Three Ways Email Unsubscribes Help You Build A Better List

Author: Paul Leslie

June 26, 2020

If you’re like most people, email unsubscribes make you sad. You work hard to come up with the best content for your audience, and it’s disheartening to see people rejecting it. But did you ever consider unsubscribes can be a good thing? Let’s see how they help you build a more engaged list and contribute to your email marketing’s reach.   

On average, people check their email 15 times a day, according to a study by the University of British Columbia. Consider that if the average person is awake approximately 16 hours out of every day, that means they’re just about checking their email every hour! So it’s hard to think of a better way to reach your customers.

In one of his articles for Entrepreneur magazine, ZeroBounce CEO Liviu Tanase mentioned email being the most effective marketing channel, more so than social media. The return is $44 for every $1 spent. So, putting your heart and mind into making your email newsletters superior is a smart idea. 

getting email unsubscribes

How email unsubscribes help you build a better list

People and companies frequently look at their email lists with pride. “Wow, we’re really getting a lot of subscribers to our newsletter!” they think. There are good reasons to be happy about people wanting to get your emails. They’re trusting you with their confidential information because they care about your message, service or products. Don’t take that sacred trust lightly!

But what about the other side of the coin? What about when someone decides they no longer want to receive your email newsletter and unsubscribes? 

Interestingly enough, when people get off your list, they’re doing you a favor. By opting out, they allow your interested subscribers to see your emails in their inbox – and engage with you. 

How does this work? 

It all boils down to your reputation as a sender. This is a score Internet service providers (ISPs) assign to every email sender to help determine their legitimacy. And one of the factors that contribute to your reputation is your overall email engagement

ISPs are always looking for ways to offer email users a better experience. Good engagement – such as high open and click rates – is a sign you’re sending great content, so you belong in the inbox. 

As you can probably figure out, poor engagement – with low open rates being a crucial indicator – tell ISPs your content is irrelevant. As a result, more of your emails will land in spam instead of getting a chance to convert in the inbox. 

So, why would you want to have anyone on your list who doesn’t engage with your emails? Wouldn’t it be better to communicate with people who care about what you send? You bet it would. 

Not only does this help you keep a good reputation and improve your deliverability. It also encourages conversions as you’re marketing to an audience who’s opening your emails consistently.

We’ll talk about it more below – here are three reasons email unsubscribes make you a more efficient marketer.

email marketing

You can focus on your fans

Imagine addressing a large theatre packed with people who are completely unenthused about your speaking to them. 

You walk out to a half-asleep crowd. A lady yawns. You observe the expressionless guy in the front row staring and tapping on his phone. 

Now, imagine a smaller auditorium, but the people are there to hear from you. You’re introduced and the people applaud and you even hear someone let out a celebratory whistle. 

Would you rather have the huge lackluster crowd or the devoted, eager, albeit smaller audience?

Unless you’re one of the world’s greatest orators, you would and should choose the dedicated audience. When someone unsubscribes from your emails, that allows you to channel your efforts and energy into communicating with people who are open to it. And the people who will never be receptive to you can see their way out. 

You want a tight-knit circle and to those who unsubscribe: we wish them well as they travel through life.

cleaning email list

Better that they unsubscribe than mark you as spam

I recall getting these promotional emails from a company and it became apparent that it wasn’t something that I wanted. They were emailing me every couple of days. There was no unsubscribe link in their emails and there was a disclaimer to not reply as the mailbox was unmanned. 

So, I went to their website. There wasn’t any way to unsubscribe from the list and no contact email to be found. That was kind of frustrating so I gave up.

The next day, they sent me another pointless email. With no better idea, I marked them as spam. This company was really disrespectful of their email recipients. Furthermore, the law is clear. The Federal Trade Commission clearly states that there must be an obviously, clearly stated way to unsubscribe.

So, make unsubscribing easy. Prominently display the “Unsubscribe” link in every single promotion or newsletter you send. If it’s easier to mark the email as spam, than that’s what a lot of people will do. 

People marking your emails as spam is a bad thing. Remember when we talked about your sender reputation earlier? Spam complaints will tarnish it right away. When your sender reputation goes down, that can easily lead all of your emails to be classified as spam.

While we’re talking about making unsubscribing easy, I should say that some people have a habit of labeling emails as spam. In the email marketing industry, their email addresses are known as abuse emails. To keep these addresses and other invalid or poor-quality addresses off of your list, validate it periodically and use an email validation API

That’s right, not only am I telling you that email unsubscribes are good, but that you should be taking people off your list, too!

why email unsubscribes are good

Your engagement increases

Like Newton’s Law of Motion: an object in motion stays in motion. Email unsubscribes keep your list going forward. After all, as a tree grows, the branches must be pruned from time to time. With your list humming along, reaching the right people, your engagement will increase. People will be opening your emails and reading them. 

Looking to expand your database? You can suggest people that they forward your email to a friend who would find it useful. Include a link to allow them to sign-up.

Furthermore, you can keep testing your content and determine what kind of emails perform best with your particular audience. You’re really fine-tuning your campaigns now!

unengaged subscribers

Low engagement means you unsubscribe them

A little earlier, I mentioned unengaged subscribers and the bad impact they can make on your reputation. Although they don’t bother to unsubscribe, they’re sort of in limbo. The industry calls this graymail – it’s when someone opts in, but never opens emails or clicks. 

You may be asking yourself, what’s the point? Exactly. 

Although it may be another number on your email list, you’re not interested in the size of the list, but rather its effectiveness. In fact, low engagement subscribers are detrimental to your success. They negatively affect your sender reputation and thus will cause more of your emails to land in spam. 

To market effectively, you have to eliminate all potential roadblocks that stand in the way of you reaching your active subscribers. 

Make it a habit of pruning these low engagement subscribers from your list. So yes, you’re not only okay with unsubscribing, but you’re even kindly helping the half-hearted get their coat and hat and find the exit.

build unique brand

You’re not for everybody

Even some of the most popular things in the world have a lot of critics. Everyone has an opinion and most are pretty vocal about it. 

Coca-Cola may be the world’s most popular branded beverage, but there are some people who never touch the stuff! Meanwhile, there are people who have a Coke magnet on their fridge and a World of Coca-Cola Museum t-shirt from when they made a pilgrimage to Atlanta.

Email unsubscribes are a wonderful gift where you are able to find out who your fans are. You can now find out what they need and want and continue to work to mutual benefit. 

Need to validate your list? Try ZeroBounce