Are Unsubscribes a sign of the end of the world?

The following is a guest post by Scott Lichau

You send an awesome email with amazing subject line, follow all the best practices, and they still click on unsubscribe – a wake up moment for any email marketer.

Before you start to worry, there could be many reasons for why you haven’t seen any movement in your subscription numbers recently. It could be because the recipient simply doesn’t have an interest in what you’re offering, or it could be down to the fact that your emails aren’t actually reaching a valid email address, (no one is seeing them). Even though this can be disheartening to you and your business, you could prevent this from happening in the first place by deciding to look for an email verifier so you can establish which addresses are valid to help send your emails to working accounts. It’s just another obstacle that you need to overcome to help make your business the success you know it to be.

It’s not expected to have a zero unsubscribe rate, but you can do something about your unsubscribes. A good unsubscribe rate is less than 0.5% (0.2% is within the norm). An unsubscribe rate above 0.5% indicates you need to work on the issue.

Negative and positive reasons for unsubscribes

According to MarketingSherpa, the top reason why your audience unsubscribes from emails is that they get bombarded with them from many sources. Receiving irrelevant emails was the second most frequent response, while volume of emails from the company was the third most cited reason.

Reason’s for Email unsubscribes: 1. Too many Emails in their inbox 2. Not Relevant 3. Too many Emails from one company.

Unsubscribes actually mean that they are leaving because maybe they are the wrong target for your niche, the posts are not relevant for them or they just don’t like what they are reading.

Look- This is NOT all bad news- Keep reading!

Let’s check out the up side of Unsubscribes.

You are maintaining your reputation. An unsubscribe means the subscriber chose not to hear from you but didn’t mark or report your email as spam. But you can find out why people unsubscribe. Send your unsubscribe requests to an unsubscribe page where they can choose what made them want to unsubscribe from your list.

Use this to become better at Email marketing- It’s what all Smart Marketers are doing!

Avoid having them unsubscribe without finding out why.

Here’s an example of Travelocity’s Unsubscribe page:



You can also get the information from customers by asking why they’re unsubscribing from your emails by offering a drop-down menu of options (BUT don’t require them to give a reason to unsubscribe). This information can help with a periodic check of your overall results. It also acts as a motivator to create more relevant emails.

If your list contains only qualified contacts then unsubscribes can be like a bad pill to swallow. If your unsubscribes include prospects who are not that interested in your products or services it’s easier to accept them leaving. Therefore, Your list will become higher quality when they go. Remember, you’re paying a price for every email you send. Why not send it only to targeted prospects?

While unsubscribes have some benefits, your goal likely still is to reduce the number of recipients who opt out. Here are some ways to do that.


Segment your subscriber list based on things like age, gender, educational qualification, job designation and purchase history. Segmentation helps you to send tailor-made emails according to the interests of your subscriber. Segmentation reduces the likelihood the recipient will think of the emails as irrelevant to them.

Attention: Send personalized offers that give a feeling of exclusivity to the subscribers and makes them feel special and not just a number in the crowd.

When it comes to email marketing, knowing your buyer’s journey is half the battle. Gather subscriber information through lead-nurturing campaigns and use it to map the content based on their buying patterns.

TIP: Use an Excel spreadsheet to categorize this information and get the right content for the each subscriber.

Be careful and test the frequency of the emails you send. Use a unique frequency for every segment. As you take different approaches, watch your response rate. This trial-and-error strategy can help determine a more ideal number you should send.

Follow a consistent email schedule so subscribers know when to expect them. Consistency Matters!

Include social media icons on your unsubscribe page so they can continue to connect with you on those platforms. Check out this example from Blurb:


TIP: Add a “take a break” option on your unsubscribe page.

Use the feedback shared on the unsubscribe page

Write an interesting subject line and preview text that conveys the purpose of the email right at the outset. Then, focus on creating copy and visual elements that will grab their attention.

Remember- The Only way to reduce Email unsubscribes is to deliver consistent value to the subscriber!