No matter what type of online business you are running, building an email list is one of the best ways to sustainably grow your traffic and income.
One of the challenges that many bloggers and marketers face with building an email list is the fear of losing subscribers.
Sure, the aim of the game is to get subscribers rather than losing them but you shouldn’t worry about people who unsubscribe.
Every email you send to your list will need to include an unsubscribe link that allows people to easily unsubscribe. Most email service providers handle this automatically to ensure compliance with CAN-SPAM regulations.
This means you’re likely to have a few unsubscribes each time you email your list.
Here’s the problem:
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 stay in regular contact with your followers, so when you don’t send emails it 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.
The truth is that you shouldn’t fear it and in many ways it’s a good thing. Let’s look at why you shouldn’t fear unsubscribes:
1. Unsubscribes are natural
The main reason you shouldn’t worry about unsubscribes is that its natural and as such, you can’t stop it. Even the best email lists will receive unsubscribes and more than you might think.
People will subscribe to your list for plenty of different reasons and there can be just as many reasons why they may unsubscribe.
For example, they may no longer be interested in the topic. They may get too many emails and go on a mass unsubscribe to unclutter their inbox.
Maybe they visit your website regularly enough that they don’t feel it’s necessary to get email updates as well. Or maybe they prefer to follow your updates on a different platform such as Twitter or YouTube.
Offering a lead magnet or some sort of freebie is a great way to entice subscribers but it can also lead to more unsubscribes because some people only want the freebie. Naturally, some of those subscribers will stick around and others will get the freebie and go – that’s ok.
2. Those subscribers are not a good fit for your audience
An email list allows you to communicate with people who want to hear from you.
Your ideal audience will be a good fit with the topics you cover in your emails, the frequency that you send those emails, and the types of emails that you send.
When someone unsubscribes from your email list it shows they are not a good fit for your list and that your list isn’t a good fit for them.
For example, they may not be interested in the topic or the frequency of emails doesn’t work for them, or they prefer different kinds of emails.
And that’s completely fine because not everyone will be a good fit for your list. You can’t please everyone. Even if they stay subscribed to your list they are unlikely to be responsive or find the emails useful.
There’s no point in having a large email list if your subscribers don’t want to hear what you have to say.
3. Unsubscribes help you learn more about what people want (and don’t want)
You can use unsubscribe data to inform you as to what works well (or doesn’t) for your list.
Most email providers (e.g. ActiveCampaign) will give you some data on unsubscribes. You’ll be able to see data for broadcasts and automation etc.
If you see high unsubscribes on a specific email then you know something isn’t right and could potentially be improved.
And as you look back historically at this unsubscribe data, you’ll start to notice patterns. It could be that certain topics don’t resonate with your subscribers or the structure or copy of an email could do with improvements.
Once you know what your subscribers want and how frequently they want it, building an email list that’s responsive becomes far easier.
4. You’ll have a more responsive email list
Those who unsubscribe from your list are likely those who wouldn’t engage much with your emails in any way.
Not having these subscribers on your list leaves you with the most engaged subscribers. And this will lead to better open rates and click rates. It’s also possible this will help with email deliverability with larger email lists.
Having a large email list that’s also responsive is challenging but should always be the goal.
If you have to choose between a large email list and a responsive email list – I’d always choose the latter.
5. You’ll reduce the cost of running your email list
Most email marketing providers charge based on the number of subscribers on your list.
If you have inactive subscribers you’ll end up paying more as a result without seeing any benefits.
So, when these inactive subscribers decide to unsubscribe they’re helping to reduce the cost of maintaining your email list.
6. You’ll get less spam complaints
At times you’ll find that some of your emails get reported as spam – even when they’re not.
Sometimes people will forget they joined your email list, they won’t recognise your brand (or your name) or they’ll be trying to train their spam filter to filter certain types of email.
This is to be expected when email marketing so don’t worry if you see spam complaints when you know you’ve done nothing wrong.
However, it’s important to keep spam complaints low so they don’t impact email deliverability. It’s much better to lose an unengaged subscriber because they’ve unsubscribed rather than marking your email as spam.
7. An unsubscribe isn’t the end
An unsubscribe isn’t the end. And it’s what’s best for both you and the reader.
This doesn’t mean you won’t have future interaction with them – those interactions may simply move to a different platform. For example, they may subscribe to your YouTube channel, like your Facebook page or follow you on Twitter.
You never know – they may even subscribe to your email list in the future when the timing is better for them.
One thing I like to do at the end of emails in my automation sequence is to invite subscribers to follow me on particular social networks – this can help to continue that interaction after someone has unsubscribed.
And some email providers such as Drip allow you to setup a custom unsubscribe page where you can prompt users to follow you on social networks or other platforms.
We’ve covered a bunch of the reasons people will unsubscribe. Just remember that it’s not the end of the world. It’s going to happen so it’s important to embrace it.
The important part is you continue to improve your offering and focus on getting new email subscribers a long the way.
Now that you know not to worry about unsubscribes, check out our post on how to get more email subscribers.