You Want People to Unsubscribe from Your List

It sucks when people unsubscribe from your email list, right?

As a marketer, you know you need to be building an email list. You know that collecting a list of email contacts is an essential part of growing an online presence.

But, inevitably, as your list grows and you consistently send great content, you will see people unsubscribe. “Hey! Why are you unsubscribing!?”

It sucks. I hate that feeling. Been there. Done that. To be honest, I still get a little hurt when I see an unsubscribe in my stats. At first I worried if I was doing something wrong. Is it me? Is it my content? What gives? Why do these people hate me?

In time, I came to understand that this is simply a normal part of email marketing. People come and people go. No matter what you do, some people won’t want to be on your list. You can send awesome content, helpful emails, and wonderful resources, and people will still walk away.

But you know what? That’s a good thing. I know, it may seem counterintuitive, but hear me out here.

No one should be on your list who doesn’t want to be there.

I don’t want people on my email list who don’t want to hear from me. “But how can you sell to them,” you object.

I don’t want to sell to them.

Imagine you run a small corner store. People come and go all day. Some come in and make a purchase. Others come in, take a look around and then leave.

What advantage do you imagine there would be to trapping the second group in your store? None, of course. These people don’t want to be in your store. They don’t intend to buy anything. Let them leave.

My email list isn’t a hostage situation. I want no one on my email list who isn’t happy to hear from me. I don’t want my content to be a burden or annoyance.

It doesn’t matter to me how you got on my list if you don’t want to be on it. That’s fine. No hard feelings. You know where the door is. I want you to be happy here.

It’s like talking to a brick wall

In my experience, the majority of people who unsubscribe, rarely if ever opened my emails. They didn’t buy anything. Hardly interacted with my content. Nothing.

If they want to unsubscribe, that’s fine.

Don’t get me wrong. I would very much prefer for them to have been active participants, asking questions, learning, sharing. Obviously I can’t force them to open my emails or check out a resource I recommend. If they don’t want advice, that’s fine. That’s their choice.

Sooner or later it becomes clear that these people are just dead weight. There but not there.

I would rack my brain trying to figure out what’s wrong. Is it my content? Should I send them something else?

These people do nothing for you or your list. It’s better for you – and for them – to unsubscribe.

What you’re selling, they’re not buying

Some people join your list for a freebie and that only. They may love your content but hate when you have the audacity to try to pay your bills.

These are the people who get irritated when you promote a paid product or offer. “Pay? Money? Why isn’t it free?”

You know the type.

They’re ecstatic when you give them free stuff. Sometimes they even expect it. They want all the free advice and products you have to offer. But dare to ask them for money for your hard work and all bets are off.

And suggesting a paid resource? That’s like throwing a rock against a wall hoping it sticks. Pointless.

How dare you run a business, after all. Essentially, these people expect you to work for free. Keep the free stuff coming, right? Wrong.

In my experience, the best you can hope for from people like this is silence. The worst? Complaints and whining.

These are not people you want on your list. In fact, I practically beg such people on my list to use the door. I’m not mad. I just think their needs would be better met elsewhere. Wish them well and let them go.

You want people who aren’t there for a free ride.

Unsubscribers are saving you money

Most email service providers charge based on the number of subscribers you have on your list. As your list grows, you’ll need to move up to more and more expensive plans.

More subscribers = more expensive plans. Once you hit a certain number of subscribers, most providers will bump you up to the next level plan..

It makes sense then, to make sure every subscriber on your list should actually be there. Any subscriber who is dead weight is taking the spot of someone who could be making you money.

By voluntarily removing themselves from your list, unsubscribers restore your available quota – possibly delaying your move to the next service tier.

Unsubscribers improve your email list health

A perfect email list is one full of active, engaged subscribers. In a perfect world, every subscriber is one who wants what you have to offer and is eager to engage your content.

In the real world, of course, that’s not how it works. As your list grows, you’ll bring in a mix of people. Some just want a freebie. Some have genuine interest. The freebie seekers rarely if ever open emails.

This lack of engagement is visible to your email service provider. If your provider sees few people are opening your emails, that’s cause for concern in their eyes. Is your list quality that low? Did you buy this list? Do you even have permission to email these people in the first place? These are the questions running through your email service provider’s mind.

If your stats are bad enough, your provider can easily deactivate your account. Ouch.

It’s better for everyone if these disengaged subscribers simply unsubscribe.

You still want growth

Some marketers will tell you to track down every unsubscriber and find out why he or she unsubscribed – to the best of your ability. I hope these marketers aren’t seriously track down everyone who unsubscribes. That would just be silly, wasteful of your time, and weird. And just like my ex. But that’s a story for another never.

All this is to say, essentially, don’t fret the unsubscribers. It’s gonna happen. It’s normal. Understand that you simply cannot please everyone, and that people will leave. It’s fine. It’s cool. It’s part of building a list. Don’t panic when you send an email and see a brief dip in your stats.

You can’t make everyone happy. Don’t bend over backwards trying. Your goal as a marketer – online or offline – is to meet the needs of your target audience.

At the same time, though, your email list should be growing. If it’s not, something is wrong. Like the stock market, you want to see a general upward trend. If you find you are consistently losing subscribers, and your list is getting smaller and smaller over time, it’s time to reevaluate your strategy and dissect what’s pushing people away.

You will have periods of growth and periods of net loss. That’s pretty normal, honestly. Just make sure you’re being proactive and focusing on providing the kind of content that your subscribers will want to read and engage.

If you do that, everything else will fall into place quite nicely. Those who don’t want your content will leave, and those who are left will be your real fans.