9 Ways the Best Email Marketing Campaigns Stop People From Unsubscribing

The best email marketing campaigns don’t hit the snooze button on engagement – they wake up early and go to work every single day


The worst thing you can do to stop people from unsubscribing from your emails is to hide the unsubscribe link. Hiding it only increases the likeliness of someone getting frustrated and clicking the “spam” button. Which in turn, reduces the likeliness of you getting delivered to other people’s inboxes.


There’s a marketer I follow named Kindra Hall, who has a big link at the bottom of all her emails. It says:

Yikes! Unsubscribe from this list here if you must … but I’d hate to see you go.

The whole thing is a hyperlink, so it stands out, but there’s a little something about it that might make you hang on for a day or two longer if you’re in the middle of a “unsubscribe from all” email binge.

Want to know how to stop people from unsubscribing from your email?

1. The most important and obvious way is to always send out content people need.

If you’re B2B, then you’re publishing content people need to do their jobs. If you’re B2C then you’re publishing content people want to live more happy, productive, or healthy lives. Make your email something people look forward to, even if they’re saving the email to get to it later, and don’t open it every day.

03-starting-a-magazine-business-plan-should-your-magazine-be-free2. Send content that they feel like they’d be missing out on.

This is different from #1 because it’s based on exclusivity. For example, no matter how many times this one retailer sends me emails, I can’t bring myself to unsubscribe because I can never find coupons from them online, you only get them in emails. I stay subscribed because although they email me more than I’d like, I don’t want to miss out on a good deal. Is there some kind of email-only perk you can offer?


3. Scare them.

Not really, but if a user will lose access to all of your free reports when they unsubscribe, by all means, let them know. If there’s nothing to lose, then create something.

4. When they head to unsubscribe, give them the option to subscribe to a weekly email instead.

Daily is too much for some people and that’s OK. Offering them a way to stay connected but on a less frequent basis is a great way to keep people on your list.

02-5-potent-ways-to-curtail-subscriber-churn5. Test out different templates, and brighten and bold your headlines.

When people get used to seeing the same visual thing every day, the content just becomes one big blur as well. Make a habit of switching up your email templates so that subscribers see change over time. One way we do this at Mequoda is by mixing up images, especially with promotional text ads. We also typically change up our template once a year.

6. Improve subject lines so that subscribers always feel like they need to open them.

There is one email I just can’t help but open every day, and it’s not because I know what’s inside will be good, but it’s because the headline always draws me in. It’s always short and catchy and feels personal, despite me being one in a few hundred thousand on their list.

01-a-quick-way-to-eyeball-your-magazine-competition7. Ask. 

Talk to them directly, ask them what they want from you (and look at your email stats too!) I have a personal cooking blog with over 19k email subscribers and I recently sent them a survey. In the survey I learned more about what my subscribers wanted from my weekly email. I learned that 64% wanted primarily dinner recipes, over any other meal. I learned that 74% desired ingredient reviews. I learned that 51% prefer a short story over a long story before a recipe, and 2-3 photos is sufficient enough (This goes in the face of most cooking blogs that have 1800 words of story, and 15-20 photos—but I bet they never ask their readers what they want.) Most importantly in a multi-answer question, I learned that 52% were totally cool with promotions as long as I included a discount code. And 37% said they’d be happier subscribers if I increased my weekly emails to twice per week. You don’t get this data from guessing, you have to ask. And if you have a loyal readership, you may be surprised at what they have to say.

8. Deliver one quick, great take-away so the subscriber feels you’re worth one more day in their inbox.

Even if they don’t read the whole email every day (who does?) you can get them to open and consume, and possibly move on to more content, if they can count on one tip that will help them live or do their job better.

03-9-ways-the-best-email-marketing-campaigns-stop-people-from-unsubscribing9. Distract them.

When all else fails, distract them with an offer they can’t give up. On your unsubscribe page, offer the deal of a lifetime on your magazine, or one of your products.

If you do have a high unsubscribe rate, consider a social media backup plan. When I unsubscribe from emails from companies I like but I simply don’t like getting their emails every day, I always open my browser to like their Facebook page. Most people won’t do this, so add those links to your unsubscribe page (and on that note, add them to your welcome page too.)


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