7 Keys for Eliminating Subscriber Fatigue

By on April 27, 2012

Most of us have two, three, or more email accounts these days: one for personal use, one for work, and another intended to field the flood of inevitable spam we just know is going to inundate our inboxes the moment we relinquish the address.  The goal of a successful email marketing campaign is to never fall into that spam catching email account or almost as bad, being flagged as junk mail. Ouch.

Subscriber fatigue is a serious factor to consider when developing and implementing any good email marketing push.  Here are 7 ways to help ensure your subscribers don’t get sick of hearing from you:

 1.    Draw Their Attention

Everyday about 245 billion (give or take a few billion) are sent to inboxes around the world.  With such email overload most people simply skim their inbox and delete based solely on subject line and the first sentence of the content.  The key to actually having your message read is to command their attention with the perfect subject line.

Avoid over hyping by using over-capitalization or excessive punctuation. Also be sure not to blast a grandiose statement for shock factor.  These tactics come off gimmicky and will soon turn subscribers off.  Make the subject line interesting enough to draw your subscriber in by using creative language while avoiding cutesy or too ‘pun-y’ of statements.

 2.    Stay Relevant

Your subscribers have come to you asking for specific information.  Remember this when composing email marketing pieces that your readers are interested in your particular area of expertise.  Try not to wander too far from the heart of your topic because you believe subscribers may be interested in something tangential; keep it appropriate to topics for which you absolutely know they are looking.

A great way to be sure to capture and maintain the readers subscription is to simply ask the subscriber more specifically what they are interested in hearing about when they sign up.  By breaking down your email marketing blasts you’ll hold the attention of subscribers because you are sending them exactly what they want to know.

 3.    Stay Real

For the vast majority nobody enjoys reading a textbook.  Be sure to use language appropriate to your audience and avoid stuffiness.  Subscribers want to hear from you nearly as informal as a person-to-person conversation and not feel like they are being sent a brochure written by an English professor, unless of course that is your specialty.

Be sure to know when to rein it in the other way as well.  Excessive slang can come off as unprofessional and depending upon your industry can lose subscribers and clients faster than anything.  Absolutely do not forget to utilize spell check and proof read your pieces before sending them out.

 4.    Don’t Overload

Without a doubt your subscribers want to hear from you, that’s why they made the effort to subscribe but they don’t want to hear from you all of the time.  Consider personally those emails you know you receive from companies each and every day trying to pitch you something.  How long does it take for you to search the email for the unsubscribe link?

A great way to gauge how often your subscribers want to hear from you is by simply asking.  In the subscription sign-up form don’t hesitate to offer options for a quarterly, monthly or weekly newsletter.  This will also help better segment your database and stay the most relevant to your subscribers.

 5.    Out With The Old, In With The New

Email marketing can be a bit of a task if you don’t particularly enjoy the duty. Though you have undoubtedly put a lot of hard work into the project it is important to not take the loss of subscribers personally.  It may not be that the subscriber didn’t like what you had to say, it simply might not have been the type of information they were expecting.  If you notice a cluster of those unsubscribing during certain marketing pieces be sure to take the opportunity to delve further into why this may be the case.  Was the topic offensive, or maybe irrelevant?

Also remember to keep the push for new subscribers.  Enrolling a following initially is great but you will need to keep a constant stream of new readers flowing in.  Provide subscription links wherever appropriate; don’t limit it to just your website.  Be sure to ask for subscription enrollment on your email signature, your blog page and other social media pages.

 6.    Avoid Over-Promoting

You will never win-over subscribers by over-advertising to them.  Keep advertising especially for outside businesses to the very minimum.  Also promotions are a great way to provide value to subscribers.  Offering special deals or discounts for their loyalty is a great way to draw business and keep subscribers reading.

But of course we must have everything with moderation. Over-promotion can and ultimately will serve to devalue your business or product.  If readers see so many constant promotions it is only natural to begin to wonder about the state of your business and psychologically lower your professional standard in their mind. Do not sell yourself or your business short, but do throw out a tantalizing offer every now and again.

7.    Get Personal

Well, how about try to get personal on a professional level.  This may sound like a paradox but by building a personality or a unique voice for your subscribers that they can identify with will inevitably build confidence in your brand.  You want subscribers to feel like your email marketing newsletters are a professional courtesy message from you to them, not from a cold, faceless company to a customer. Having your subscribers like you will greatly help the chances that they will remain subscribers even if you may miss the target on a few emails here or there.

The only thing worse than having a small email marketing database is having a large one and having subscribers drop like flies.  Make subscriptions to your email list a positive experience so readers will want to read your messages the moment they pop into their inboxes.

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Adam Toren

About Adam Toren

Adam Toren is an Award Winning Author, Serial Entrepreneur, and Investor. He Co-Founded YoungEntrepreneur.com along with his brother Matthew. Adam is co-author of the newly released book: Small Business, Big Vision: “Lessons on How to Dominate Your Market from Self-Made Entrepreneurs Who Did it Right” and also co-author of Kidpreneurs.


  1. Rick Newman

    April 28, 2012 at 12:10 pm

    With our experience, style of writing also counts towards interest. We discovered that narrative text favored explanation of concepts and technical brevity was suitable for expert topics like advanced router configuration. To avoid reader fatigue, we always send materials that the subscribers already expected for they tend to be more receptive.

  2. Jamie Northrup

    April 30, 2012 at 7:31 am

    Avoid sending too many emails, or overloading emails with information, in both those cases I get frustrated and hit unsubscribe. One email or two a week is good with a couple pits of information and one call to action is perfect.

  3. Georgi Vasilev

    May 1, 2012 at 1:02 pm

    Also it’s a good idea not to type some really impossible things (like get $200 in next minutes) in the title of the mail.

    • Matthew T

      May 2, 2012 at 1:11 am

      Very true @Georgi! Thank you for taking the time to post.

  4. Jordyn

    May 1, 2012 at 2:04 pm

    Great list, I particularly like #4 and #2! I like them because they’re true but also because they mention asking the subscriber what they want. I usually hate email subscriptions, but I’m a lot more likely to agree to them if I get to choose what content you’re sending to me and how often.

    • Matthew T

      May 2, 2012 at 1:10 am

      @Jordyn Thank you for your great feedback. I agree with #4 and #2 as being very important! Thank you for posting! Cheers!

  5. Chris

    May 3, 2012 at 5:36 am

    Love staying personal. In our own email campaigns, sure we have templated emails, but adding personalization is definitely key. For example, I just wished one of my clients a happy wedding anniversary before I got into the templated email I was sending. Great list!

  6. Derek Donnelly

    May 3, 2012 at 9:41 am

    I’ve read it’s over 300 billion now. Certainly the don’t overload message is crucial. We think the other point is not to sell but to ‘educate and inform’.

    • Matthew T

      May 3, 2012 at 11:49 am

      @Derek Wow, never new it was that much! Thank you for taking the time to post.

  7. Ozio Media

    May 7, 2012 at 8:30 am

    In order to avoid the unsubscribe button, it is vital that the email marketers offers something of value to the recipient. If each message contains an interesting or useful fact, or some immediately useful advice, then readers will be more likely to look forward to your emails turning up in their inbox.

  8. ConstructionSupplies

    May 7, 2012 at 3:30 pm

    Good point on not overloading. I find myself unsubscribing from email lists that contact me too frequently. I want to look at everything that is sent to me, (hey, that’s why you sign up for these things right) and when I’m emailed several times each week, by several different companies, that sucks up a lot of time. Get me the info often enough to think about you, but not so often as to turn me away.

  9. Kelsey

    May 14, 2012 at 1:24 pm

    I always try to tell people that not more than once per week, usually bi-weekly or even monthly is usually best.