3 Reasons Why Consumers Unsubscribe

I can already see the cringe in your face as someone unsubscribes to your email list. It’s like, “Why are you breaking up with me?” The truth of the matter is, it probably is you, and not them.

When we conducted an AgencyInsights interview with Simms Jenkins, the CEO of BrightWave, North America’s leading email marketing agency, we learned some key findings as to why consumers unsubscribe out of marketing emails. Here is what you might be doing wrong with your email program that is causing people to opt-out:


Are you sending too many emails, too quickly? The biggest problem is the frequency of email. If you’re sending five emails a week that are similar in content and have very little value, that is probably going to drive a lot of people to unsubscribe.“Frequency is one of those issues that can kill you, but you can also get away with if your email program is substantial,” says Simms.

Tip #1: Send your email messages on a consistent basis. Example: Mail every other Thursday at 11 am so people know when to expect your emails.  


Is your content a snooze? Oftentimes recipients are finding your content repetitive, boring, or irrelevant. There are reasons why you shouldn’t sweat some email unsubscribes –– when you should fret and sweat over a lost reader is when you’re not sending subscribers high-quality and useful content, and instead, you’re over-promoting and abusing your list. Too much “me, me, me” will turn readers off, quickly.

Realistic expectations and value proposition is everything. “We work with a lot of restaurants and shops that just say “e-club” and there’s no value proposition there for the customer”, says Simms. If you’re CTA is “subscribe now to get tips, how-tos, event reminders, and promotions,” then you better follow through on your email promises.

Tip #2: Maintain a good balance between relevant offers/promotions and content that makes the reader’s life better somehow. Try to provide fast, simple solutions that people can use right away, and promote yourself only once in awhile.


Consumers are more cautious about providing an email address to companies because of email scams or phishing. A lot of people prefer to seek out information they want instead of having companies push it to them. HubSpot provides great principles on email marketing communication here.

Tip #3: Send the “Welcome” and “Here’s What to Expect” emails. It doesn’t need to be longer than a sentence or two that explains who you are, how you help, and states your business’ core beliefs or mission statement.

Infographic - Why Consumers Unsubscribe

Key Takeaways

When readers unsubscribe (or emotionally unsubscribe) –– i.e. delete your emails, click the spam/junk button, there is an etiquette to ending that “relationship” so you don’t wind up acting like a “crazy ex.”

  • Abide by CAN-SPAM

  • Do not mail someone if they’ve unsubscribed. Honor their request and remove them from the list as soon as possible.

  • Make it easy and clear for recipients to unsubscribe.

  • You may ask subscribers why they unsubscribed via an opt-out form.

  • When recipients unsubscribe, offer them the option to receive a different type of email communication that you provide, instead. Or give them an option to slow or lessen the frequency of your emails.


This post originally appeared on AgencySparks.com. All rights reserved. © 2015