Inside the inbox

To reduce unsubscribe rates, send more email

Last time I visited Laura Wylie — aka the most adorable 5-year-old on the planet — she said, “Aunt Ann, if I don’t see you more often, I might forget to miss you.”

Turns out your email subscribers feel the same way. Consider these numbers, from viral marketing scientist Dan Zarrella’s recent email marketing study:

  • Send your audience members one email a month, and you’ll see a click-through rate of, on average, about 6 percent.
  • Increase that number to three emails a month, and the average click-through rate drops to about 4 percent.
  • Make it 29 emails a month, and what do you think happens? Nothing. That’s right, the average click-through rate stays at about 4 percent.

So why not send more emails? Zarrella asks.

Sending more email probably won’t hurt and probably will help, Zarrella learned in his study. In fact, unsubscribe rates actually go up if you send only one or two emails a month.

“People’s favorite email is the one they’ve been waiting for,” he says. Increase that expectation, he suggests, by sending more emails.

So much for “How can I miss you if you don’t go away?”

About the study

For his email marketing study, Zarrella:

  • Analyzed more than 9.5 billion — yes, with a “b” — emails from Mail Chimp, covering every language and time zone.
  • Asked people how they used email in three focus groups.
  • Surveyed several hundred people about their email habits.

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