You’ve been there yourself – sooner or later when visiting a company’s website, a sign-up form pops up, asking you to subscribe to an email newsletter. What will motivate you to do so? Take a moment to read some interesting insights on what drives people to subscribe and unsubscribe from email newsletters.

The question of how to get people to subscribe to email newsletters and prevent them from unsubscribing haunts email marketers. GetData, the research arm of GetApp, have conducted some interesting research on what motivates people to subscribe and unsubscribe from email newsletters. Read on to find out what entices people and what puts them off.


I (un)Willingly Subscribe To Your Newsletter…


Even after all the yammering about “opt-ins”, “confirmed opt-ins” and “double opt-ins”, GetData research shows that almost a quarter of email newsletter subscriptions (24.8%) are the result of auto-subscription. This means that a significant number of subscribers are added to email lists without their explicit permission when, for example, downloading a file or sending a support email.


Still, the majority of people subscribe to email newsletters willingly, guided by a need or interest. So, what are these people looking for?


What are the reasons people subscribe to your email list?


1. Deals and special offers


22.6% of subscribers cite this as a reason for subscribing to email newsletters. Interestingly, it’s the most common reason among women (26.8%), but only the fourth most common reason among men (20.1%). What conclusions can we draw from this? If your business provides special offers and deals, make it known to potential subscribers. Put it on the call to action buttons in sign-up forms and state it in the newsletter description. Let people know that by subscribing to your email newsletter they are joining an exclusive group of people that receive special treatment.


2. News updates


Receiving news updates is the third most cited reason for subscribing to email newsletters, with 21.4% of the respondents naming this as a basis for their subscription. Similarly, as with “deals and special offers”, emphasize in your sign-up forms that by signing up, the client will remain in the loop and will receive updates regularly. One of email marketing’s best practices is letting people know how regularly they will receive newsletters; as such, include information on newsletter frequency in the sign-up forms (daily, weekly, monthly).


3. Interesting articles or content


There’s no faking it – people recognize great content when they see it. The good news is that there’s no universal agreement on what’s “great”. Do you know what passes as “great” content in your industry? Get to know your target audience and find out what kind of content they are looking for. You can do this by asking your subscribers to fill out questionnaires or by tracking engagement on your website and social networks to see what people are interested in – what they read, what they share and what they like. Segment your email list and tailor its content, so that it caters to the varying needs and interests of your subscribers.


4. Gain access to restricted content


Only 7.6% of respondents cited this as a reason for signing up to newsletters. It appears that this dangling carrot might not seem so tempting after all. This does not mean you should dispose of this tactic for good; however, if this is the main selling point of your email newsletter, reassess your email list building strategy.