Are You Throwing Away 30% of Your Email Subscribers?

Throwing away email subscribers

30% of people change their email addresses each year. What happens if someone on your email list wants to change their details? Most businesses lose them!

Business owners fight hard to get every individual subscriber onto their email list. They create fantastic opt-in products, send brilliant information and watch their subscriber rates like hawks.

The only trouble is that many businesses are actively throwing away 30% of their subscribers each year, without even realising it.

Every year, over 30% of people change their email address. If someone is on your list and they have changed their details, what will they do? We are not talking about people who genuinely want to unsubscribe from your email list, but people who want to stay but simply update their details with you.

tickUpdate Their Details

If your subscriber likes your content, and wants to stay on your list, the ideal option is for them to click on an “Update your details” link.

This should take them to a screen where they simply change their email, click on the update button and it is done. Simple!

Step 1: Click the link
Step 2: Edit your details

Modify your email details 2a

Step 3: Success!

Modify your email details 2

binUnsubscribe By Choice

If they didn’t like your content, they will simply unsubscribe from your list rather than trying to change their details. This is not a problem in most cases with one click unsubscribes. You click on a link, your details are pulled through and your records are adjusted without you needing to take any action.

But what happens if your unsubscribe button takes someone to a place where they have to manually retype in their details, or they have to email someone asking to be removed from the list?

People hate hassle, so often they simply don’t go through the process and they will mark your email as spam to stop getting your mail.  Easy for them. Not great for you and your future email deliverability.



ATO Unsubscribe 1

ATO Unsubscribe


binUnsubscribe – No Other Option

What if they liked your content and wanted to stay on your list? Many businesses don’t provide any updating options. They give you only one option – unsubscribe.

If someone wants to continue to get your emails, they have to unsubscribe, and then find your website URL. They then have to sift through your website to find where they can subscribe again, fill in their details and then jump through the double opt-in process to get back on your list.

They have to be pretty keen to go through that process! You can wave most of those people goodbye from your list.



AWC no update options

binUnsubscribe Surprise!

Some businesses give the option in their emails to update their details or unsubscribe.

But click on the link and SURPRISE! You find you have been unsubscribed, with no option to update your details. The likelihood of them going back to your site to go through the process again is quite low.



Unsubscribe surprise


Unsubscribe surprise


binUpdates That Go Nowhere

There are also the hidden problems with things going wrong. You click on the link, edit your details, click update and then … 404. You are taken to an error page. Nothing happens. Nothing updates.

In my very unscientific experience of personally wading through my own emails, this problem seems to affect sites that are using Mailchimp. I am getting very tired of that darn monkey!



Unsubscribe error

Unsubscribe error

Unsubscribe error


You have worked hard for your email subscribers. These little quirks with different email programs can turn people who were once interested readers to your business to ex-subscribers. This means you no longer have a relationship with them, and have lost any future sales.

Have you checked out your own email address update process? Can your business afford to voluntarily throw away 30% of your email list each year? If not, you may want to adjust your process to retain those 30% of people who change their addresses.

About the Author

Ingrid Moyle

Ingrid Moyle is a small business web designer and copywriter. When not hardwired to her computer, she quests for the perfect decaf coffee while chasing virtual reality creatures across the backstreets of Brisbane.
Bowler hat with lightbulb.

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