Why Are You Losing So Many Email Subscribers?


People really don’t generally enjoy buying from complete strangers, especially online.  Who can they trust, anyway?  Email marketing is a way to help others know, like and trust you.  There’s no better way to market online than using email.

But you can work hard to build  your email list only to see it shrink as subscribers opt out.  What can you do?

First, the good news.

  • My favorite stat: for every dollar spent on email marketing, there is an average of $44 dollar return on investment. (Source: Campaign Monitor, 2016)
  • One reason that the ROI on email is so high is that email marketing is so cost-effective.  Once built your list, you can send any number of emails to your subscribers for the single cost of maintaining your account with the company providing your autoresponder.
  • Plus, email marketing is measurable.  After each email is sent, you receive the numbers: how many opens, how many click-throughs, and how many sales.  Tie your email campaigns to Google Analytics and you have an even deeper array of statistics.
  • Worldwide email use continues to climb.  According to Statiista, the number of e-mail users worldwide is expected to grow to 2.9 billion users by 2019. (Source: Statista, 2016)
  • Gmail alone has over 1.2 billion active users.  Gmail alone is a huge marketplace.
  • There are more emails and email users than ever, and open rates have increased on a year-over-year basis (up from 31% to 34.1%).
  • 91% of Americans use email every day.  72% of adults in the U.S. say that they prefer emails from companies that they do business with.  Consumer email accounts made up the majority of US email accounts in 2016, representing 79% of US mailboxes. (Source: Radicati , 2016)
  • Of the 35% of US retail email list subscribers who are customers of the retailer they received an email from, 15% made multiple purchases. (Source: eMarketer, 2016)

Why is email marketing so powerful?  Because it is a direct connection to prospects and buyers.  Through email marketing you have direct access to those who have expressed some level of interest in what you have to sell.  They may have responded to your lead magnet, your website, or your social media presence, whatever way they found you,  they have self-selected to be in direct connection with you.

Now, some bad news.

  • Click through rates have declined (from 3.5% to 3.1%) according to a Q3 2016 review of benchmarks by Epsilon. (Source: Epsilon, 2017)
  • I picked this up from Inc.com: “According to a recent study from Campaigner, nearly half (49 percent) of consumers say they receive too many emails from business owners and marketers. In fact, according to the survey results, many consumers would like to receive far fewer emails than what marketers send on average. The Campaigner researchers found that about three in 10 consumers (29 percent) would like to hear from a brand once per month or less.”  We’ll delve into this shortly.

Let’s start here…

Why You Shouldn’t Worry About Losing Subscribers

  1. The reality is that if Ernest Hemingway were doing email marketing, he would lose subscribers.  It’s a natural part of the business, so don’t obsess about it.  Instead, keep producing great content that will build your subscriber base.
  2. People sign up to your list for a variety of reasons.  They may decide at some point that you are not a good fit for them for whatever reason.  Don’t worry about it.  Instead, focus on the subscribers who are still with you.  How can you meet their needs?
  3. Some subscribers are tire kickers and lookie-loos.  They were never interested in buying anything from you anyway.  They grabbed your freebie, and now they’ve off to get someone else’s freebie.  There’s nothing you can do for them than what you’ve already done.  It’s not you, it’s them.

On the other hand…

What can you do?

  1. Determine the right frequency of emails.  I generally email twice a week, some email five or more times a week.  What frequency is best for you?  If you email too little, you’re leaving money on the table.  Your subscribers may forget who you are.  🙁 If you email too often, you can annoy your subscribers, get spam complaints and unsubscribed.  Find the right frequency and your email marketing can be extremely effective.
  2. Use your unsubscribers as a means to better understand your list.  Did you get an unusual number of unsubscribes after a particular email?  Maybe what you sent just didn’t appeal to your list.  You can’t know for sure unless you ask them, but you can get a feel for your list by how they respond to your emails.
  3. Going along with #2 is this: are you meeting the expectations of your subscribers?  They signed up for your list for a reason.  If you’re not meeting their expectations, they will leave.  One way to disappoint your readers is to create blog content that doesn’t meet their needs.  Why did they sign up with you in the first place?  Are you staying true to why they signed up to your list?
  4. Write better subject lines!  Subject lines are significant for your open rates.  Boring, trite, cliche, common subject lines can kill your open rates.  If you don’t have it yet, get my free headlines report for help with this.
  5. Poor copy is another reason for unsubscribes.  Once you’ve got them to open your emails, how good is the writing inside?  Are you giving your subscribers sufficient value to keep them coming back to you?  Or are you pushing them away with mediocre or bad copy?
  6. Are you selling too much in your emails?  if you are constantly haranguing your subscribers to get the sale and they’re not ready to buy from you, their response may be to unsubscribe.  When they’ve done that, you’ve lost your opportunity to ever sell to them again.  They may come back, but don’t count on it.
  7. If you aren’t providing sufficient value to your subscribers in your emails, blog posts, and other means, subscribers will leave.  Give them good solid content in your emails and at your website and subscribers will be more likely to stay with you.  Make Mention gives three essentials for content marketing: Relevance – your content must interest your readers, Applicability – your content needs to give them something they can use, and Originality – your content mustn’t be repetitive; make it fresh and interesting.  Take the time to produce a new take on something of value for them.
  8. Long emails will frustrate some subscribers.  If your long emails are not sufficiently interesting, some won’t bother to read them and others may choose to unsubscribe because of them.
  9. Consider what makes your emails stand out from the other hundreds of emails that land in your subscriber’s box.   Seth Godin talks about The Purple Cow.  He takes something boring (a cow) and spices it up with an unusual color (purple), and it stands out.  What can you do that makes a positive impression on your subscribers and keeps them opening your emails?
  10. Are your emails mobile-friendly.  More and more content is being consumed on mobile devices.  If your emails aren’t easily read on cellphones and tablets, you’re losing out to competitors whose content is mobile-friendly.
  11. Are you using images in your emails.  I’ll admit, I don’t do this a lot, but I have used GIFs (animated images) on occasion.  You can  boost interest in your content with images.
  12. Do your emails have an easily understood reason for being?  Will your readers quickly pick up the reason that you are emailing them?  If your emails meander around rather than get to your point, you will lose readers.
  13. Always, always, always include a call to action.  What action do you want your readers to take once they’ve read your email?

Those are my best tips for holding onto the subscibers who have joined your list.  What would you add?  I welcome your comments and questions, and your likes and shares.


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