Reduce Unsubscribes With This Option

People subscribe because they want to receive your emails. But some people want them every day, while others prefer once a month. Since one man’s “just enough” is another man’s “too much,” subscribers who prefer fewer messages may become overwhelmed.

These fatigued subscribers may disengage from your emails, just deleting them when they appear. Eventually, they’ll stem the deluge by unsubscribing altogether.

If you catch these people in the in-between, inactive state, you could still reengage them. Head off their opt-out by letting them opt down to a lighter frequency instead.

They’ll receive fewer emails, giving them more time to engage with the ones they do get – and giving you subscribers who appreciate the chance to get your email on their own terms.

Prepare a Lighter-Frequency List

First, you will need to create a new list. This will be an alternate version of your original list, with the same information reworked into fewer emails.

This doesn’t mean you should simply slap groups of emails together into massive missives. With a little time and these strategies, you can condense your content thoughtfully.

  • Pull the parts of each broadcast that you’ll want in those less-frequent emails. Paste these parts together, and you’ve got a framework to start with.
  • Remove any announcements for events that will happen before the less-frequent email goes out.
  • Consider merging related articles together, keeping the important points and cutting down on the fluff.
  • If you have a lot of information, try quickly introducing each topic and linking back to the full story on your web site.

If you email your original list twice a week, set up this new list for weekly messages. You could also set up monthly or bi-monthly lists to give your subscribers even more options.

Set Up the Logistics

Next, it’s time to set the stage in your account.

  • When subscribers choose to switch to a lower-frequency list, you’ll need to make sure they aren’t receiving the original emails you signed up for. Use automation to set up a clean switch.
  • Create a web form for each list that makes it clear that they aren’t signing up for a different campaign; they are simply requesting fewer emails.
  • Edit the subject and introduction of each confirmation message to reflect the same idea. Design matching confirmation pages on your site. If you know when you’ll be sending (every Friday, for example) include that information.

Invite Your Inactives

Inactive SubscribersSearch your subscribers to find out who hasn’t opened your emails in awhile.

Send them an email that offers a lower frequency. Make sure to write a subject line that will grab the attention of this particular group – it would be a bad email for them to miss!

Ask them to click on the frequency option they’d prefer. Link each option to a web form for appropriate list, and the opt-down process you’ve set up will do the rest!

How Do You Handle Frequency?

How often to you email your subscribers? What factors did you consider when you decided on that frequency?

Have you ever tried to offer different frequency options? If you have, was the effort of managing multiple lists worth the payoff?

If you haven’t offered an opt-down option yet, what other strategies do you use to re-engage your inactive subscribers?

As fellow email marketers, you have a lot to share, so join the conversation below!


  1. Carl

    9/30/2010 11:48 am

    Hi Amanda,

    I used to mail my list 3x a week. This was on top of the follow-up emails they got (3x a week). I noticed people unsubscribed a lot.

    I’ve toned it down to 2x a week with follow-ups 2x a week. I’m making fewer sales, but the still grows faster.

    I’m guessing that option’s going to be the best in the long run.

  2. karen Somerville

    9/30/2010 12:25 pm

    I have been waiting for this information!!! We lost over half of our company mailing list when we switched to the automated system.

    I think our customers just didn’t know what to expect from “joining/subscribing” (we did try to spell it out…). However, because they new everything about us, they didn’t want or need more information about us and our services, so they opt’d out.

    I am sure that they will love the opt-down for less frequency, and we we will be able to segment them for more advanced information and specific content suitable for longtime customers.

    Great Post! Thanks.

  3. Andy Weil

    9/30/2010 12:29 pm

    Aweber has got some great emailing ideas . I love the "Opt Down"
    suggestion but need detailed step by step and perhaps pictorial instructions on just how to implement this!

  4. Marc Mays

    10/1/2010 6:45 am

    I am just getting my feet wet as an email marketer. However, as an email consumer, I prefer to receive about 1 email per week from any given list, and more than 2 emails per day (from one source) becomes annoying quickly.

    Anytime this happens, I immediately ask "Am I getting enormous value from being on this person’s list?" If the answer is "No," I almost always unsubscribe from their list.

    Keeping it short and sweet is great for business communication, and if you’re sending more than 2 emails per day, something is amiss. Especially annoying are when marketers send out an email with broken HTML links, then follow-up emails with corrected links.

    Check your email before you send it out the first time. Same thing with spelling and grammar: if you’re not an expert, hire someone who is to fix any mistakes before sending out something which makes you look silly.

  5. Jonathan Thompson

    10/1/2010 3:09 pm

    Email marketers?reminds me off the bar scene in ?Our Family?s Wedding? with the bar tender refusing to tend the bar unless they called him a mixologist. LOL.

    We?re a real estate investing training company.

    I email our mailing list once a week via a weekly newsletter. We catch people who sign up for our events online and send the form to people who call in via our 800 call center. I create a new list for each city we go to. The list is simply to catch and thrown them into our newsletter group but also to keep that segment available for future use if needed. Otherwise we wouldn?t know who went to which event if we just had them sign up via our normal newsletter form.

    I?ve started using the segmenting option. For example, I included a survey last week to survey our email subscribers on their news consumption habits so we can better market the next event. I did this using Survey Monkey but it would be nice if Aweber could integrate something of that nature. So I sent the ones who clicked the link a simple thank you for checking out the survey. I wasn?t sure if all of the ones who clicked on the link actually filled out the survey.

    But this frequency thing. I want to start another group who want to receive offers on properties. An insider?s list if you will. So I?m going to start asking people to opt-in via our social media platforms and hit up our current weekly newsletter list. If some of those drop out who end up receiving both, I?ll ask them if they want a combined list of quick summaries from our newsletter and our offer list.

    YES! YES! YES! <-YES!

    It is definitely worth the time to manage your lists appropriately. It saves time and gives you an advantage. Take a few moments to structure it and let Aweber do the work.

    Now if Aweber could just have an option to duplicate list settings and simply rename the old list to a new list?

  6. Julie

    10/3/2010 3:04 pm

    This sounds great.

    And I totally agree that it would be wonderful for Aweber to duplicate list settings and follow ups for multiple lists. Then it would be much easier to create this ‘opt down’ option.

  7. Reverend brian Richards

    10/4/2010 3:27 am

    yes this makes sense to me thanks for the insight!

  8. Katherine

    10/4/2010 12:41 pm

    It would be a big service to our subscribers, too if we had the ability to do one or more of:

    1) Easily – emphasis on Easily here – create sub-lists so that we could send targeted content to some members of our lists (including the option to mail less often) while excluding others who don’t need the message.

    2) Copy people from one list to another the way Constant Contact does it to create custom lists.

    3) Bulk edit a custom field so that we can use those to do segmentation.

    AFAIK, you can create custom fields and then segment based on that.

    But there’s no bulk edit option, and even for my relatively small list (200-250), it’s too hard to edit the custom fields for everyone on the list. This means they all have to get the same messages, even when I know it’s not valuable for some of them.

  9. Amanda Gagnon

    10/5/2010 10:35 am

    Jonathan and Julie ~ Thanks for the suggestion; I’ll pass it along!

    Katherine ~ The sub-lists you’re referring to are, as far as I can tell, what we call segments, which you can create.

    For 3, you should be able to segment more specifically by searching for several different criteria at once on the subscriber search page, so you’ll only get a list of the subscribers with all the characteristics you’re looking for.

    Does that help?

    As for 2, see above. 🙂

  10. Beverly Wallin

    10/5/2010 12:45 pm

    I agree with Andy well. It would be great to get more detailed instruction and pictures step by step as I am a newbie too, and often get stuck at certain places, making it very frustrating. Thanks for all the great training though. It really helps. I do have another problem. I signed up to be an affiliate. Is it too early? I don’t have my login and password info. for the autoresponder or affiliate.

  11. Ryan

    10/10/2010 3:50 pm

    Agreed — this is a nice post and a valuable idea, but without some more instructions and a good way to implement this, it’s not quite as helpful as it could/should be.

  12. Amanda Gagnon

    10/15/2010 3:40 pm

    Andy, Ryan & Beverly ~ We’ve heard your call for more instructions, and we’re answering! Here are some more detailed instructions for inviting subscribers to reduce their frequency.

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