It does happen once in a while that you notice a drop in the quantity of subscribers on your mailing list. Those pesky numbers can be quite frustrating for an email marketer (don’t worry, we feel your pain.) It is quite normal to lose a few subscribers here and there, because let’s face it –it is almost impossible to keep them all. However, if you notice a sudden spike in the number of unsubscribes, or people are opting out from your list in droves, then you may have a cause to worry. Here are some reasons why you’re losing email subscribers:


  • You’re sending too many emails: unless you run a business of a time sensitive nature, such as a news website, chances are you don’t need to send daily emails to your subscribers’ inbox –that is simply overkill. You could be putting off your existing and potential customers with an influx of needless emails, which will result in them unsubscribing or marking you as spam.
  • You’re sending too few emails: this isn’t contradictory we promise. Yes, you shouldn’t send too many emails, but you also shouldn’t send so little that your subscribers forget who you are.


  • You’re not offering valuable content: this is the first rule to engaging with subscribers. If you must reach out to them, then make sure what you’re saying is useful to them.
  • You have a disengaged list: even when you’re offering relevant content and doing everything right, there can still be a disconnect with your audience. This is usually linked to how those subscribers were sourced in the first place, e.g. through entries for a giveaway contest. This class of people might just never be interested in your content.

Visual Appeal

  • Your emails aren’t optimized for other devices: most people now open and read their emails on mobile devices. It is important that your mails open properly across all devices and are easy to read.
  • Your email template isn’t attractive: while the substance of the content is what matters most, we cannot disregard the place of design in creating brand loyalty.
  • Your email is ridden with errors: to err is human, but certain mistakes can be avoided. It could be quite embarrassing for a business to churn out mails with slip-ups. It doesn’t portray the image of reliability that a customer desires in doing business with you.

Unethical Practices

  • You bought subscribers: a purchased list is the enemy of every shrewd email marketer. The pitfalls far outweigh whatever temporary gain you may get from it. The recipients of your mails don’t know you, nor did they request to hear from you, they’ll drop off your list like flies.
  • You’re fond of using click baits: this is a very annoying practice where the subject line of a mail is crafted to grab the viewer’s attention and prompt them to open it. More often than not, the subject has no relevance to the content of the mail. This tactic will surely lose you subscribers and most likely land you in the spam folder.

For whatever reason you find yourself losing your audience, all hope is not lost. Here are 7 ways to fix the problem and retain those hard earned subscribers:

  1. Pay attention to campaign reports or whatever method you use to measure the success of your email campaigns. This will let you know when your recipients engage most with their inbox and help you organize your sending schedule accordingly. Set expectations early on the kind of mails your subscribers will receive and the frequency of those mails, then stick to it. You should also give them the option to set their subscription preferences.
  2. Send a message immediately a new subscriber joins your list to create a connection when you’re still fresh on their mind. This could be a welcome email or a simple thank you for subscribing. You may not always be available to sit at a computer composing emails, but you can create an auto-responder series. Read more on how to make drip marketing work for your campaigns here.
  3. Use segmentation to up your game in delivering the right content to the right person at the right time…every single time. Your list is made up of people at different stages of their buyer’s journey with varying interests. Continue collecting information about your subscribers that will help you tailor the best user experience for them.
  4. Maintain a healthy mailing list by removing disengaged subscribers and others who do not share an active relationship with you for a long period of time. This will save you resources and improve your metrics in the long run. Click here to learn more about list hygiene.
  5. Interact with your audience to know what they want. Make use of surveys, questionnaires, and feedback forms to gauge your performance and offer more value. Build an actual relationship with them, not only when you’re selling something.
  6. Source your subscribers organically and DO NOT buy lists –nothing good can come of it. Use double opt-in to ensure you are engaging with real people who actually want to hear from you. Still attracted to the lure of a quick fix? Read this to see how purchased lists can hurt your email marketing.
  7. Polish the overall look of your mail with little touches that endear you towards the audience. This includes the first impression from your subject line, to the actual body and layout of the mail. Proofread, or get a few trusted friends / colleagues to vet your emails for errors before sending. Getting these right show your subscribers that you’re committed and you value the time they take to read your mails. See this post for a detailed guide on designing a successful template.

Nobody likes to lose subscribers after all the effort that goes into obtaining them in the first place. They each have a value and every loss is equivalent to your business losing money. To receive more useful posts like this straight into your inbox, subscribe to the Cloudy newsletter below. Are you a business looking to build a profitable customer relationship? Check out our affordable email pricing, as well as content marketing / SEO packages.

About the author

1 Response

Leave a Reply