4 Ways to Retain Email Subscribers

Author: Adam J. Date: June 12, 2012

Find that your email subscribership is dwindling? Follow these steps to hang on to your subscribers.

E-newsletters and email blasts are a great way to engage customers and inform them about news, events, discounts and products in your company and your industry.

But it can be difficult to retain a list of subscribers, especially since federal law requires that you give them the option to unsubscribe from your email blasts.

If you find your subscribership dwindling, try these tips to keep readers interested and engaged.

1. Create valuable content.

When sending email blasts, it’s important keep your audience’s expectations in mind. If your subscribers don’t receive the content they signed up for, be prepared for an increase in unsubscribers.

Linda Pophal, owner of Strategic Communications in Chippewa Falls, Wisc., recommends that you be very specific with your purpose and audience. “Get it very clear in your own mind what you want to achieve with these communications. Be more focused on providing value than blatantly attempting to sell what you have to offer,” Pophal says.

RELATED: 3 Basic Steps to Email Marketing Success

2.  Consider time and frequency.

Sending too many emails is another fast way to increase your unsubscribe rate, as people often opt out if they’re inundated with emails. Consider sending timely updates, but monitor spam complaints and unsubscribership to assure that you’re not overwhelming your readers. You can also embed a one-click survey to ask subscribers how often they want to receive your e-newsletters.

Make sure the emails are timed appropriately: An owner of a sports bar, for example, could send out an email blast before a highly anticipated game with information about events and specials being held at the bar.  

Jocelyn Saurini, co-founder of, says it’s important to be aware of what day of the week you’re sending scheduled e-newsletters. “A lot of people are only reading their emails at work. You don’t want to send on the weekends and you should also avoid Mondays,” Saurini says.

RELATED: 3 Free Email Options for Small Business

3. Conduct subject line tests.

“The fastest way to improve your email marketing program is to figure out what you need to say to get people to open your email,” Saurini says.

To do so, conduct subject line tests, which involve sending emails to sample recipients and tracking the amount of unique readers per sample. The best subject lines will have the most readers. 
Eye-catching, short subject lines such as “Tips” or “Tricks” often make recipients more likely to open and read the email. Having the content displayed in an efficient manner, using bullet points and bolded words also increases the likelihood of them reading it.

4. Know your demographic.

To keep subscribers interested and engaged in your e-newsletter, tailor the information according to the demographic that you’re reaching.

Capture information about your customers when they sign up for the email list. “Consider a basic survey, with questions such as age, gender and state, so you know what type of person to appeal to without overwhelming the subscriber,” Saurini says.

This will provide a working knowledge of who’s receiving your emails, and ultimately help refine the content to keep your readers interested.

RELATED: Sign up for NFIB’s E-newsletter, Insight

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