4 Reasons Why Your Email Unsubscribe Rate Is High

A high unsubscribe rate is a warning sign that something might be amiss in your email marketing. But first, how high is high? Generally speaking, if you consistently get an unsubscribe rate of above 2%1, you might be doing something wrong. Here are some areas that might shed light as to why your email unsubscribe rate is high.


1. Wrong email segment 

There are a few possible situations where you could be using a wrong email segment.

  • If you're inheriting an old existing email list that has been passed down from marketer and marketer. No one at the company knows where these contacts are from
  • The list is rented or purchased
  • The email list was created from a "master database". A strong signal is if you see differing country domains in the same list.

Having the right email segment will allow you to create more relevant content which will not only decrease your unsubcribe rate but also improve your enagement and CTR%.

2. Irrelevant content

Irrevelant content often goes together with the previous point of having the wrong email segment. For example, if you're sending an offer for customers based in Singapore but you send this offer to your entire mailing list that also consists of people from other countries in South East Asia, this offer would be considered irrelevant content to them. 

3. Not understanding the buyer's cycle

There are many versions of the buyer's cycle out there. They typically look like this:

  1. Awareness - The buyer is aware that he has a problem
  2. Consideration - The buyer is comparing different solutions to his problem
  3. Decision - The buyer is ready to make a buying choice after his research

Unless you've been tracking your contacts from the very first day, it's quite hard to say at any given point in time which stage of the buyer's journey your email list is at. 

For consumer related products where impulse purchase is the norm, the 3 stages can all occur within a very short time span.

On the other hand, for enterprise customers, this could last as long as 1 year since each transaction is typically quite big.

Sending email related offers for your software when the buyer is still in the Awareness stage would be an example of irrelevant content which stems from not understanding which stage of the buying cycle the customer is currently at. 

4. Email fatigue

Constantly sending emails to your email list can result in email fatigue causing them to unsubscribe from your over-zealous marketing trigger finger. However, there isn't a rule that says: You can only send 1 email per week to your email list. It varies from industry to industry. Having said that however, most people do not mind receiving emails everyday if the email content is good. 

The frequency of the email correlates with the duration of the buyer's cycle. Typically with consumer items where the buyer's cycle is shorter, the frequency of emails are higher compared to B2B customers.


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