What Exactly is Email List Fatigue and How to Prevent It?

What Exactly is Email List Fatigue and How to Prevent It?

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Email List Fatigue

Email list fatigue is a common, yet preventable ailment that most businesses face.

If left untreated, email list fatigue may become a veritable marketing plague.

Generally, inactive subscribers characterize email list fatigue. Also, unsubscribes are a natural email marketing occurrence, but if you're facing an unusual spike in unsubscribes, then you may be experiencing email list fatigue.

Differential Diagnosis of Email List Fatigue

  • Have your unsubscribes spiked beyond your normal range?
  • Have you had a significant decrease in opt-ins for your emails on all your online channels?
  • Have your sales and promotions linked to your email marketing campaign suddenly drop?

Signs and Symptoms of Email List Fatigue

  • General subscriber sluggishness.
  • A drastic drop in email opens, click-throughs and forwards
  • A substantial decrease in social media interaction, characterized by a drop in Facebook posts and likes, and tweets.
  • Inactivity on any embedded promotions, sales, coupons or calls to action.

Treatment Options for Email List Fatigue

Revisit Your Content

Lack luster and irrelevant content is the number one complaint and direct cause of email list fatigue. Shirking on your content duties will ostensibly drive your subscribers into lethargy.

Fresh, engaging content will change subscribers' behavior and ensure that you'll grow your list through forwards and recommendation. Though it may seem that we harp on this issue, but writing correctly, in active language is the right way.

Also, remain consistent in the writing style: if you're informal and friendly, stay that way.

Do some research on your competitors and what they're focusing on. Always keep an ear and eye to the ground: watch for spikes in industry news and what people are talking, Tweeting and blogging about in your industry.

Revisit Your Email Options

Do you have a comprehensive email option system that allows your subscribers to update and change email frequency and types of emails?

Perhaps your current email marketing software doesn't offer these comprehensive services. If that is the case, now is the time to consider an upgrade.

Further, instead of just having one option – "unsubscribe" – have multiple.

Meaning, offer a chance for your subscribers to change their preferences instead of just unsubscribing. Allow your subscribers to choose the frequency (daily, weekly or monthly) or types of emails (promotions or news). With this option, you'll decrease the likelihood of unsubscribes. Those who want to unsubscribe will do so regardless.

Revisit Your Data Collection

Keeping an eye on your subscribers' habits will ensure that you'll remain on top of and ahead of email list fatigue.

Much like email options, a comprehensive email marketing software system will have more thorough data collection options.

Analyze the data you collect and do so regularly. Look and compare, and do so again.


With every change you make to combat email list fatigue, test. A/B testing is taking a controlled group of subscribers against your test group.

Take a small section of your list, split it in half; one group gets the old email and the other group the new email with the change. With your data analysis tools, watch for any spikes, decreases or changes in your subscribers' habits.

Court New Subscribers

Through your other online channels, woo potential subscribers with exciting, interesting and most importantly, relevant content. This simple act will drive people to opt-in to your email list. You've teased them. You've intrigued them.

They'll want to know more about your business, thereby ensuring subscriber engagement.

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