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7 reasons why your customers unsubscribe from your emails and how to stop them

Andrej Csizmadia

Andrej Csizmadia

April 24, 2018
Last modified on November 24, 2021 at 3:23 pm

Despite the rise of social media, email marketing is still one of the most effective tactics. Today, marketers turn to emails as a means for sending branded messages in 82% of B2B and B2C companies.

If you tried your hand at email marketing but you’re not getting the results you were hoping for, this article is for you.

Did you notice that many customers unsubscribe from your emails? Here are 7 reasons why they might be doing that and tips to help you stop them and engage more people with your branded content.

1. They never signed up for your newsletter

Businessman looking surprised at screen

Poor list-building tactics are often behind high unsubscribe rates. If you think that it’s okay to buy, rent and instantly add customers to your list, you’re just wrong. People hate unsolicited email. Adding someone to your list without their consent or confirmation is a road to nowhere.

How to deal with that? Clearly communicate to users that by filling out a form or clicking a button they will be subscribing to your email list. Be sure to provide an opt-in checkbox on forms together with a message that is displayed if they don’t tick the box – for example, if you require a subscription to receive incentives like an e-book or discount.

2. You email them too often

Another reason why many people unsubscribe from email newsletters is that marketers simply email them too much. A recent survey revealed that 63% of customers reported getting too many emails from retailers. Only 44% of them stated that they get just the right amount.

Phone and book next to woman working on laptop

Solution? First, ask your subscribers to submit their email frequency preferences. You can do that when they subscribe or later through an email preference center. That way you’ll be putting the power to your subscriber’s hands.

Second, keep in touch with recent research. According to Campaign Monitor, optimal subscriber engagement can be reached by sending an email every two weeks.

Third, survey your subscribers on a regular basis to learn more about them and optimize the content of your emails.

3. Your emails look unprofessional

The professional look of your emails can be a massive downturn for your audience. If you’re sending emails that look messy or unprofessional, people will instantly consider them as spam and unsubscribe from your list.

How to deal with this problem? Use a service such as Constant Contact or MailChimp. Don’t forget to send yourself the email first to check how it looks before sending it to your list. If you notice any typos or wrong formatting, correct everything before you let others see it. Also, always have someone proofread the email before you send it.

If your email still looks dated or clattered, use an email marketing service that offers templates you can customize easily. Conversely, find a graphic designer who will put together a format that is clean, modern, and nice to look at.

4. Your messages aren’t displayed properly

Your email might look good when you test it on your own account, but that doesn’t give you the certainty that it will look equally great on all of the email platforms your audience uses.

In particular, if your emails are full of images they might end up looking like a poster more than an email. If your value proposition is hidden in a large picture, you risk that people will not see your content and unsubscribe from your list.

That’s why you should make sure that your emails render correctly across all devices. You can use a tool like Litmusis to see how your email will look on various platforms. If you spot any issues, take your time to tweak the code and make it work for your audience.

5. Your emails aren’t mobile-optimized

Remember that over 50% of emails are nowadays opened on mobile devices and downloading massive images will be a burden.

Man holding iPhone

Note that everything looks different on small smartphone screens and if you’re designing emails for desktop, you risk that your message is missed by a massive percentage of your audience reading your email on a tablet or phone.

There are plenty of issues that you might encounter in non-optimized emails: links not working correctly, images that aren’t displayed, or text that is just too small and unreadable. Make sure to optimize your email for mobile – you can dot hat simply by using email templates that are mobile friendly.

6. Your emails are too long

The rise of mobile and marketing segmentation changed the expectations of audiences. In essence, people expect shorter and more relevant messages these days. If they receive emails that are just too long and hard to read on a mobile device, the chances are high that they unsubscribe from your list.

Solution? Remove the extra content from your emails to identify a call to action for each message. And if you find it hard to isolate a single call to action, segment your recipients into different targets and prepare different versions of your email for them.

7. Your newsletter is irrelevant

Segmentation is king in content marketing. That’s especially true for emails. Sending targeted information to the wrong segment is a huge mistake. Consumers are now used to receiving emails that are personally relevant to them, and you should live up to that expectation by collecting more data about your customers when they join your mailing list.

You can do that when they subscribe or send a poll later on to update the data in their contact profile. Use information like their age, ZIP Code, or gender to segment your list and send targeted messages relevant to particular segments. What’s the point of letting guys know about an exclusive “girls’ night out” promotion?

Remember that people subscribe to your email newsletter because they believe you might have something valuable to offer. Acknowledge their preferences and send them content that matches their needs and desires. Take your time to segment and analyze your audience to build successful email campaigns with targeted offers.

Typewriter on table

Your takeaway

Use these 7 tactics, and you will be on your way to providing your target audience with email content that engages them, matches their preferences, looks great and takes your brand to the next level.

Have you got any other tips up your sleeve for excellent email marketing? Or maybe you’re still struggling with people unsubscribing from your list for reasons other than the ones we listed above?

Give us a shout out in comments to help the community learn about best practices in email marketing and make sure that there are fewer badly-targeted email campaigns out there.

Sarah Davies

Guest Post Author

Sarah Davies

Sarah Davies is a business and education writer and a content expert, currently supporting Open Colleges, Australia's leading education courses provider. Sarah enjoys working with and supporting both individuals and businesses who seek to develop grow their skills. Feel free to reach out to her on @sarah_davies_au.

Andrej Csizmadia

Andrej Csizmadia

Growth Marketer

Andy is Growth Marketer at LiveAgent. Previously, he studied International Relations and Business Diplomacy and was active as a volunteer in the world's largest student run organization, AIESEC. Running, music and reading books are his favourite free-time activities.

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