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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.

"Very rarely do I check email on an actual computer, yet I receive many emails that are structured for desktop use only," says Michelle Brammer, marketing and PR manager,, a digital advertising company. And when viewed on a smartphone or tablet, these emails can appear cluttered, or may not even load, she adds.

"To grab attention quickly, and swiftly, and avoid deletion, make sure images load quickly, use a readable font size, make the subject line relevant to the context," and keep the message short and sweet, she says. "Failure to clearly convey the message [quickly] will result in deleting the email, or worse, unsubscribing."

5. The content isn't relevant to them.

"People subscribe to email newsletters because they believe the sender has something valuable to offer," says Farmiloe. "But sometimes [marketers] don't acknowledge subscriber preferences and send content that doesn't match what the subscribers want. That's when that unsubscribe button gets pressed, when content isn't personalized." The solution: "Take the time to segment subscribers based on their preferences and campaign activity. Personalize content with targeted offers and consistent content," Farmiloe says.

"It seems so simple and straightforward: Understand your target audience and provide content that is relevant for them," says Linda Pophal, owner/founder, Strategic Communications. "But, despite the fact that we all know this to be true, too often we fail to deliver. Why? Because we are, by nature, internally focused. We understand us more than we understand them." And, as a result, we lose them.

To keep subscribers subscribed, "take steps to understand and stay up-to-date on your audience's needs and interests," she advises. "You can do this by being attentive to the content they are most interested in, by frequenting online discussion groups that your audience engages in, by monitoring relevant social media channels and by conducting research ( focus groups and/or polls and surveys) every once in a while to seek feedback from your audience."

"People [typically] sign up for email newsletters because [they're] relevant to their lives at that moment," says Brammer. "New parents, for example, sign up to learn more about strollers or bottles and pacifiers." However, "if you're still sending the same message two to three years later, the content isn't following the customers' journey," she says. To keep customers interested, "modify the email pitch," so it is relevant to where they are at now.

"If you neither email people with any new or interesting information nor any promotions of any real value, then what are you emailing them?" asks Ken Wisnefski, CEO, WebiMax, an Internet marketing company. "People are busy and they get a lot of email. If you want people to stay subscribed, and open your email, there has to be something in it for them, otherwise you are wasting their time, and they will unsubscribe."


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