This article was published on March 18, 2014

Why people unsubscribe from mailing lists (and how to win them back)

Why people unsubscribe from mailing lists (and how to win them back)
Henriette Weber
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Henriette Weber

Hi rockers! Im a digital rock n'roll chick+ author, who's psyched about branding and social web. Find out more about my advisorroles strateg Hi rockers! Im a digital rock n'roll chick+ author, who's psyched about branding and social web. Find out more about my advisorroles strategies, books etc. at my site or my company or on Facebook.

Running a newsletter can be difficult. You put so much energy into getting people to sign up that a couple of unsubscribers may just ruin your day.

Clearly, there’s a reason people unsubscribed from your newsletter: Maybe they don’t think you’re creating great enough free content, or are fed up with your shameless self promotion. Maybe you’re just sending too much? Fear not, it’s almost hardly the case. Sometimes people they just want to clear their inbox.

Ask yourself the questions below and see if they may be the reason people unsubscribe from your perfectly good newsletters. If so, we’ll provide some helpful hints on how to avoid making such mistakes.

1. Is it optimized for mobile phones?

These days, more email are read on a mobile device than on a desktop mail client, with more than 25 percent accessed from a smartphone. The numbers truly start to make sense when you look at the 40 percent of unique clicks that derive directly from mobile sources.

The first self-evaluation is to test and make sure that your newsletter is optimized for mobile. Many email newsletter suppliers will have already integrated this into their service, but there’s no harm in double checking with various operating systems to make sure things look the way they should cross-platform.

2. Are you sending it at the right time?

Email opening rate vary depending on what time you send the email and the industry you’re in. A great thumbnail is to send your newsletter out during weekdays between 2 p.m. and 5  p.m., then do an A/B split test campaign setup to see when your readers are most likely to read the newsletter.

Many people check their personal emails during lunch breaks or commutes, so target your mailing lists to fire during the times that will most likely catch readers’ eyes.

3. Is email the preferred way they want to connect with you?

Since email is not the only way people can connect with you, you may want to provide unsubscribers other options to avoid flooding their inbox.

When people choose to unsubscribe from your mailing list, give them motives to follow you elsewhere than by email. Perhaps they’re more likely to be engaged via social media as the succinctness may be more their speed.

Provide links to your Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, or any other social media profiles in your unsubscription confirmation to win back last-minute fans. You never know: If they like your content on social media better, maybe they’ll come back to the newsletters after all.

4. Do they remember you?

There are tons of newsletters out there on the Web – do your readers know why they subscribed to yours in the first place? Sometimes, it is not enough to be “Rob from xx technologies,” but add some umph in there. Your newsletter byline and headlines are all opportunities for branding.

Of course, you can also add all the branding shenanigans in the newsletter itself – but when it comes to people opening and reading the newsletter, branding, and standing out in the “from” and “subject” field is vital.

5. Are you sending newsletters out often enough?

Are you out on a limb with your sending frequency? Research shows that you could easily email your list more often – especially if you’re already emailing them around four to five times a month.

Many small companies and consultant are starting up a list of a small daily advice – just two lines to inspire creativity and motivation. Every little bit that provides support and wellness to your readers can make the difference between “useless daily emails” and the stuff readers look forward to.

6. Are your newsletters simply boring?

Yes, online marketing can be a drag, but you must accept that sending out pitches simply won’t work no matter how cool your product is. There need to be at least one key thing to every newsletter that the subscribers can implement or make more effective.

Before sending out your newsletter, create an outline and describe your main points for sending out this email. What should readers take away? How does this relate to your product or service?

Your points do not need to be action-packed and filled with great ideas (keep them in a list for other newsletters), but if you are the best in your field, then have them learn some tips and tricks from the best.

What are some methods that are hits with your mailing list subscribers?

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