We’ve all experienced the disappointment – another reader requests to be removed from the newsletter list. Suddenly you have all those nagging thoughts- was it something I said? Something I should’ve said? Are my newsletters useful? Is my content fresh?

Those are good questions to ask if you are losing more readers than you would like to see. One or two is okay. Even a dozen isn’t bad. Just remember, you will never be able to cater to your entire audience. Perhaps your business is a service they no longer need. Maybe they forgot they subscribed to your list. There could be a myriad of reasons. The moment you should start evaluating potential risk factors is when your unsubscribe rate hits above 0.5%. Of course it differs for each industry, but the generic average is 0.5%.

What factors should you evaluate once you rate starts pushing the envelope?

  • The validity of your leads (how did you gain your leads? Did you purchase them or did they subscribe willingly?)
  • The relevancy of your content (have you veered way off topic lately from issues your readers expect you to address? While its okay to venture from the norm every once in a while, don’t go off the deep end)
  • The frequency of your emails (do you send emails daily, weekly, monthly, hardly ever? Readers want to hear from you often enough so they don’t forget you, but not so often that they wish they’d never met you)

All this being said, sometimes unsubscribes are not a bad thing. Unsubscribes could be helpful to you if there are a large amount of people who find your services irrelevant so they no longer open your emails. They’re dead weight, and their dragging your open rate down. In this case, sometimes manually unsubscribing the perpetually un-engaged is a good thing too. Methodically parsing your list every quarter to ensure you are emailing the right audience is a good idea. This includes emails that are bouncing back. If an email is wrong or inactive, why keep sending emails? This only hurts your open rate.

Just remember, the biggest factors for unsubscribes are off-target content and spammy headlines. When readers feel like they’re being harassed through your subject lines or misled by content that’s not what you promised, you lose their trust. This can result in a greater grievance than being asked to stop sending emails. It can result in abuse reports. This is territory you do not want to venture in to if you can help it. Once a certain percentage of your readers mark you as spam an abuse report is sent to your e-newsletter platform, after which your account is put on hold and your business message is investigated. Try to avoid this at all costs! More on that in our next post. For now, check out Mail Chimp’s email design guide on good practices for putting together your next email.

Join us next time for our blog on how to avoid spam filters!