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5 Reasons People Aren't Subscribing to Your Mailing List

10 min read
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Email marketing is a valuable practice to pursue, but in order to even get started, you need a list of willing subscribers. Though your website may be popular and well-received, sometimes visitors just don't convert into eager subscribers. You might feel like you're doing everything you can to direct people to your opt-in functions, but you're simply getting no takers.

The truth is, there are a lot of things that could be affecting your sign up rate. However, any major issues can usually be identified and cleared up with a discerning eye, a little extra work, and bit of marketing knowhow.

So let's take a look at five common reasons why people might not be signing up to your mailing list.

Key Takeaways:

  1. Compelling Value Proposition: To attract subscribers, it's essential to offer a clear and compelling value proposition. Clearly communicate the benefits subscribers will receive, such as exclusive content, special promotions, or valuable insights. Make sure your value proposition is prominently displayed on your website and in your opt-in forms.

  2. Transparent Privacy Policy: Privacy concerns are a major barrier to subscribing. Assure your potential subscribers that their personal information will be treated with utmost care and respect. Create a transparent privacy policy that clearly outlines how you handle and protect their data. Display trust symbols or certifications to boost confidence and credibility.

  3. Streamlined Opt-In Process: A complicated or lengthy opt-in process can discourage potential subscribers. Keep your sign-up forms simple, asking for only essential information. Consider implementing a double opt-in process to confirm subscriptions, reducing the chances of spam or fake accounts. Make sure your forms are mobile-friendly for seamless user experience across devices.

  4. Engaging and Relevant Content: People are more likely to subscribe if they see value in the content you provide. Create engaging and relevant content that resonates with your target audience. Tailor your emails to their interests and preferences, and send them regularly without overwhelming their inbox. Use personalized subject lines to grab their attention and entice them to open your emails.

  5. Clear Call-to-Action: Your call-to-action (CTA) plays a pivotal role in encouraging subscriptions. Make sure your CTAs are clear, compelling, and strategically placed throughout your website and content. Use persuasive language and vibrant buttons that stand out. Experiment with different CTA placements and wording to optimize conversions.

Table of Contents

1. You Aren't Communicating the True Value of Signing Up

Think of all of the times on other websites that you've seen a basic message like "Join our email list to receive regular updates!" Though it's clear what the desired action is and how to comply, it doesn't exactly inspire direct action. Frame the copy within your opt-in forms around how you want your readers to feel about signing up, rather than simply what you want to happen.

To give an example, which of the following do you find more enticing?

a. "Sign up for free, monthly nutrition tips, meal plans, and recipes!"
b. "Lose weight and feel great with our simple and delicious meal plans and recipes - they're fun, fast and tasty! Delivered fresh and free to your inbox every month. Want in? Sign up below!"

The copy in option "b" is obviously much more enthusiastic, whilst also conveying the tangible benefits that subscribers will receive. You need to prove that you genuinely care about giving the most valuable subscriber experience you possibly can.

2. You're Not Advertising it Enough - Or Too Much

You know that people can sign up to your mailing list - but do your readers? Growing your subscription list is a valuable element within your marketing strategy, so it rightly deserves pride of place on your website. Don't be shy about it - if subscribing to your list is going to genuinely help people, then shout it from the rooftops! Don't let your opt-in forms hide in the background - make them bright, bold and persuasive.

However, going too far down this route can also be problematic. Have you ever been on a website that overenthusiastically advertises signups to the same list over and over - sometimes multiple times within the same page? Needless to say - it's not pretty! Try to find a happy medium visibility-wise so you're not driving people away.

3. You're Not Taking Time to Test

So you've gone to the trouble of creating vibrant opt-in forms that enthuse about the tangible values of subscribing, and you've placed them at strategic places within your website. But then, you're met with nothing but silence.

The temptation could be to chalk it up as a massive failure and undo all of your good work; but chances are that you just need to tweak something - potentially quite small - to pique people's interest. Refine your subscription process by testing different copy, placement, and design options for your opt-in forms to maximise subscription potential.

If your website's content management system allows, give A/B testing a go. You can try out one or more variations in design, text, and calls to action at the same time, showing different options to different users simultaneously. This allows you to analyse the relative performance of each option and run with what gets the best results.

4. You're Not Providing Enough of an Incentive to Sign Up

Whilst out and about on the internet, you've probably come across websites that tempt you into signing up to their mailing list by offering access to a useful downloadable resource in return. These resources are called "lead magnets", and they're a great way to incentivise new subscribers.

When you're putting together your lead magnet, you need to make sure you're providing something unique and valuable. Don't just follow the crowd and provide the same kind of content with the same kind of advice that everyone in your industry is giving. Carry out market research to identify the content your website's visitors are specifically after in order to lure them in. This way, you'll give yourself the best chance at attracting new interest.

5. You're Making Subscribing a Chore

Subscribing to a mailing list should be an easy process, so you need to double check that you're making yours as hassle-free as possible. There are two major ways that you could be making subscribing difficult.

The first one is that you may be asking for too much information in order to sign up. A first name and email should normally suffice, perhaps with a couple of other fields, but if you're asking for 5 or more points of information, it starts to become a chore to fill in, and can also make your company seem a bit nosey.

You could also be turning people away by making subscribing too complicated. An ideal sign up process should go something like this:

1. The reader sees your signup form or pop over window, enters their email address, along with 1 or 2 other optional points of information.
2. The page confirms their sign up and asks them to click the link sent to their email address which will confirm subscription.
3. They access their email and click the link as requested, which takes them to a confirmation page.

If your own subscription process is more complicated than this, it may be worth reworking. Every redundant hoop that you ask people to jump through provides an opportunity to abandon the process part way through, so work to streamline it however you can.

The best course of action to take here is to simply sign up to your own mailing list, and objectively judge the average user's experience. If you personally wouldn't put that effort in to subscribe to something, it's unlikely that your readers would either.


Boosting your mailing list subscription rates requires a proactive approach and a deep understanding of your audience's needs and concerns. By implementing the strategies discussed in this article, you can overcome the common hurdles that prevent people from subscribing to your mailing list. Remember, it's crucial to offer a compelling value proposition, prioritize transparency and privacy, streamline the opt-in process, create engaging and relevant content, and use clear and persuasive calls-to-action.

Now is the time to take action and transform your mailing list into a powerful tool for driving business growth. If you're ready to leverage the full potential of email marketing and harness the capabilities of FiveCRM, we invite you to book a demo with our team. Our experts are here to guide you through the process, showcasing how FiveCRM can revolutionize your marketing efforts, improve customer engagement, and drive tangible results for your business.

Don't miss out on the opportunity to unlock the full potential of your mailing list. Book a demo with FiveCRM today and take your email marketing strategy to new heights. Let's embark on this journey together and witness the transformative power of effective email communication.


Q: How can I create a compelling value proposition for my mailing list?

A: To create a compelling value proposition, focus on understanding your target audience's pain points and desires. Identify what unique benefits, content, or exclusive offers you can provide through your mailing list. Craft a clear and concise message that highlights these benefits and communicates the value subscribers will receive by joining your list.

Q: How can I address privacy concerns and build trust with potential subscribers?

A: Transparency is key to addressing privacy concerns. Clearly outline your data handling practices and ensure compliance with applicable privacy regulations. Create a privacy policy that explains how you collect, store, and protect subscriber information. Display trust symbols or certifications to build credibility. Additionally, offer options for subscribers to control their preferences and unsubscribe easily if desired.

Q: Is it better to have a single opt-in or a double opt-in process for subscribing?

A: Implementing a double opt-in process is generally recommended. With a double opt-in, subscribers receive a confirmation email and must confirm their subscription by clicking a link. This helps ensure that only genuine and interested individuals subscribe to your list, reducing the risk of spam or fake accounts. It also allows subscribers to verify their email address, improving the quality of your mailing list.

Q: How often should I send emails to my subscribers?

A: The frequency of your emails should strike a balance between staying top-of-mind and avoiding overwhelming your subscribers. Consistency is important, but it will depend on your audience and the type of content you provide. Consider conducting surveys or analyzing engagement metrics to understand your subscribers' preferences. Tailor your email frequency accordingly, whether it's weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly, to provide value without overwhelming their inboxes.

Q: How can I optimize my call-to-action (CTA) to encourage more subscriptions?

A: Optimizing your CTA involves several factors. Make your CTA clear, concise, and action-oriented, using persuasive language that compels visitors to take action. Use attention-grabbing design elements such as contrasting colors and bold buttons. Place your CTAs strategically throughout your website, blog posts, and emails. Test different variations, wording, and placements to identify what resonates best with your audience and yields higher conversion rates.

Michael King says...

"I can’t think of a time where a client has requested something that we weren’t able to do with FiveCRM. Unlike most systems, it has a lot of flexibility."

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Managing Director, Senior Response


“Each client, and each of their campaigns, has its own unique specifications. We essentially needed to set up mini CRMs on one platform to meet those requirements.”

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Operations Director, Team Telemarketing

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