Top 5 Reasons Why Users Unsubscribe from Emails and How to Avoid Them

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Filed Under Marketing & Advertising


Wondering why your email subscriber list is shrinking? Let this study by Get Satisfaction fill you in.

Apparently, research by ExactTarget indicates that "77 percent of US online consumers admit they've become more cautious about giving companies their email address." While email does provide one of the quickest and most convenient means to reach customers, it also makes it easy for people to cut you out.

So how do you stop your subscriber count from dropping? Take a closer look at your email marketing strategy and check to see if you’re making any of the following mistakes. According to Get Satisfaction, these are the top reasons why people hit the unsubscribe button.

54% of users unsubscribe from email lists because of emails received too frequently.
While email is a good way to stay in your customers’ radar, overdoing it can do more harm than good. If you’re sending regular emails to your customers, it’s best to keep the email frequency to a minimum. (Once a week should be enough.) Or better yet, ONLY send an email when you have something important to say, instead of putting out weekly newsletters. If you have a huge sale going on, or if your company is implementing big changes that could affect your customers, then go ahead and send those emails. Otherwise, try holding off on pushing the send button.

49% unsubscribe because of boring or repetitive content
Don’t send an email just for the sake of doing so. If you find yourself adding fillers and nonessential content because you feel obligated to send an email on a weekly basis, then modify your email schedule. Don’t want your customers to think that your emails are boring? Then stop talking about your company, and start writing about your customers’ needs. If people can’t find any value in your materials, then they’ll hit the delete—or worse, the unsubscribe button. It’s also best to keep your content in line with whatever’s happening in the world. If it’s winter, then make sure that your emails are full of cheer and are related to the holiday season. If your users can relate to the things that you send, then there’s a good chance that they’ll keep subscribing to your emails.

47% of users unsubscribe because they’re receiving too many emails
Users get bombarded with emails on a daily basis, so it’s only natural for them to get rid of the mail that they don’t need. Avoid landing on the email chopping board by following the above-mentioned tips; don’t send emails too frequently (if you bug them too often, you’re only giving them more chances to unsubscribe) and keep your content useful by talking about what your users need and sending relevant materials.

25% of users state that they unsubscribe because the content wasn’t relevant from the start
Simply put, users unsubscribe because they feel that they aren’t getting what they signed up for. Avoid this by using clear and direct language in your website or email sign up page. Be sure to spell out exactly what users will be getting (and what they won’t be getting) when they sign up. More importantly, don’t mislead or trick customers into giving their email address. This may sound cliché, but honesty is the best policy when getting—and keeping—email subscribers.

24% of users prefer to seek out information instead of having companies push it
This isn’t necessarily the company’s fault, as some users simply prefer to find information themselves (through search or other means) as opposed to getting it in their inbox. Make sure that you have an effective SEO strategy in place, so that when people search for information related to your business, your website will appear on top. Additionally, encourage customers to like your brand on Facebook or follow you on Twitter. This way, even if you’re not in their inbox, you can still reach them through other means.


Image credit: Sean MacEntee on Flickr

About the author
Francesca Nicasio
Francesca Nicasio
Francesca is the founder of Credible Copywriting and has written for several organizations, including Internet start-ups, advertising agencies, and small businesses, just to name a few. She has helped individuals and entities put their names and messages out there by producing quality works in the form of articles, web content, video scripts, and more. Touch base with her at: or visit her website at: - Read more stories from .
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