Marketing Emails: Top Reasons Consumers Unsubscribe

When it comes to email marketing, it’s all about your very valuable email list – and keeping that growing is crucial to the ongoing success of your email marketing campaign. It’s not always easy to get consumers to opt in to email lists and newsletter subscriptions. It can be even more difficult to keep those subscribers for a protracted length of time.

Put yourself in the customer’s shoes: you are being encouraged to sign up to an email list, or provide your email address at point of sale. You are in a rush or feeling flustered, or just don’t like to say no. You figure, “sure, I’ll sign up now – I can just unsubscribe later at home”.

Marketers and business owners need to understand that consumer engagement needs to be worked for – both to attain it, but even more so, to retain it.

Here are some of the top reasons consumers give when asked why they have unsubscribed from email lists – and what you as a business owner can do to make sure they don’t opt out.

  • They forget they opted in. Sometimes people simply forget. ..
  • They don’t realise they opted in. Whenever you provide your email address to a vendor, you are opting into their consumer email database. Many consumers don’t realise this – and then wonder why they receive what they think are unsolicited emails. Whether you’re asking for email at an ecommerce point of sale or in a restaurant feedback form, make it very clear that by providing email details, consumers are opting into receiving your newsletter and other email marketing messages. Give them the option to decline.
  • They are receiving too many emails. Too many marketing emails are annoying – and end up feeling like spam very quickly. If a subscriber is hearing from you more often than they wish to, they will opt out. Allow subscribers to nominate email frequency preference. No more than one email every couple of weeks is generally considered ideal.
  • Email content is irrelevant. Consumers only subscribe to emails if they believe they will be relevant to them. As a marketer, you need to understand your target audience and segment your lists, sending relevant emails to each segment. People and their circumstances change and you need to be flexible and anticipate their changing needs and interests.
  • Emails are too sales focused. In other words, spam. Offer instead content that is of value in other ways – interesting, informative, tips, strategies, news – and only twenty percent sales pitch.
  • Email is not mobile optimised. If your email doesn’t render properly on your subscribers’ chosen platform, they will opt out very quickly. To improve your readability, minimise use of images in emails, and make sure all of your content is mobile optimised. 
  • Email content looks unprofessional. A cluttered or otherwise messy email will not be pleasing to the eye and recipients will just look away. Think of your branding and image and create email content that reflects these. Your emails should be clean and contemporary.


ClickSend is a reputable and professional email marketing vendor. Only opt-in email lists will be used and best practices are at all times followed. We create and deliver innovative and industry-approved email marketing campaigns that work. Call or email us today to learn more – we’d love to chat with you.

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