Email is a powerful tool when used effectively. But when it’s not? You may start running into problems. There’s a fine line between being informative and annoying. If your email content isn’t delivering the goods, your customers won’t hesitate to opt out of communication.

Here’s four strategies to help your brand lower those pesky unsubscribe rates.

Exercise some restraint. The number one reason customers end up unsubscribing from email lists is because they felt that they were receiving too many of them. (Constant Contact) I think just about everyone can relate to this. Taking a quick look through my Gmail promotions tab, I can immediately tell which brands don’t know how to exercise any restraint. (I clearly need to do a little unsubscribing myself…)

Not only does sending too many emails feel intrusive, it dilutes the message that you’re trying to send. Even your most avid brand loyalists will end up feeling overwhelmed if you send too many emails. It can feel like too much to keep up with, even when a lot of the information is probably somewhat regurgitated.

Stay relevant. The number two reason people opt-out? 56% do so because they don’t see the info as relevant anymore. (Constant Contact) If your emails aren’t relevant to your audience, then you’re pretty much just wasting resources. You don’t want to do that.

Maintaining relevance means having a deep understanding of your audience. Not just your audience as one singular construct, but the different segments that compose the greater whole. According to MailChimp, properly segmented campaigns have 9.37% lower unsubscribe rates than non-segmented campaigns. Personalize your emails, provide relevant content, and keep your finger on the pulse to help keep people subscribed for years to come.

Improve the signup process. Rounding out the top three reasons people unsubscribe, 51% of customers do so because the content wasn’t what they expected. (Constant Contact) It means that many brands have a big issue starting from their signup process. The brand needs to set appropriate expectations from the start. And then it needs to execute.

When a customer signs up for your email list, make sure you send a welcome email. Not only do welcome emails get four times more opens and five times more clicks (Invesp), they start the customer relationship off on the right foot. A good, memorable welcome email can make all the difference.

Don’t just promote. Offer value. Think of the relationship your brand shares with its customers like a relationship you might have with a friend. Imagine having a friend who’s constantly asking you for things and never really trying to do anything for your benefit. Don’t let your brand be that friend.

Yes, you’re running a business. Your objective is to make money. You need to promote stuff. But to form a real relationship with your customers, you need to dig deeper. Try to inform and engage your customers. Let them know about your content marketing initiatives. Tell them about your loyalty program. Even when you’re just straight-up promoting a product or service you want to sell, frame it in a way that feels informative and not intrusive.

There’s a big difference between: “BUY THIS PRODUCT” and “Here’s something new we think you might like.”

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What does your brand do to keep customers subscribed? Sound off in the comments!