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Regardless of what type of online business you are running, growing an email list is one of the best ways to build sustainable traffic and income. One of the common challenges that many bloggers and marketers face with building an email list is a fear of losing subscribers.
Of course, the goal is to gain subscribers not to lose them, but you shouldn’t be worried about people choosing to no longer receive your updates by email.
Every email that you send to your list will need to include an unsubscribe link that allows people to easily remove themselves from your list (and if you’re using a service like GetResponse or AWeber this will all be handled for you automatically). So every time you email your list you are likely to have some people that choose to unsubscribe.
Some bloggers and marketers worry so much about people unsubscribing that it prevents them from emailing their list at all, or limits them to very infrequent emails. The whole purpose of growing your list is to be able to stay in regular contact with your followers, so infrequently or rarely emailing your list almost defeats the purpose.
If you want to get the best results with email marketing you will need to ditch the fear of people leaving your list. In reality, it’s really nothing to fear, and we’ll look at 7 reasons why.
Quick Tip: Turn off the setting to receive email notifications when someone unsubscribes from your list. You can always check the stats on your own and you don’t need the interruption of an email each time someone unsubscribes. These notifications only add to the fear of unsubscribes.
1. Unsubscribes are Natural
The main reason you shouldn’t worry about people unsubscribing from your list is that it is natural and unavoidable. Even the best lists experience unsubscribes.
People choose to sign up for your list for any number of different reasons, and there can be just as many reasons why they would prefer to no longer receive your emails. Maybe their interests have changed. Maybe they get too many emails and they go on a binge and unsubscribe from everything in their inbox. Maybe they come to your website every day and they don’t feel it’s necessary to get email updates as well.
Offering a free bonus is a great way to entice subscribers, but it can also lead to more unsubscribes because many people will sign up simply to get the freebie. Still, I think that free bonuses are generally a great way to grow a list because many of those people will wind up staying on your list. You just need to understand that offering a free bribe is likely to lead to more people unsubscribing after they get what they really wanted.
Think about the emails that you receive on a daily and weekly basis. Personally, I’m on a ton of email lists, I sign up for new ones all the time, and I’m also unsubscribing from ones that I don’t need on a regular basis. I think this is fairly typical. I’m sure you’ve unsubscribed from a number of different email lists as well. It doesn’t always mean that you’re not interested in the person sending you that email, but maybe you just have too much in your inbox and you need to clean things up.
You are bound to have people unsubscribe from your list. The best thing you can do is accept this and not let it consume you.
2. Those Who Unsubscribe are Not Your Ideal Audience
An email list allows you to communicate with the people who want to hear from you. Your ideal audience will be a good fit with the topics that you cover in your emails, the frequency that you send emails, and the types of emails that you sent (i.e. promotional, informative, news, etc.). When someone unsubscribes from your list it shows that they are not a good fit for your list in one of those ways. It could be that the topic doesn’t interest them, the frequency doesn’t work for them, or they don’t need or want the types of messages that you send.
That’s really not a problem. Not everyone is a good fit for your list. Even if they stay subscribed to your list they are unlikely to be a responsive subscriber or to really be of any value to you. There is no point in keeping subscribers on your list just for the sake of having a higher number of subscribers. After all, it’s not the number of subscribers that is important.
Rather than worrying about people who may not be an ideal fit for your list, focus on making your emails as useful as possible for those who do fit within your ideal audience.
3. Unsubscribes Can Help You to Know What People Want and What They Don’t
You can use data on unsubscribes to tell you what your audience wants and what they do not want. I use GetResponse for all of my email lists currently and with GetResponse you can easily view stats related to every email that you send, even those that are set up as autoresponders after people subscribe to your list. You can see how many people unsubscribed using the link in a particular email, and this can give you some indication about how your subscribers feel about your emails.
If your emails on a particular topic tend to have higher than usual unsubscribes, maybe that is a topic that isn’t really of interest to your audience. You can also use this data to test the results of emailing your list more frequently. Once you know what your subscribers want and how frequently they want it, growing a responsive list becomes much easier.
4. Improves the Responsiveness of Your List
People who unsubscribe from your list were not very likely to become engaged in your emails anyway. Getting rid of these types of subscribers can help to improve your email open rates and click rates, which are two of the more common ways to measure the responsiveness of a list. Of course, you’d like to have a large list that is also responsive, and you’re working towards that goal. But if you have to choose size or responsiveness, responsiveness should win every time.
RELATED READING: 15 WordPress Plugins for Growing Your Email List
5. Reduces Cost
Most email marketing providers, including GetResponse, charge fees that are based on the number of subscribers on your list. Inactive subscribers are not what you want in this situation because they will wind up costing you more money while not delivering anything in return. Unsubscribes from people who aren’t going to be responsive can actually help to keep your costs down.
6. Reduces Spam Complaints
Spam complaints are a natural part of email marketing, to a certain degree. Subscribers can mark your emails as spam, and in many cases they only do this so their spam filter will learn to flag similar emails. Not every spam complaint is intended to actually be used as a complaint against you. If you send enough emails you are bound to get some of them flagged by subscribers as spam even if you are doing nothing wrong.
However, you don’t want your complaint rates to get too high because your provider could close your account, or it could impact the deliverability of your emails.
If people who are no longer interested in your emails unsubscribe that eliminates the possibility of them flagging one of your future messages as spam. It’s much better to lose an unengaged subscriber through an unsubscribe than to have one mark your email as spam.
7. It’s Not the End!
Just because someone on your list chooses to unsubscribe does not mean that you will have no future interaction with them. They may still be a regular visitor of your site, they may follow you on social media, and who knows, they may even wind up subscribing to your list again at some point in the future. An unsubscribe is not a permanent strike against you.
Having people unsubscribe from your list is a natural part of email marketing. Don’t let the fear of unsubscribes cripple you or prevent you from emailing your list on a regular basis. Instead, focus on reaching the engaged subscribers who really want to hear from you.