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5 Email Tips to Avoid High Unsubscribe Rates

Before becoming the Growth Marketing Manager at Uncommon Marketing Works, I used to head the marketing department of a local nonprofit. Our email lists consisted of three groups of people: 1) current members, 2) previous members, and 3) those who paid for our one-off services but who were not paying the monthly membership. Because we didn’t have the budget to buy large lists of contacts (as many businesses do that don’t use inbound lead generation tactics), elevated unsubscribe rates made us cringe. This was because once someone unsubscribed, we lost complete contact with them through email, which is one of the least expensive forms of communication.

While not all unsubscribes are bad, no marketer wants to see high unsubscribe rates from emails that are directly communicating with their target audience. While keeping your unsubscribe rates below 2% is recommended, the average unsubscribe rate is 0.17%. However, this does vary within each industry.

How to Avoid Increased Unsubscribe Rates

If you find yourself in a situation where you are experiencing high unsubscribe rates, it isn’t all bad news. You can use it as an opportunity to track patterns in the data to understand why your contacts are expressing little interest in your email content. Let’s take a look at the five factors you should consider when sending emails to your contacts to decrease your unsubscribe rates.

1. Create Segmented Lists of People Who Want to Receive Your Content

If you’re spending money on buying lists, I can almost guarantee you’ll already have a high unsubscribe rate. This is primarily due to the fact that your emails will be sent to contacts who haven’t expressed interest in your products or services. Some may not even know what your brand is when your email lands in their inbox. I know there has been a time or two when I have asked myself, “Did I accidentally sign up for something?” as what I consider “junk” emails flow in.

By using lead generation tactics, you can rest assured that those receiving your communications not only recognize your brand but have also already shown interest in what you offer. Therefore, they’ll be less likely to unsubscribe or update their preferences to receive fewer emails from you.

You can build stronger relationships this way, converting more leads into customers through your marketing efforts if a strong and trusted avenue of communication is established early.

2. Remove Frequently Bounced and Inactive Email Addresses from Your Contact List

For the health of your overall contact list, take a proactive step and analyze your bounce rates regularly. If you’re seeing consistent email addresses that are bouncing, remove them altogether from your contact list. This will not only increase who actually wants to receive your content (as mentioned above), but it will also lead to higher email conversion rates.

If someone also hasn’t opened an email within six months or engaged in a meaningful way with your brand, we also recommend removing them from your contact list. In some cases, you may also save yourself money, as many marketing automation platforms charge based on the number of contacts you have in your contact list.

3. Send Relevant Content to Your Contacts

If you’ve created segmented lists based on lead generation tactics, you should already have a strong idea of what your audience wants to hear and see. Adapt your content to their needs, particularly highlighting products and services that can solve their pain points without sounding too “salesy”. Crafting the perfect content combination keeps your contacts interested and has them looking forward to opening the next email they receive.

Whether you’re creating a newsletter, lead nurture email series, or drip campaign, relevant content is key. Stick to your brand standards throughout your copy and keep to your brand’s authentic voice. Well-written, personal content with a purpose performs better and resonates deeper with your audience, preventing them from clicking “unsubscribe.”

4. Personalize Your Emails

From subject line and body copy to videos and graphics, personalization within your emails makes the receiver believe you created the content specifically for them. Get personal when writing your email copy. Instead of using third person, use pronouns like “you”, “me”, “us”, and “we”. Address the reader directly, because after all, your content is going straight to their inbox. They don’t know you may have sent the same message with different personalization tokens to a hundred other people.

5. Provide a Quick and Easy Unsubscription Survey

If you feel like your email lists are properly segmented and your content and visuals have been well crafted and targeted but the unsubscribe rates have still not fallen, consider implementing a survey upon the contact unsubscribing. Providing a survey allows you to gather direct information from your contacts as to why they feel your emails no longer provide value to them. From there, you can gather results and implement new strategies into your email marketing efforts to increase engagement and decrease future unsubscribed.

Benefit Your Bottom Line with Email Engagement

All in all, unsubscribes aren’t always a bad thing as they reveal to marketers where improvements are needed in our email marketing strategies. As mentioned above, there are simple changes you can make to your marketing efforts to reduce high unsubscribe rates. From creating targeted, segmented contact lists that are backed by lead generation tactics, to implementing a survey upon the user unsubscribing, you’ll be able to keep your brand in your contacts’ inboxes, creating a better opportunity for conversions and increasing your bottom line.

If you’re looking for other tactics on how to improve your email marketing strategies, the marketing content and strategy experts at Uncommon Marketing Works are here to help. Contact us today or get more in-depth with a free 30-minute strategy call.

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