Updated: Mar 2
A reader unsubscribing from your mailing list can almost feel like a brutal breakup over a text message. Especially, if your mailing list is still small and you are slowly building it up.
It doesn't matter, the size of the mailing list, but every reader unsubscribed is a lost opportunity. However, instead of focusing on what you've lost, try to figure out what you can do to retain the rest on your list. Calm down, take a deep breath and analyse.
Content-offer: The place where it all started
Signing up for a mailing list is most of the time a conscious decision that's made on an impulse. Your site visitor will swiftly enter their email ID to access that amazing content offer that offers them value. They see it, they want it.
It could be a template, a checklist, a white paper, or an ebook. They download it and you have a new lead. But here's the catch. Not everyone who downloads your content offer is an actual lead. They could be a student, a researcher, a writer, a manager who is skilling up, and hence not the B2B client you are hoping to nurture and convert.
These leads may stay signed up for a long time and may or may not engage with your emails. The best way to find out if they are a prospect or someone who likes your content and hence, follows your page and newsletters is by setting up a survey. This will help you get a clear idea of who is actually a lead and who is not.
Just because someone is NOT a lead, does not mean they are not of value to your mailing list.
Not a lead ≠ Not of value
Always remember, whatever content offers you have created as a part of your content marketing efforts was to build brand awareness around your business. Every time, a subscriber is seeing your email in their inbox, your business's name, logo, and message is making inroads into their minds.
Given the number of community and social media platforms people are part of these days, it makes sense to be on their minds at all times. Business owners are now more open to recommendations and referrals when they are researching vendors. They might ask for recommendations on any of these groups or platforms, where a person who is not a direct lead for you but has been receiving your newsletters or emails, has your brand's name at their top of their mind, and bam! they get you a sales lead, ready to convert.
How to retain your subscribers
First of all, stop putting yourself through that enormous pressure of holding on to everyone on your mailing list. It is not possible to keep everyone happy. Even if you are able to keep everyone happy, their happiness will vary in degrees. Instead, focus on delivering quality; and the good ones who really matter, will stay. They will stay because they can see you are delivering consistent value without fail.
What are some of the ways in which you can do that.
Here are some ways in which you can ensure a loyal list of subscribers:
Don't plague them with content
IMO, a monthly/bi-monthly newsletter is the best way to stay on top of their minds without overwhelming your readers. If they keep seeing your email pop-up every now and then, they may not click it immediately to read them but might feel annoyed at the constant pinging. Instead, curate your blog posts for the month, along with some of your best social media content, and put them in a visually appealing newsletter. If possible make it interactive and leave at that.
Send them something of value
If you see a drop in the open and click through rates of your email even by people who engaged with your content regularly, earlier, send them something of value depending on where they are in your marketing/sales funnel. If they are at the upper part of your marketing funnel, send them a couple of templates and checklists. If they are at the bottom of your sales funnel, ready for conversion, offer them a week's/month's worth of trial of your product or service. Sweeten the deal for them and make them WANT TO click on your email and access that deal.
Make sure your subject like is plenty clear that you have something in store for them while not appearing shady.
Personalise your emails
Do not. I repeat. Do not underestimate personalisation of emails. It makes a huge difference to see your name next to the greeting instead of just a "Hi!" and a "Hey!"
Personalised emails help deliver 6 times higher transaction rates. - Marketingland.com
Personalisation does not just start and end at the greeting. While working on your email copy, write it as if you are writing to one person and not tonnes of subscribers. They should feel like they are being spoken to one-on-one, even if in their hearts they would know it's an automated email, they can't escape the charm of a well-written email copy.
Make your emails mobile friendly
Any email integration you try these days will give you an option to view your email in both desktop and mobile view. Some of them even give you the option to view it on a tablet, as well. Use this feature. Even if it takes a couple of minutes more, invest it in ensuring that your subscribers can enjoy a comfortable viewing experience irrespective of the device they are using. Make the act of reading your email such a delightful one, that they wouldn't mind opening it and skimming through the content every week.
Pay attention to your preheader text
The preheader text comes just after the subject line and gives a glimpse of what the email is about. While the subject line might work as a teaser, the preheader text gives some context while still keeping the message under wraps thereby making the reader open it to read further. The number of characters in a preheader text varies depending on the device your reader is using. Therefore, going back to the earlier point, make sure you spend some time checking each and every component of your email in all device-views before sending the gem out.
Show them that you care
More often than not, marketing turns into a strategy steered into execution mode. Sometimes, there isn't even a strategy involved which makes the entire thing even more ineffective.
Marketing is about finding out what people want and matching it to your service offerings. It is not about what you are offering. The moment you lose sight of the people whose needs you could fulfil is the time you start losing them. Your email subscription list is one of the many channels you can use to make sure you are adding value to them.
Keep them well-paced, light on content, provide valuable content, personalise the emails, offer them goodies, and make sure you are not wasting their time or taking up too much space in that already overflowing inbox.
If you need help with your content marketing strategy or email strategy and execution, you can drop a note at firstname.lastname@example.org or book a free consultation and we can find out a way to give your content strategy the edge it needs.