Why Are People Unsubscribing From My Email Newsletter and What Can I Do About It?

opt_outIt may not be you. In a recent survey, 91% of customers said they have unsubscribed from an email newsletter they had previously opted into. While you can’t always control waning customer interest — sometimes it’s due to changing life situation or no longer needing the product — the leading reasons that respondents to a UK poll say they unsubscribed are under your control: the company was sending too frequent emails, or the content became repetitive over time.

What is too often, and who defines ‘repetitive?’ Take control of these factors by tiered customer targeting with your software for email marketing. Are you sending the same emails to your entire subscriber base, or targeting differently to new, sustained, and waning interest level customers?

In the following example, imagine a craft store that emails how-tos and in-store promotions. The store should consider targeting its audience simply by breaking it down with its software, email marketing service’s analytics:

New subscribers

  • May be beginners to crafting. They may only grasp one or two tools or techniques, and don’t know how to find e-learning resources.
  • They may fall into the buying habits of many newbies: getting excited and buying too much, or feeling paralyzed by too many options, and not buying anything.
  • Additionally, some may be experienced crafters, but new to the store.
  • Suggested topics: First and second level how-tos and links to video clips that teach basic tricks. Event alerts for local crafting classes. (Even if they are experienced crafters, they will appreciate meeting other crafters.) Reviews of books and new items in-store and how to use them, with links to video tutorials.

Devoted subscribers

  • They open almost every email and use the coupons. They talk on the store’s Facebook page. They’re an excellent resource — through their online and in-store conversations and online opinion polls — to determine what topics to cover in the newsletter.
  • Find out the common crafts this devoted fanbase is interested in, and send them intermediate-level how-tos, videos, and product alerts for new items.
  • Alert them of local craft fairs, assuming they may want to enter or volunteer. Let them know when local schools are looking for craft teachers.
  • The store may consider hosting “Knit and bitch” craft clubs, which are informal crafting get-togethers, not lessons.

Waning Interest

  • Hopefully, a targeted email campaign will prevent waning interest before it happens.
  • Do not try to prevent unsubscribing by hiding the unsubscribe link. This is against the CAN SPAM Act, and can get your entire company branded as a spammer.
  • A few opt-outs per email blast is normal, but check your analytics to determine what is turning people off. Are you sending too often, or not enough? Do you have a steady schedule? Are you sending image-heavy emails, or a format that can’t be read on many browsers or mobile devices? Test your emails with coworkers and use web tools to be sure your emails can be universally read.

Ultimately, your e-newsletter should be doing something for your reader. Even if the reasons for unsubscribes are benign, ask yourself, your customers, and your analytics what you can do to make your newsletter more relevant for your readers’ lives.

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