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Launch Your Online Business in Just 7 Days

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.

1. What is an unsubscribe rate?

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:

  • They aren’t interested in your product after the initial sale
  • Some people only sign up to get your lead magnet
  • You annoyed the subscriber with how often you sent emails
  • They felt what you sent was irrelevant content

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.

1.1. How to calculate your unsubscribe rate

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

Unsubscribe rate formula

As with all email metrics, unsubscribe rates vary depending on your niche and from company to company.

2. What is the average unsubscribe rate?

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.

2.1. Should you worry if yours is higher than the average?

High unsubscribe rate

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:

  • Remove your unsubscribe link — This is a legal requirement for all marketing emails
  • Drastically change your sending schedule — You might upset other segments of your audience and lose them too
  • Move your email to another marketing platform — This might not make a difference, and it’s a waste of time and effort
  • Dismiss it as a fluke — It’s still important to understand what caused the sudden change or surge

Before you start to worry about your unsubscribe rate, consider whether your email campaign could have been affected by several other things.

2.2. Reasons why your unsubscribe rate might be higher

High_Unsubscribe_Rate

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.

Factors_Affecting_List_Health

Some other issues will affect your email list and its overall health:

  • Getting caught in spam filters

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.

  • Inactive email accounts

If your email lists are full of inactive or non-existent email addresses, your email campaigns are going to be ineffective.


Again, this doesn’t directly affect your unsubscribe rate, but you’ll see a higher bounce rate and lower open rate and click rate.


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.

3. 6 healthy email list habits to optimize your next email campaign

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.

3.1. Use a double opt-in process

Use a double opt-in process

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:

  • No misspelled or fake email addresses will be added to your list
  • Email confirmation adds an added layer of list security
  • Better compliance with email marketing laws
  • A generally healthy list
  • Disinterested people won’t confirm their emails
  • More engaged leads who want your content

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.

3.2. Make unsubscribing easy

Easy_Unsubscribing_Tactics

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:

  • Questions — When you send a welcome email, why not ask subscribers to tell you how often they want to receive emails from you
  • Preferences — Allow users to choose what kind of content they want to be subscribed to and what they don’t want
  • Subscription options — Add other ways for users to keep in contact with you, like social media, if emailing isn’t really their thing

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.

3.3. Keep your content relevant

Keep your content relevant

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:

  • Define your marketing goal — Decide on what you want to achieve with your email campaign
  • Create your ideal customer profile — Understand your target audience’s problems and interests
  • Decide on your message — Are you telling a story, selling a product, or asking for referrals from existing clients?
  • Use a strong subject line — Short, punchy subject lines that address pain points and entice leads to open your emails
  • Careful word choice — Speak to your audience in the language they use themselves

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.

3.4. Personalize your emails

Personalize your emails

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:

  • Create different contact tags or separate lists
  • Tag or separate your audience based on their behavior and interests
  • Subscribe them to different campaigns that match their needs
  • Ensure that the different streams of your audience don’t receive irrelevant emails

On top of this, there are several other things that you can do to make your emails even more personal:

  • Use your subscriber’s name in the email greeting (or elsewhere in your email)
  • Include personal pronouns to directly address your message to your subscribers
  • Try out dynamic content sections to ensure your email recipients receive emails that feel tailor-made for them

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.

3.5. Be more mobile-friendly

Be more mobile-friendly

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:

  • Use common, easy-to-read fonts at size 15 or larger
  • Avoid using too many images, as many devices prevent email image downloads
  • Keep your subject lines short enough to read on smaller screens
  • Use responsive templates like systeme.io’s to build your emails
  • Don’t write chunks of text, and keep your emails short and sweet
  • Make sure your links are well spaced and easily clickable with a thumb

If you make reading your emails convenient for your subscribers, you’ll win them over and avoid losing them to the unsubscribe link.

3.6. Ask for feedback from unsubscribers

Ask for feedback from unsubscribers

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.

4. Systeme.io: Your partner in email marketing

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.

4.1. Systeme.io’s features

systeme.io logo

systeme.io logo

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:

  • Build lasting relationships, and send unlimited emails to your users
  • Save time by setting up automated email sequences
  • Send targeted content to different segments of your audience with automated contact tagging
  • Analyze your email data and metrics with advanced reporting and a dedicated email dashboard

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:

  • Build your website in minutes — No matter what niche you’re in and with zero technical skills required
  • Easily create sales funnels — Integrate your funnels with the rest of your site, and convert more customers
  • Run your business on autopilot — Our software takes care of boring, repetitive tasks so that you don’t have to
  • Monetize your experience — Create online courses and membership sites
  • Build an affiliate army — Incentivize your loyal customers to refer more leads to you
  • Loads of ecommerce tools — Make a living online with order bumps, upsells, and other simple sales features

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.

4.2. Systeme.io’s pricing

systeme.io’s pricing plans

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:

  • Space for 2,000 contacts
  • 1 contact tag and 1 email campaign
  • 1 automation rule and 1 workflow
  • 3 sales funnels with 10 steps
  • A coupon code, order bump, and 1-click upsell
  • 1 blog with unlimited posts
  • 1 membership site with unlimited members

And more!


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.

5. Conclusion

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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