Why it’s good to get some unsubscribes on your newsletter

by Michele on April 11, 2012

When I first started with my email newsletter, I took any unsubscribes I got personally. I would look at when they unsubscribed and try to see what I did “wrong.” IIt's good to lose a few subscribers from time to time always work hard to bring value to people who have trusted me with their time and attention, so I didn’t like to see people unsubscribing. I assumed I did something to drive them away – that either I hadn’t set proper expectations or that I had not delivered something worthwhile.

Now, several years later, I feel differently about unsubscribes. I now know that it’s just part of business – people sign up, and sometimes a few slip away. People change over time, and maybe they’ve moved on from the solopreneur business that made them want to read my newsletter in the first place. Maybe they are deep into some business-expanding projects and don’t want to spend time reading anything new. Maybe the signed up to get to know what I teach and found it wasn’t a good fit for them. Whatever the reason, I now respect that choice and that the lost subscriber is doing what they think is best for their business. It doesn’t sting like it used to when I lose a subscriber. Now, when I lose a subscriber I have a similar feeling as when I bid a friend farewell on a new adventure when they move away from the area. I may wish them to stay, but I know they are moving on in their own best interest, and who can feel bad about that?

If you’re using email newsletter as part of your business and not getting at least a few unsubscribes from time to time, it may be time to step it up a notch. Of course, it’s not desirable to have lots of unsubscribes, and it you get a bunch at one time try to figure out what caused it.

Here’s a few thoughts on how you might increase your efforts and get to that sweet spot of getting just a few unsubscribes:

Are you making offers to purchase something? Your newsletter should include regular offers of things your readers may want to buy. Some people will unsubscribe if they think they are being “sold to” all the time, so don’t overdue it with the sales offers but be sure to make some offers. If someone is offended by appropriate sales offers, then they are probably not a good fit for your newsletter.

Are you targeting your readers tightly enough? If you try to be all things to all people, nobody will feel like you are speaking to them. The more you can hone in on who you are writing to, the more those people will feel connected to you and the more other people will drop away on their own accord.

Are you emailing at an appropriate frequency? The definition of “not enough” and “too much” vary greatly by writer and audience, but not having the right frequency for your situation may result in no unsubscribes or too many. If you rarely send an email, people may unsubscribe in large numbers because they forget who you are or they may never unsubscribe because there are so few emails. If you vastly overdo it, you’ll lose people in large numbers.

How do you feel about people unsubscribing? What number of unsubscribes do you think is the right number for you?


  1. Mozette says:

    Over the Christmas/NYE time rare get time to read a book, and so on My Reading List book blog, I set up a 3-month fun time of bookstore reviews, interviews with authors, books I’d like to read, links to pages of beautiful libraries, bookstores that are secret (and why they are) and news articles about bookstores that have gone bust; or about to. I also added in one thing I had been seeing around other blogs – YouTube Interviews with authors. And I made it a permanent thing too. I found it fun to search through YouTube and find that particular author or publisher that nobody talks about and put up an interview with them that is under a year old for everyone to watch. However I had guidelines – it had to be around 6 months old and under 20 minutes to watch or I’d lose people.

    And you know? My readership increased by about 300 people… not followers, just people jumping on to watch it! I also obtained another 5 countries as well! How great is that?
    Seeing how successful that was, I have been putting up a YouTube interview around twice a month – and a link to a book-into-movie interview – every few months just to keep it interesting.

    1. Michele says:

      Great strategy Mozette! I love that you tested something, found that it worked and made it permanent. That is one of the biggest keys to success – try, test and tweak.

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