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Unsubscribe rates are one of the trickiest marketing metrics to monitor.
Too low and your email list might be clogged up with unengaged subscribers — too high and your audience will start to shrink.
In this post, we tackle where your unsubscribe rate should be, the factors that affect it, and what you can do to improve it.
Sometimes, subscribers no longer wish to receive emails from you. They’ll remove themselves from your list by clicking on your unsubscribe link and following whatever process you have in place.
While this will inevitably decrease the size of your email lists, it’s actually a method of self-cleaning.
Your unsubscribe rate is the percentage of users who have unsubscribed from your mailing list, out of how many emails were delivered.
People unsubscribe for different reasons:
Some of these reasons are within your control, while others aren’t.
As part of cleaning your email list, you should also unsubscribe people yourself.
Inactive users are a waste of space on your email list and can negatively affect your open rate, click-throughs, and overall engagement rates.
Not to mention, some companies charge you based on the size of your email list, which can become costly.
Now that you know what an unsubscribe rate is, let’s look at how to calculate your own.
To work out your unsubscribe rate, you need some more data — how many people unsubscribed, as well as the number of emails delivered.
Some email service providers will provide you with this information, but it’s still a good idea to know how to figure it out.
You can use our handy infographic to help you calculate this for yourself:
Unsubscribe rate formula
As with all email metrics, unsubscribe rates vary depending on your niche and from company to company.
Depending on which email platform you’re looking at, the average differs.
Some platforms like Campaign Monitor claim it’s around 0.1%, while others like Sendinblue calculate it at an astonishingly low 0.05%.
Remember, low unsubscribe rates have more to do with your content than with which platform you use, so don’t be fooled.
Smart Insights suggests that a good unsubscribe rate sits somewhere around 0.49% — less than 1% of your email list.
However, the best benchmarks are industry-specific, so check out where your niche’s unsubscribes fall here.
Customer retention is a big deal for any business, so a high unsubscribe rate may have you concerned.
Understandably, a huge spike might send you reeling.
Here are a few things you shouldn’t do when your unsubscribe rate unexpectedly jumps:
Before you start to worry about your unsubscribe rate, consider whether your email campaign could have been affected by several other things.
Here are some of the most common reasons for more “unsubscribes” than usual:
1. They only opted in to get your lead magnet
After getting the initial benefit of your lead magnet (a free guide, cheatsheet, calculator, etc.), some subscribers will leave your list.
They were only ever in it for the freebie, and your email content is not what they’re interested in. Let them go, they’re not part of your target audience.
2. You didn’t segment your email list
Segmenting your list using contact tagging or groups is an essential part of any email strategy.
If you don’t separate your email lists, you can’t deliver targeted or relevant content.
Ensure you have a clear idea of your ideal customer profiles and then segment your lists based on their behavior and interests.
3. Your timing is off
You need to work out when to send your emails, at a time that’s perfect for your ideal customers.
Creating a content and email sending schedule is another part of ensuring your email campaigns go on without a hitch.
It’s important to stick to that schedule so your audience knows what to expect.
Sending too many emails is an instant turn-off to any email contacts, even if they enjoy your content.
4. You’ve just run a new promotion to your list
Unfortunately, you’ll receive more email “unsubscribes” after running a promotion to your list.
Generic emails and newsletters are less frequent and don’t bother subscribers.
Promotions put your subscribers into a position where they can decide whether they’re interested in what you have to offer.
All of this is part of keeping your list healthy and full of subscribers who are actively interested and more likely to convert.
Some other issues will affect your email list and its overall health:
Using spam trigger words and not following email marketing laws will have your emails snagged by these.
While this doesn’t directly affect your unsubscribe rates, it does drag down your average open rates and click rates.
Remember, if your emails aren’t getting opened, you’re wasting your resources. In this case, high unsubscribe rates are better than low open rates.
If your email lists are full of inactive or non-existent email addresses, your email campaigns are going to be ineffective.
If your emails are being bounced, your marketing message will be falling on deaf ears.
Regular email list cleaning or sending re-engagement emails can help you sort out which subscribers are just inactive, and which don’t exist at all.
Unsubscribing inactive or misspelled email addresses from your list will give you room for more subscribers who are actually interested in your business.
Now that you know why you might be seeing a high-unsubscribe rate, check out these 6 ways you can bring it back down.
If your unsubscribe rates are unusually high, there are several things that you can do to decrease them again.
Use these 6 practical tips to help you keep your list healthy, lower your unsubscribe rate, and make your campaigns more effective.
Double opt-in forms require new leads to confirm their email addresses before they’re added to your list.
We suggest using this multi-step process because it removes some of the obstacles that could harm your metrics.
Here are some of the benefits:
While you’ll see slower list growth, the rule with leads remains the same — quality over quantity.
This is a great way to optimize your campaigns because quality leads are less likely to unsubscribe and they’re more likely to convert.
This may sound counter-productive, but you want to make it easy for users to unsubscribe from your list.
According to email marketing laws, you have to include an unsubscribe link in all of your marketing emails.
By streamlining this process, you ensure that future campaigns are only received by interested leads and that your email lists clean themselves.
However, there are some tactics around the unsubscription process to help minimize the loss:
By giving your leads control over the content they receive and how often they receive it, you’ll get fewer unsubscribes and build a better relationship with your audience.
The key to better email messages is to keep your content relevant to your email subscribers.
You need to send out emails that increase conversions and discourage your users from unsubscribing.
Here are some tips to help you keep your content relatable:
If your content shows your audience that you understand who they are and what they need, they’ll remain loyal.
If you turn your users into fans of your content, they won’t want to unsubscribe, and they might even recommend you to others and help you grow more.
Personalization matters, and with 70% of millennials frustrated by impersonal emails clogging their inboxes, it’s a powerful tool.
An irritated audience is an unengaged and, eventually, unsubscribed audience.
The first step in adding a personal touch to your email campaigns is through list segmentation.
According to Jason Resnick, an email automation expert, one of the biggest mistakes an email marketer can make is not using segmentation — just broadcasting the same, impersonal email to your whole list.
Here are some things you need to get started with segmented campaigns:
On top of this, there are several other things that you can do to make your emails even more personal:
Once you’ve added some of these tactics to your marketing strategy, and created more personalized emails, you’ll be able to avoid high unsubscribe rates.
41.9% of all emails are opened on mobile devices, not desktops — that’s a percentage of your audience you can’t ignore.
If you choose not to lean into mobile optimization, you’ll definitely see an increase in your email unsubscribe rates.
If users can’t read your emails on their phones, especially if that’s what they prefer, they may decide that your messages aren’t worth the effort.
Here are some fool-proof ways to create mobile-friendly emails:
If you make reading your emails convenient for your subscribers, you’ll win them over and avoid losing them to the unsubscribe link.
One of the best ways to improve your unsubscribe rate is by getting answers from the unsubscribers themselves.
When you set up the unsubscribe process, add a question box where your unsubscribing leads can leave a comment or explanation.
Pay attention to what turned them off and made them decide to leave your email list.
This is valuable information that gives you insight into what not to do when you create your next campaign.
This is a future-proofing strategy that you can use to improve your unsubscribe rate going forward.
Finally, there’s one more thing you can do to give yourself the best chance at successful campaigns — use a powerful marketing platform.
Systeme.io is a seriously powerful example of marketing software.
It’s built to be an all-in-one solution that caters to every online marketing and sales need, including your email.
Keep reading to find out why systeme.io is the place you want your business to be.
With a platform like systeme.io on your side, sending emails to your subscribers is a simple task.
Our email capabilities give you the power to:
These email features make monitoring your unsubscribe rate and keeping it low, a simple task.
However, systeme.io is more than just an email service and marketing platform.
With us, you can:
It’s easy to assume that marketing software that offers more would come at a higher price.
Luckily, that’s not the case with systeme.io.
systeme.io’s pricing plans
Believe it or not, you can get a systeme.io account without spending a cent.
That’s right, with us, you sign up for free, and you can stay that way if you want to.
A free account with systeme.io comes loaded with the following:
There are also 3 paid options, the Startup, Webinar, and Enterprise plans — plus custom pricing if that suits you better.
Optimizing your email strategies doesn’t have to cost you extra if you partner with us.
Email unsubscribe rates give you the necessary data that you need to improve your business strategy.
Whether you just need to send emails to your users, or you’re after creating fully-optimized campaigns, you’ll need marketing software by your side.
Join the systeme.io family, and sign up for your free account today!
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