So you’ve set up your mailing list that people signed up for. You decide to take the leap and send out a newsletter and suddenly you’re getting notifications for unsubscribers. That’s not what you wanted, you actually want people to subscribe, not unsubscribe! At this point you will be tempted to wail and send emails saying, “Nooo! Come back, stay! Here’s a 50% coupon that you are probably not interested in but it’ll entice you to stay for a little while!” to the people who have unsubscribed to your mailing list. Dramatics aside, maybe you’re gobsmacked to what you should do now.
The common misconception with mailing list newbies is that email unsubscribes are bad and you’re doing something drastically wrong. Don’t freak out, I’m here to tell you that it’s not a bad thing; it’s actually a good thing for your business! Here's several reasons why:
Your list is getting more focused on your tribe
When people unsubscribe from your email list, chances are they were not your target audience to begin with. If you hope to use your mailing list to bring in more money for your business, then those unsubscribes are the best thing that will happen to your mailing list because the people that remain are more likely to buy your services, courses or products as they are your target market and they like what you are about.
All of the biz owners and bloggers who make money from their mailing lists have had unsubscribers and the one thing you probably don’t know is that they are all glad for it because they get to send emails to people who are most likely to buy their products.
You actually get people who care
Ever been in a group of people and tried telling them a story about something amazing that happened to you last weekend but no one is listening? You know how frustrating that is, right? Having a mailing list filled with people who actually don’t care about what you are offering is like that. You can talk and talk but they won’t be listening and they won’t care about what you have to say. When people unsubscribe, they are doing you a big favour and you get to talk to people who care about your emails and actually open them to read them instead of deleting them unopened. That is great, isn’t it?
You get to foster more engagement with your subscribers
I don’t know about you but I’d rather have 20 subscribers who engage with me than 800 who do not. Imagine asking a question at the end of your latest newsletter and getting crickets in reply, which would suck very much, especially if you've busted your behind to bring your subscribers something of value that is exclusive to them.
The reality is that the people who are more likely to unsubscribe to your email list will not engage with you when you reach out to them and ask them questions or even by trying to chat with them to know them better. The ones who do not unsubscribe though, are more likely to engage with you and ‘hit reply’ to your newsletters. Yay, right? Yay!
The rate of unsubscribes will help you improve your business
Sometimes you may get more unsubscribers than subscribers and that’s when you know that your email marketing needs improving. This too, is a good thing. Hear me out, hear me out: when a drainage pipe is clogged, you have to notice that it is clogged otherwise it’ll fill up with dirt and you don’t want that. (Are my analogies bomb or what?)
So it is with problems in your business; you have to fix them but you can’t fix a problem that you don’t know about in the first place, which is where mass unsubscribes come in; they are a good reason for you to really figure out why people are unsubscribing and then begin coming up with solutions to decrease the rate of unsubcribes. Here are a few common reasons why people unsubscribe:
- You have rebranded.
If you have rebranded -say, from a lifestyle blog to a more niched blog about traveling for college students, it’s normal to expect unsubscribers because many will be people who were interested in your previous offering and since you do not provide that anymore, they have no reason to stay subscribed to your email list knowing they won’t be interested in whatever you have to say. Remember, people value their email inboxes, they’d rather have emails they want to read than emails that they won’t open filling up their inboxes.
- It’s been a while since you’ve sent your last newsletter.
If it’s been ages since you’ve sent your last newsletter, most of your subscribers would have forgotten you and when an email from someone they don’t remember pops up in their inbox, they’ll get confused and unsubscribe because it’ll feel like spam to them. They’ll be thinking, “who’s this person? How did she get my email? Weird…where’s the unsubscibe button?”
The best way to ascertain that they won’t unsubscribe is to write a sort of “Hey! I’m back. Find out where I’ve been!” in your subject line and they’ll be intrigued enough to open the email and that’s when you remind them where they signed up to your mailing list and what you’ve been up to during the long hiatus between that newsletter and your last newsletter. This way you’ll be reassuring them that some spammer didn’t steal their email address and they’ll be reacquainting themselves with you once more.
- They don’t like your emails.
That’s okay, people have different preferences and some people’s preferences are enough to cause them to unsubscribe from email lists. Some may be expecting more from you and being disappointed in what you send to them. See this as an opportunity to improve your content; improved content means even more future subscribers!
Perhaps this is when you set up your ‘goodbye’ email to ask subscribers why they are unsubscribing and what they expected from joining your email list. Strive to offer value rather than sending out emails just for the sake of sending emails.
- They weren’t interested in your mailing list, they just wanted your opt-in/content upgrade for free.
Yup, this is real! There are people who would just sign up to receive your opt-in then unsubscribe as soon as they get it. Sometimes you can’t prevent this but you can’t decrease the rate of unsubscribes by only offering opt-ins that are relevant to your brand and business. Offer content upgrades or other opt-ins that your target audience want, this way, you get more of your target audience signing up! Win-win!
Remember to treat peoples’ email addresses like their home addresses; they don’t just give it away to just anyone and by choosing to trust you with their address, they trust that you will give them something of value; something that will benefit them in some way. It’s always good etiquette to let your subscribers know what they will expect from your emails and how often you will send emails out. By doing this you get to warn them in advance and they’ll appreciate you telling them what to expect.
If you have signed up to someone’s email list whose emails you don’t bother to open, do yourself and them a favour by taking a few seconds to unsubscribe. Trust me, they won’t take it personally or hate you! You’ll be saving them (and yourself) quite a bit of effort!
I hope I was able to reassure you about unsubscribers and you have a peace of mind knowing the benefits of getting email list unsubscribes. Now I’d love to hear from you! Please comment and tell me what you do when you receive unsubscribes!
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