Inna Yatsyna
Inna Yatsyna 12 December 2018
Categories B2C, Email & eCRM

Why Do They Unsubscribe: a Practical Guide to Improve Your Email Open Rate

If you have an email (and I have bad news if you don’t), it half consists of newsletters and advertisements. Every time you open your account, it takes huge efforts to find useful information. That’s why most people ignore emails they subscribed to or even send them to a spam folder.

The fact you’re reading this article means you not only get those emails but also send them. As you experience first-hand how irritating can be those newsletters, you may have the question: ‘What makes people pay attention to your letter?’

In this post, I’ll tell you about the most common mistakes in email marketing and ways of improving your letters.

Key factors for a successful email marketing campaign

Thinking of the most important features of quality email, remember, what do emails you’re likely to open look like? Maybe, there are some newsletters you read every time you get them? It can be challenging, as different people have different preferences. So, I circled out the following key features which most people pay attention to:

  • List.

  • Subject line.

  • Design.

  • The way you write it.

  • Content.


The bigger your list is, the more productive your email marketing will be. Is it correct? Both yes and no. In this matter, the quality of your leads is much more important than the quantity. Your contacts should be interested in interacting with you.

Many companies buy the list for their marketing campaign. Before doing the same, think of the moments you received letters you hadn’t subscribed to. Did you at least open them? So didn’t I. Of course, the process of email list building takes efforts, but results are worth it.

I recommend you to begin with the basic methods of creating a list of contacts:

  • Use sign-up forms at your websites. These forms can be placed wherever you wish:

    • pop-up forms, when a user comes to your site;

    • sliders, which ‘slide’ from the bottom corner of a page;

    • forms at the top of a sidebar;

    • forms at the end of the post.

  • Request an email address when a person purchases online.

  • Collect emails when a person purchases at your retail location. For instance, to get a discount card, customers should fill the blank with contact information.

One more advice I’ll give you is a bit controversial. Make it easy for a reader to unsubscribe. If a person isn’t interested in the information you provide, then this contact won’t bring any profit to your campaign.

Subject line

The fact that people often judge a book by its cover isn’t surprising. But I’ll go further and tell you that we also judge an email by its subject line.

Let me remind you of the moment you check your email box. Do you open every letter you see and read it in details? I doubt it. It’s more likely that you pay attention only to emails you were waiting for and to those with an engaging subject.

You have only one sentence to make a first impression, try not to lose this chance. A subject gives you an opportunity to stand out in an overcrowded inbox. Think of the best word combinations to describe the information you share. Here are five main features of a catchy subject line:

  • Urgency. Show that it’s better to read your letter as soon as possible. If you write about some innovations, sales, or contests, mark its importance to a reader. Don’t use it when the occasion doesn’t demand immediate action.

  • Call to action. Mention what you want a subscriber to do after opening your letter. Use words, such as ‘check’, ‘discover’, ‘participate’, etc.

  • Description. Intriguing slogans like ‘You’ve never seen this’ aren’t very productive. When I see such a subject, I decide it’s spam. Tell about the benefits of the content you share.

  • Targeting. Your subject should be specific for a subscriber to know his or her profit of reading a letter. To create such a subject, you should, first of all, produce a targeted content.

  • Length. It’s essential that a reader sees the entire subject line. If not, all the efforts creating it are senseless (still remember that ‘first impression’ thing?). Consider the fact that mobile devices cut off subject lines more often.

  • Simplicity. When you try to shorten a subject, you may accidentally create a heavy-handed construction. Mind phrases you use. They should be catchy, not misleading.

If following the instruction step-by-step, a subject line may look like this:


Now, when you already know how to impress a subscriber, let’s go further.


The visual part is the second important thing after the subject line. Sending an extremely useful text but failing to provide visual content, you leave little chance for your letter to be read.

Brand logo, images, and structured content make a letter more engaging. Humorous memes attract attention and encourage people to share with their friends.

Do you still remember people have very little time to read all the emails they receive? The most important information should be seen at once. For instance, instead of writing long texts with data, create infographics.

Providing proper visual content for each letter takes considerable time. Use templates to save time and make your emails look great on every device. GetResponse templates will help you to create a customized design.

The way you write it

I’ll start with an example. What’s the main problem with this letter?



Yes, it’s way too formal. If it were an invitation to a state reception, this style would be appropriate. You send a mailout, and the more formal you are, the less your readers get engaged.

Moreover, a letter shouldn’t only be informal but also personalized. Personalization, or one-to-one marketing, is a productive mechanism which allows you to use subscriber’s data in your email content as if it was created for the individual.

So, how can you personalize your emails? Follow these tips:

  • Use subscription forms. Take advantage of this pop-up form. Ask questions which can help you understand what information a new subscriber is interested in. It’ll make your email targeted.

  • Call them by their names. It’s pretty easy. Who doesn’t like the sound of own name? According to Experian, using a subscriber’s name, you increase the chances for your letter to be read by 26%.

  • Choose the right time. Firstly, come up with the best days for your newsletters. Don’t send them on Mondays (when people are flooded with emails) and at weekends (when they’re not likely to check their inbox). Then, think about the time of the day. Statistics show that 9-11 am or 1-3 pm may be the best choice for you. To make sure, use Google Analytics and study at what time your website witnesses the highest traffic.


  • Ask for feedback. It’s important for subscribers to feel you consider their opinion. If you know a person purchased your product or used your service, send a poll asking whether everything was all right. Let people suggest how you can improve your business.

  • Introduce yourself. The letter should be sent by a person, not by an abstract ‘company’. When readers see a name, a photo, and a nice greeting, they feel it’s not a template. The letter becomes more personal.


Mind what you share in your newsletters. If you have a blog, it’s a good idea to send its best posts every two weeks or monthly. The easiest way to find the most popular articles is to use SEO tools, such as Serpstat or Buzzsumo. I use Buzzsumo for this purpose.



Knowing engagements of your posts, you’ll not only come up with topics for sharing but also discover what type of content people are interested in. It helps when creating new articles.

Don’t forget to give a short description to the content you send or even emphasize its main idea in an email.

How to evaluate the result

You found out the most crucial features of productive email marketing. Let’s imagine you followed all the pieces of advice. What’s next? It’s time to analyze the quality of your campaign. Is it worth to continue, or should you change anything?

Of course, if your sales, amount of subscribers, or other markers increased, the success is obvious. But it’s not enough. Use special tools to measure your results. With GetResponse you can watch such key metrics of your email marketing campaign as a number of unique opens, a number of emails not opened, open rate, etc.

It’s also important to evaluate your website’s statistics. Look what happened after people opened and read your email. Different SEO tools can cope with this task.

If your goal was to increase traffic to your website, then go to Google Analytics. Here you can track the amount of new and returning visitors, average session duration and other statistics.


If you’re aimed at getting more backlinks, Serpstat is the most appropriate for this purpose: enter your site domain, click on Search button, then go to Backlink Analysis > Backlink Dashboard. In the Referring Pages graph, you see how the number of domain’s backlinks was changing for the last 120 days.



Email marketing is a powerful tool which helps to engage and retain customers, increase sales and promote your brand.

To get impressive results, you need to create an efficient email marketing strategy. Identify your target audience, consider their preferences and benefits they are looking for. Optimize your letters for customers not only to open them but also to make use of the information you provide.

Never stop tracking your results and improving your strategy!

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