Email Unsubscribes and Why They’re Your Blessing in Disguise

You’re not going to please everyone. People will unsubscribe from your email list. But there is a bit of silver lining to email unsubscribes.

One of the most common myths that has plagued digital marketers for years is taking a ‘high’ email unsubscribe rate as a sign of failure.

The reality is, that unsubscribers are doing the work for you and cleaning your list of people that have lost interest. Which is key to building a powerful email list.

Here’s What Happened When We Deleted Nearly a Quarter of Our Email List:

Email list cleaning is crucial to successful email campaigns. We go through our email lists 3-4 times a year to clean up inactive subscribers and bounced emails.

It sucks saying goodbye to these subscribers, but it was a huge improvement for our email campaigns. Here are some numbers that prove the good that comes from email unsubscribes:

We deleted 24% of subscribers in the Performance Marketer email list. Out of that 24%, 22% were hard bounces, basically, these email addresses were invalid. The other 78% were subscribers who hadn’t engaged with our emails in more than 90 days!

Deleting these emails addresses boosted all of our metrics, but the most shocking was the increase we saw in our email click rates. Through removing invalid addresses and disengaged subscribers we were able to boost our CTR (click through rate) by a whopping 60%!

email unsubscribes

​We deleted 24.1% of ​the subscribers from our email list

​78% of those removed from our list were had been disengaged for 90+ days.

email marketing
email unsubscribe rate

​The other 22% were bounces.

Deleting these emails addresses boosted all of our metrics, but the most shocking was the increase we saw in our email click rates. Through removing invalid addresses and disengaged subscribers we were able to boost our CTR (click through rate) by a whopping 60%!

​By cleaning our email list, we saw a ​60% ​increase in the our CTR (click through rate)!

email metrics

The Blessings of Email Unsubscribes

Email unsubscribes and list cleaning often feels like a blow to the stomach, but remember it’s not always a bad thing. In fact, there are a few blessings of unsubscribers from your email list.

A Spike in Email Unsubscribes Could be Pointing to a Bigger Issue

A steady spike in your email unsubscribe rate could very well be a sign that something in your email marketing needs to be adjusted.

Has the type of content in your emails changed drastically? Are you delivering on the promise you made when they signed up for your emails?

Top-Reasons-Consumers-Unsubscribe-Emails-Dec2015

20% of people that unsubscribe from emails are doing it because the content isn’t relevant to them.

If your email unsubscribe rate continues to grow, try testing new content or look at data to segment your audience in new ways.

Email Unsubscribes Can Guide Your Future Marketing Decisions

As marketers, we know that data is the strongest way to backup any belief or suspicion. A high spike in unsubscribes from your emails could could signal a change in your overall audience.

Insights and strategies developed with your unsubscriber metric in mind, will not only help with your email marketing strategies but your marketing plan as a whole.

Don’t be fooled by the myth that unsubscribes from your email list are completely awful. In reality, you should make the most out of the unsubscribers with ato gain insight to they’re opting out.
mike smith aweber

​Mike Smith

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​"When someone unsubscribes from your emails, you get a better understanding of what content works and what doesn't. Unsubscribes could be a beneficial piece of feedback that certain types of emails cause readers to disengage. This helps you get better at finding new ways to deliver value."

Unsubscribers are  Saving You Money Overtime

Why should you spend money on someone who doesn’t want your emails? Most email software providers have plans with thresholds on the number of subscribers in your email list or limits on sending emails.

Use the money saved to put towards marketing channels that will fill your email list with the engaged subscribers you want.

So What’s a ‘Good’ Email Unsubscribe Rate?

Just like many other marketing metrics, what is considered ‘good’ or ‘bad’ varies based on industry, size, and email list quality. According to MailChimp’s recent Email Marketing Benchmarks report, most industries are averaging between .2-.3% unsubscribe rate.

Regardless of size or industry,  if your email unsubscribe rate is greater than .5% you may need to monitor your spam complaint rate. These two tend to be positively correlated, so if one metric increases, the other usually follows.

Make the Most of Your Email Unsubscribers

Don’t be fooled by the myth that unsubscribes from your email list are completely awful. In reality, you should make the most out of the unsubscribers with a quick exit survey to gain insight to why they’re opting out.

email unsubscribe rate

This is a short survey unsubscribers receive from Fashionista when they decide to opt out of emails.

As the above 1-question exit survey from Fashionista shows that asking people why they’re unsubscribing can be quick and painless.  Usually, this is where brands and businesses will get the most honest feedback, so don’t miss out on feedback you could be getting from unsubscribers.

Keep the ‘Right’ People From Unsubscribing From Your Emails

An option to change the frequency of emails or choose select topics to receive could catch any would-be unsubscribers who still have interest in you and your products. Letting them tell you what they want and how they get it, on their terms, is an effective way to keep your subscribers.

Opt Down Example

Bottom line is we would like as few email unsubscribes as possible, especially from the ‘right’ people. If you keep in mind these strategies for your email marketing lists and sales funnels then unsubscribes from your email lists will no longer make you feel defeated.

The ‘good’ unsubscribers no longer have a negative impact on your click, open, and conversion rates and you’re left with a strong email list of potential customers. The reality of the myth that “unsubscribes are signs of failure,” is just that, a myth.

Caitlin Johnson
 

Caitlin is an Austin-based digital marketer with a passion for content and social media marketing. She is the newest member of the Performance Marketer team and brings years of writing and marketing experience, as well as the best recommendations for where to go for lunch.

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