Balancing Engagement and Unsubscribes in Email Campaigns

If you’ve ready our founder’s book, An MFA For An MBA, you’ll know that Phillip Scott Mandel loves puns but despises “cutesy” writing, especially in the workplace. He also hates mixed metaphors. So in honor of his unnecessarily pretentious predilections, we’ve put together this grand guide to email campaign marketing that includes an excessive amount of amusing alliteration, because, well, we can.

So welcome, fellow email marketing mavens, to the ultimate guide on navigating the treacherous waters of subscriber engagement and the dreaded unsubscribe button. If you’ve ever felt the sting of rejection when someone decides to bid adieu to your carefully crafted emails, fear not – you’re not alone in this journey.

We’ve also consulted a group of wise marketing gurus to offer their advice on effective email marketing strategies for successful campaigns, and to explain why those strategies work. Reducing churn rate, increasing metrics–what to do?

So join us as we embark on a quest to understand the delicate dance between keeping subscribers engaged and managing unsubscribe rates.

Email marketing is tough. This guide will help!

Content and Personalization in Email Campaigns

Let’s kick things off with the cornerstone of email marketing: content. Picture this scenario – you’ve poured your heart and soul into crafting the perfect email, only to watch in horror as your unsubscribe rates skyrocket. What went wrong?

The answer lies in the elusive art of creating valuable content. Your emails should be more than just a shameless plug for your latest product or service. They should provide genuine value to your subscribers – whether it’s insightful industry tips, exclusive offers, or heartwarming stories that tug at the heartstrings. Remember, your subscribers are real people with real needs and interests, so treat them as such.

Personalization is key. It transcends basic ‘Hi [First Name]’ tactics. Delve into behavioral triggers and past interactions. This tailors content, offers, and timing to individual needs—boosting engagement and conversions.


For reducing churn, I segment inactive subscribers. Then, I craft re-engagement campaigns that resonate with their previous interests or purchase patterns. It isn’t just about capturing attention—it’s about reigniting the relationship.


An example? We targeted users who hadn’t clicked in six months with a ‘We miss you’ message and a special offer based on their last purchase. Results were a 20% increase in re-engagement and a noticeable churn rate reduction. It shows you’re paying attention—not just to numbers, but to people. That’s powerful.


Casey Jones, Founder, Head of Marketing, CJ&CO


→ Need help coming up with something to say? Check out 30 free writing prompts here.

Email Segmentation For Tailored Engagement

Next up, let’s talk segmentation. Gone are the days of blasting generic emails to your entire list and hoping for the best. In today’s hyper-personalized world, segmentation is key to keeping your subscribers engaged and your unsubscribe rates in check.

Divide your email list into segments based on demographics, interests, purchase history, or engagement levels. By sending targeted emails tailored to each segment, you’ll ensure that your content resonates with your subscribers on a deeper level. After all, nobody wants to feel like just another name on a mailing list.

Imagine your email list as a wild garden, where each subscriber is a unique flower with different needs to blossom. Instead of watering them all the same, you create magical potions tailored to their specific cravings. This is what list segmentation does. By diving deep into the behaviors and preferences of your subscribers, you craft emails that speak directly to their hearts. For example, if a group of your flowers thrives on sunny new product news, you send them beams of exclusive launches. It’s like casting a spell for higher engagement and loyalty—a true garden of delights!


Virginie Glaenzer, Fractional Chief Marketing Officer, AcornOak

Frequency and Follow-Ups For User Milestones

Now, let’s tackle the thorny issue of email frequency. Finding the perfect balance between staying top-of-mind and avoiding inbox overload is no easy feat. Send too few emails, and you risk falling off your subscribers’ radar. Send too many, and you risk overwhelming them to the point of hitting that dreaded unsubscribe button.

The key here is to strike a delicate balance. Pay attention to your subscribers’ engagement levels and adjust your frequency accordingly. A/B testing can also be a valuable tool in finding that sweet spot that keeps your subscribers engaged without driving them to the brink of email-induced madness.

Using ConvertKit, we tag our users with certain tags based on actions they have taken inside of Serpple. For example, once a user adds keywords to track their rankings, we add a ‘Keywords Added’ tag. So, we have an automation set up that if a user hasn’t added any keywords to track within 24 hours of signing up, then we send them an email offering a quick and easy way to do that. Then we wait a day or two and check to see if that tag has been added to their account; if not, we email them again. The key is finding what the important achievements are for your users that will make them less likely to churn, and then use email marketing to follow up and get them to take action.


Adam White, Founder, Serpple

Subject Lines and Personalization in Your Email Campaign

Ah, the humble subject line – the gatekeeper to your email kingdom. Crafting subject lines that grab attention without veering into clickbait territory is an art form unto itself. Get creative, get witty, get downright cheeky – just remember to keep it relevant to your content and your audience’s interests.

A/B testing can once again be your best friend here. Experiment with different subject lines to see what resonates best with your subscribers. And whatever you do, resist the urge to resort to deceptive tactics just to boost open rates. Trust me, it’s not worth sacrificing your integrity for a few extra clicks.

One tactic that’s absolutely golden is personalization. And I’m not just talking about slapping their first name in the subject line and calling it a day. I mean deep, meaningful personalization that makes each recipient feel like you’ve written that email just for them.


Here’s the secret sauce: segmentation and behavioral triggers. Let’s say you run an online store that sells outdoor gear. You segment your email list not just by the basics, like demographics, but by their behavior—what they’ve browsed, bought, or left in their cart.


For example, let’s say you sent out an email to folks who had looked at tents but hadn’t made a purchase. The email should be tailored to show them a guide on choosing the right tent for their needs, along with a subtle nudge towards a tent that was popular among buyers similar to them, like a friend giving advice.


Why does this work? Because it shows you’re paying attention. It taps into the recipient’s interests and current stage in the buyer’s journey, making the email relevant and valuable. The result? An uptick in engagement rates, a decrease in churn, and a boost in sales. People like to feel understood and valued, not just like another email address in a massive list. It’s like telling someone you’ve noticed they’ve been eyeing that last piece of cake and you’ve saved it just for them. Personal touch, it’s a game-changer.


Andrew Jenkins, Owner, Catalyst RVA Marketing Agency

Email Unsubscribes and What To Do About It

Ah, yes, the unsubscribe button – the ultimate nemesis of every email marketer. But here’s the thing – as much as it may sting to see someone opt out of your emails, it’s not the end of the world. In fact, it can be an opportunity for growth and self-reflection.

Make unsubscribing as painless as possible for your subscribers. Include a clear, conspicuous unsubscribe link in every email, and honor their decision with grace and dignity. After all, forcing someone to stay on your email list against their will is a surefire way to damage your brand reputation.

But that leads us to wonder… wtf is happening? Have you ever wondered why your subscribers are jumping ship faster than rats fleeing a sinking ship? That’s where you need to larp a bit of Sherlock Holmes and get some feedback. Throw in a quick survey or feedback form to find out what’s driving your subscribers to hit that unsubscribe button.

Maybe your content isn’t hitting the mark, or perhaps your email frequency is a bit too aggressive. Whatever the case may be, use this feedback as a roadmap to improve your email marketing strategy and win back those lost subscribers.


→ Be honest. Is your content a little dry? Read more about the power of storytelling here.


email drip campaigns

List Hygiene and Drip Campaigns

Last but not least, let’s talk about list hygiene and drip campaigns. Keeping your email list clean and up-to-date is crucial for maintaining deliverability and engagement rates. Regularly prune your list to remove inactive subscribers and keep your audience fresh and engaged.

Remember, a smaller, more engaged email campaign list is far more valuable than a bloated list full of inactive subscribers. So don’t be afraid to bid farewell to those who have lost interest – it’s all part of the email marketing game.

We’ve ditched generic email blasts at CarePatron. Instead, we use automated drip campaigns triggered by user behavior. Imagine a new physician receiving onboarding tips after signup, while an inactive user gets a reminder email showcasing platform benefits. This personalized approach ensures relevant, timely content that feels like a conversation, not spam. The results speak for themselves: lower churn rates, higher feature adoption, and more engaged users who get the most out of CarePatron.


Jamie Frew, CEO, Carepatron

Need Help With Your Email Campaign? Reach Out To Mandel Marketing

In the danse macabre that is email marketing, mastering the delicate dance between engagement and unsubscribes is no easy feat. But with a bit of creativity, a dash of empathy, and a whole lot of data-driven insights, you can keep your subscribers engaged and your unsubscribe rates in check.

So go forth, fellow email marketers, and may your emails be as irresistible as a freshly baked batch of cookies on a rainy day. Or… contact Mandel Marketing for help using the form below. That works, too.