Minimizing Your Email Marketing Unsubscribe Rate

Minimizing Your Email Marketing Unsubscribe Rate

It can be disheartening when people opt out of your email marketing. Having a high unsubscribe rate is a very fixable problem.

In fact, you can minimize the number of people who opt-out. The question though, how do you go about doing it?

There are executable tactics on how to lower your unsubscribe rate, and why a few unsubscribes are a good thing.

If you’re like me, you’re proud of your marketing skills. You lovingly craft an email campaign, look on it with pride, and send it. So, when some recipients not only ignore it, but actively opt out of hearing from you again, it can be disheartening.

Unsubscribe Rate

You do have to reset your expectations that a zero unsubscribe rate is unachievable. This is true whether you’re sending a weekly newsletter to your opted-in list, or a cold Email Lead Generation campaign.

Listen, it’s not a bad thing. Sure, that’s fewer people who are seeing your marketing – but anyone who unsubscribes is, by definition, not going to take whatever action you’re aiming for. Whether that’s reading your latest articles, or downloading a free trial, or anything else.

Removing uninterested/unengaged contacts off your list is a good thing, since your engagement rate will be that much higher, which is better for your sender reputation score.

 Why Your Unsubscribe Rate Might Be High?

There are several reasons why you might be experiencing a higher opt-out rate.

The very first reason may be that you’re sending to the wrong people. If your email audience isn’t well targeted, and you’re sending to people who just aren’t interested in what you’re saying, or selling, you’ll get a higher volume of unsubscribes.

On the flip side, your email content may not be good. I know, sometimes the truth hurts. But, if you know the contacts on your list are, in fact, the right target audience, and you’re getting a high unsubscribe rate then it may be your content needs a little work. Writing awesome emails is challenging, so don’t take it personally. It’s involves a lot of moving parts, which you can read about here.

When you boil it right down, though, your goal: provide real value. Your contacts should receive value as soon as they open your email, even if it’s just a tidbit of information. Doing this will keep them better engaged.

One big reason you might be seeing a lot of unsubscribes, though, is this: you might be over-sending and causing audience fatigue.

Picture it from contacts’ point of view, using Email Lead Generation as an example. You get a cold email from a business you’ve never heard of. It’s got a great subject line that nails exactly what you’re looking for right now.

So, you open it, skim the email, and decide that it’s not important enough to deal with right now. You close it and go back to whatever you’re meant to be doing.

Tomorrow, you get another email from the same company. It’s a similar message, and now you’re a little annoyed.

Then, the next day, you get another email from them. At this point, you don’t care whether it’s a similar message or something totally new. You’ve graduated from annoyed to mad, so you go ahead and unsubscribe – and they’re lucky you’re not reporting them as spam.

Do you really want to be that company? The one that annoys people into unsubscribing.

Of course, you don’t. Nobody does.

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This is just as true for opted-in lists like newsletter subscribers. If I’ve forked over my email address to a company, it was probably in exchange for some juicy bit of content.

When a company starts sending me emails every day around that, they’re getting an unsubscribe for their trouble. I don’t mind occasional messages – I knew what I was getting into when I handed them my email address, after all – but there’s a line.

Especially if it’s always a similar message, or someone “following up” on a previous message.

If someone sees the same email or too-similar a message coming from you in their inbox, or they get too many emails too frequently, you’ll hit something called audience fatigue. It’s exactly what it sounds like – you’ll fatigue your audience.

Don’t Overwhelm Your Contacts

It’s very easy to annoy people, especially when sending cold email campaigns. Remember that just because you like your campaigns and think they’re awesome, other people might not be so thrilled.

Particularly if your goal is to generate leads for your business, you should err on the side of caution. Every contact who unsubscribes because you annoyed them is one more potential customer lost.

The most you want to send to a given contact is weekly. Anymore and you’re running the risk of driving people away.

Do feel free to space it out more. Here’s a tip: if you have a really big list, break it into chunks and send to those chunks individually instead of one big campaign.

It’s truly important to keep track of who you’ve sent a message to, and when. If you’re sending a weekly newsletter, and occasionally sending special offers to your opt-in list, that’s probably easy to track.

If you’re sending cold campaigns to large lists, on the other hand, it’s all but impossible. Don’t believe me? Try wrangling a spreadsheet of hundreds of thousands of contacts and track who was sent to which campaign on which date.

It’ll get old really quickly.


Instead of burying yourself in spreadsheets, we recommend that our customers ensure they have a tight sending plan beforehand.

Yes, really. The best rule of thumb is to never send the same message to your contact more than 14 days apart.

Basically, you should have a series of messages.

That’s just scratching the surface of how Clickback can help you generate leads more effectively (and minimize unsubscribes, too).

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