Is this common best practice costing your email program millions?

Posted by Spike Email Marketing

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FACT: Every time someone unsubscribes from your email program, a fairy dies.

OK, that’s not true, but it might as well be. Why? Because by and large, the cost of an unsubscribe is emotional. “Oh no! Someone is leaving my list!”. However, that’s led to a best practice that could cost you millions.

We’re talking about preventing unsubscribes. The fear of losing a customer is so intense that this best practice disproportionately influences many email programs. Businesses even hid or removed the unsubscribe link, which is a terrible idea that can lead to delivery issues.

In the ever-evolving email marketing landscape, certain practices that once seemed sacred needed challenging. In 2014, Alchemy Worx explored the notion that preventing unsubscribes was the holy grail of email marketing. Fast forward to 2023, and it’s time to revisit this idea with updated insights and a fresh perspective.

The Myth of Unsubscribes

Back in the day, the prevailing belief was that every unsubscribe was like losing a customer forever. This emotional attachment to subscriber numbers led to a pervasive best practice: preventing unsubscribes at all costs. However, it’s essential to reconsider whether this approach is still valid in today’s email marketing landscape.

One of the enduring myths in email marketing is the idea that increasing your email send frequency will inevitably lead to more unsubscribes, making it a counterproductive strategy. But is this the case? Let’s dive into the data to find out.

Screenshot 2023 09 11 at 1.53.23 PM 1024x853 - Is this common best practice costing your email program millions?Key Takeaways

  1. Revenue Soars: Doubling email frequency led to a significant increase in revenue for both B2B and B2C clients. The revenue boost far outweighed the losses due to unsubscribes.
  2. Linear Unsubscribe Increase: Contrary to the myth, increasing the frequency did not result in an exponential increase in unsubscribes. The unsubscribe rate doubled with the gain in emails sent.
  3. Unsubscribe Costs: Calculating the cost of preventing unsubscribes revealed a surprising reality. For the B2B client, it cost $66,567 to prevent each unsubscribe, while for the B2C client, it was a mere $493. This difference highlights the Value of retaining subscribers.

Embrace List Growth

Aside from the immediate revenue gains, it’s essential to consider the long-term benefits of an increased send frequency. Removing inactive subscribers (the “deadwood”) can lead to list hygiene and open up opportunities to engage with fresh, enthusiastic subscribers.

Your email list should continually grow, surpassing the unsubscribe rate. If it doesn’t, it’s time to prioritize list growth as a critical element of your email marketing strategy. We recommend implementing effective sign-up processes and techniques to ensure organic list growth.

In conclusion, don’t let the fear of unsubscribes hold you back from exploring the potential of increasing your email send frequency. The data suggests that the financial gains far outweigh the losses, making it a viable strategy for boosting your email marketing revenue in 2023.

For more reading about unsubscribes, read: The Unsubscribe Model: Revolutionising Email Marketing 

UPDATE 11 September 2023: We originally linked to a 2014 article on, but they removed it. We have rewritten the article for 2023.