5 Ways to Guarantee a Bunch of Email Unsubscribes

Posted by Carly Stec in Warm Email Marketing Insights

Like the mall during the holiday season, the Subway on a rainy day, or an Apple store on the morning of a new release, the average person's email inbox is crowded.

In fact, according to a study from The Radicati Group, this year the average person receives approximately 81 emails a day, up from 78 in 2013.

What does your email have that those 81 other emails don’t? Is it valuable enough to help you retain your subscription base?

With 77% of online consumers stating that they’ve become more cautious about giving companies their email address over the past year, marketers must learn how to play their cards right if they want to hang on to their subscribers. (Source: ExactTarget: The Social Break-Up)

So if you’re burdening your recipients with these 5 poor practices, it’s time to shift your focus.

1) Employing a Spammy Subject Line


33% of email recipients open email based on subject line alone. (Source: Convince and Convert)

Like it or not, this one line alone serves as your opportunity to make a good first impression, or no impression at all. If your subject line misses the mark, the unfortunate reality is that all of your invested time is at risk of going to waste.

With that being said, walk away from the sales pitch. Promotional subject lines tend to not perform as well as ones that strive to convey direct value.

After all, nobody has ever shrieked with excitement upon receiving an email with the subject: “CHECK OUT THIS BARGAIN!! ***100%*** FREE!! TODAY ONLY”, am I right?

“***100%*** FREE!? Get out of town! Sign me up!” …said no one, ever.

How to Fix it:

  1. Avoid SCREAMING AT THEM, misleading them, or abusing punctuation!!!!!! These bad habits are sure to land you a spot in the virtual trash can.
  2. Keep them short and sweet. While the average inbox reveals about 60 characters of an email’s subject line, only the first 25 to 30 characters of a subject line appear on a mobile phone. (Source: Business Insider)
  3. Focus on managing the readers expectations by steering clear of the old “bait & switch” technique. Nobody has time for that.
  4. A/B test your subject lines. Vary capitalization, word choice, length, and structure to uncover which format performs best. A test run by WPCurve revealed that they saw a 28% increase in clicks by making a simple change to one of their subject lines. (Source: Unbounce)
  5. **Try incorporating something that feel personal to your prospects. Try their name or their company name if you’ve got it.

2) Failing to Segment Your Lists


Emails that are relevant to their recipients yield better results.

Emails that hold little to no relevance to their recipients yield unsubscribes.

It's a simple formula really, and with consumer expectations at an all time high, there is no time or place for irrelevance.

In order to drive targeted traffic back to your website, you have to be strategic in sending emails that are designed to point the right people in the right direction.

The solution to this lies in the necessity of segmentation. The slice and dice approach that every good marketer must be well-versed in if they wish to hold on to their subscribers.

In fact, according to an annual report from Lyris, marketers who segmented their email lists experienced 28% lower unsubscribe rates.

How to Fix it:

  1. Base your segmentation off of cold, hard facts. Delve into your audiences to uncover information regarding where they came from, what industry they are in, or other important factors to you and your messaging. By dividing your contact database into segmented lists based on interests, behavior, and/or demographics, it will be easier to enroll them in messaging sequences that will nurture them properly.
  2. If you're dealing with B2B companies, take into account the specific role in which you are trying to reach. If you're sending an offer geared towards marketers to a bunch of CEOs, the misalignment could be responsible for unsubscribes.
  3. Narrow your contact database by honing in on the different stages of the sales-cycle.
  4. If location plays a role in your sales process, it is important that it plays a role in your segmentation process too.

3) Relying on Lackluster Content


Ultimately, you want the body of your email to match the promise outlined in your subject line. Anything less will put you at risk of losing a valuable subscriber.

If your content is plugged with flashy images, product pitches, and empty promises, there's no reason for recipients to stick around. These are the types of emails people get sick off, so don't pile on.

If you're building your emails off of heavy blocks of text, industry jargon, and “me, me, me” content, you're wasting not only your own time, but your audience's time as well.

When it comes down to it, the average goldfish has a longer attention span than the average human. With this being said, in order to keep a spot in your recipients inbox, you have to earn it.

In order to capture their attention and earn their respect, you have to provide them with content that is interesting and valuable enough to rise above the noise.

How to Fix it:

  1. Send your recipients free resources based off their behavior on your website. Using customer intelligence to provide them with relevant content will highlight your expertise and make it easier for you to build productive relationships.
  2. Focus on being a solutionist above all else. Worry less about making a sale, and instead shift your concern to understanding your buyer persona’s pain points and what you can do to alleviate them.
  3. Recognize the importance of empathy. The more you speak directly to your audience’s needs, the more likely you will be to be heard.
  4. Break up the text so that it is more easily digestible. Utilize bullet points to highlight unique benefits and make it easy for recipients to extract value.
  5. Deliver your emails in a personal way. The more impersonal your message or design looks and feels, the more likely it is to be ignored.

4) Poor Frequency


Finding the sweet spot in terms of email volume requires a delicate balance.

A push for more emails won’t guarantee more engagement, but a lull in email distribution will put you at major risk of being forgotten.

If you feel like you’re sending emails too frequently, ask yourself, “Am I still providing value?”

If the value drops off as the frequency heightens, it’s likely that you’re going to find yourself with a handful of unengaged, uninterested unsubscribes.

Proper communication requires you to find the fine line between quality and quantity and carry out your email marketing from there.

How to Fix it:

  1. Track your email analytics regularly. Look for patterns in open rates, click-through rates, conversions, and unsubscribes. These numbers will help you to determine where the level of interest and engagement is highest and where it drops off.
  2. Employ a weekly, biweekly, or monthly email. A regularly occurring email will help you to maintain a presence in their inbox that they will come to expect, and hopefully look forward to.
  3. Adjust your frequency based off how far your recipients are in the sales cycle. While new leads may require a higher email frequency to capture their attention and remain at the top of their mind, more advanced opportunities may require less frequent more personal emails.

5) Not Optimizing for Mobile Consumption


89% of email marketers are losing leads and opportunities because they're not optimizing their emails. (Source: Equinux)

Now that our smartphones have become something like a second skin, it should come as no surprise that business people are relying on mobile email more than ever before. Are you accommodating their transition to mobile?

With 64% of decision-makers reading their email via mobile devices, your business simply can't afford not to optimize emails for mobile consumption. (Source: TopRankBlog)

The bottom line being that if your emails aren't mobile-friendly, you're missing opportunities.

How to Fix it:

  1. Employ a responsive design. A responsive design is an HTML layout that adjusts based off screen size and device to improve the display. (Note: If your email is being sent by a software that directly integrates with your Gmail account like Connect 365, your email will automatically have a responsive design.)
  2. Choose your images wisely and don't forget to reduce them (JPEGmini is a great tool for this.) A study from Aberdeen Research Group revealed that for every 1 second delay in loading time, there was an average 7% drop in conversions. (Source: Gomez). As a general rule of thumb, reducing the amount of images in your emails can provide better deliverability.
  3. While the average inbox displays about the first 50 characters of an email subject line, mobile devices reveal an even shorter snippet. Aim to keep your subject lines under 30 characters to avoid an awkward cut off.

Build Your Audience, Don’t Shrink It


While it’s impractical to expect every single one of your emails to resonate completely, a strong focus on the recipient’s wants and needs will help mitigate the number of unsubscribes you’re faced with.

When people do unsubscribe, work to identify reasons why they no longer saw the value in your messages. From here, you can begin to shape new initiatives to keep your existing subscribers engaged.


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