How to Get a Handle on Rising Unsubscribe Rates

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Your email unsubscribe rate is increasing. You’ve seen it rise slightly in recent months, but it’s now out of control. So, what?

You can’t ignore it. A high unsubscribe rate can harm your sender reputation and even your ability to reach the inbox. A high unsubscribe rate can negatively impact email conversion rates and even overall revenue.

Let’s look at new ways to improve email marketing and reduce unsubscribe rates.

A Few Segments is Not Enough

If your unsubscribe rate keeps rising, it may be due to a lack of relevance or timing. Unrelated emails cause 50% of consumers to unsubscribe from email lists. Buyers will unsubscribe from emails that annoy them. A message may be unhelpful or off-target for your buyers. You must never send an email that causes a buyer to unsubscribe.

Keeping your audience engaged is impossible, but you can send messages that are more relevant to their needs and desires. If you segment your email list more deeply, you can automatically send messages tailored to their interests. You can send emails to segments like:

  • Repeat customers who buy more than 3 times
  • At-risk buyers who haven’t bought in 30 days
  • Buyers focused on a particular product or product category

Segmenting is more than just sending emails to specific age and gender groups. You can drill down to create more specific segments based on customer lifecycle and buyer actions, reducing unsubscribe rates. While segmentation can help ensure people get the most relevant content, it’s equally important to ensure they don’t get irrelevant content. With proper segmentation, you can send less emails to each customer.

Personalize Every Single Message

Beyond segmenting your audience, customer data can be used to personalize every email you send. Buyers respond well to personalization in email marketing. According to McKinsey, personalization can cut acquisition costs by up to 50% and increase marketing efficiency by 30%.

The subject line of an email with your buyer’s name in it is not personalization (though that can sometimes work). Personalize your emails with real-time data like:

  • The last items your buyer viewed on your site
  • Product suggestions based on past purchases
  • A discount on the items left in their shopping cart.

Such personalization can boost email results and provide more relevant messaging to your customers. A single unsubscribe can cost up to 60% of future lifetime value. Personalized emails have a 2.5 times higher average click-through rate. Personalized messages will make your audience feel as if your emails are adding value rather than wasting their time.

Leverage Other Channels

If buyers are still unsubscribing, you may be sending out too many emails. If your audience feels bombarded with messages, they may unsubscribe to clear their inbox. In that case, you must reduce your email output. But how do you do that without losing customer engagement and communication?

It’s simple: instead of emailing everything, try other methods. For example, web or mobile push can be a simple way to drive website conversions other than email. Instead of sending emails for order confirmation or shopping information, try push notifications or Facebook Messenger. Instead of 5 emails per week, send 3 emails and 2 web push messages. This is less intrusive for your buyers while still allowing you to communicate.

Any brand should use email with caution. While your customers may have opted in, they may opt out if you abuse their trust. If your unsubscribe rate is rising, it’s time to rethink your email strategy. Email engagement can be improved by combining segmentation, personalization, and alternate channels.

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