Unsubscribe Rates: Everything You Need To Know
There’s no point in ignoring unsubscribe rates - here’s how to calculate and improve them
The topic of unsubscribe rates is one many content creators try to stay away from. No one wants to admit that their audience regularly unsubscribes from their email lists, so it’s best not to talk about it - right?
Wrong! Unsubscribe rates are vital when it comes to newsletters, as they inform how healthy your email list is and whether you should be changing the content of your emails. Rather than ignoring it, you’re better off addressing the proverbial elephant and learning how you can use your unsubscribe rate to improve your subscriber lists and email content.
Keep reading to learn everything there is to know about unsubscribe rates, industry standards, and a key formula for working out unsubscribe rates for your email campaigns.
Average Unsubscribe Rate For Email
It’s important to understand average unsubscribe rates for emails to figure out where your unsubscribe rates land in relation to other companies. No company will have a 0% unsubscribe rate, as any list of significant size will see users dropping now and again. It’s impossible to please everyone!
The average unsubscribe rate for email, according to a 2022 Benchmark Report by Campaign Monitor, is 0.1%. This means that approximately 10 in every 100 email subscribers unsubscribe for one reason or another when receiving a particular email.
This figure sounds fairly low–but it’s key to remember this is only a benchmark, as this figure will differ depending on both your industry and the size of the email list. We’ve included some figures from Campaign Monitor’s report below, showcasing how unsubscribe rates can differ dramatically depending on your industry–this should help in figuring out if you’re on par with your industry’s averages.
(Source: Campaign Monitor)
What Is A Good Unsubscribe Rate For Email?
As you can see, a good unsubscribe rate for an email depends entirely on the industry in which your company operates. Some sectors will have a higher unsubscribe rate than others due to larger lists used in different industries. Or, perhaps your Click Through Rates are unusually high–this is also likely to result in high unsubscribe rates.
For example, if you’re in the Wellness & Fitness industry and have an unsubscribe rate of 0.3%, you’re below the industry average and should pat yourself on the back. While this is higher than the 0.1% average across all industries (Campaign Monitor), it’s lower than your industry average, and is therefore a good benchmark for your company.
Ultimately, you want to be aiming for sub 0.5% when you’re looking at unsubscribe rates. However, the most important factor to bear in mind is that you’re analyzing your unsubscribe rate in relation to other companies in your sector.
Unsubscribe rates are just one metric you ought to be tracking with your email newsletters. For more metrics you should track on your newsletters, check out our blog.
Unsubscribe Email Message Examples
The email message that you send when users click unsubscribe is an opportunity. You have a chance, at this stage, to keep your subscribers in one way or another.
For example, there may just be one email campaign that turned your reader off, so it’s sensible to give them the option to tailor their experience by remaining a subscriber of your email list, but with different content preferences. Segmentation is perfect for this–more on that later.
Here are a few examples of unsubscribe email message examples that we think really do the trick.
Proofreading software creators Grammarly have produced a great unsubscribe email example that ultimately gives subscribers what they’re asking for while attempting to retain their readership for at least one mailing list.
They start their message by asking the user to help Grammarly ‘improve [their] experience with Grammarly through better communication.’ This friendly start shows that they care about their subscriber’s experience and want them to receive emails that they’re genuinely interested in.
They go on to offer four email options: Weekly Progress Reports, Grammarly Offers, The Grammarly Blog, and Pop Quiz Emails. This gives their audience the option of tailoring their experience–and if one particular set of emails was irritating them, they can unsubscribe from those while continuing to receive other emails from Grammarly.
Subscribers are also given the option of opting out of all Grammarly emails if this is ultimately what they’d like to do.
Video software company Loom has gone down a similar road - the main difference being that they automatically unsubscribe their user, and then ask for feedback as to why they’ve chosen to unsubscribe.
We like this one, as they’ve instantly unsubscribed their members, and therefore given them what they wanted. But Loom also shows that they care about their subscribers by asking how they can improve the service.
While they’ve lost a subscriber, they know how to work on keeping their audience happy moving forwards.
Not On The High Street
Online retailer Not On The High Street has chosen to ask their subscribers why they’ve chosen to unsubscribe before removing them from the email list.
This is a nice example, as it gives the subscriber a moment to think about why they’re unsubscribing–and potentially change their mind.
This helps Not On The High Street to understand why their reader is choosing to leave, and how they can improve their unsubscribe rate moving forward.
Email Unsubscribe Rate (How Can You Lower It?)
While unsubscribe rates are normal for most industries, it’s natural to want to lower this number as much as possible to ensure your subscribers are happy and that your emails are reaching as many people as possible.
We’ve included a few tips below on how to bring that number down (and keep it there).
Segment Your Email Lists
One of the best ways to reduce your email unsubscribe rate is to segment your email lists. This enables you to send tailored content to your subscribers, rather than sending blanket emails that not all audience members will be interested in.
Let’s set an example. You’re a clothing company offering clothes for both men and women. You’d be better off segmenting your list by gender and sending emails promoting your Men’s clothing range to men only. This will prevent unsubscribes from women that find content on men’s clothes irrelevant to them, and vice versa.
Don’t Resend Emails to Subscribers That Didn’t Open
While resending emails to audience members that didn’t open the email the first time is a common practice in email marketing, this isn’t advised if you’re watching your unsubscribe rate.
If your subscriber didn’t open your email the first time, there’s a good chance that they didn’t see it as relevant to them. It may even irritate them if they were to receive it in their inbox for a second time and provoke them to unsubscribe.
This tip is particularly key if you’re receiving good open rates anyway. For more info on this topic, check out our blog on why you shouldn’t resend emails to subscribers that didn’t open.
Ask For Subscriber Feedback
One of the best ways to lower your unsubscribe rate is to find out what your customers honestly think of your emails. If the only way they can provide feedback is by unsubscribing, you could be losing valuable subscribers. Perhaps you could keep them if only you knew what they liked or disliked about your content.
Send out an email asking your audience what they honestly enjoy about your content, and what you could improve upon. Be proactive! You could even send a follow-up to a specific email asking your subscribers what they thought.
This will give you ideas to improve your emails moving forward, and give you the option of tailoring your email newsletters to ensure better unsubscribe rates.
How To Calculate Unsubscribe Rate - What’s the Formula?
Calculating your unsubscribe rate is important if you want to use it to create better content for your audience. Fortunately, it’s also easy! To calculate your unsubscribe rate, simply use the following formula:
(Total Number of Subscribers / Number of Total Delivered Emails) X 100
Now that you know your unsubscribe rate, monitor this number as you create further email campaigns. Knowledge is power, so don’t be scared of your unsubscribe rate. Every company has one–and now that you know what it is, you can work on improving it!
Wrap-Up - How To Improve Unsubscribe Rates with beehiiv
You can easily improve your unsubscribe rates by starting a free trial with beehiiv! We calculate this key metric for you and offer many features, including A/B testing and list segmentation, to help keep your unsubscribe rates as low as possible.
Sign up for free with beehiiv today and get started on improving your email newsletter metrics!