Overview

Email marketing comes with a grain of unpredictability. Even when you do everything correctly, write the best email copy possible, and provide valuable content, people still might unsubscribe. Why?

We could say "Who knows!" and just end the article here. However, the truth is there are reasons you may have overlooked, and to lower your unsubscribe rate, you should identify and solve them.

In this guide, you will learn more about what email unsubscribe rates entail and how to decrease them over time.

What is an email unsubscribe rate?

Email unsubscribe rate measures how often subscribers opt out of receiving your content. An unsubscribe occurs when a contact clicks your unsubscribe link or adjusts their consent in your subscribe and manage preferences pages. Once someone subscribes, they will also become suppressed.

The formula for unsubscribe rate is as follows:

Email unsubscribe rate = The number of people who unsubscribe after receiving your email / The number of emails received

In AVADA, you can find the number of bounces in:

- The Reports section from the dashboard

- The Reports section in each live automation workflow/ campaign

For more information, head to our guide on how to use AVADA's reports.

You can also see the detailed list of bounces in the Suppression List.

Why do email unsubscribe rates matter?

As with spam complaints or bounces, a rise in unsubscribes may signal to inbox providers that you are sending content that recipients do not want to receive. This damages your sender reputation and eventually leads to more of your emails landing in spam than in the inbox.

To maintain a good sender reputation, monitor your email unsubscribe rates closely, and if you see a rise, take action to lower this metric. In addition, when someone unsubscribes, this is often a sign that your content no longer aligns with their interests or that you are sending too much of the same content.

When you go live a newsletter campaign in AVADA, we will send it to a sample group of your recipients (around 1000 contacts) for verifying that campaign first. If the sample reports exceed any limit among 4% of bounce rate, 0.1% of spam rate, or 2% of unsubscribe rate, then your campaign will be paused sending. For more information, please read our article on How AVADA Verifies Your Email Campaign Before Sending.

How to decrease email unsubscribe rates

Some best practices to decrease email unsubscribe rates include:

- Clean your list regularly

- Refresh email content

- Manage recipients' preferences 

- Make sure your emails don't load slowly

- Offer a different communication method

- Ask them why they are leaving

1. Clean your list regularly

List cleaning is a necessary process to remove any unengaged, fake, misspelled, or spam email addresses that you may collect over time. Doing so will reduce your email unsubscribe rates as you weed out any contacts who should no longer receive your messaging. Unsubscribes negatively impact your deliverability, so proactive list cleaning and suppressing contacts who are unengaged will improve your sender reputation over time.

For information and instructions on how to clean your lists, head to our Guide to List Cleaning.

2. Refresh email content

Another scenario that can increase your unsubscribe rates is when your content no longer aligns with subscriber expectations or interests. Here are some best practices to refresh your email content:

- Ensure that your content matches the subject line. When your email content and subject line align, recipients will have accurate expectations when opening your email. If they feel missed in any way, they are more likely to unsubscribe.

- Personalize content with segmentation. If you send too much of the same content to the same people, they may lose interest or feel as though your emails are irrelevant. Segmentation lets you personalize messaging and target specific audiences so that your emails relate to their location, purchase history, interests, engagement, and more. If you are new to segmentation, head to our guides to creating segments.

3. Manage recipients' preferences

Unsubscribes may also increase due to your message frequency (e.g., you may send to some contacts more often than they would like or too little). Consider building out an email sending schedule. Then, adjust your content calendar and target these segments according to their level of engagement.

You can also allow subscribers to choose how often they receive emails from your brand and what content they receive. For instance, someone could choose to receive your emails daily, weekly, or monthly. They could likewise opt-in to receive only information about sales or subscribe to your weekly newsletter, new product updates, etc. You can include a link to your manage preferences page in the header or footer of your emails for ease of access. Or simply ask your recipients' opinions like the image below:



4. Make sure your emails don't load slowly

Checking how your emails load in different email clients and on mobile devices should be a regular part of your email marketing routine. Plus, don't include images that are too big to load quickly. Always test your email on various devices before sending as well.

5. Offer a different communication method

Maybe an email recipient unsubscribes simply because their inbox is receiving too many emails. Or maybe they had to sign up to buy something, but they didn't want to receive any future communications.

There is no way to avoid some unsubscribes, and that's okay. It is better to have an engaged and interested email list that might be a bit smaller rather than a huge email list full of people who just never engage.

Luckily for you, emails are not the only way that someone can keep up with your company. Give them other options to interact with you, like SMS, your social media networks, or company blog.

Provide them with links to your other channels in their unsubscribe confirmation. If they really like your other content, you might win them back.

6. Ask them why they are leaving

Despite all of this hard work, your email unsubscribe rates might still go up. But why?

There is no shame in asking. Often, the reason might surprise you.

Your audience has opinions, and they are probably willing to share them. Asking them to fill out a quick survey will help you understand the reason why they opted out.

Getting constructive feedback means you can improve your emails for your remaining subscribers. Take it on the chin, learn from it, and then act on it. Maybe you can't bring someone back, but you can try to stop someone else from leaving.
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