Unsubscribe Definition: 6 Actionable Tips to Lower It in 2023

Unsubscribe is the act of opting out from an existing email list. Email users take this step to stop receiving emails from a particular sender (business).

Email unsubscribe is considered as reports (spam complaints) on an email campaign by email service providers (ESPs). So it directly impacts your email campaign’s success. A slight change in email unsubscribe rate can affect deliverability, email open rates, and click-through rates.

In this blog post, we aim to define unsubscribe and help you maintain the lowest unsubscribe rates, stay relevant to your audience, and create email marketing strategies. 

Let’s dive in. 

Unsubscribe Rate Calculation Formula

You need two metrics to calculate the unsubscriber rate: the number of unsubscribes and the number of emails delivered. 

You can easily access the exact numbers from your email marketing tool. 

So, the formula is: 

Unsubscribe Rate = (Number of unsubscribes / number of delivered emails) ✕ 100

For example, if a particular bulk email campaign has 4000 successfully delivered emails and 80 receivers have unsubscribed. So, if you divide 80 recipients by 4000 delivered emails and then multiply it by 100, the unsubscribe rate for the campaign is 2%

So, What is a Safe Unsubscribe Rate? 

Higher unsubscribe rate is an indicator of customer dissatisfaction (whatever the reasons are), so it is always best to keep it as low as possible. 

According to data published by SmartInsights, an unsubscribe rate under 5% is considered a safe rate for businesses. 

However, these rates vary based on industries, with B2B (non-retail) companies seeing higher average unsubscribe rates of up to 1.08%. On the flipside, Public Relations (PR) and Human resource (HR) companies see 0.01% on an average. 

Remember that a new mailing list sees very less unsubscribe rates, because receivers need time to decide whether they want to continue building relationships with the brand or not. So, it is best to check the unsubscribe rates once the list settles down. 

How to Reduce Unsubscribe Rate for Maximum Engagement?

Use Double Opt-In Forms

According to the CAN-SPAM act (and other international spam regulations), businesses need to opt-in their email marketing users and also use an unsubscribe link in their emails. Using double opt-in forms ensures that people who are sure about receiving your emails will opt-in and it will reduce the chances of future unsubscribe. 

These forms are used in landing pages and blogs so that people who visit your website can first enter their email and then verify (give consent) to receive emails from your organization. 

Segment Subscribers List

Unsubscribe may happen when you can’t provide value or type of content according to your subscribers’ needs. 

Not all customers want to receive the same kind of emails, so segment your email list based on your subscribers’ preferences. It is best if you let your subscribers choose what kind of email content they want to receive. 

Companies with a wide subscriber base usually categorize subscribers based on demographics such as age, location, gender, country, buying habits, and intent. 

Personalize Your Content

The key to reach your subscribers’ hearts is personalization. If you send generic email templates to everyone on your mailing list, the unsubscribe rate will go higher. 

Instapage data shows that around 74% of email marketers believe that email personalization improves email open rates and click-through rates, resulting in lower unsubscribe rates. 

So, make use of user data such as their position on the sales funnel, purchase history, buying habits, and demographics to create personalized content for each of your subscribers. 

You can use Smartwriter to create intent-based personalized emails for your subscribers. 

Make Emails Mobile-Friendly

HubSpot has found that around 48% of all email opens happen from mobile devices. So, it is very important to make mobile-friendly emails. 

If your subscriber opens your email on their smartphone and it is not optimized for mobile devices, the chances are they will never open your emails and eventually unsubscribe. 

So, make your emails mobile-friendly to avoid higher unsubscribe rates. 

Let Your Subscribers Decide Email Frequency

Flooding your subscribers’ inboxes is never a good option to maintain email sender reputation. It’s best if you let your subscribers choose how many marketing emails they want  to receive and at what frequency. This way, they get to keep a clean inbox and you reach out with your message without annoying them – win for both. 

Ask for Feedback and Maintain Meaningful Engagement

 Even if you don’t see a sudden or gradual spike in unsubscribe rates, it is best if you ask for feedback from your subscribers. Also ask them to share ideas to improve. This way you can create meaningful engagement, lower email bounce rates, improve email deliverability, while providing value to their needs. 

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