People come to me and ask questions like in Whitney Houston’s song: “Agnieszka, how will I know? How will I know if my newsletter subscribers really love me?” And I reply to them: Your relationship with subscribers is as strong as low the Unsubscribe Rate is. Keep your eyes on it. 

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I always say that Unsubscribe Rate is one of my favourites when it comes to ultimate check-up on e-mail marketing strategies. How else subscribers could express that they don’t like how often or what types of messages they receive, right? It’s a useful red flag that helps observe how subscribers’ sentiment fluctuates, check if messages fit into their acceptable boundaries and spot when to take up action to improve tactics.

In simple words, worth a love song: it’s like dating a new person. You text them too much, and that pushes them away. You say something inappropriate, and that pushes them away too. You lie to them, and yikes! They block you. Oh well, who’d have thought?

E-mail marketing is pretty much the same but with one crucial difference: you have the Unsubscribe Rate to catch what’s going on on time and think through ways of targeting the database before losing your chances for customer retention.

Numbers never lie, but we need to learn how to read them. Therefore, here are my Golden Rules and best practices about the mentioned metric:

☑️ Monthly Unsubscribe Rate check-ups give a better overview of a long-term e-mail strategy than a single campaign’s results. Keep it ideally in a 0.5%-1.0% range.
☑️ The acceptable range of the Unsubscribe Rate can differ from single campaign to single campaign, though. Sometimes it can be much higher than the 0.5%-1.0% KPI, and that’s ok because of the above first point.
☑️ Occasional and seasonal spikes of Unsubscribe Rate are normal. Don’t panic about it. Be mindful of what might have caused it and investigate your hypothesis.
☑️ It’s worth losing a couple of subscribers if the campaign conversion is covering your business KPIs. But! Be careful with applying this way of thinking too often and find the line where compromising the Unsubscribe Rate is not serving the healthy growth of the database.
❌ If your Unsubscribe Rate is constantly flying up to the roof, well… Tsk tsk. Take a few steps back and re-think your general CRM approach and e-mail campaigns’ aka dating tactics.

Keep in mind, that this is more a long-run maintenance than something you can apply once and go home. But knowing that each 1$ invested in e-mail marketing is bringing ~40$ in revenue, is worth the effort.