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Why Do People Unsubscribe From Your Emails?

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Unsubscribes. The curse of email marketing. Most businesses use email marketing tools to send out their communications, these tools can also tell us who opened that email, clicked on which link, what they had for lunch, etc. What this software can’t tell us is why people unsubscribe. Have you done this recently? Did you just want to click on a simple link and unsubscribe?  or were you redirected to a page where you were annoyed further and asked to give up more valuable time and explain your decision?

The unsubscribe is a clear message, granted it is occasionally actioned by mistake (we all tell ourselves that from time to time don’t we), but usually its simply because that person does not want to receive your emails.

In business we all know size isn’t everything right? (Staying on the subject of email here) it’s the quality of your email list and not the volume that matters.  You’ll always have people who want to sign up and people leave your lists, that’s healthy. If your subscribers are leaving in their droves and you’re worried, here are the most common reasons and some things you can make sure you aren’t doing:

1.Too many emails

You know that feeling, “oh God, please make them stop!!”  How often are you emailing people? Once or twice per month is considered acceptable, more than that and this could be your problem.

2. Emails looks dodgy (poorly designed and spammy)

Subject lines can paint a pretty good picture, usually promises beyond your wildest dreams (ah if only). Badly designed emails and /or text only emails with poor grammar, spelling and translations are a give-away too.  Ensure your emails look professional, contain your branding and are sent from/mention your company domain, these are much less likely to not incur an unsubscribe/delete or spam flag!

3. Not relevant

What is your email content about and is it relevant for everyone on your list? If not, then try segmenting your list into groups of subscribers who are interested in hearing from you about different things and send them relevant content.

4. Not subscribed

Ah yes, that mysterious email you are sure you never subscribed too that turned up shortly after a sign-up to a free service. The rules (as per the ICO – Information Commissioners Office) state:

“The rules on electronic mail marketing are in regulation 22. In short, you must not send electronic mail marketing to individuals, unless:

they have specifically consented to electronic mail from you; or

they are an existing customer who bought (or negotiated to buy) a similar product or service from you in the past, and you gave them a simple way to opt out both when you first collected their details and in every message you have sent.

You must not disguise or conceal your identity, and you must provide a valid contact address so they can opt out or unsubscribe.”

The ICO have created a guide to direct marketing practices if you need to refresh your understanding and other useful info on communications can be found here.

5. Not mobile friendly

Have you looked at what devices your readers use to view your emails? Is it mostly desktop, mobile or tablet? Find out… or better still design your emails in a mobile friendly way to ensure they are readable/usable on various devices.

6. Too much content

An email should be used to either send a simple short message or to direct your reader to your website. Adding your entire news stories or every single detail of your special promotion to your emails is not good practice. Keep it simple and use strong calls to action to direct the reader to the full story, landing or product page for more information.  If in doubt, pick a friendly customer or client and ask for honest feedback.

7. Out of date data

Like most things, an email data list that is left to fester does just that.. Have you got a contact on your list who has never opened an email from you, but never unsubscribed either? Probably time to let them go. Not having a good old clear out of your customer/client contact data is bad practice and will encourage unsubscribe actions. Remember, size isn’t everything!

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