Why Subscribers Opt-Out and How You Can Avoid It

Here’s the harsh reality – subscribers opt-out all the time! There’s no sugarcoating it; people are going to unsubscribe from your email and SMS lists. Regardless of how amazing and enticing your marketing campaigns are, you will never be able to keep 100% of your subscribers.

Photo by Steve Johnson on Unsplash

Studies have shown that the average unsubscribe rate lies between 0.19 percent and 0.52 percent per email that is being sent. This implies that if you have a list made up of 2,000 people, you’re going to lose four to ten subscribers with each email that you send. If you’re sending eight emails in a month, you’re losing thirty to eighty subscribers. This may feel disheartening, but there’s hope.

You can always learn how to reduce the unsubscribe rate, and it is also imperative to understand that not all subscribers are of equal value. That’s why unsubscribes are good – in fact, they are a blessing in disguise. The important thing is to ensure that you’re not losing the right kind of subscribers.

In this post, we’re going to focus on the common email unsubscribe reasons (that you can easily apply to SMS marketing as well!) and learn how to avoid high unsubscribe rates while running your campaigns. Okay, all set? Let’s go!

What is a good unsubscribe rate?

First things first, what is a good unsubscribe rate? That’s another way of saying what is a low unsubscribe rate. Generally, if your average unsubscribe rate is under 0.5%, you’re in clear waters. If the opt-out rate is under 0.2%, you’re doing good. Whereas, if the opt-out rate is higher than 0.5%, it is considered as a high unsubscribe rate, and you have some work to do!

Reasons for unsubscribing & how to fix them

There are five primary reasons why your subscribers opt-out from your email marketing lists. By attending to these reasons and making some adjustments, you can reduce your opt-out rate. Check out the list below, and do let us know what you think of it;

1. You’re sending a high number of emails

One reason why your subscribers opt-out is that you’re sending too many emails. How do you counter that? You need to revisit your email marketing frequency and see if you’re guilty of sending too many emails too often. If that is the case, it is advised that you take it down a notch and see if that reduces the opt-out rate. Remember, your email frequency depends on a variety of factors, such as the size of your product catalog and the quality of your content.

You should also allow your subscribers to opt-down. How does that work? You can give them various options when they are opting in for your email marketing, or you can include this in your opt-out email example as well. By offering an opt-down option to your subscribers, you will be able to retain them. Why? Because these subscribers subscribed because they want to hear from you. Just not too much though and by providing them with the opt-down option, you are giving them control over how much and how often they will be contacted by you. 

2. Your emails are not relevant

Is there anything more annoying than receiving emails that are highly irrelevant to what you do and where you live? Consider the example of someone residing in Los Angeles and receiving emails about travel packages to Los Angeles from anywhere in the United States. Your subscribers want to read content that has been tailored for them instead of irrelevant emails. That’s why you should always utilize personalization and segmentation.

Personalization refers to tailoring your emails according to your reader’s interests, purchase history, and preferences. In contrast, segmentation is best defined as personalization done on a larger scale. When you have subscribers with similar interests, shopping history, and preferences, it makes sense to treat them as a group (segment).

A perfect example of segmentation would be to ensure that your female subscribers are receiving emails pertinent to female clothing, whereas your male subscribers are receiving emails for male clothing and accessories.

3. Your emails are boring & feature bad content

Unless your email content is something that excites your subscribers, the chances are that you will undergo a high unsubscribe rate. Why? Because people want to read something that’s interesting, valuable, funny, or informative to help them or a combination of such. However, when your content isn’t doing any of the above-mentioned tasks, it will lead to your subscribers opting out.

Before you send an email, ask yourself this; is there a valid reason why you’re sending the email? Is it about an upcoming sale, or is it to tell your subscribers about some tweaking that you made to your product/service? Be sure to use an email marketing calendar so that you’re hitting all the marks. You can also take advantage of holidays or events to send emails.

Furthermore, it is important that your emails are more than simply pitching your products or services. You should strive to create value for your customers because only then can you connect with your subscribers on a deeper level, according to HelpCenter.

4. Your emails are poorly designed

The chances are that you’re reading this on your smartphone, right? We’re living in an age where the smartphone is a fundamental item, not something that was considered a bonus. If your emails aren’t designed for this gadget, you need to rethink your entire strategy again. A poorly designed email will always lead to a high unsubscribe rate.

Apart from the mobile-friendly aspect, a good design must be ensured for your emails. The safest bet is to have a great headline accompanied by a good quality picture, moving copy, and a compelling call to action.

5. Your subscribers didn’t realize that they subscribed

This is a common issue, and that’s why it is strongly recommended to incorporate a double opt-in to avoid such situations. Apart from asking the person to simply enter their email address for subscribing, you should also have them click on a button via confirmation email for the completion of the subscription process. 

Granted, the double opt-in hampers the growth of your subscription list. However, it will help you to build a list of quality subscribers. People who really want to hear from you!

Bonus Tip – If you’re running your store on Shopify, you can take advantage of such tools as Omnisend to make sure your email marketing is on point. Double opt-in is also a great practice for text marketing. However, sending bulk text messages that meet the requirements of a good marketing strategy can be difficult unless you’re using specifically developed SMS marketing apps for this purpose, such as Senderium.

Why unsubscribes are good?

As mentioned earlier, while you might be focused on how to reduce the unsubscribe rate, you should remember why unsubscribes are good for you too. Instead of having a huge email list filled with cold or lukewarm leads, you should strive for an email list with active leads that are willing to engage. Some other benefits of unsubscribes are given below;

1. You can avoid spam folder

When your emails aren’t being opened, or your subscribers aren’t clicking through to your website, a message is being sent to the email clients prompting them to treat your email as junk. This can effectively ruin your email marketing campaign, and that’s why unsubscribes are a good thing.

2. Have an active list of subscribers

When you have an active list of subscribers, you’re in a better position to gauge your email marketing campaign’s effectiveness as opposed to having people who don’t bother interacting with your emails.

3. You’ll be getting valuable feedback

When subscribers opt-out, you can ask them why they want to opt-out, thus providing you with invaluable feedback that can help you make fine adjustments to your email marketing campaign. Many websites make it mandatory so that you have to select an option before you can opt-out of the email list.

PRO TIP: Follow some other best practices for effective email marketing by Firepush.


There you have it; five common unsubscribe reasons, how to reduce the unsubscribe rate, and why unsubscribes are good for you! Although your subscribers are an important part of your marketing strategy, you must get along with the fact that some of them will leave, whether you want it or not.

Stay focused on the things that are under your control. Pay attention to the content you send and make sure to provide value instead of bombarding your subscribers with irrelevant or too frequent emails. Focus on those who are interested in hearing from you and thank those who leave – it’s also a valuable source of learning that can benefit your business long-term.

About the Author

Saaqib Ahmad Malik

Saaqib Ahmad Malik is an experienced content writer with over a decade of experience under his belt. He’s worked as the lead content writer for Wonderful Engineering and enjoys writing about various topics. Currently, he’s working with Vertex on two projects, namely, helpcenterapp.com and senderium.com. Apart from content writing, he is running his own IT company as well.

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