rate
  • Spam rate
  • Unsubscribe rates (we are going to talk about this one in this blog)

Understanding the unsubscribe rate is crucial to retaining more subscribers. Unsubscriptions are a reality, users' needs change over time, and it is normal for them to stop needing the services they once contracted.

To address this issue, we will analyze all the necessary aspects so that you are better equipped to achieve your business goals and be competitive in your market.

How to Calculate Unsubscribe Rate

The unsubscribe rate is a metric used to measure the percentage of subscribers who opt out based on the total number of emails delivered within a specific period. It refers to the total number of recipients who choose to unsubscribe from the emails of a particular sender.

unsubscribe-rate-formula

Steps to Calculate the Unsubscribe Rate

  • Period of time: The period over which you want to calculate the unsubscribe rate (e.g., monthly, quarterly, yearly).
  • Total unsubscriptions in the analyzed period: Number of subscribers who unsubscribed during the chosen period.
  • Total emails delivered in the analyzed period.

Example

  • Number of Unsubscriptions during the Period: 100
  • Total Number of Emails Delivered during the Period: 5,000

Unsubscribe Rate = (100/5000) × 100 = 2%

The unsubscribe rate is 2%, which means that 2% of the total subscribers chose to unsubscribe during that period.

  • A lower unsubscribe rate generally indicates higher satisfaction and subscriber retention.
  • Monitoring the unsubscribe rate helps identify trends, problems, and opportunities for improvement.

By regularly calculating and analyzing the unsubscribe rate, businesses can make decisions to improve their subscription services and reduce customer loss.

Ways to Reduce Email Unsubscribe Rate

Relevant and Valuable Content

To increase the chances of reducing the unsubscribe rate, you must provide content that attracts people's attention. Although the email's writing will depend 100% on the recipient, certain characteristics and aspects should be generally considered. The content of the email should:

  • Convey familiarity and security: This allows for establishing a personal connection and a bond with the recipient, conveying the company's closeness and trust to the readers. Additionally, conveying security helps ensure the integrity of the message, allowing readers to better understand the main ideas in the email. Conveying security builds a positive reputation, which translates into loyalty and a lower unsubscribe rate, increasing the likelihood that readers will click on links and download attachments. Similarly, it increases participation in surveys by users knowing they are not at risk of viruses.
  • Frequency of email delivery: When emails are sent regularly and frequently, recipients know when to expect communications and can integrate receiving these emails into their routine, thus creating a sense of stability, reliability, and generating positive perceptions of the brand. Being consistent ensures that the brand remains in the minds of subscribers, which is truly necessary in an information-saturated world. It is easy for a single email to get lost among other messages, this is why being persistent increases brand visibility. For those responsible for analyzing user behavior, being consistent with email delivery helps generate more feedback, allowing monitoring of open rates, click-through rates, and other interaction indicators to adjust the content accordingly, providing more valuable and relevant information to each reader and thus reducing the unsubscribe rate.
  • Contain a coherent structure: This will facilitate navigation and understanding of the content. An organized email, with defined sections and a consistent design, makes it easier for users to find the information they are interested in, avoiding frustrations and improving the user experience. Professionalism is another positive aspect that can be achieved by having a coherent structure in emails. Likewise, the organization of the email reflects a professional image and brand identity, which can increase the perception of credibility and seriousness.
  • Contain a descriptive, eye-catching, personalized, and original subject line: A subject line with these characteristics allows anticipating the email content, increasing not only its visibility but also the email's open rate, thereby successfully conveying the message. Originality awakens curiosity and intrigue, which is crucial in an environment where users receive hundreds of emails daily.

Audience Segmentation According to Their Interests

Audience segmentation is a crucial technique to reduce the email unsubscribe rate. It consists of separating the subscriber list into smaller and more specific groups based on several criteria. This allows more relevant and personalized messages to be sent.

Personalization

Personalization goes beyond using the subscriber's name. Email content should be tailored to the individual interests and behaviors of each subscriber, considering their personal information such as specific interests demonstrated when interacting with our website or previous emails.

Segmentation

Segmentation involves dividing the subscriber list into smaller groups based on various criteria. Here are some effective ways to segment the audience:

  • Demographic data: Segment subscribers according to their age, gender, geographic location, occupation, etc.
  • Purchase history: Segment subscribers based on their buying habits, frequency, and the products they purchase or show the most interest in.
  • Browsing behavior: Segment subscribers based on the pages they have visited on the website. For example, those who have repeatedly visited a particular product page but haven't purchased it can receive an email with a special offer for that product.
  • Stated preferences (Direct Feedback): Allowing users to select their content preferences when subscribing is a good practice for companies, offering options such as: Company news, Offers and promotions, New products, etc. This is an important topic, so we will analyze it further later.
  • Customer lifecycle stage: Personalizing emails based on the customer lifecycle stage is crucial, as new subscribers may need more introductory content, while loyal customers may be more interested in exclusive offers or reward programs. Similarly, subscribers who haven't interacted in a while can receive reactivation emails.
  • Personal events and milestones: Recognizing and celebrating personal events, such as birthdays, subscription anniversaries, or significant achievements, can make subscribers feel valued and appreciated. These personalized emails can include special offers or thank-you messages.

By segmenting, you will be able to communicate in a more personalized way, however, it is important to note that the best results are achieved by correctly using a few criteria rather than incorrectly segmenting our customer list with many of those.

Tangible Benefits of Segmentation and Personalization:

  • Greater relevance: Segmented and personalized emails are more relevant to subscribers, increasing the probability that they will open and engage with them.
  • Increased engagement: Subscribers are more likely to interact with content that feels specifically directed at them.
  • Reduced unsubscribe rate: Subscribers who receive relevant and personalized emails are less likely to unsubscribe.

Correct Design and Good User Experience

Design and user experience (UX) are important factors for keeping subscribers engaged and reducing the email unsubscribe rate. Additionally, an attractive design and optimized user experience can increase the effectiveness of email campaigns.

Responsive Design

Responsive (adaptive) design ensures that emails look good and function correctly on all devices. Approximately 68% of emails are viewed and opened on mobile devices, which highlights the importance of having content that adapts to different screen sizes, from large computers to smaller devices.

email-openings-by-device

It is recommended to use a font and image sizes large enough to be readable and easy to understand even on cell phone screens without interfering with the main idea of the email. At the same time, it is important to work on the images so that they are not heavy enough to load slowly when opening the email. Therefore, it is recommended to use lower resolution images for mobile devices.

Clear Calls to Action

Calls to action (CTAs) are important as they guide readers toward the desired action, whether it's clicking a link, making a purchase, or downloading a file. Some tips for creating effective CTAs are:

  • Clear and visible buttons: Use buttons instead of text links. Buttons are more visible and easier to click, especially on mobile devices.
  • Concise and direct CTA text: Use clear and direct text in CTAs. Avoid long and ambiguous phrases. For example, instead of "Click here for more information," it is better to say "Download Now" or "Buy Now."
  • Color contrast: Ensure that CTA buttons stand out from the rest of the content by using contrasting colors.
  • Strategic placement: Place CTAs in strategic locations within the email, such as at the beginning, middle, and end of the message.
  • Appropriate quantity: Do not overload emails with too many CTAs. It is advisable to focus on one or two main actions per email.

The important thing is to make noise, to be seen by people, and to evoke feelings in them, in order to collect information from the various user experiences and modify actions to execute marketing campaigns more efficiently and effectively.

Request Feedback

Listening to users by allowing them to select their content preferences when subscribing is a good practice for companies, offering options such as company news, offers and promotions, new products, etc. This allows understanding their needs, preferences, and areas of dissatisfaction, and thus adjusting the strategy.

Surveys

Surveys and comments are direct methods to obtain valuable feedback.

  • Short surveys: Send short surveys that take a few minutes to complete. It is recommended to use tools like Google Forms or SurveyMonkey.
  • Key questions: "What type of content do you find most useful?" "How would you rate the quality of our content?" are some specific questions that will allow obtaining information about users' likes and preferences, what information they find relevant, and their overall satisfaction. It is important to allocate a blank space in the email so that subscribers feel free to write their answers to the question: "What did you think of this email? Click here to leave us your opinion." Similarly, when a subscriber unsubscribes, it is important to ask for their reasons.
  • Incentives: A good way to increase the number of responses and the survey response rate based on the total number of forms sent is by providing incentives, such as discounts, exclusive content, etc. The incentives provided will depend on the resources available to the company.

Although information is the most valuable resource for a company, it is useless if not analyzed and actions are taken based on it. Therefore, information should be centralized on platforms or analysis tools to facilitate its review and identify trends by recognizing patterns in the responses of different users. Once the information is collected, it should be analyzed based on audience segments and then take the appropriate actions, such as adjusting the content, the frequency of sending, along with the format and design, etc.

Offering Value in Every Interaction

Adding value to emails through exclusive offers and loyalty programs not only enhances the subscriber experience but also strengthens the relationship with the brand, reduces the unsubscribe rate, and fosters long-term loyalty.

Exclusive Offers

Exclusive offers are incentives that are only available to email subscribers. These offers make subscribers feel valued and rewarded for staying on the email list.

Special Discounts, Promotions, and Limited-Time Offers

This involves sending limited-time offers that create a sense of belonging and urgency, encouraging a quick response from the recipient. Example: "48-hour Offer: 30% off the entire store."

Loyalty Programs

Loyalty programs reward subscribers for their commitment and loyalty, incentivizing them to continue interacting with emails and remaining subscribed.

Loyalty Rewards

  • Points for interactions: This is a points system where subscribers earn points for their interactions, which they can later redeem for discounts or free products.
  • Referral rewards: Offer rewards to subscribers who refer others or share the content.

Membership Levels

This involves creating membership levels (e.g., bronze, silver, gold) that offer increasing benefits as subscribers reach each level.

While these are just some of the methods to implement in email marketing to reduce the unsubscribe rate, the important thing is to execute any of these methods as best as possible. Quantity is not synonymous with quality, so it is better to avoid implementing all methods without successfully executing any of them.

Prioritizing the importance of information validation is crucial for the learning that leads to perfection. Therefore, applying A/B testing is a good practice for gathering information, analyzing, and executing different types of campaigns, modifying subjects, content, segmenting customers, sharing different designs, and experimenting with different frequencies in email delivery. Having results based on experience is the best way to focus efforts.

Importance of Cleaning Email Lists

Maintaining a clean email list improves deliverability, increases engagement, reduces costs, and ensures compliance with legal regulations. This not only allows the company to keep its database clean and improve the effectiveness of email campaigns but also strengthens the relationship with subscribers, reducing the unsubscribe rate and fostering long-term loyalty. To achieve this, it is recommended to implement the following practices:

  • Define inactivity criteria: This involves establishing and defining the characteristics by which a subscriber is considered inactive for the business. It could be someone who hasn't opened or clicked on emails in the last 3, 6, or 12 months. It is necessary to analyze behavior and establish a reasonable period of inactivity based on historical data.
  • Segment the email list: Divide the email list into active and inactive subscribers based on the criteria defined in the previous step.
  • Email verification tools: Verify the validity of email addresses to identify invalid or misspelled addresses. It is recommended to use thes verification tools, such as the one provided by Valid Email. Once the email list has been verified, remove addresses that have been identified as invalid or that have repeatedly bounced.
  • Conduct re-engagement campaigns: Attempt to reactivate inactive subscribers through re-engagement campaigns before removing them from the list. One way to do this is by sending personalized messages to verified accounts offering incentives to re-engage.
  • Automate maintenance: Set rules and use the previously defined parameters to automatically move inactive subscribers to a separate list or to delete them after a period of inactivity and repeat the validation process.

One way to verify the activity or inactivity status of subscribers is through follow-up emails.

Single and Double Opt-In Subscriptions

Single and double opt-in subscriptions refer to the methods used to register and confirm users' participation in an email list. In single opt-in, the user enters their email address in a form and is added directly to the list without any additional step, whereas in double opt-in, two steps are needed to confirm the user's subscription before being added to the email list.

Single Opt-In

Advantages:

  • Higher initial number of subscribers: Without requiring confirmation, more people subscribe quickly.
  • Ease and speed: Fewer barriers for initial subscription.

Disadvantages:

  • Variable quality: Subscribers who did not confirm may not be genuinely interested, which can lead to a higher unsubscribe rate later.
  • Higher risk of spam: Invalid email addresses can be added to the email list.

Double Opt-In

Advantages:

  • High-quality subscribers: Only users who confirm their subscription are genuinely interested, which can reduce the unsubscribe rate.
  • Lower risk of spam: Confirmation reduces the likelihood of fake email addresses.
  • Improved sender reputation: Cleaner and more engaged lists help maintain a good sending reputation, which can improve email deliverability.

Disadvantages:

  • Lower initial number of subscribers: Some users may not complete the confirmation process.
  • Additional step: The added friction can deter some potential users.

For these reasons, it is important to evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of each method based on the business's needs and specific characteristics, and thus determine which path to implement.

Removing the Email Address from All Company Lists

This concept not only focuses on providing an easy exit for subscribers who no longer wish to receive emails but also plays a vital role in preserving the integrity of the email list.

Enabling global unsubscribe options is a practice that not only respects users' autonomy and preferences but also contributes to maintaining a high-quality email list and improving the brand's reputation by reducing complaints and spam reports. It is important to be aware that unsubscriptions are inevitable, but the main focus is on working with users who want to participate in our campaign, establishing clear processes for creating new subscribers through personalized strategies, and letting go of those who do not wish to be part of our email list.

Conclusion

Success in email marketing is not just about sending messages, but about having a well-defined strategy that considers the relevance of content and subscriber satisfaction. Maintaining a clean and validated email list is essential to reduce costs and improve sender reputation. Beyond performance metrics like open and click-through rates, understanding and managing the unsubscribe rate is crucial for retaining subscribers.

Providing valuable and relevant content, segmenting the audience effectively, and personalizing messages are practices that help reduce the unsubscribe rate and increase user engagement. Additionally, responsive design and clear calls to action enhance user experience and campaign effectiveness.

Regularly cleaning the email list and implementing re-engagement strategies ensure a high-quality database. By focusing on information validation and personalized interactions, businesses can not only reduce the unsubscribe rate but also foster long-term loyalty, thereby optimizing their marketing efforts and achieving their business goals.

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