It’s not me; it’s you

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Understanding why people unsubscribe and how to keep them engaged.

If marketing is all about building relationships, marketers better be prepared to face rejection—and know what to do to get that second date.

Every email sent, every update tweeted, and every photo posted is an opportunity for engagement. It’s also an opportunity for viewers to unsubscribe and unfollow. How can communicators hit the sweet spot that represents optimal contact?

First, it’s important to understand a few key phrases. Inboxes are increasingly becoming sacred space. Measuring and analyzing your digital marketing campaigns is critical if you hope to continually improve them.

Open Rate: Out of all the people who received your email, this number represents everyone who opened the message.

Click-Through Rate: Out of all the people who received your email, this represents the people who clicked on a link in your email.

Click-to-Open Rate: Out of all the people who opened your email, this represents the people who clicked on a link in your email. (Since this narrows the field to only those who opened, it better measures the strength of your email content.)

Unsubscribe Rate: Out of all the people who received your email, this represents the people who unsubscribed from receiving future communications.

Spam Rate: Out of all the people who received your email, this represents the number of people who marked your message as spam. A spam rate that climbs too high could send a negative message to mailbox providers.

How are you doing? Check your numbers against industry averages through data collected by email service providers like MailChimp and Constant Contact. Then think about what needs to change and how. (For more on email best practices, read our past blog post.)

Remember, marketing is a process. If you are experiencing a high unsubscribe rate, that’s not necessarily all bad. As marketers at Voila Norbert point out, it can help you weed out disinterested folks and find your people. The content and delivery of your message are key factors recipients consider when choosing to opt in or out. It may need to improve or you may need to improve your email list. Do not feel bad when people unsubscribe; it happens to everyone.

Taking a hard look at your numbers is also an opportunity to be creative. Is your message the right length? Is it personalized? Is it any different from the last dozen messages you sent? As we’ve discussed in previous posts, a strong subject line can help your message shoot to the top of someone’s inbox, and personalization can make your message feel tailored and special.

Inboxes are crowded, and many people and businesses are vying for the same eyeballs. Take time to think about the individual at the receiving end of your message and what you’d like them to know.

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