April 20, 2010

Five Ways to Minimize Unsubscribes


Hostway Team

By Monique Martin

It’s easy to add email addresses to your mailing listings, but keeping users subscribed is something else entirely. Email marketing is the lifeblood of today’s online businesses. Making sure your subscriber base is happy and growing is key to your success. Every unsubscribe is an opportunity lost, and it’s a heck of a lot harder to get subscribers back once you’ve lost them. Here are five simple ways you can minimize unsubscribes.

1. Frequency

Your customer’s inbox looks a lot like yours. It’s overflowing with email. Make sure you’re not sending too many emails to your subscribers. It might take a little trial and error to find the sweet spot, but err on the side of caution. Less is more. If your customers feel that you’re spamming them, you’re out. On the flip side, don’t wait too long between contacts. Memories are short; if you don’t keep your brand alive in their minds, they might forget who you are and why they subscribed in the first place.


One of the most important features of a successful email is brevity. Keep it short and simple. Respect your customers’ time and get your message across quickly and clearly. If they feel that reading your email is a burden, they won’t just toss it in the trash; they may unsubscribe too.

3. Give them control

If you send multiple emails, like various newsletters, how-to’s and promotions, allow your customers to opt out of some while still subscribing to others. Managing their subscriptions will also keep your emails targeted, which means a higher conversion rate.

4. Manage expectations

Make sure you’re sending what your customers expected. If they signed up for coupons by email, don’t send them nifty how-to guides. And if they signed up for an informational newsletter, make sure you don’t let your desire to advertise overpower the information. It’s easy for your promotional messages to grow in size and frequency. Keep that in check. If your customers feel that you’re not providing what they signed up for, they’re gone. Managing and meeting customer expectations is critical to any business’ success and email marketing is no different.

5. Content is king

The best way to minimize your unsubscribe rate is to provide relevant, interesting and useful content. Your emails have to serve a purpose and provide value. If it’s just another sales pitch, the opt-out button is just a click away.

If users do opt out, use that as an opportunity to find out why and refine your marketing strategy. Provide a brief exit survey to see why they’re unsubscribing and use that knowledge to make your future emails more appealing.

About the Author

Monique Martin served as chief operating officer for a successful online insurance marketing firm for five years.

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