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Unsubscribe survey: Learn why your readers leave and how to fix it

· 5 min read · Websites and forms · Jan 10, 2020

In email marketing, unsubscribes are a part of life. Even though it can be disappointing when someone unsubscribes from your newsletter, the good thing is that you can take notes for improvement.

Unsubscribe surveys provide the feedback you need to redefine and optimize your email content. As you move forward and grow your email list, you want to make sure your new subscribers are happy and staying put. 

By using an unsubscribe survey, you can find out why people left and discover where you can improve.

MailerLite provides a standardized form with 5 reasons for unsubscribing:

  1. I no longer want to receive these emails

  2. The emails are too frequent

  3. I never signed up for this mailing list

  4. The emails are inappropriate

  5. The emails are spam and should be reported

Let’s take a closer look at how you can use this unsubscribe survey and the actions you can take to improve the communication with your subscribers.

How to find the unsubscribe responses

To see the unsubscribe reasons for a certain campaign, go to the Campaign report and click Subscriber activity. Now select Show unsubscribed and you will get a list of people who unsubscribed and learn why.

unsubscribe list

If you want to view an all-time aggregate of the unsubscribe reasons for your account, go to Unsubscribe page settings and choose Unsubscribe stats. Here you will see what the main reason is why people have quit your newsletter.

unsubscribe stats

What you can learn from your unsubscribe answers

After a while, you’ll start to see some patterns in your unsubscribe survey results that can help you improve. When you see the same responses coming in, it’s time to make a change. Here are ideas of how you can improve your emails based on the different responses. 

"I no longer want to receive these emails"

While this response can mean anything, it’s likely that your subscribers are not getting enough value from your emails. They signed up for a reason, and you are not meeting their expectations. 

Are you delivering on the promise you state on your signup forms? Try adding more personalization through dynamic content or sending more targeted emails using segmentation. 

"The emails are too frequent"

Unlike the first response, this one is quite clear. You are sending too many emails. You either need to decrease your frequency or set the right expectations in the signup form.

If you feel it necessary to keep sending the same amount of emails per month, consider allowing subscribers to adjust frequency through preferences. It’s better for them to opt down than to unsubscribe!

"I never signed up for this mailing list"

This response usually points to issues with your list-building tactics. Either the subscribers don’t realize they are signing up for your newsletter, you are using a purchased mailing list or you are adding them without their permission. 

Take a look at the signup process and make the necessary changes. Beyond clarifying your communication, you should optimize your forms and implement double opt-in.

"The emails are inappropriate"

While people might click on this response for a myriad of reasons, it’s usually a rare response. That said, if you see a trend of receiving this response, you need to reevaluate what you are sending. 

Can there be some offensive content? Are you sending too many promotions? Does the information match what you promised it would be? Take a hard look at your email practices and make a change.

"The emails are spam and should be reported"

Ouch! No one wants to see this, but the reality is that a small number of people will click this no matter what. Don’t panic unless you start seeing a high percentage of readers clicking this option (more than 4-5%).

People consider constant promotional emails as spam, so be careful with your mix of emails.

Keep learning, adjusting and growing

The bottom line is that as much as we’d love to avoid unsubscribes, at least an unsubscribe survey can give you insights about your subscribers and help you improve your email marketing campaigns.

If you are not using the survey, we recommend to give it a try. You have nothing to lose, only valuable feedback to gain!

P.S. Did you know that you can customize your unsubscribe page settings and design?

Jonas Fischer
Jonas Fischer
I'm Jonas, Content Manager at MailerLite. I’m not the 4th Jonas Brother, but I do write content (which is similar to being a teen heartthrob). After writing for a bunch of companies over the years, I discovered my professional passion—helping add some humanity to B2B marketing. Email is the perfect place to start!