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How to Improve Your Email Unsubscribe Rate

Unsubscribe rate is only one of the KPIs all email marketers should be tracking. Learn how to lower your unsubscribe rate and boost conversions.

Email marketing is an essential digital marketing strategy every business needs, regardless of size. Whether you're an e-commerce company with the best deals or a service provider, email marketing can help you reach your target audience and keep them coming back for more.

Unfortunately, many small business owners don't know how to measure the effectiveness of their campaigns. They may create email campaigns and hope for the best after sending them back without checking their key performance indicators (KPIs).

KPIs are an essential part of a robust strategy. If you're not measuring and tracking the results of the campaigns, you're losing out on valuable data that can help your business grow.

One KPI you should consider tracking is your email unsubscribe rate, which can give you an estimate of users who have unsubscribed from receiving your emails. But how do you calculate your unsubscribe rate, and why does it matter?

The average email unsubscribe rate sits at 0.1%.

What is an email unsubscribe rate?

An email unsubscribe rate tells you how many users opt out of your email marketing campaigns. This number is a percentage, so it doesn't tell you the exact number of opted-out users, but it can help you gauge whether your emails have been successful or whether people are considering your emails spam.

Ultimately, your unsubscribe rate will tell you the percentage of subscribers you've lost—those who will no longer be receiving your emails. A low unsubscribe rate is ideal because it will improve your email deliverability. A high email unsubscribe rate signals to email service providers that your business is sending spam emails.

These providers use spam filters, so if users are unsubscribing at high rates, your emails might go directly to users' spam folders, so you want to keep your unsubscribe rate as low as possible.

For example, if you send out a campaign that delivers 1,000 emails and 100 users opt out, your unsubscribe rate is 10%. This is a high rate, which likely tells you that your emails weren't relevant to your target audience or they don't know who you are.

What is considered a good unsubscribe rate?

A good unsubscribe rate depends on your industry.

We've studied our customers of all types to provide you with email marketing benchmarks to help you understand the average unsubscribe rate for your industry. Many industries have average unsubscribe rates as high as 1 or 2%, so don't worry if your rates are slightly higher or lower than the average.

However, if your unsubscribe rate is much higher than the average for your industry, it could indicate that your emails aren't effective. If this is true for your business, you should understand why your unsubscribe rates are so high and find ways to lower them.

How to calculate unsubscribe rate

Now that you understand what a good unsubscribe rate is, you should learn how to calculate it. Luckily, most email marketing automation tools will calculate your unsubscribe rate for you. In addition, you can make reports to determine your rate per email campaign, month, quarter, and so forth to help you understand how many subscribers you're losing.

The formula for calculating your unsubscribe rate is to divide the number of unsubscribed users by the number of emails delivered. Then, multiply that number by 100 to get a percentage.

unsubscribe rate = # of subscribers / # of messages delivered x 100

Why do people unsubscribe from email marketing?

You must collect emails by letting subscribers opt-in on your website or through another verifiable method. Gone are the days when you could purchase email lists from other companies.

Now, ISPs are more intelligent, and consumers are no longer as trusting as they once were. Therefore, if you purchase an email list, you're likely to have high unsubscribe rates, which signals to ISPs that you're sending spam.

If you're collecting emails properly and users know what to expect, you might wonder why your email unsubscribe rates are so high. There are several reasons why people unsubscribe from email marketing, including the following:

  • Incorrect expectations: When people sign up to receive your emails, they have certain expectations. If your emails don't meet those expectations, they'll unsubscribe.
  • Poor design: Poor email marketing design can make users feel like your business can't be trusted because it's not creating quality, relevant content. Users may unsubscribe if your emails aren't easy to understand and read.
  • No segmentation: Email segmentation allows you to target your audiences based on your campaigns effectively. Targeting the wrong people with an offer can make them unsubscribe. For example, if you send a B2B business an offer for consumers only, they're likely to unsubscribe even if you offer B2B products and services.
  • Spamming: Email frequency also plays a role in your unsubscribe rate. Sending too many emails can make users feel like you're spamming their inboxes.
What's the most common reason you unsubscribe from an email newsletter?

6 ways to lower your email unsubscribe rate

Email marketing can help you promote your business, but If your average email unsubscribe rate is much higher than your industry benchmarks, your goal should be to lower it with each campaign. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Never buy emails

If you purchase email lists, you're likely to have higher unsubscribe rates because users never opted into your campaigns, and they likely don't know who you are. In addition, purchased email lists can damage your domain reputation, affecting your deliverability rate on future campaigns.

Effectively target your audience

Segmenting your email list is one of the best and easiest ways to improve your email marketing because it can help you reach the right people at the right times with the right offers. Segmentation will also lower your unsubscribe rate because you can create targeted content for each audience segment.

Personalize emails

Personalization is another way to make your emails appear less spammy, and most consumers expect some level of personalization when companies contact them. Personalized emails will allow you to send targeted emails with the right content to engage more users and prevent them from clicking the unsubscribe link.

Collect feedback

You can send email surveys to your customers to get feedback on what types of emails and content they want to receive from you. This will help you understand what your customers expect and shift your email marketing strategy accordingly, preventing unsubscribes and increasing user engagement.

Make emails responsive

Responsive emails will appear correctly on devices of all sizes, including desktops, laptops, and smartphones. By ensuring your content displays correctly, you can improve engagement and ensure emails look how you want them to.

Consider frequency

Unfortunately, there is no perfect email sending frequency. However, you can experiment to determine how often your subscribers want to hear from you. If you have a high unsubscribe rate, check your email frequency to determine whether you should increase or decrease it. For example, if you email customers twice a week, you may reduce it to once per week as long as you have relevant information or offers to share.

Other email marketing to track

Your email unsubscribe rate can tell you a lot about your campaigns, but it won't help you understand your email performance and audience unless you track other KPIs with it. Other email marketing stats to track include the following:

  • Open rate: Your open rate will tell you how many people open your emails per campaign. You may re-evaluate your subject line to encourage more opens if you have a low open rate.
  • Click-through rate (CTR): CTR tells you the percentage of users who have clicked your emails. This number can help you determine whether users are engaging with your emails to determine whether you need to alter the design or offer to encourage more clicks.
  • Bounces: The bounce rate of your emails refers to the number of users who open your emails but don't click on clicks or read them. You can remove these users from your future campaigns to reduce the possibility of unsubscribes or send re-engagement emails to keep them interested in your business.

Avoid spamming your email subscribers at all costs

A high email unsubscribe rate can be detrimental to your future email marketing campaigns, forcing your emails to end up in the spam folders of users who want to hear from your business. Therefore, keeping your unsubscribe rate low is crucial to avoid spamming your subscribers. You can lower your rate by personalizing emails, segmenting your audience, and finding new ways to engage subscribers.

Mailchimp makes it easy to understand your unsubscribe rate, manage subscribers, and create engaging, personalized campaigns to increase opens and clicks. Take control of your email marketing strategy today.

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