NEWS FLASH! The email newsletter is not outdated. In fact, it is one of the most effective ways a company can maintain relationships with clients and build trust and authority with prospects. It’s a powerful vehicle that can be used to launch new products and services, share industry insight and drive traffic to your website.

Woo-hoo!

Then why do so many people unsubscribe or get annoyed with the newsletter they signed up for? Why do these newsletters become a  disaster for many companies? Is it because it is crafted poorly? Or is it because of how the email newsletter list was built?

No company wants disgruntled customers and annoyed prospects.

After reading this post you’ll have a greater understanding of why people unsubscribe from newsletters, techniques for retention and what to do if they unsubscribe.

Reasons Why People Unsubscribe

The Recipient’s Inbox is Too Cluttered
The average officer worker receives 121 emails a day! Make sure your email is in 30.6% that gets opened.

It’s Not Fun to Read
Give your readers something to be excited about! Incorporate a video, an inspiring quote or a funny joke. It doesn’t have to be ALL business. Adding graphics and images can be effective too.

Too Salesy
Wow the subscriber with industry insight, upcoming trends or interesting information. Your newsletter campaign will be much more successful if you sell them on your knowledge first and your product or service second.

Content is Irrelevant
Make sure the contact is interested in your content. A Toyota Camry driver isn’t interested in the release of the newest BMW car.

Subscribers Don’t Know You or Don’t Remember Signing Up
Be consistent in your efforts. Nothing is worse than a subscriber receiving an email from you months after they signed up and questioning who you or your company are. Introduce yourself, be consistent and check in every now and then (outside of the newsletter campaign).

It’s Not Personal
Most marketing automation solutions allow you to automatically generate a contact’s name to personalize the message. Take full advantage of this feature!

Techniques for Retention

Now that you’re aware of some of the reasons why people unsubscribe, let’s look at a few solutions…

Provide Timely, Relevant Information

We are inundated with information the second we open our laptops, tablets and mobile devices. We quickly block out irrelevant information, scan the remaining and read only the (subjectively) interesting. Therefore, it is crucial to only produce high quality content for your newsletter that is fun and insightful to read!

Let the Customer Set the Frequency of Delivery

Additionally, the optimal newsletter frequency varies from industry to company to customer. As a company, it can be challenging and time consuming to pinpoint best practices. A much quicker and safer bet is letting the customer or prospect decide- add a frequency checkbox (daily, weekly, monthly, yearly) when people sign up so they can elect how often they would like to receive newsletter correspondence.

Keep Content Focused on Building Your Authority Through Education

As far as content, best practices dictate that you should follow the 80/20 rule. 80% of the content should be educational, inspiring or insightful, while 20% can be sales related.

Techniques to Get Them Back

It’s hard for companies to say goodbye to their leads and customers ……. So make the decision to unsubscribe difficult for them (the process for someone to unsubscribe should not be difficult).

Ask for Feedback

This is crucial. Was it the content, email frequency, subject matter or some other reason that the contact decided to unsubscribe? It would be nice to know so that you can further improve your newsletter efforts.

Give Them Options

Following the previous advice, before subscribers really hit unsubscribe, give them the option to change their email newsletter preferences. Do they want to receive emails less often? Are the interested in different subject matter? In the world of email automation it is easy to make these adjustments to individual contacts so that you can retain them as a subscriber.

Add a Personal Touch

It’s inevitable, we respond to our name…it’s how we’re wired! Not only do you have a contact’s undivided attention, but personalization has a physiological impact that can greatly impact actions. Instead of “We hate to see you go”, try “We hate to see you go, [name]”.

Give Them a Good Laugh

This is our favorite. Check out what the Groupon unsubscribe confirmation page looks like by clicking the image of “Derrick” below. Creative marketing is fun for both the company and user. So even if they are on their way out, leave a memorable impression because being cold and formal isn’t going to help things either.

On your unsubscribe page, tease them with a ‘you’re going to miss out’ or offer them a way to back out – make them second guess this decision.

While there are a million different directions you can take to improve your email newsletter efforts, above all else strive for quality over quantity. If you are up for learning more about about creating quality content, check out: Content Marketing: What it Is and Why it Works!

Holly Melvin

Holly Melvin

Holly received her degree in Marketing from Mays Business School at Texas A&M University. She is passionate about marketing and enjoys working with clients to uncover their marketing needs. Writing is one of her many strong points. In her spare time, Holly enjoys blogging, biking, being outdoors and playing/watching just about every sport (as long as it’s the Aggies-Gig’em Aggies!).