Five Steps For Reducing Unsubscribes

by | May 21, 2021

It’s the moment every marketer dreads: you pour your blood, sweat and tears into your latest email marketing campaign, you hit send, cross your fingers, and then… the unsubscribe notifications start coming in.

Of course, you’re bound to receive some unsubscribes and your audience is sure to have their own unique quirks. Email marketing is all about trial and error. You may think you have the best copy, the best graphic designs and the best deals, but your email efforts still fall flat and fail to strike a chord with your audience. That’s why it’s important to monitor your campaign results and learn what does and doesn’t resonate with them.

But if you find that you’re constantly seeing unsubscribe rates exceeding the average email unsubscribe rate of 0.1%, here are five things to quickly set into action to address the problem.

Optimise for mobile

Last year, 81% of emails were opened and viewed on mobile. If you’re not catering your email efforts to mobile, you may as well be trying to communicate your special offers via smoke signals.

If your emails are hard to read, it can cost you a lifelong customer. Given most of your audience will view your emails on their phones, take the time to experiment with your templates to ensure they’re effective on both mobile and desktop. A good email marketing platform should provide ways to preview your email in a range of viewing environments, so make sure you take advantage of that.

Optimising your emails for mobile isn’t just about keeping the design looking slick on vertical, handheld screens. Your subject line is your first chance to make a good impression. You don’t want your special offers hidden behind an ellipsis, so be sure to keep it as succinct as possible. You also want to ensure that your preheaders are clear, easily viewable on mobile yet intriguing enough that they’ll encourage readers to continue scrolling.

Segment Your Audience

Personalisation is one of the most effective tools in eCommerce in recent years. Customers don’t want to be just another number. They want to feel special and they expect much more from you than just generalised email campaigns.

The third most common reason people unsubscribe from emails is that the content they’ve signed up to receive is completely irrelevant to them. Marketers need to move away from the idea that email campaigns are one-size-fits-all, as the minimal effort of these strategies shows in the results. With so much customer data at your disposal, you should use this info to break up their audience into relevant segments.

Whether you segment your subscriber base by location, previous order history or age, you can ensure your customers are receiving offers that are completely relevant to them. For example, you can create an in-store promotional offer specifically targets customers living within five kilometres of the store.

Single and Double Opt-Ins

What’s the difference between a single opt-in and a double opt-in?

With a single opt-in, all someone needs to do to subscribe to your newsletters is submit their email address. No action is needed to confirm the subscription. With double opt-ins, subscribers must confirm their intent to subscribe before they begin receiving your emails – this is usually done by clicking on a link emailed to them after the initial sign up.

Each method brings their own pros and cons. While single opt-ins help you build a subscriber base faster, they’re less respectful of your subscribers’ privacy and in some countries, would contravene privacy laws. And while you might attract more subscribers, they may not be high quality ones. It might be a spambot attack or someone adding another person without consent.

This is concerning because people often mark emails as spam rather than unsubscribing, penalising your marketing efforts and greatly reducing your chances of connecting with your audience.

Double opt-ins offer the opportunity to communicate with customers immediately after subscribing, but it does make the sign up process longer and creates the opportunity for follow-up emails to get lost in the inbox, so sign-up is never completed. However, if someone makes a spam complaint, you have documentation demonstrating consent.

Ultimately, while they provide less leads immediately, double opt-ins ensure that the people signing up to receive your content are more qualified, leading to less unsubscribes in the long run.

Powerful Subject Lines

First impressions really do matter. Even though it’s a minor detail, a well-crafted subject line can be the difference between a loyal customer or an unsubscribe.

A great subject line should immediately grab the reader’s attention. An easy way to do this is by leveraging historical data to reference a customer’s name or in-store location of choice in a subject line. This adds a level of personalisation that few will pass up.

Be direct as possible with your audience and demonstrate the value you can offer them. You can even experiment with A/B testing to see what hits home with subscribers. However, it’s important that you avoid using phrases in your subject lines like ‘free’, ‘discount’ and ‘now’, as these are highly likely to trigger spam filters and prevent your marketing efforts from being seen.

Ask For Feedback

Imagine you’ve been slaving away for hours making the perfect dinner for your friends, they take a bite and spit your food out. Would you simply sit there and continue to eat your meal without asking what’s wrong?

If at the end of your efforts you still find several people unsubscribing from your campaigns, take the time to speak to them and understand why it is that they no longer want to receive emails from you.

Whether they complain about receiving emails too frequently or irrelevant content, these answers are invaluable for your brand as they can be used to improve your future efforts. While many brands opt for a short multiple-choice survey, some brands believe that asking lapsed customers open-ended questions brings more value.

As with subject lines, you should experiment with A/B testing to see what type of feedback requests are the most effective with your audience.

Expecting to see an unsubscribe rate of 0%, while ideal, is simply unrealistic. However, by following these steps with your future email marketing campaigns, you’ll reduce the number of unsubscribes you see, and in turn, cultivate a loyal, dedicated following.

Looking for an eCRM platform that will help you manage customer segments, A/B testing and email templates optimised for mobile? Contact TractionNext and elevate your email marketing campaigns today