Written by William Ballard, Copywriter and Author
Do you take it personally when someone unsubscribes from your list?
You are a smart content marketer, and you know that building a qualified list of email subscribers is an important part of your overall online strategy.
However, as you build your list (and consistently send out useful, compelling content), you are inevitably going to lose some of those subscribers.
Many email marketers take it very personally when people drop off their list. They fret and sweat over every lost subscriber.
However, I argue that there are many reasons why you want to celebrate — not mourn — when someone unsubscribes from your list.
Huh?! You might ask.
Let us take a look at three of those reasons right now …
1. Unsubscribes Save You Energy
When subscribers self-select and opt-out of your list, it saves you energy.
The majority of people on your list are prospects and customers who care about your message and appreciate your content and gifts.
However, there are some “energy vampires” on your list, too. These are the people who:
Every time an energy vampire contacts you, you have to deal with it. Even if you decide not to respond, you still have to read the note and make a decision about what to do with it.
As an entrepreneur, you are always working from a limited pool of energy. Every time you receive a request, it drains a little bit of that energy.
Now, let me be very clear, answering questions from qualified prospects and loyal customers is a good use of your energy. Dealing with energy vampires is not!
Getting rid of energy vampires on your list allows you to pay more attention to the people on your list who appreciate you, respect your boundaries, and want to pay you fairly for your expertise.
When energy vampires unsubscribe from your list, it is a good thing. Therefore, say “Sayonara” and let them be on their way.
2. Unsubscribes Get Rid of Dead Weight
There are a lot of very valid and understandable reasons people will unsubscribe from any given email list (inbox cleanup, employee turnover, change in direction, etc.).
However, there is another, slightly more sinister reason people unsubscribe — it is because they get annoyed when you send them offers for paid products or services.
Yes, I said it.
There are going to be people who drop you because you want to sell them things. These people want to get great content from you, however, get angry or upset when you make offers for relevant products or services.
In other words, these folks want something free, but are not interested in the next-step solutions you offer.
They want you to continue sending them free advice, however, they not only don’t want to buy anything from you, they get bent out of shape when you have the audacity to try to run your business like an actual business.
You want these people off your list. As they opt- out, give a little cheer. That’s one less person on your list who wants you to work for free. Moreover, that is a beautiful thing.
3. Unsubscribes Save You Money
As your list grows, it costs you more. Since most email service providers charge fees according to how many names you have on your list, each contact actually costs you something.
If you are going to be paying for each subscriber, you need each of those contacts to be as qualified as possible. You need a good quality list.
When people voluntarily unsubscribe, it actually saves you money. You are no longer paying to send emails to people who are not interested in your content and will never buy your products and services.
Many email-marketing experts actually advise that you manually clean up your list about once a year, anyway — so people who unsubscribe are actually saving you some work, too. As the quality of your list continues to improve as disinterested people opt-out, your open and click-through rates also go up … which is always a good thing!
As unengaged subscribers leave your list, the overall quality of that list improves, until you are only left with the best possible customers and prospects.
No Excuse to Get Lazy
There are folks in the marketing world who advise content creators to personally investigate why every unsubscriber occurs (by manually tracking down the people who opt-out, and asking them why they were unhappy enough to leave). Their advice is to try to minimize unsubscribers by trying to making everyone happy.
Besides the fact that chasing after someone who just unsubscribed from your list is very obnoxious (and probably illegal), the idea of trying to make everyone happy is a recipe for total disaster.
Your job is not to make everyone happy — it is to do your absolute best for your target audience, and let people who are NOT your target market self-select out.
If you take care of your list and make sure you are being an ethical online marketer, you do not have to chase after every person who unsubscribes and find out why they dropped you.
Send your subscribers high-quality, useful content on a regular basis. Do not publish junk content. Do not overpromote. Do not abuse your list. Be sensitive to burning your subscribers out with too much pushy sales language. Maintain a good balance between cookie content and relevant offers and promotions.
Here is the only metric that really matters, when it comes to unsubscribes:
Your list should be growing over time.
As long as the overall numbers are going up (even if it is slow), and you are retaining more people than you lose, you are on the right track.
Moreover, when unsubscribes happen, do not weep — rejoice. They are good for your mental health, your business, and your wallet.