Unsubscribes are the horror of many email marketers. But unsubscribes are not always bad. No one needs recipients in their mailing list who do not contribute any value. However, unsubscribes are problematic when the recipients, for example, have regularly generated sales in the past and/or have the potential to do so in the future. However, as your newsletter is also likely to deliver value to these recipients, these unsubscribes can be partially prevented. With these 6 tips, you can prevent unwanted newsletter unsubscribes and optimise your unsubscribe rate.

1. Confirmed unsubscribes with objection handling

In general, it should not be complicated to unsubscribe from your newsletter. This means f.e. that recipients should not have to enter a password or fill in a form. However, it is perfectly legitimate to ask the recipient to confirm their unsubscribe again on a landing page instead of unsubscribing them immediately when they click on the unsubscribe link. This not only prevents accidental or automated unsubscribes (e.g. by anti-spam tools clicking on links arbitrarily). It also gives you a last chance to change the recipient’s mind. Tell them once again what benefits they will miss if they no longer receive the newsletter. Important: Be self-confident. Show the added value of your offer. If available, use social proof arguments. The supreme discipline, if your data and your processes allow it: Individualise the objection handling based on the recipient’s profile. If the recipient f.e. has often responded to discounts in the past focus on that.

2. Offer alternative content

It is possible that recipients unsubscribe because they do not (or no longer) like the content of your newsletter. This can be prevented by data-driven individualisation or, much more simply, by allowing recipients to choose for themselves what kind of content/offers they would like to receive. Allow the recipient to choose his own content directly when registering for the newsletter. If they click on the unsubscribe link direct them to a preference centre where they can customise the content again. Perhaps the recipient is no longer interested in the originally selected content, but in other content instead. Or he was not even aware that he can compile the content of the newsletter himself (or receive different newsletters on different topics). In this way, you may get a second chance with a different content orientation.

Athleta offers numerous options in the preference center to customise the individual newsletter experience

Athleta offers numerous options in the preference center to customise the individual newsletter experience

3. Reduce frequency

Perhaps the recipient is interested in your newsletter but receives it too frequently? Your email marketing technology may be able to detect this through automated frequency management and adjust it independently even before the recipient decides to unsubscribe. But even if he has already clicked on the unsubscribe link you can offer him on the unsubscribe page or in the preference centre to adjust his frequency independently, e.g. from weekly to monthly.

4. Pause sending

Perhaps everything about your newsletter is just right. Content and delivery frequency correspond exactly to the recipient’s preferences, but the recipient temporarily is unable or no longer wishes to receive your newsletter, e.g. because he is going on holiday, has to concentrate on a longer private project or is on sabbatical. Offer the recipient to pause the sending of your newsletter. Bonus: Welcome him back when he returns, e.g. with a compilation of the best content he missed during his break.

5. Offer an opt-down

With an opt-down, the recipient has the option to limit his email marketing opt-in so that he only receives a portion of your communication. For example, he could decide to receive only service information but no more marketing content. In this way, the recipient no longer contributes (directly) to the fulfillment of your marketing objectives, but you have not lost him completely and may be able to get him back on the marketing mailing list in the medium term.

6. Change email address

Perhaps the recipient would simply like to have your newsletter sent to a different email address. The classic case is the change from the professional to the private address in B2B marketing after leaving the company. But even in B2C, recipients sometimes change their email provider or set up their own addresses for different occasions. Recipients should therefore be able to change their email address without having to first unsubscribe and then subscribe again.


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