I've been spending a few minutes unsubscribing this morning. It's a necessary side-effect of my work -- to keep on top of trends, I subscribe to lots of things to see what they are all about. [This is actually a very good method indeed, if you are looking for trend-watching tips.]
But the nasty side-effect is you continue to get reams of meaningless newsletter cruft.
Let's skip to the point here: your e-mail newsletters are hitting people who are wading through a pile largely composed of cruft, from their point of view. Or worse than cruft. If you want readers, make it visually appealing, make it useful, make it relevant. [Don't think I don't sense the irony here.]
The unsubscribe survey
An unsubscribe survey is a good idea. Most seem to limit their question to "why don't you like us anymore". I wonder how useful that question really is. Is it helpful to know that 30% thought you were "sending too much mail", and 27% thought it was "no longer relevant"? What do you learn from 18% "other"?
There's likely enough goodwill to answer one or even two short questions. It's probably worth spending some time making those questions really useful. And even change them from time to time. It's free data, if you can make it useful, your ROI is pretty high.
A good second question might be...
Here's my best idea this morning, before I've finished my first cuppa, on a good second question: An open ended question that enquires about the brand relationship in general, or propensity to consider the brand again. Something along the lines of, "Can you give us some general feedback please?", "How can we best serve you?" or "What were you hoping to get from this subscription?"
I invite you to build on this. How can we make the unsub questionnaire better? What do you really want to know that people might be willing to say quickly?