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Why Leads Unsubscribe to Emails and Does it Matter?

Computer screen with email inbox.

We’ve all heard the way to stay “top of mind” is to send emails, right? We do that. But soon, we end up wondering why leads unsubscribe to emails.  Don’t they like what we’re selling? Don’t they like us? Is our competitor writing better emails than we are? 

1. When? And how often?

Most people assume that sending emails too frequently is the cause of unsubscribes. It certainly can be a factor. But I don’t spend half of a minute worrying about that.

Leads are more likely to unsubscribe in the first 2 weeks or so if they are truly uninterested in the product/service.

According to studies, relatively few customers think that 6 times a week is too much.

However, “too often” must be seen in the context.

  • How often will they buy? Is the person is buying makeup or clothing rather than, say, major appliances or a car? The frequency for emails is related to buying frequency.
  • The type of email that was sent affects their perception of its usefulness. (More on this in a moment.)

2. Who is unsubscribing, and why?

To understand why leads unsubscribe to emails, we need to know who they are. After a careful analysis, we’ve found that the greatest number of unsubscribes were initiated by customers who are on our email list because their boss has mandated them to take one of our courses.

There’s a low likelihood that they will buy anything else from us. Flocks of them unsubscribe. We don’t worry about it

What’s going on with your subscribers?

We’ve had people write us a note saying they’re unsubscribing because they have retired, changed roles, or changed careers entirely.  Sometimes, we discover that or other explanatory information – including death – through other means.

Are we beyond their budget? Could be. International folks jump to my mind. They’ve made it clear that what we sell is beyond their budget. Not surprisingly, then, they unsubscribe. That’s okay.  

Who are they in terms of their interests? Here’s an easy way to understand it.

Let’s say you sell dog training or dog foods. Your email talks about the best ways to house-train the dog.

Well, if the person is looking for help on how to pick out a breed that will fit with their family situation, they don’t find your email about dog training relevant to their needs. They’re not a qualified lead for the product or service you’re selling. 

Before you freak out about your unsubscribe rate and wonder why leads unsubscribe to emails, determine:

  • the re-subscribe rate (it may be higher than you think)
  • their primary reason for unsubscribing
  • the length of time we kept them in a nurture sequence

3. Where?

Where are they in the sales funnel?

People who are at the top of the funnel might not have been qualified leads in the first place.

Depending on which industry they’re in, businesses have a 0.5% to 0.7% unsubscribe rate for qualified leads. Unless we’re very good at qualifying our leads – which many of us aren’t unless we’ve had special training – it’s likely that our unsubscribe rate will be even higher. Much higher.

I don’t have any special training, just a lot of experience many years or asking myself why leads unsubscribe to emails.

I’d be willing to bet that all or nearly all of those who unsubscribe to my email list do so for one of two reasons:

  • They weren’t qualified leads in the first place. I got them to opt in, but I didn’t vet them in any way before I tagged them and threw them into my CRM. (Guilty as charged.) Similarly, they might have been a qualified lead at some point, but they aren’t any longer. (For example, if they’ve pursued a different career path or retired.)
  • They were not nurtured, or not nurtured long enough.

I began to understand why leads unsubscribe to emails when I dug a little deeper.

I found that most had never bought a dime’s worth of product, even after a few years. They probably aren’t a good match for us. They got a free thing, but never bought. We don’t worry about them unsubscribing. Again, this goes back to qualifying the lead.

4. What?

What type of email are we talking about? In my mind, this is the biggest problem.

Simply sending an email doesn’t work. It’s about the type of email we send. There are two types of email sequences: sales emails and nurture sequences. They’re very different. (Stay tuned, more on that later.)

  • In a sales sequence, the message is buy my stuff.
  • In a nurture sequence, the message is let me give you great value without any money changing hands.

If you’re always sending sales emails but rarely or never sending nurture emails, that’s probably a major reason – if not the most glaring reason – why leads unsubscribe to emails.

Have you looked at your unsubscribe rate or the factors I’ve talked about here? Have you figure out why leads unsubscribe to emails

If you still need help  with your email sequences, schedule a free discovery call and see if you’re a good fit for my coaching program!

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