What Is Unsubscribe Rate and the Best Solution to Prevent People from Unsubscribing

by Ivana Kitanovic April 7, 2016
April 7, 2016

There comes a time in every email strategy when you start asking yourself whether you’re doing everything right. You send out emails regularly to your subscribers and notify them of everything new connected to your blog or business, but still it seems like more and more of them unsubscribe. Don’t panic right away! There are ways to quantify that and see how to prevent it. Unsubscribe rate. The first thing you need to do is see how big is your unsubscribe rate.

What is unsubscribe rate?

An unsubscribe rate is actually the number of unsubscribers divided by the number of delivered messages. With it you can measure how interested your subscribers are in your content on the long run and use it in your advantage. What I mean is that when you see them leaving your email list in a bigger number you’ll know that you have to change something whether it’s in your content or simply the time of sending the emails. As guidance, a suggested unsubscribe rate is somewhere between 0,3 to 1 percent for a single email, so turn the red light on if yours exceeds that number for a longer period of time. Don’t rush with the alarm, though. After acquiring new emails to your list the rate may jump a little but it should get to normal soon.

If by any chance, people don’t stop unsubscribing, you’re in a bit of trouble. However, the problem is not unsolvable. There are things you can do to prevent users from leaving your email list. Just keep calm and see what solutions I have in store for you.

Go back to your roots

Mighty roots of a majestic old beech tree in a deciduous forest with beautiful light

Stop before your screen for a moment and rewind a while back to your earlier posts. Are they on a similar topic as your recent ones? If the answer is ‘no’ or ‘not quite’ then you probably stare at the problem right in the eyes. People tend to subscribe to things that they find interesting and useful, so once they see that you post content far different than the one they liked in the beginning, they may unsubscribe as fast as they subscribed.

To prevent that from happening, go back to your roots and adjust your new content so that it matches the old one. Makes sense? Let’s illustrate to make it all clearer. Imagine you’re a food blogger that posted mainly recipes of various dishes until recently you decided to begin writing about restaurants around the globe. That drastic change is most certainly robbing your list of a few emails. Stop that by finding a way to incorporate everything and in the same time keep all sides satisfied. In this example that would be to include recipes in your future posts with a paragraph or two beneath them about restaurants that serve them. Get the idea?

Watch your tongue

sharing a secret

Another solution for decreasing your unsubscribe rate would be to watch your tongue and think thoroughly before writing the email to your subscribers. Don’t sound too pushy like a boring salesperson trying to convince them to buy the product. The phrases such as ‘This is a limited time offer’ or ‘Buy now and don’t feel sorry in the future’ will not do you any good. Just speak to your audience like you would speak to a friend. Evade too professional language that may seem dull and serious to them. Don’t be afraid to slip a joke or a personal story between the lines to wake their interest and increase their trust in your words.

For instance instead of starting with the serious approach ‘Check out the newest content on my blog’, slow down and use ‘Hello, my friends. How are you today?’

Mail time!


We all have habits that get us through the day like drinking coffee or going to work, grab lunch, watch the favorite TV show and so on. Well, one more habit that’s quite popular today is the email checking. A lot of people can’t resist opening their inboxes even once a day. And if they don’t see an email of yours in the expected time they’ll get their hopes down. Once, twice and they’ll lose interest which ends up with their unsubscribing. You don’t want that, right? There’s a cure for that, too. Scheduled emails. Choose a day in the week and an hour that you’d like the recipients to get your email at and stay true to it every time. Sending regular emails, ideally no more than once a week, will show your devotion to the subscribers and make them think twice before leaving your list.

There’s nothing stronger for keeping them with you than creating a habit they’ll follow every week.

Computers are old school

working on mobile phone

To be honest, nowadays, more and more users don’t even turn on their computers and instead they check their emails exclusively on mobile phones. So if they don’t see your email fitting their small screens they will get frustrated. That could be a reason more for their unsubscription. So, play it safe and make your emails mobile friendly. You can only gain by that and reduce the unsubscribe rate that’s bugging you so much.

There’s not a better proof than what the numbers are saying, so according to Adestra, 45% of email opens occurred on mobile, 36% on desktop and 19% in a webmail client.

Everybody needs a leader

A businessman showing a thumb up sign standing in office. Panoramic Singapore view. Toning filter.

Don’t even think about sending emails to your subscribers without a call-to-action (CTA). They like to be told clearly what to do and what is expected of them. It’s why they subscribed to you in the first place. They need your guidance. That’s why to keep them in your list be that leader for them.

For instance, if you send them an email to promote your new product, openly write ‘click here to get it’, ‘buy it now’, ‘watch a video of it’ and stuff like that in the text. If you need a tiny bit of a push, check out HubSpot’s customizable templates.

Unsubscribing is an online disease that everyone tries to cure and throw it as far away from their blog or website as possible. I hope that some of the above mentioned points would serve as a great medicine for you and lower your unsubscribe rate below 1%. However, as the old saying goes ‘Better safe than sorry’, everyone should check out their rate and act accordingly to maintain it in the advisable interval. And remember, one of these solutions a day, keeps the unsubscribers away!

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