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Email Marketing Part II: Why Readers Unsubscribe From Your Newsletter

In Part I of our Email Marketing Series, we discussed the do’s and don’ts of email marketing.

Here, we decided to focus on the major reasons why readers would unsubscribe from your newsletter, and why it can sometimes even be a good thing for you as an author.

It can seem counter-intuitive—after all, unsubscribes have to be bad, haven’t they?—but that’s not always the case.

Why Readers Unsubscribe

01. Too Many Emails

Even if we eagerly subscribe to an author’s newsletter, waiting impatiently for any updates regarding their books, it can still get annoying when we are bombarded with emails. Nobody likes to have their inbox cluttered, not even enthusiastic fans.

According to a recent survey conducted by Campaign Monitor, 53% of consumers have reported getting too many emails, which would ultimately lead them to unsubscribe. Instead, give subscribers the option to choose how frequently they want to hear from you, and also the option to unsubscribe whenever they want to.

02. Irrelevant/Boring Content

It’s important to pay attention to the content of your email just as much as the subject line (as discussed in Part I). By sending irrelevant emails with boring or generic content, subscribers will not gain anything useful from you and thus be tempted to unsubscribe from your newsletter.

Include high-quality images and get to the point without preamble. Maintain a friendly and inviting tone throughout your email. And email them only when you have some truly amazing news to share.

Another thing to keep in mind if you have a large audience is that what appeals to one person may not appeal to another. You could have a collection of readers, editors, and publishers in your list, and they’d all have varying interests. By using email segmentation, you can divide your email list to different categories and send each of these categories only relevant emails. This could play a huge role in retaining your existing customers.

03. Spammy/Over-Promotional Emails

Spam filters are getting better and better at recognizing spam emails and sending them straight to the junk folder, which keeps the user from even discovering your email. Email service providers like Gmail, Yahoo! Mail, and Outlook use a “reputation score” of the sender to determine if they should flag the email as spam or not. Create emails that are a combination of text and images, and avoid using spam trigger words like “free”, “sale”, and “guarantee” often.

Why Email Unsubscribes Can Actually Be Good

01. They Increase the Deliverability of Your Emails

When you have subscribers who never click on your emails, it will affect the deliverability of your emails. Email deliverability is the ability to deliver emails directly to a subscriber’s inbox, instead of the spam folder. An increasing number of unopened emails will drive future emails to be flagged as spam. Unsubscribes will help spam complaints if users can find the unsubscribe button easily, which is always more convenient. This is why it’s advised to have a visible unsubscribe button at the bottom of each of your emails.

02. They Allow You to Clean Up Your Email List

When the uninterested customers leave, you will be left with the ones that want to listen to you, and your focus can then be directed fully towards them. The ultimate goal of your newsletter is to drive traffic to your website and increase the sales of your books, and by spending your resources on disengaged subscribers, you’re going nowhere. These inactive subscribers will lower the engagement rates of your emails, and harm your reputation as the sender, in the eyes of email service providers.

And when these users unsubscribe, it will clean up your mailing list and improve its quality.

03. You Get to Know the Problems With Your Emails

Users are driven to unsubscribe from your newsletter because they are dissatisfied with what you’re providing. It will indicate how well—or how badly—you’re performing overall, with your subject lines, email content, frequency, and CTAs (Call-To-Action). Additionally, if you’re using email segmentation and you see a large number of unsubscribes from a particular segment, you could think of a different approach and try to re-engage with the existing customers.

By having an option for unsubscribers to give their reasons by completing a short survey, you can gain further insights to the flaws in your email campaign.

While a large number of unsubscribes will definitely not work in your favor, it’s always better to focus on those who are truly interested in your work—because the ones who click on your email and engage with you will ultimately end up buying your books!

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Sharika Hafeez

Sharika Hafeez is a nerd, and she’s proud of it. Growing up, she fell in love with books and writing, and is currently following her undergraduate degree (for some mysterious reasons) in Physics. She likes procrastinating by watching the stars with a steaming cup of tea, composing poetry in her head.

September 1, 2022

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