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8 Ways for Ecommerce Brands to Reduce Email & SMS Unsubscribe Rates


Symbols representing email list unsubscribe rates for ecommerce brands


In today’s ecommerce market, the cost of acquiring new customers is on a steady climb, making the value of each subscriber on your Email and SMS list more significant than ever before. Nurturing quality customer relationships is now directly proportional to higher lifetime value (LTV), which aligns the incentives of brands with those of their customers.

It's a simple equation: a growing or stable subscriber list is indicative of a thriving business with pleased customers.

This reality places a premium on not just attracting, but retaining every individual that joins your list. Keeping them subscribed, engaged, and primed for purchase is no longer just good practice - it's essential for maximizing post-purchase value in an environment where new acquisitions come at a premium.

The unsubscribe rate, which is often overlooked, is a critical indicator within your marketing data. A healthy email and SMS list is the backbone of your digital strategy and letting it erode with unchecked unsubscribes risks diminishing returns on your marketing efforts and, ultimately, your revenue. Moreover, a high rate of unsubscribes could flag your content as undesirable to inbox providers, further reducing your reach and effectiveness.

The following are 8 ways to reduce your brand's unsubscribe rate and build longer lasting, quality relationships with your customers. 

1. Hyper-Personalization

The key to keeping your list hooked and reducing unsubscribe rates lies in hyper-personalization. In a sea of endless promotions and generic content, personalized email and SMS touch points stand out, making each recipient feel uniquely valued.

Hyper-personalization executed well, goes beyond addressing customers by their names, it involves tailoring content based on a deep analysis of customer behavior, location, feedback, purchase history, preferences and engagement levels to craft messages that resonate with the specific needs and interests of each individual customer.

an example of an personalized email

Here are the steps to reach hyper-personalization -

  • Deeply segment your email and SMS lists based on detailed customer data like purchase history, browsing behavior and engagement metrics.
  • Take the time to individually craft messages for each segment, with copy that would resonate with the lifecycle and needs of an individual within that segment
  • Regularly A/B test copy and review customer feedback to further refine your personalization strategies, ensuring that your messages remain relevant and engaging over time.

Tools like, help you get to true personalization quicker by using AI to personalize each individual email (mentioning location, past feedback & tailored product suggestions), to drive repurchases & increase owned channel sales by 10-25%.

2. Go beyond transactional marketing

To reduce unsubscribe rates, it's crucial to move beyond purely transactional interactions and cultivate a relationship with your subscribers that feels more personal and engaging. This approach involves diversifying the content you share to include a variety of touchpoints that enrich the customer experience beyond the act of selling.

  • Engage with Varied Content: Incorporate a mix of content types in your communication strategy. For example, behind the scenes videos can offer subscribers a glimpse into your brand's unique culture and processes, making them feel more connected and invested. Informative blogs can provide value by addressing common questions or concerns, establishing your brand as a trusted resource. 
  • Leverage User-Generated Content: Showcasing user-generated content, such as customer reviews and testimonials, not only validates your products but also builds a community around your brand. It signals to potential and existing customers that their voices are heard and valued, which can significantly enhance loyalty and reduce the likelihood of unsubscribes.
  • Proactively Ask for and Act on Feedback: Regularly asking for feedback through direct inquiries or surveys demonstrates that you're committed to improvement and value your customers' opinions. This two-way communication fosters a sense of partnership and can lead to actionable insights that enhance the subscriber experience. To take it a step further, respond to customers once they're feedback has been acted upon and/or mention it in future communication ( helps you do this with individual customers at scale).

By integrating these varied content types into your email and SMS marketing strategies, you transform the subscriber experience from one that's solely focused on sales to a more comprehensive relationship. This approach not only reduces unsubscribe rates but also increases the overall engagement and lifetime value (LTV) of your customers.

3. Engaging Content

Creating engaging content is pivotal in keeping your subscribers interested and reducing unsubscribe rates. The essence of compelling content lies in its relevance and value to the audience, turning each email or SMS from a notification into a welcomed communication.

  • Understand Your Audience: Start by gaining a deep understanding of your audience's preferences, needs and pain points (repeat this process for each segment). Use this insight to tailor your content, ensuring it speaks directly to their interests. 
  • Value over Volume: Focus on the quality of the content rather than the quantity. Every piece of content should offer something valuable to the reader, whether it's exclusive insights, actionable tips or even entertaining stories. This approach ensures that your messages are always anticipated and appreciated.
  • Diversify Your Content Types: Mix up the types of content you send. Incorporate educational articles, how to... guides, industry news and success stories to keep the content fresh and engaging. Additionally, consider interactive content such as polls, quizzes, or contests to encourage active participation.
  • Personalization at Its Best: Leverage personalization to make your content even more engaging. Mention specific details relevant to the individual, such as their last purchase or an article they interacted with, to make the communication feel personalized and direct. 
  • Feedback Loop: Encourage feedback on the content you send and make it feel conversational. This not only provides you with valuable insights for future content creation but also makes your subscribers feel involved and valued. Implement changes based on this feedback to continually refine and improve your content strategy.

By prioritizing engaging content that provides real value, you can significantly decrease your unsubscribe rates. Each communication becomes an opportunity to reinforce the relationship with your subscribers, encouraging them to stay engaged with your brand for the long haul.

4. Preference Management

Offering control over communication preferences plays a crucial role in reducing unsubscribe rates for ecommerce brands. It's about giving subscribers the power to choose what they receive and how often, aligning with their interests and reducing inbox fatigue.

  • Simplify Preferences: Make it easy for subscribers to manage their preferences, whether it's choosing the type of content they're interested in or setting the frequency of communications. A straightforward preferences page can keep subscribers engaged by ensuring they only receive content that's relevant to them.
  • Offer Choices: Allow subscribers to select from a range of content options, such as newsletters, product updates or promotions. This choice empowers them to stay connected with the aspects of your brand they care about most.
  • Frequency Flexibility: Giving subscribers the option to adjust the frequency of emails or SMS messages can significantly reduce unsubscribe rates. Whether they prefer daily, weekly, or monthly updates, flexibility ensures your brand remains a welcome presence.
  • Apple to Segmentation: Insights gathered from preference choices can further refine your segmentation strategy, enabling more targeted and effective communication.

Implementing a clear and user-friendly preference management system not only helps in retaining subscribers but also enhances the overall subscriber experience, contributing positively to your brand's reputation and the lifetime value (LTV) of your customers.

5. Quality over Quantity

The mantra of "Quality over Quantity" in email and SMS communications cannot be overstressed for any ecommerce brand. It's about shifting focus from the sheer volume of messages to the value each message delivers, ensuring every communication is an asset, not an annoyance. It's simply more valuable to send 1 email that converts better and is engaged with than sending 4 that barely converts and no one engages with.

  • Craft High-Quality Content: Prioritize the creation of content that adds genuine value to your subscribers' experience. Whether it's insightful articles, exclusive updates, or personalized offers, the content should resonate with the sophistication expected by high-revenue brand audiences.
  • Relevance is Key: Tailor every message to meet the specific interests and needs of your segments. Relevance translates into respect for the time and preferences of your customers and results in stronger long term relationships.
  • Strategic Messaging: Evaluate the necessity and timing of each communication. Instead of defaulting to a high-frequency schedule, choose moments that have strategic importance (product launches, significant updates or exclusive offers) and that warrant direct contact with your customer base.
  • Leverage Analytics for Insight: Constantly study analytics to understand the impact of your communications. By analyzing engagement metrics, you can refine your approach through consistent A/B testing, focusing on what truly matters to your audience and eliminating ineffective content.

Adhering to a "quality over quantity" strategy not only reduces the risk of unsubscribes but also strengthens the relationship between your brand and its customers. In a market where your audience values their time and demands relevance, delivering high-quality, pertinent messages underscores your brand's commitment to excellence and respect for the customer journey, thus enhancing the lifetime value (LTV) of each customer. 

6. List Hygiene Practices

For ecommerce brands in the high-stakes realm of multi-million dollar revenues, maintaining clean email and SMS lists is less about routine maintenance and more about cultivating a garden of engaged, valuable contacts. List hygiene is a critical practice that ensures your marketing efforts reach those genuinely interested in your offerings, thereby optimizing your resources and safeguarding your brand's reputation.

  • Identify and Remove Inactive Subscribers: Don't be afraid to let customers go if they aren't engaged. Regularly audit your lists to identify subscribers who haven't engaged over a specified period. A tailored re-engagement campaign can precede this step, offering them a chance to re-engage. 

Passing over your list of customers who haven't engaged to can be a useful last effort to re-engage them. will run their hyper-personalization engine across this list to proactive gain feedback and tailor each communication touchpoint, to bring customers back into the fold. 

  • Correct or Eliminate Erroneous Entries: Periodically check your lists for obviously incorrect information (e.g., email addresses with typographical errors) and correct them where possible.
  • Utilize Engagement Segmentation: Beyond mere removal, sophisticated list hygiene involves segmenting your audience based on engagement levels. This practice allows for more targeted campaigns that cater to the varying interests of your customer base, enhancing relevance and reducing the likelihood of unsubscribes.
  • Implement a Sunset Policy: Define clear criteria for determining when a subscriber should be considered disengaged. A sunset policy automates the process of segmenting out low-engagement subscribers, ensuring your communications are directed at an audience likely to convert.
  • Regularly Refresh Opt-In Status: Especially in regions with stringent data protection laws, periodically validating the consent of your subscribers reinforces trust and compliance. This practice can also re-engage individuals by reminding them of the value your brand offers.

7. Feedback Loops

Proactively opening feedback loops with your customer base turns your email and SMS marketing from a monologue into a dialogue, fostering a culture of continuous improvement and deeper subscriber engagement.

visual example of an proactive feedback campaign

  • Establish Clear Channels for Feedback: Make it easy and intuitive for subscribers to share their thoughts and experiences with your brand. Whether through a simple 'Reply' option in emails, embedded surveys, or direct links to feedback forms in SMS messages, clear channels encourage communication and signal that you value their input. The best performing way to solicit feedback however is through individualized / personalized questions being asked directly to a customer, alongside surveys. 
  • Actively Solicit Feedback: Beyond passive channels, actively request feedback at specific parts of the customer lifecycle. This could be post-purchase, after customer support interactions or generally periodically throughout their lifecycle. Use these opportunities to ask specific questions that can guide your content strategy and optimization efforts.
  • Integrate Feedback into Content Strategy: Feedback isn't just meant to be collected, it's to be acted upon. Analyze the insights gained to refine your messaging, content types and delivery frequencies. Tailoring your approach based on subscriber feedback directly impacts the relevance and effectiveness of your communications. 
  • Showcase Changes and Improvements: When changes are made based on subscriber feedback, communicate these back to your audience. This transparency not only demonstrates your commitment to improvement but also enhances subscriber loyalty and trust.

Tools like automate the proactive and individualized collection, response handling and analysis of feedback from your customer base, followed by actively referencing prior feedback in future communication. 

8. Clear Value Proposition

The articulation of a clear value proposition in Email and SMS communications is essential as it justifies a subscriber's decision to stay engaged with your brand, reinforcing the benefits they receive from being a part of your mailing list.

  • Articulate Benefits Clearly: Ensure that every communication explicitly states or implies the unique value subscribers gain. This could be exclusive access to new products, insider information, or special discounts - make the benefits of being on your list unmistakable and compelling.
  • Personalize the Value: Personalize the value proposition on a segment or truly 1-1 level by referencing past purchases, browsing behavior, or previous feedback to demonstrate how staying subscribed offers tailored benefits that meet their specific needs and interests.
  • Regularly Remind Subscribers of the Value: Don't limit the communication of your value proposition to the sign-up phase. Regularly remind your subscribers of the benefits they continue to receive, reinforcing the reasons they subscribed in the first place. This could be through a dedicated section in your newsletters or a specific message sequence designed to highlight subscriber-exclusive benefits.
  • Evaluate and Evolve Your Offerings: Continuously assess the perceived value of your offerings through feedback and engagement metrics. Be prepared to change your value proposition to align with changing customer needs and preferences, ensuring your brand remains relevant and valuable to your audience.
  • Communicate Improvements and Additions: Whenever you make a change, launch a new product line or add new benefits, communicate these changes clearly. Subscribers who see ongoing improvements are more likely to perceive high value in their continued engagement with your brand.