Why Subscribers Unsubscribe

In Email Marketing, Lead Generation, Marketing Services by Kari Switala2 Comments

Unsubscribes are the kiss of death. Once people unsubscribe, they’re not likely to return. Unless you are marketing to them in other ways, this could spell an end to your subscriber’s relationship with your brand. While losing subscribers hits you where it hurts, there’s a lot to be gleaned from unsubscribe behavior that can help you gird up your email marketing and enact effective engagement strategies.

Why do people unsubscribe?

There are a few main reasons people unsubscribe to email lists. Recognizing these reasons can help you develop a strategy to keep your subscribers engaged with your brand and applauding your unique value proposition.

Email bombardment

Constant Contact recently surveyed 1400 readers about why they unsubscribe to email lists. A whopping 69% of readers reported unsubscribing after receiving too many irrelevant emails from a given business. In other words, they’re annoyed! Keep in mind that, while the tendency is to keep your brand top-of-mind with frequent emails, less is often more. Perhaps instead of daily or biweekly emails, consider weekly or monthly emails. Their less-frequent delivery might pique the interest of subscribers who realize that you only send out emails when you have a relevant and valuable offering.

Spammy-looking emails

Your subscribers’ first indication of what your email is about? Your subject line. That small handful of words is powerful and will determine if your email even gets opened. Plus, if emails look spammy, they may get picked up by spam filters before they ever land in front of your subscribers. Knowing your audience will help you create subject lines that appeal, not repel. (Want help creating an effective subject line? Read our post, “Creating a Powerful Subject Line” here.)


Be cautious about adding subscribers to segmentation lists that are not pertinent to their interests. A childless man won’t likely appreciate an email detailing “The Hottest Kids Toys of 2019.”

Missegmentation reflects poorly on your brand and makes you look careless when your goal is actually to deliver personalized, on-point emails to your subscribers.

Too much or too little content

Just like a one-line email will surely fall flat, so will a 2000-word email or 5000-word newsletter. Again, the goal is to provide value and if your subscribers feel like you’re not putting in much effort, they won’t feel like you care about their interests. If you come across long-winded, you’ll likely lose their interest before they even have a chance to finish reading through your content. Don’t let your content send them searching for the Unsubscribe link. Just like you, your subscribers are pressed for time and want bite-sized pieces of valuable information. They can always contact you if they want additional information.

If you don’t want customers unsubscribing to your content, take time to investigate the triggers for this behavior. Then align your content strategy accordingly.

If your email marketing could use some help, or if you’d like to get started on implementing an email marketing campaign for your business, contact us to schedule your free 15 minute consultation. We’d love to help you reach your goals.



  1. These are really simple things to get right, so why do so many companies get it wrong? Usually it happens when they start to think about email marketing as mass marketing instead of a chance to deliver personalized, relevant messages.

    1. Absolutely! With the rise of marketing automation, it’s important to find the right balance between mass email marketing and targeted messaging, segmentation and personalization!

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