How to Decrease Your Email Unsubscribe Rate

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Email marketing is a highly effective marketing tool, but to be successful, you need to have subscribers. Active subscribers, to be precise. Unfortunately, it’s a constant struggle to keep subscribers engaged and to prevent them from unsubscribing from your list, never to come back.

How can you keep your email unsubscribe rate as low as possible? Here are some tips to help you out.

Understanding the reasons people unsubscribe

First things first, before you can begin decreasing your unsubscribe rate, you need to understand why people are unsubscribing. According to this study by Epsilon, the common reasons people unsubscribe include:


  • Irrelevancy of emails
  • High frequency rates
  • Fears of email addresses being sold or shared
  • No recollection of signing up for emails


You could also try to survey people as they unsubscribe from your list, asking them to please take a moment to let you know their reason for unsubscribing. Of course, the survey would have to be done on a volunteer basis, but you’d likely get at least a few responses from it. You may even want to offer something in exchange for completing the brief survey.

Things you can do to reduce your unsubscribe rate

Now that you understand some of the reasons people unsubscribe from email lists, let’s discuss how you can mitigate this problem.


  • Learn your subscribers’ preferences—Because irrelevancy and high frequency rates are the two top reasons for unsubscribing, you need to make an effort to learn the preferences of your subscribers. Encourage your subscribers to update the preferences of their profile, so you can learn what type of content they wish to receive and how often they want to receive it.
  • Segment your list—Not everyone on your list is the same. You need to divide your list up based on subscriber preferences and other characteristics (e.g. products purchased, location, etc.). This will allow you to target your subscribers with higher accuracy, and it will help prevent irrelevant mailings.
  • Let people know what to expect up front—In your pitch to get people to sign up for your email list, let them know exactly what they’ll be receiving from the start. If your emails are mostly for special offers, make sure that’s clear so someone doesn’t sign up expecting to receive something different.
  • Assure subscribers that you protect their privacy—On your signup forms, reassure new subscribers that you will in fact protect their privacy and never sell or share their information with anyone else. This can increase subscribe rates and reduce fear with your current subscribers.
  • Send a welcome message to new subscribers—Many people unsubscribe from lists because they say they don’t remember signing up for them in the first place. That’s why you need to send a welcome message to new subscribers immediately. Start building that relationship and familiarity, and make sure they actually did intend to sign up for your list.


What are some of your best tips for reducing email unsubscribe rates? Share them by leaving a comment below.

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