3 Steps To Understanding Why Someone Unsubcribes From Your E-Newsletter

“You’re fat, boring and dress funny.”

That sentence ended one of my first relationships. When relationships end on less-than-pleasant terms, sadness, anger and revenge can surface.

Flickr Photo by miniyo73

Flickr Photo by miniyo73

These emotions can emerge when reviewing analytics of email newsletters and realizing an alarming number of people opted out from receiving information you believed was vital for a successful engagement and an ongoing relationship.

Most communications professionals spend lots of time and effort producing email newsletters. It’s heartbreaking to learn your last email resulted in an alarming number of people who are unsubscribing to what may be the only contact you have with that customer, vendor, volunteer, donor or employee.

Yes, an employee.

Employees should be the first to open, read and click on hyperlinks to all of the great information provided in your email so they’re properly informed, educated and prepared to help your organization succeed. If your employees need to be your strongest advocates, ambassadors or evangelists, do you know if they’re subscribed, consuming and clicking links in your email?

Step 1: Know When You’ve Been Dumped

constant contact screenshot-8Most communications and marketing professionals handle numerous projects and tasks. They often chose the profession because they weren’t very good at math. Therefore, there’s often an aversion to reviewing data or analytics.

Yes, math is hard and you probably excelled in school by getting extra credit on the essay.

But communications and marketing professionals must review data and analytics provided by the email provider. (If you don’t know how to access the information, make this a priority. If your email provider doesn’t provide analytics that are simple to retrieve and review, start shopping for another provider.)

The analytics should reveal a list of all who opted out by clicking on the unsubscribe button in the last email and previous newsletters. Paying attention to this on a regular basis can prevent a snowball effect. Don’t overreact, but don’t ignore a pattern.

Step 2: Know Who Dumped You

Flickr Photo by Ben Grey

Flickr Photo by Ben Grey

By analyzing the number of people who unsubscribe on a regular basis, you might be able to recognize some patterns surrounding their decision. The first pattern might answer the “who” question. If you can identify a group of people who no longer subscribe, is your information still relevant to this group?

(Example: My sons are registered members of the Boy Scouts of America but aged out of Cub Scouts years ago. A seemingly never-ending flow of emails continue to fill my inbox with irrelevant messages urging me to purchase pinewood derby and other Cub Scout items. There’s an option to manage subscriptions, but it’s an all-or-nothing option—Cub Scout and Boy Scout products or unsubscribe. Guess which one was chosen?)

Two other questions can reveal additional information:

  1. Was this subscriber ever engaged with our organization or product?
  2. Did they subscribe or were they added to the database? (Are they subscribed because they provided an email address with a financial transaction, a donation, at an event or the salesman’s business card-in-a-bowl raffle?) Answers to this question could start a critical discussion regarding anti-spam laws and your organization’s opt-in policy.

Step 3: Know Why You Were Dumped

Photo by Bruno Girin

Photo by Bruno Girin

Many analytics programs can provide deeper and more thorough data to enable better understanding of the behavior of the person who opted out. It can include,

  • When did they subscribe?
  • How many emails did they receive?
  • How many emails did they delete or open?
  • When did they open the email? (Was it in their inbox for weeks or did they open it the day or hours after it was sent?)
  • How many times did they clink on hyperlinks in the email?
  • Which links did they click on?

After analyzing the answers to these questions, you might be able to recognize trends. A recurring trend can be identified and a strategy developed to address or solve the situation.

Coming Thursday: Fighting Back From Rejection: Going from ‘Fat, boring and dressing funny’ to ‘Fit, fascinating and fashionable!’


One response

  1. […] with other challenges. A diagnosis and solutions were offered in two blog posts on the subject: 3 Steps To Understanding Why Someone Unsubscribes From Your E-Newsletter and 6 Ways To Get Your E-Newsletter Fit, Fascinating and […]

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