Loved and Lost: Dealing with lost email subscribers

This is the age of emails.

No serious business can afford to ignore email as a channel – for product updates, general marketing, or even cold mailing.

A high-conversion email campaign can change the way your business functions. Here are some staggering facts to remind you of that:

  1. 320% more revenue is generated from welcome emails than any other promotional email.
  2. According to research, for 81% and 80% of retail professionals, email marketing helps drive the maximum amount of customer acquisition and retention.
  3. 86% of business professionals prefer using emails for business communications.
  4. B2B campaigns attract a higher CTR of 47% as compared to B2C campaigns.
  5. A business is likely to get 6x more click-throughs from an email than a tweet.
  6. Emails beat Facebook and Twitter by acquiring 40x more customers.

These numbers should make it clear – If you aren’t getting the desired results from your campaigns, you need to have a good look at your strategy.

Channels like social media are noisy, with your customers there being far more prone to distraction. What with the ads, the constant stream of funny cat/ dog videos that friends keep sending, and the promise of better content with every scroll – getting their attention is tough. And that’s not good for your business, especially when you spent hours crafting your posts to make them ‘perfect’.

Emails are both personal and professional. They are like a friend coming over to your house and sitting on your couch, teacup in hand, to talk things over with you. On social media, you are just hanging out with a group where everyone has subpar listening skills and no one remembers what the other said once everyone disperses.

And if you are under the impression that with their distraction susceptible minds, users don’t want to read lengthy emails, think again. 61 percent of customers enjoy receiving promotional emails on a weekly basis. 38% went even so far to say that they wouldn’t mind receiving them more frequently. Users want to know your brand – but only if it’s adding value to their lives.

Why users unsubscribe

There is a painful twist in the golden story of email marketing and that is the possibility of unsubscribers.

Now, once you increase business and begin to subscribe to your email list, not everyone is going to resonate with the brand. Getting them to give you permission to enter the inbox was an uphill task in the first place. Now, you do not want to lose the right you have been given.

Still, there might be a few (or more than a few) unsubscribers. An unsubscribe rate of 0.2% is expected, and a good unsubscribe rate is less than 0.5%. More than 0.5% means that you need to amp up your email marketing tactics.

If you are currently sliding down the Email Subscribers Slope or have in the past with no clue why – here are a few reasons it might have happened:

1. Nothing personal. They receive too many emails.

Sometimes, you can do everything right and still lose subscribers. The reason? They have an overloaded inbox that they do not have the time to clean up. Hence, unsubscribing from certain email lists seems like the second best option.

And who can blame them? Look no further than your inbox stacked full of promotional emails, too many words, and offers that make you feel you are missing out if you don’t avail them. The least stressful way out is to opt out from receiving emails altogether.

receiving-emailsSource: poofytoo@Tumblr

2. Irrelevant emails

So before signing up to the list, users can make sure that what they are receiving aligns with what they want. But, if you are currently tackling the issue of team-building for business and your subscriber is still steering a one-man-boat with no need of expanding operations, then your content and helpfulness is irrelevant to them.

This one isn’t in your hands either as each user seeks out and invests in resources according to where he/ she is on their journey.

3. Your emails are too frequent

Yes, there is a thing as being too frequent. Sending emails multiple times a day is a big no-no. Even 2-3 times per week can be a turn-off. Once a week consistently means you keep in constant touch with subscribers but don’t overwhelm them.

You’ll need to test a few sending frequency options before you figure out the one best for you that suits the majority of your list.

MarketingSherpa has the other reasons ready for you:

reasons-for-unsubscribing

Unsubscribers demystified

On the upside

Unsubscribers are not always bad news.

  1. You are probably running your thoughtfully-designed email campaigns from a marketing automation platform like MailChimp where every subscriber increases the list and incurs cost in the grand scheme of email marketing. Hence, losing a few uninterested users who weren’t going to convert or make the purchase is actually allowing you to invest finances and time in people who want to hear and buy from you.
  2. You can collect feedback that helps you create more relevant and better-quality emails. What is lost is lost and you probably can’t back the person who unsubscribed. But you can make sure that your loyal subscriber base and incoming customers find no reason to leave.

When someone unsubscribes, do not let them go without giving a reason as to why they are unsubscribing. Avoid text boxes and use a multiple-choice form or drop-down menu.

How to reduce unsubscribes

When all is said and done, you simply want your list to grow and for the people in the list to engage with your products, brand, and hard work. Below are a few ways to ensure that this happens:

Work on the subject line and content

The first thing that the subscriber sees when you send them an email is the subject line. You have to capture their attention from the go-to since 35% of email recipients open emails on the basis of subject line.

According to HubSpot, emails that have the first name of the recipient in the subject line have a higher CTR than those who don’t personalize emails this way. Hence, include first names.

Also, emojis might seem unprofessional to some but 56% of brands who used them had a higher email open rate.

When it comes to the content, keep it light to reduce the loading time and deliver as much value as possible to the reader. That is a bit vague but the only way to ensure that you have a loyal customer base who cannot get enough of you and your content. Include visual elements. According to Martech Advisor, adding videos to your emails can increase click rate by 300%.

Here is the kind of email the guided meditation app, Headspace, sends:

headspace-email

Is there any way you won’t be engaged and turn into a raving fan?

Segment your list

Email list segmentation and personalized emailing were the most effective email strategies of 2017 according to DMA. So, wield these powerful tools to retain your subscribers.

Divide your list on the basis of gender, education qualifications, past purchases, interests, browsing history, demographics, age, job. This breaking down will help you to craft extremely personalized emails and reduce reason no. 2 of unsubscription. When subscribers feel that your emails are considerate and mindful of who they are, their chances of unsubscribing decreases. You won’t be sending the wrong offers to people who have no use for them.

Align the content with the subscriber’s journey

This is a mix of charting your subscriber’s engagement journey with your brand, and where you would like to take them.

So, if they have bought a product from you, you send them a welcome email and a manual to help them use it. The next email can ask them for a review and share stories of other customer’s using the same product. The third can lead them to try another product if they are satisfied with the purchase, and so on and so forth.

At each step, you support the customer, send relevant emails, and also continue to form a relationship with them. Use Excel spreadsheets and lead-nurturing campaigns to puzzle out buyers behavior and customize your campaigns to adjust the insights.

Find the sweet spot between too frequent and once-in-3-months

Frequency was listed as one of the top 3 reasons why users unsubscribe. Hence, you need to pay special attention to this aspect.

You would have already segmented your email list at this point. The next step is to test various sending frequencies for these segments. Yes, there are customers who want to hear more from you, but you need to figure out who they are and when ‘more’ becomes too much for them. Putting in the effort to get to know this will save you from a lot of unsubscriptions in the long run.

Most of all, be consistent. Offline or online, consistency is an underrated virtue. But, it pays off huge dividends. Let your subscribers look out for you in their inboxes.

Respect the feedback received

As mentioned earlier, use the feedback received during unsubscription to improve upon your content and email marketing strategy. Also, if someone opts out of receiving any promotional emails, respect their choice and send them only informational ones. This helps to build your reputation as someone who is mindful of user preferences and respects them.

Make it hard for them to leave

Even after you have employed all email marketing strategies to the T, a user still chooses to land on the unsubscription page. What do you do now? Stop them in their tracks and make them reconsider their decision. Here is an example:

unsubscribing-emails-design

Sure you didn’t get a bit nostalgic there if though you never subscribed to Puma?

Adding an emotional quotient to your unsubscribe page makes the customer reconsider their decision and maybe, just maybe, they won’t end up leaving you at all.

To cement their stay even more firmly, give them a choice to update their preferences. Redeem yourself and do a relationship redefinition like this:

relationship-building-through-emails

Another great tactic is to give potential unsubscribers the option of following you on social media. Here is how 1800 contacts does it with the proper dose of humor.

1800-contacts-unsubscribing-emails

Maybe they still love your brand but don’t hang out that personally with you on email. Which is fine. By giving unsubscribers the option to stay connected on social media, you keep open a tiny window of opportunity for them to begin actively engaging with you again.

Let’s face it, emails provide more bang-for-buck compared to any other marketing tactic. Investing your time and budget on a solid email strategy is almost always a great course of action.

Inspired to work on your email? We hope so! If you’re looking to improve your cold email strategy, check out some free cold email marketing templates that work. If you’re looking to pay someone to improve your email strategy, throw your dollars at the best marketing communication agency around! 

Shriya Garg

A book-lover with dual degrees in finance, Shriya has created (and abandoned) eight blogs, started her first company at 12, published two books (first one at 16), edited dozens for others, and worked with five interesting startups in her career so far. Prior to joining ContentNinja, she worked with PricewaterhouseCoopers, and has a deferred admit from ISB, Hyderabad. She is an SLP Fellow and a Quora Top Writer. When she’s not fielding client calls, she can be found cleaning cat hair from her clothes.