3 Reasons Unsubscribes Are Great for Your Email Marketing List

Mar 18 2020

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Losing email subscribers is going to happen, and, if we’re being honest, email unsubscribes may actually be good for your marketing. Here are three reasons why:

Email Unsubscribes = Automatic Email List Cleaning

Keeping a clean house is a necessity, and the same is true of your email list. Poor data quality can impact your email marketing ROI, and a poor quality list can hurt your sender reputation, add costs, obscure results and even get you blacklisted by ISPs for spam. Use the unsubscribes as a way to help you keep up with your email list cleaning chores.


But how often should you actually clean your list? Well, this depends on how often you mail and your new subscriber count. A good rule of thumb is to always clean new data as it comes in and re-check any email addresses that have not been mailed in 60 to 90 days.

Email Unsubscribes are a Learning Opportunity

Unsubscribes hold a lot of learning value, but there’s only as much information available as you’re willing to dive into. Do your due diligence and dig a little deeper to learn why the customer doesn’t want to hear from you.


In a Custora study, the most common reasons behind email unsubscribes include:

• Too frequent (67%)

• Too generic, not personalized (63%)

• Not relevant (60%)

• Not interested in purchasing anything (55%)

A simple way to remedy these complaints: Timing + relevancy = happier customers.


Your first step to better understanding customer wants is to optimize your email preference center, allowing subscribers to control the frequency and channels through which they communicate.


Then, ensure your unsubscribe process includes a short survey asking customers why they are leaving while also providing a way to change their preferences rather than completely unsubscribing. Analyzing customer feedback gives you the opportunity to continually improve your strategy and ultimately increase customer happiness.

Email Unsubscribes Put Your Strategy into Perspective

We’re the first to admit that it’s easy to get caught up in numbers, and big, impressive email lists certainly command a lot of attention. At the same time, putting those big numbers into the proper perspective can help.


First of all, HubSpot says that as much as 25 percent of your email list attrition may simply be due to such natural causes as employee turnover – rather than any dissatisfaction.


Furthermore, Jay Baer, of Convince and Convert, suggests you view your unsubscribe data through a financial lens. How do you do this? Simply review your unsubscribe list and attach a dollar value of all prior purchases made by each address. This way, you can see if  unsubscribers were not highly engaged, highly motivated customers anyway. Rather than worry about unsubscribes, your data may suggest you’ll actually end up saving both time and resources by being able to focus your energies on truly engaged customers.


Email marketing is a big-picture strategy, so don’t take email unsubscribes personally. Instead, remind yourself why you’re sending emails in the first place: to build relationships with those customers who love your brand.


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