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Top 7 reasons people unsubscribe from your email list

Jennifer Lonoff Schiff | March 26, 2015
Business owners and marketers spend a lot of time getting customers to opt-in or subscribe to their email newsletters and lists. However, they often don't exert the same effort to ensure that these customers they worked so hard to get stay engaged. And then they are puzzled (and annoyed) when that "unsubscribed" notification shows up in their in box.

Business owners and marketers spend a lot of time getting customers to opt-in or subscribe to their email newsletters and lists. However, they often don't exert the same effort to ensure that these customers they worked so hard to get stay engaged. And then they are puzzled (and annoyed) when that "unsubscribed" notification shows up in their in box.

So what can your organization do to keep customers from unsubscribing from your email lists? Here are the top seven reasons people opt out of email and what you can do to keep customers from clicking that 'unsubscribe' button.

1. They never signed up, or didn't realize they signed up, for your email list.

"The number one reason why [people] see high unsubscribe rates is because of poor list-building tactics," says Brett Farmiloe, a MailChimp expert and the founder of Markitors. "People think it's OK to buy, rent, scrape and add customers to their lists, and it's not. In fact, it's against MailChimp's terms of service to import third party lists," he says. And "there's a good reason why: People hate unsolicited email. There's not a faster way to get people to unsubscribe than to add them to your list without their [consent or] confirmation."

"Consumers [typically] unsubscribe [from email lists] because they didn't realize they subscribed in the first place," says Daniel Burstein, director of editorial content at MarketingSherpa. "Some businesses add people to their email lists with italicized mice type at the bottom of a form and customers don't even know they are signing up. They think they are just registering for a sweepstakes or downloading a white paper." The solution: "Clearly communicate to customers that they are subscribing to an email list by providing an opt-in checkbox on forms, along with an error message if they don't complete the checkbox (if subscription is required to receive the incentive)," says Burstein.

2. You're emailing them too often.

"The [other] frequent reason that people unsubscribe from email is that the email marketer underestimates or overestimates the frequency which subscribers wish to hear from them," says Ros Hodekiss, design community manager at Campaign Monitor. "According to a recent survey, 53 percent of consumers reported getting too many emails from retailers, while only 44 percent said they get the right amount." However, "there are simple ways to get around this issue," she says. "First of all, you can have your subscribers submit their email frequency preferences, either [when they] subscribe, or later, via an email preference center or similar. This approach puts the power into your subscribers' hands," she explains, which has proven to be an effective way of holding onto them.

[Typically, according to Campaign Monitor's research, "sending an email every two weeks is the sweet spot for subscriber engagement."]

 

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