Using Segmentation to Retain Unsubscribers

Apr 04 2016


Retain Unsubscribers

Every time a user ‘unsubscribes’ we feel like another one bites the dust. However, keep in mind an unsubscribe is always better than a complaint. Spam complaints will cause you to have problems with your ESP. This could cause you to be labeled with a ‘spammer’ reputation. Therefore, the goal is to focus on reducing your unsubscribes. A side benefit will be also less likely to see spam complaints. We have some great tips for you on how you can retain unsubscribers.

What can you do to minimize your number of spam complaints? The first most important step is to keep your email list limited to true opt-ins. Don’t send messages to a third parties list or use a data broker to formulate your list. People who opt-in through your lead capture form trust you. They give you their contact data willingly and they are most interested in the topics and products you are promoting.

Even, if you are using the best practices, you will still find people unsubscribing from your content. It’s normal – don’t be scared! However, there are a few interesting things that you can do to retain unsubscribers. There are a few tricks to keep them interested and engaged with your brand. So, let’s dig into the secret of using segmentation to retain a member before they complete the unsubscribe process.

Most of the time is the reason that a user is unsubscribing is because they are just simply receiving too much ‘crap’ from you. Maybe you are sending to them too frequently or maybe there is something specific in the content they are sick and tired of seeing. Readers want options, perhaps they like your monthly newsletter but are simply tired of your ‘daily deals’. Give them the opportunity to opt-down rather than completely unsubscribing.

When the user goes to unsubscribe, drive them to a well-designed landing page providing them with the frequency options of your emails. WOW, I just found an amazing example of an unsubscribe landing page. Seriously, after seeing this I really wonder how many people did choose the checkbox ‘NEVERMIND’. Using emotions can play a powerful role in retaining your users.

retain unsubscribers

So now, let’s say someone goes through your options here and selects that they want MONTHLY emails only. Then the next time you go to send a weekly you want to make sure you use segmentation to exclude members who only want a monthly email.  This way your list size stay’s the same, and the user still gets what they want. Just be extra cautious about making sure you do not include them on other promotional mails.

Some companies not only allow for you to modify your mailing frequency but also the ability to pause any emails they send for a specified period of time. Why would you want to do this? Let’s say you are just too tempted to buy things from them and you are on a strict budget one month. Therefore, you want to be able to put it out-of-sight-out-of-mind for a few weeks.

Segmentation is such a powerhouse that simply using it to change the frequency of mails is just scratching the surface. You can even drill down to allowing the user to select the type of content they want to see. Take a look at this example of how Groupon gives you an opportunity select the type of content you want to see. They are using segmentation to allow you to select very specific types of offers.


I challenge you to try to retain unsubscribers. Test different ideas, measure to see how many of your users attempt to unsubscribe then end up simply changing their frequency rate or preferences. If you are creative enough to craft up something super cute like that shamed puppy, people may not even change up their settings at all.

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