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Metrics: Tracking & Reporting

This is one metric that needs no introduction. It is the measurement several email marketers have come to loathe even looking at. Get used to dealing with it because no matter how valuable your content is or dead-on you are with your targeting efforts, there will always be subscribers who depart and choose to opt-out out of your mailings. Common causes for this include:

Irrelevant content
Frequency (too much or too little)
General loss of interest
Every email marketer goes through the frustration and confusion that unsubscribes engender. The goal is to keep this rate as low as possible. A disengaged subscriber is one step away from unsubscribing. It is your job to stop that from happening.

Here are some simple things you can do to maintain low unsubscribe rates:

Be Relevant - The people on your list have signed up for a reason – to get content that is somehow relevant to their needs, desires, and interests. Stray from the track of relevance just a little bit and there is a good chance you will see your number of unsubscribes increase. To keep this metric down, deliver the relevant content that compelled your subscribers to sign up in the first place.
Be Valuable - Your customers and prospects are a lot like you. They are regular people up to their necks in email messages and spam. Very few of them have time to read through fluff just to get to the good stuff. Don't waste their time. Give them the valuable content they crave by being as brief and to the point as possible. Be the credible authority they expect to provide sound advice, great bargains, or timely updates. Do this and unsubscribing will be the last thing on their minds.
Converse, Don't Sell - Although email marketing is a great sales tool, being overly aggressive in your marketing can ruin whatever opportunities you have to promote your products or services. This is not to say that you cannot entice your audience with sales offers, but just know that soft sales tend to be far more effective in this arena. Also know that every message does not have to be designed to generate a sale. By providing content that makes the reader want to know more, you can lure them away from the inbox and let your website do all the selling.