Get Me Off This List!

It’s OK – it happens to the best of us…

No matter how killer your content is, it’s inevitable that people will unsubscribe. You could be the Stephen Hawking of email marketing and people will still hit that damn opt-out button. But don’t take it personally; there are countless legitimate reasons people have for unsubscribing. But if you notice your unsubscribe rate trending higher than an average of 0.1 percent, that might just be your red flag wakeup call. If that happens, go through this checklist to see if you can get things back on track.

  1. Are you sending the most relevant content to the most relevant people with every email alert you launch? It’s crucial that you’re segmenting your lists (whether it’s by location, previous actions, age, etc.) so that people feel like you’re emailing them for a reason and not just because they happen to be on your list.
  2. Is your list clean? If you’re not regularly removing your subscribers who are completely inactive and are just deleting your content as fast as it comes in (without manually unsubscribing), then your list is going to be weighed down with uninterested email addresses, which will just dilute your overall results every time.
  3. Are people voluntarily opting in, or are you forcing them to sign up for your emails? If it’s the latter, well then I don’t blame them for unsubscribing! I would, too! You should only want to be emailing the people who want to hear from you; it provides a better user experience and is a best practice in terms of long-term subscriber engagement.
  4. How often are you sending emails? Be sure to keep a detailed email schedule on hand so you can confirm you’re not double mailing a certain audience. People get cranky when they get too many emails!
  5. Do you have a system in place to remove the people who ask to be unsubscribed in ways other than clicking your automatic unsubscribe button? Oddly enough, this happens all the time. It seems so obvious to just click a button, but all too often, people email the company directly and ask to be removed. Be sure you are manually removing these people, too, or they’ll turn into just another negative statistic in your results.

Once the above issues are addressed, I’m confident your unsubscribe rates will go back to normal. You’ll never convince everyone to be a lifelong subscriber, but if you fix these basic things, they can’t stay mad at you forever, right?

Angry at Email image on home page via Shutterstock.

This column was originally published on Dec. 12, 2012.

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