Marketing / Email Marketing

How to win back an email list unsubscriber

John Rampton

Mar 12, 2020 · 6 min read

Toolkit for download in this article

A silhouette of romantic lovers with sunset on the back

People unsubscribe from email lists all the time. But before we get into the things you can do to win back email subscribers, there is someting that’s not necessarily bad about unsubscribers. Sometimes, those that unsubscribe are making it easier for you. They are no longer interested and have updated your email database for you. In this way, your email marketing reaches the best audience.

However, despite the benefits of an accurate list, it's also good to have a robust list. After all, you want to grow your subscribers rather than watch them shrink. That's why you want to focus on engaging subscribers.  If they have unsubscribed, there are still steps you can take to win them back.

And Keap can help you take your email to the next level.

Why people unsubscribe

There are numerous reasons why your subscribers have opted out from continuing to receive your emails. The first may be that they no longer need what you are offering them because they have solved the need or problem they had. If you are a local-based business, they may have moved out of the area and can no longer benefit from what you offer. Or, it may be that they do not feel engaged with your brand or marketing messages.

While you may not be able to do much about the first two reasons, you should start thinking about why that third reason exists because that's where you can make some changes to win back email subscribers. Your emails may not be optimized for mobile phones. More people than ever like to read their emails on their phones because of the convenience of handling these on the go. However, if they can't read your email newsletter or messaging, they won't want to keep receiving it.

Additionally, you may not be sending emails to your subscribers at an optimum time. This is when you need to do an A/B split test to determine when your subscribers are most often reading an email from you. Most often, people are reading their personal emails on breaks, early morning, and evening. However, conducting tests will show you if this is a reason there are unsubscribers.

Lastly, you may not be doing anything that really gets their attention or interest. Your lack of frequency or relevant content can be sending them away. Without providing that regular value, your subscribers may be turning elsewhere for the information they are seeking.

Steps to keep them subscribed

There are some tactics can you implement as they unsubscribe that may turn their decision around. Remember that you must have an unsubscribe button or link on your website. Consider these steps to keep them subscribed:

  • Consider using some type of humor to ask them to stay. Laughter often can create a bond where the subscriber may change their mind. In this day and age of often impersonal and stale communication, a little light humor just might do the trick.
  • Don't make them re-enter their email to unsubscribe. That will frustrate them more and will give them an even greater reason to continue with the unsubscribe process.
  • Ask them why they are leaving your page in the form of a multiple choice question so you can learn more about it. Again, just the small effort you make to communicate at this stage in the relationship could bring it back from the brink.  They may see you as caring or polite by doing this and decide to stay. Even if they continue the unsubscribe process, you'll have some data that can inform you on what type of changes to make before you lose more subscribers.
  • Give them an additional opportunity to stay by offering a second chance to rescind their unsubscribe request with another button that allows them to back out of the process.

Other tactics to change subscribers' minds

  • Provide them with some type of incentive to stay like a link to a special offer or coupon. Let them know that the relationship is important and that you want to give them something for remaining as a subscriber.
  • Offer some alternatives instead of having them unsubscribe. This could be options like fewer emails, a specific email, or some other way of receiving information from you. This tactic is an ideal way to address some of the reasons why people unsubscribe.
  • Always remember to include a "thank you" in any type of unsubscribe communication to show that you value them no matter what they decide to do.

Keeping subscribers and adding more

With the data you may be able to collect from unsubscribers or A/B testing, you'll have some idea of what you may need to do differently in order to keep your other subscribers, add more in the future, and win back email unsubscribers.

Think about how to provide more engaging information and leverage any insights on timing and frequency to deliver this valuable content when your subscribers most want to receive it. If there is an issue with timing, think about how you can automate your email marketing program to more regularly deliver what your subscribers want while you continue to address other aspects of your marketing.

Just remember that email address management is an ongoing process that needs to be regularly managed and improved in order to continue building your subscriber base.

John Rampton Bio Photo Small.jpeg
John Rampton is an entrepreneur, investor, online marketing guru, and startup enthusiast. He is the founder of the payments company Due.

Grow without the chaos

Keap's suite of CRM, sales, and marketing tools help you get organized, follow up, and automate to create peace of mind, increase sales, and save time.

Stop the chaos

Was this post helpful?

Subscribe to our newsletter

Fresh small business insights and ideas delivered weekly to your inbox, gratis.

You may also like

{{ record.displayCategory || record.secondaryCategory || record.primaryCategory || '' | smartCapitalize }} | min read


Knowledge is power, get some more...