September 13, 2012

EmailEmail marketers track a number of statistics about their lists. The one that most people focus on is the percentage of people who purchase something or take other action as a result of receiving the email. However, an equally important statistic to track is the average length of time someone stays on your list before unsubscribing.

If people sign up for your mailing list, then unsubscribe a week or two later, you’re going to need to be constantly finding and acquiring additional people to sign up for your mailing list. Otherwise, even if you have a high conversion rate for your emails, it won’t matter, because there won’t be anyone on your list to convert.

Why do people unsubscribe?

The number one reason that people unsubscribe from a mailing list is that the email marketer has forgotten the primary purpose of an email list. The primary reason for an email list’s existence is not to sell something. It’s to connect with the customer, and build or maintain a relationship with that customer.

If you neglect the relationship building aspect of an email list, and simply sell, sell, sell to your captive audience, they will unsubscribe. No one likes being badgered by a sales person. If your emails cease to be perceived as a continuation of a valued relationship, people will feel badgered. If you’re lucky, they’ll just unsubscribe. If you’re not lucky, they’ll simmer with resentment, and share their feelings with trusted friends and family, predisposing other potential customers against you.

Relationship-based emails

To make your emails more than mere marketing vehicles, you need to focus on the relationship. Share details that make you and your company seem more human, whether that is profiling employees who have reached a significant milestone or achievement, or sharing pictures from your latest business trip. Use humour, especially of the sort that everyone can relate to. The caution with humour is that is should never be mean-spirited, or at someone else’s expense. Offending potential customers is not a good strategy.

You don’t want your emails to be all light chat with no meat. Every so often, an email like that is fine, but in general you want to be delivering something of value. You want people to associate your emails with interesting facts that will help their business to get ahead, or make them look particularly witty and knowledgeable at their next meeting. You can do this in many different ways: by collecting information from industry sources, by discussing current events, by answering write-in questions, or in whatever method works for the persona you are establishing with your emails.

Companies that specialize in newsletters, and who live or die by the number of their subscribers, have evolved a formula for the material in their newsletters. They aim for 70% entertainment and 30% information. Entertain your readers and give them valuable information, and they’ll stay your loyal subscribers for a long time.

Best of all, they’ll be that much more likely to buy from you.





Sean McPheat

Managing Director

The Internet Marketing Academy


(Image: Stock Xchng)

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