You need to pay attention to these email marketing KPIs to see if you can improve the ways in which you communicate with your subscribers
You’ve been marketing like crazy via email. But when people unsubscribe, you don’t know what to make of it, or how it fits into your email marketing KPIs (key performance indicators).
Have no fear. Jeannette Castañeda, MS, MA, and “chief email geek” at Inbox P.I., an email marketing and lead generation agency specializing in the health care space, has answers for you.
Our interview with her follows. It has been edited for length and clarity.
Why is it important for chiropractors to analyze unsubscribes amidst email marketing KPIs?
The modern and successful email marketer thinks of email as a relationship-building tool. And, relationships require communication from both parties. When looked at from that perspective, your subscribers communicate with you via their interactions with your emails.
When they do not open your emails, fail to click on email CTAs (calls to action), and unsubscribe, your subscribers are giving you their feedback. This feedback is invaluable. You need to pay attention to these email marketing KPIs to see if you can improve the ways in which you communicate with your subscribers so that you can, in turn, improve your relationships with them.
If people are unsubscribing, does that automatically mean they need to change their content?
There are many reasons why people are unsubscribing. Like I said before, email is a relationship building tool. So, first and foremost, your marketing emails must be: wanted, helpful, relevant (aka well-segmented), and customer-focused. Let’s look at each one in turn:
Wanted. If your content is not wanted, you’ve already lost people’s interest. This is why purchasing email lists is counterproductive. If you’re sending emails to people who didn’t give you express permission to email them, the quality and frequency of your content doesn’t really matter.
Helpful. People’s time is valuable. If your emails are full of fluff and sales pitches, you’ll quickly lose your subscribers’ interest.
Relevant. Your subscriber list should be segmented into areas of interest, geography, demographics, etc. For example, if you’re sending information about pets or children, make sure you don’t send it to folks without those family members. If you have more than one location and you’re hosting an event at one facility, you may want to limit that message to only the folks who live within that geographical area. It’s incredibly frustrating to get an irrelevant email — please don’t frustrate your subscribers unnecessarily.
Customer-focused. The best email marketing strategy is one where you achieve your goals by helping your subscribers achieve their own. Don’t tell your subscribers how great you are; show them how you can solve their problems.
Why do readers typically unsubscribe to email marketing?
I like to divide the reasons for attrition into two categories: the ones you can control, and the ones you cannot.
Among the latter are: people move and no longer find your location convenient, they found a different provider, they’ve passed away, they changed their email address and didn’t give you an updated one, etc.
Among the reasons you can control are: your content isn’t wanted, relevant, helpful or customer-focused; you’re emailing at a frequency that doesn’t work for them (either you email too much, or too little); and, you’re not optimizing your emails for mobile so they are hard to read on cell phones and tablets. Almost 50% of all emails are regularly opened via mobile so if you’re not optimizing for mobile, you’re losing almost half of your audience.
How should they go about analyzing the unsubscribes—especially if the person unsubscribes, but doesn’t give a reason why?
There are many metrics to email marketing. Looking at your unsubscribes is important, but not the most important. Like I said, there are many factors you just don’t control.
Among your email marketing KPIs, look at your click-to-open ratio along with unsubscribe rates to see how much interest there is in your content. If clicks are low (or non-existent), that means your content needs to be improved.
What can chiropractors do to prevent unsubscribes?
You want to make unsubscribing from your email address as painless and friction-free as possible. If people have decided to say goodbye, they will get frustrated with you if you make it harder for them to leave. Their next step is to mark your emails as spam, which will severely damage your sender reputation. Besides, only stalkers talk to people who’ve told them to stop.
That being said, subscribe/unsubscribe is a yes or no choice. Ideally, you should give people more than two choices. The first step here is to create a preferences center, where people have the choice to unsubscribe, dictate their desired frequency, update their email address, and choose the topics they’re most interested in.
But, none of these techniques will help you develop good subscriber relationships unless your content provides relevant value to the folks who read it.