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3 Top Tips to Reduce Your Email Marketing Churn

By Shannon BarnesMay 8, 2013

reduce email marketing churnDespite your perfectly crafted copy, contacts will still unsubscribe from your email communications. Whether you are just getting started or are a seasoned professional, opt-outs are a harsh reality email marketers must accept. Constant Contact recently surveyed 1400 consumers to find out the most common reasons people unsubscribe. Here is what they found out:

  • 69%—Too many emails from the business/organization
  • 56%—The content is no longer relevant
  • 51%—The content wasn’t what I expected

Considering the time and effort it takes to build a list, losing contacts can be frustrating. While there is no magic formula to eliminate opt-outs, there are actions you can take to help minimize them.

Develop an On-boarding Program for New Subscribers

When someone subscribes to your list, it is essentially the beginning of a new relationship. As with all new relationships, it requires nurturing. The first step is to get to know your subscribers beyond their name and email address. You can start by gathering their interests and preferences. A welcome message that links to an area where subscribers can update their profile is a great way to start gathering this data. For example, ask what type of information they are interested in receiving or which products or services interest them most. Understanding the preferences of your subscribers will help you better target your messaging in future communications and, in turn, keep your subscribers engaged.

Audit Your Database to Determine Subscriber Engagement

How active are your subscribers? Is there a large percentage of your database that does not click or, worse yet, even open your emails? The fact is, people’s preferences and needs change over time. When your subscribers stop opening or clicking your emails, it is their way of telling you your content is no longer relevant to them. Rather than purging your database of inactive subscribers, put on your detective hat and find out why. 

The first step is to evaluate your messaging. Are you using segmented lists or a one-size-fits-all approach? If you are doing the latter, this is an area that definitely requires your immediate attention. As a next step, you should consider reaching out to your subscribers and asking them to update their email preferences/interests or complete a brief survey. Don’t be afraid to be creative with your messaging. In a recent blog post, HubSpot’s CMO, Mike Volpe, shared the details of the company's “Congrats on Avoiding the Sales Rep!” campaign. The campaign was targeted at contacts the HubSpot sales team was unable to reach. This creative use of video and humor resulted in the email having a 16.4 percent click through rate.  Kudos HubSpot—LOVE the creativity! 

Offer Alternative Methods for Staying in Touch

As previously mentioned, opt-outs are part of email marketing. Remember, just because someone unsubscribes does not always mean they want to completely shut off communication with your company. For example, some subscribers may want to simply change their email address or update their communication preferences. Others may prefer to stay in touch via social channels rather than email. Be sure to provide alternative methods to stay in touch, including links to subscribe to your blog and social media channels. Additionally, make it easy for contacts to completely unsubscribe or to update their preferences.

What actions have you taken to reduce email list churn? We’d love to hear your success stories, so please post them to the comments section.


Shannon Fuldauer

Shannon Fuldauer has a B2B and B2C eCommerce Marketing background including roles as Vice President of Marketing & Sales Support, and subsequently Vice President of Public Relations & SEO Services, for CareerBoard.com. She has expertise in digital marketing and advanced email communications.


photo credit: minusbaby 

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The Author

Shannon Barnes

Shannon Fuldauer Barnes has a B2B and B2C eCommerce Marketing background including roles as Vice President of Marketing & Sales Support, and subsequently Vice President of Public Relations & SEO Services, for CareerBoard.com. She has expertise in digital marketing and advanced email communications.
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