How to Decrease Email Unsubscribe Rates

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Overview

Unsubscribe rates inform you of how often customers unsubscribe from your emails. A high unsubscribe rate indicates that you’re either sending to those who do not wish to receive your marketing or you’re sending content that does not resonate with this audience. Unsubscribe rates impact your deliverability performance, so it is important to monitor this metric and take action to lower unsubscribes. In this article, you will learn more about what unsubscribe rates entail and how to minimize them over time.

This article specifically focuses on email unsubscribe rates. If you are instead focusing on SMS rates, head to Campaign SMS and MMS Benchmarks for guidance.

What Is Unsubscribe Rate?

Unsubscribe rate measures how often subscribers opt-out of receiving your email marketing. An unsubscribe occurs when a profile clicks your unsubscribe link or adjusts their consent in your subscribe and manage preferences pages. Once someone unsubscribes they will also become suppressed.

The calculation for unsubscribe rate is as follows:

  • Unsubscribe rate = the number of people who unsubscribe after receiving your email divided by the number of emails received

Why Unsubscribe Rates Matter

As with spam complaints or bounces, a rise in unsubscribes may signal to inbox providers that you are sending content that recipients do not wish to receive. This damages your sender reputation and can eventually lead to more of your emails landing in spam than in the inbox. To maintain a good sender reputation, monitor unsubscribe rates closely, and when you see a rise, take action to lower this metric. In addition, when someone unsubscribes, this is often a sign that your content no longer aligns with their interests or that you are sending too much of the same content.

A great unsubscribe rate is less than 0.2%. For more information on what qualifies as good (and bad) for deliverability metrics, head to our article, How to Monitor Deliverability Performance.

How to Decrease Unsubscribe Rates

Some key strategies to decrease unsubscribe rates include:

  • Clean your lists regularly
  • Enable global unsubscribes
  • Refresh email content and manage preferences page

Clean Your Lists Regularly

List cleaning is a process that removes any unengaged, misspelled, fake, or spam email addresses that you may collect over time. Doing so will decrease your unsubscribe rates as you weed out any profiles who should no longer receive your messaging. Unsubscribes negatively impact your deliverability, so proactive list cleaning and suppressing profiles who are unengaged will improve your sender reputation over time.

For information and step-by-step instructions on how to clean your lists, head to our Guide to List Cleaning

Enable Global Unsubscribes

We highly recommend that you enable global unsubscribes in your account. When enabled, anyone who unsubscribes from an email (either a campaign or flow) will be globally unsubscribed and suppressed from all lists. Globally suppressed profiles will remain intact and appear in lists, but they will no longer be able to receive emails. Then, you can choose to clean your lists of global suppressions

If you do not have global unsubscribes on, then someone may unsubscribe from an email assuming they will never receive more communication from your brand. However, if they are on multiple lists or qualify for a flow, they can still be emailed and may unsubscribe multiple times or even begin marking you as spam. As a result it is best to enable this within list settings.

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You can also access a direct link to a global unsubscribe page by selecting Account > Settings > Email and scroll down to the Consent section of this page. Send this link to anyone who wants to opt-out of all future sends.

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Refresh Email Content and Manage Preferences Page

Another scenario that can increase unsubscribes is when your content no longer aligns with subscriber expectations or interests. Here are some best practices to refresh your email content:

  • Ensure that your content matches the subject line
    When your content and subject lines align, recipients will have accurate expectations when opening an email. If they feel misled in any way, they’re more likely to unsubscribe.
  • Personalize content with segmentation
    If you send too much of the same content to the same people, they may lose interest or feel as though your emails are irrelevant. Segmentation allows you to personalize messaging and target specific audiences so that your emails relate to their purchase history, interests, engagement, location, and more. If you’re new to segmentation, head to Guide to Creating Segments to learn more. If you already have segments built in your account but want to level up, head to our Guide to Advanced Segmentation for inspiration.
  • Update how often you email subscribers
    Unsubscribes may also rise due to your message frequency (i.e., you may send to some contacts more often than they’d like or too little). Consider building out email frequency segments. Then, adjust your content calendar and target these segments according to their level of engagement.
  • Allow preference management
    You can update your list’s preferences page to allow subscribers to choose how often they receive emails from your brand and what content they receive. For example, someone could choose to receive emails daily, weekly or monthly. They could likewise opt-in to receive only information about sales or subscribe to your weekly newsletter, new product updates, etc. You can include a link to your manage preferences page in the header or footer of your emails for ease of access.

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