The top 5 reasons why people are unsubscribing from your emails

07 Sep 23 | 13:29:18

Are you watching your email list dwindle and wondering what’s going wrong? Feeling like every time you hit ‘send’, more of your audience hit ‘unsubscribe’?

We get it; it’s frustrating. As a healthcare marketing agency, we’ve faced these challenges head-on and have learned a thing or two (or a hundred).

In this article, we’ll share our top tips for looking after your subscribers so that you can get more out of your campaigns.

You're overwhelming your subscribers

According to recent data, in 2023, 347.3 billion emails will be sent and received daily, with the average person receiving 121 of these emails (including personal, work, spam, automated and promotional emails).

As you can imagine, this is a lot of emails to work through. Amidst this downpour, your well-intentioned efforts can inadvertently contribute to the overwhelming feeling that your audience experiences when they open their inbox.

With 67% of people feeling overwhelmed by their inbox, this might be one of the main reasons you’re losing subscribers.


To solve this problem, you need to find the ‘just right’ balance regarding how many emails you send out. This is a science, not an art. Your audience is unlikely to unsubscribe if you send them too few emails, but you could easily send too many.

Therefore, it’s better to fall on the side of caution and then scale up, carefully looking at your data to see what the right email volume is for your audience.

Another great idea is to segment your audience by offering frequency options upon sign-up. Let them choose between daily, weekly, or monthly updates. By respecting their choice, you’ll see a much-improved open rate and stop losing subscribers.

For a full breakdown of how to make the most out of your emails, have a run-through of our article on optimising your email campaigns.

Your content isn't relevant

A common mistake companies make is sending irrelevant content to their subscribers.

No one wants their inbox filled with information that doesn’t relate to or interest them, and this can lead to an increase in unsubscribe rates.


The solution to this is very straightforward. It’s all about segmentation. Studies show that when you segment your subscribers, your engagement rates improve.

There are several ways to segment your audience. The first is based on subscriber preferences or past interactions with your content. Which links have they clicked? What videos have they watched?

Analyse your email data and edit your content based on what’s popular and what isn’t. When creating your content, consider what information your audience wants to hear about rather than what you want to tell them. Putting the audience first is the best way to create content that interests them.

A great way to do this is to speak to your sales teams about the questions they’re being asked during the sales process. Why? Because this is the information that your audience is looking for to move through their buyer’s journey, making it the perfect content for your emails.

The second way to segment your email list is through demographics. People are complex, but individuals of the same demographic often have similar interests. With their permission, collect data on your email list and send relevant content based on that.

Demographics you should consider:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Profession
  • Location

All these demographics may not be relevant when communicating with HCPs, but they will be when it comes to patients, especially if you have a well-defined intended purpose.

There are errors in your email

Another reason you might be losing subscribers is that your emails are frustrating or inaccessible.

Ensuring the technical accuracy of your emails is pivotal to maintaining your mailing list’s health.

Potential issues include:

  • Images not loading.
  • Broken links.
  • Malfunctioning or low-quality videos.
  • Emails aren’t optimised for various devices.
  • Automation mishaps (e.g., Sending emails to the wrong recipients or with incorrect personalisation details).

These may not seem like significant issues, but they mean your emails can come across as unprofessional and inauthentic, leading to unsubscribes.


The key to addressing these issues is rigorous testing. Always send test emails to yourself or colleagues before distributing them to your entire list.

It’s good to always keep in mind that emails will appear differently across different devices, so it’s helpful to test them across computers, tablets and smartphones.

Platforms like Campaign Monitor and HubSpot can help ensure that your emails are optimised across different formats, eliminating concerns about image distortion.

A great habit is to click on every link in your email to ensure they all work. Even if you’re confident they’re all correct, check again; you’ll never be sorry you did if you find an error. There’s nothing worse than pressing that send button and immediately realising you forgot to attach a link or you attached the wrong one.

Your emails need to add more value; it's not all about sales

Most customers like to feel an emotional connection with the brands they align with. So, if all your emails are promotional, they might feel taken for granted.

To create a balanced email strategy, you need to know how to mix it up –information, education, promotion, events, and the occasional sales pitch. A great ratio is 1 in every 5 emails being explicitly promotional. The rest should be all about adding value to your audience.


To tackle this, mix up your content a bit. Send out emails with company updates, the latest in the industry, and some valuable tips to supplement your promotional emails. This content has to be valuable to your mailing list, so they’re getting something out of subscribing to your email list.

They don't know they subscribed

Many people find themselves added to email lists without actively signing up and can find it very frustrating.

When companies scoop up emails from other sources (e.g. paid lists) without direct consent, it may not sit well with your audience. Yes, they have signed up for an event that said, in the small print, that their information would be used for other purposes (e.g. a GDPR-compliant list for purchase). Still, they’ll likely not appreciate unexpected marketing surprises in their inboxes unless they add real value.

This is why this tactic can often backfire, leading to irritated audiences promptly hitting delete or unsubscribe.


Ensure you get a green light from your customers before adding them to your email list. Be clear on your website about what their email will be used for, and then stick to that promise. You also need to ensure you properly segment your purchased email lists so you provide information that is truly valuable to each audience.

When collecting their details, asking them to opt in rather than out ensures they’re happy to join your mailing list. Another essential feature is providing an opt-out button at the bottom of each email you send. This is only fair so that your audience can opt out if they choose. After all, you want your actual email list to be full of a qualified audience.

If you follow this, you’ll end up with a fully engaged audience rather than having subscribers who feel that they have been tricked, which can cause a loss of trust.

Next steps

Now that we’ve run through the top five reasons why your mailing list might be losing subscribers, you can get your campaigns back on track.

If you’re eager to learn more, why not explore the other articles on our learning hub?

Working with Podymos

Are you aiming to communicate more effectively with HCPs and patients? Do you aspire to deliver high-quality email campaigns as part of your broader multichannel marketing strategy? You’ve landed in the right place.

Podymos is a dedicated healthcare marketing agency specialising in downstream Medical Device marketing. Our services might be a bit pricier than non-specialised agencies and freelance teams, and that’s because our exclusive focus on the Medical Device space equips us with specialised knowledge and expertise that others might not offer.

For top-notch, compliant campaigns that align with your business objectives, we’re here to assist. Simply provide your contact details below, and we’ll reach out promptly for a no-obligation discussion.

Are you watching your email list dwindle and wondering what’s going wrong? Feeling like every time you hit ‘send’, more of your audience hit ‘unsubscribe’?

Join the mailing list

Related Articles

Healthcare marketers working webites
25 September 2023 | 11:46:26
5 mistakes that could be hindering the success of your website
Should your website be doing more for your business? Is it falling short in engaging your audience or not the...
Healthcare marketers and sales teams working together to streamline the buyers journey.
19 September 2023 | 11:48:48
Boost your medical device sales team performance with customer-centric content
How can you truly stand out from the crowd in the competitive landscape of medical device sales? How can you...
Marketers working together to come up with the best message for their brand
11 September 2023 | 13:26:48
How to effectively implement your band messaging
Have you recently developed new company or product messaging? Are you keen to ensure that you’re implementing your messaging in...
Healthcare marketer reading emails
7 September 2023 | 13:29:18
The top 5 reasons why people are unsubscribing from your emails
Are you watching your email list dwindle and wondering what's going wrong? Feeling like every time you hit 'send', more...
Healthcare marketers and doctors attending a medical device event
5 September 2023 | 13:32:15
How to maximise your presence at healthcare events?
Are you attending your first healthcare exhibition? Have you attended industry events before but haven’t seen a good return on...
Healthcare marketers planning their budget
5 September 2023 | 13:15:17
Planning your budget for the year? Read these top tips first!
Are you a new marketing manager planning your budget for the upcoming year? Maybe, you’re wondering how to split your...
A team working together to bring in They Ask, You Answer to the company
30 August 2023 | 00:00:25
How to get started implementing They Ask, You Answer
Have you heard about the wonders of They Ask, You Answer and are ready to get stuck in, but have...
This is an image of a black and green data chart going up
29 August 2023 | 13:00:10
How does They Ask You Answer drive business growth?
Is your company growing well, but do you think you could still do better?  Are you looking to truly embrace...


We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By agreeing you accept the use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.

Privacy Settings saved!
Privacy Settings

When you visit any web site, it may store or retrieve information on your browser, mostly in the form of cookies. Control your personal Cookie Services here.

These cookies are essential in order to enable you to move around the website and use its features. Without these cookies basic services cannot be provided.

Cookie generated by applications based on the PHP language. This is a general purpose identifier used to maintain user session variables. It is normally a random generated number, how it is used can be specific to the site, but a good example is maintaining a logged-in status for a user between pages.

Used on sites built with Wordpress. Tests whether or not the browser has cookies enabled

Decline all Services
Accept all Services
Thank you! Your subscription has been confirmed. You'll hear from us soon.