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Why Email Unsubscribers Are a Blessing in Disguise

Business Development

Nobody wants to hear that people are unsubscribing from their emails. But what if we told you that unsubscribers are a healthy part of any email marketing campaign, helping you to better target your audience?  

Digital Resource, the leading Fort Lauderdale SEO company, is here to help you understand everything you need to know about the importance of unsubscribers.

Are you ready? Let's begin!

What Is an Email Unsubscribe Rate?

Email recipients can unsubscribe from mailing lists at any time. The email unsubscribe rate is the percentage of all email addresses that choose to do so.

The Good News: Unsubscribes Aren't Always a Bad Thing

You should not be afraid of checking your unsubscribe rate. Sure, it sucks to think about someone scrolling past all of your hard work and images, only to click the "unsubscribe" button.

unsubscribe option in email
Photo from Headspace

Still, if your unsubscribe rate is too high, what does this signify for you as an email marketer?

Remember, you don't have to take it personally just yet. Consider the unsubscribe rate to be your email marketing Cadillac's "check engine" light. You don't have to buy a new car yet. Your strategies simply need a tune-up.

Why Email Unsubscribes Can Be a Blessing in Disguise

There are numerous reasons why you should still be grateful for email unsubscribers. Remember that having them can be a good indicator of:

1. Your Email Performance Metrics

Those who are truly uninterested dilute the metrics you use to optimize your email performance. Ten thousand disengaged subscribers will make it difficult to get data regarding 1,000 engaged subscribers.

Recommendations for improvement:

Launch a last-chance re-engagement campaign if a subscriber has not clicked through in the previous six months. If there is still no response, purge and archive them.

RELATED: 5 Customer Support Metrics You Should Track

2. The Quality of Your Email List

How did people first subscribe to your email list? Was it under the pretense of deceit or deception? Is it possible that some of your subscribers didn’t genuinely opt in? Someone who subscribes to win a contest is less likely to be engaged than someone who sought out your mailing list.  

Recommendations for improvement:

It is vital to streamline your list-building processes so that you can target the most qualified prospects and customers.

RELATED: Proven Tactics to Grow Your Email List

3. Your Email Segmentation, Content, Frequency, Relevance, And CTA Performance

Your message is likely to result in a disengaged audience and increased unsubscribe rate if it is:

  • Irrelevant
  • Poorly formatted for your recipient's device
  • Coming too soon after your previous email

Recommendations for improvement:

To help you continually learn and optimize for each audience segment, test each email variable using a repeatable, controlled process using a simple A/B split testing. Unless your total list size is under 2,500, you should always try something during each send.

4. Your Target Audience's Interest

It’s important to interact with subscribers on their terms. If they’re dissatisfied with your newsletter, allowing them to change some of the dynamics (e.g., frequency, the kinds of emails they get) could help reengage them.

Recommendations for improvement:

  • Allow them to take a break and put email on hold for a while
  • Allow them to adjust the frequency based on the recipient's preferences
  • Allow them to change the content you send

These and other options should be available in a preference center that the user controls. When you receive an unsubscribe request, provide these alternatives to terminating the relationship.

5. The Last Thing You Must Do

If someone is unsubscribing from your newsletter, try to find out why. You'll never get 100% of unsubscribers to share their reasons. Still, if done well, you'll collect enough data over time to draw some conclusions about why your email subscribers are leaving.

Recommendations for improvement:

That final unsubscribe confirmation screen should give the departing subscriber 4-7 options for explaining why they're leaving. You can even put it on the initial unsubscribe page, so long as the actual unsubscribe button is visible right below optional check-box selections.

What Is the Ideal Email Unsubscribe Rate?

Keeping track of your unsubscribe rate can reveal a lot about the people who are reading your emails, the content they enjoy, and what you can do to keep them engaged.

Given this, less than 2% of unsubscribe rates are within industry norms.

Here are the ideal unsubscribe rates by sector:

graph of ideal unsubscribe rate by sector
Photo from Smart Insights

However, there are things you can do to prevent unsubscribes, such as starting with a healthy list and using list hygiene tactics such as segmentation, automation, and personalization. Because some list churn is typical, aiming for a 0% unsubscribe rate is unrealistic.

Our SEO experts in Fort Lauderdale discovered that the average unsubscribe rate is 0.17 percent.

How Do You Calculate Your Unsubscribe Rate?

All marketing companies must include an "unsubscribe" option at the bottom of each message, but how do you know when someone clicks it?

You can view various statistics for a specific period, such as the last 30 days or an individual campaign, using your ESP's insights dashboard. When you look at a campaign's reported percentage, you can compare it to others to learn more about the content that your subscribers like.

Did a specific subject line, content format, or number of images increase your unsubscribe rate?

Again, tracking your unsubscribe rate can help you fine-tune your email marketing strategy.

Here's a basic formula you can use:

Unsub Rate = (Unsubscribes ÷ Delivered Emails) ×100

It should be noted that different email marketing platforms have different terms for "Delivered Emails." That said, they should all have a metric stating how many emails arrived in inboxes (i.e., did not bounce).

Is it really that important?

When it comes to sending effective email marketing campaigns, keeping an eye on your unsubscribe rate is crucial. This is one of the best statistics for determining if something is broken and needs to change.

That said, it’s far from the only metric that can provide this information. You’ll also want to check:

...and many more. Just look at the other email metrics that business owners also track.

graph of email metrics tracked by business owners

What Happens Now?

Consider collaborating with Digital Resource if you want to learn more about your email bounce rate, email unsubscribe rate, or any of the many other email marketing metrics. We're the leading Florida SEO company, and we're here to help you succeed in the digital world.

Contact us today to learn more about our services.

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