So I have a feeling that you’ve noticed it, too: that one thing that no one talks about when it comes to email lists. What is that? Unsubscribes. Everyone talks about how to grow, grow, grow, and they stop right there. People are so focused on gaining a large number of subscribers in as little time as possible, that once they start seeing unsubscribers they feel offended and frankly a little confused.
The fact of the matter is, though, regardless of how many people are on your list or what sort of content you send out, you’re bound to get an unsubscribe every now and then. In fact, the larger your list grows, the larger number of unsubscribers you may (or may not) see. Instead of getting hung up on being offended or personally hurt over the people who are unsubscribing from your email list, it’s important to take the time to look at what you’re doing that you can improve upon to encourage your subscribers to stick around.
So today I want to share the four main reasons people unsubscribe from your email list and a little bit on why it’s okay that not everyone is sticking around!
So, why are people unsubscribing?
Your content is all about you, and you’re not actually helping your community
Have you ever gotten to the end of an email from someone and thought, “Was that sent by accident? Why did I get this?” Believe it or not, I have. There are so many of us who are writing more personal content to our email list. Unfortunately, there’s a very fine line between it sounding like you just copied your latest entry from your journal and it being content that your subscribers can actually learn from.
Regardless of if you’ve been getting unsubscribes, if you’ve been sending more personal content to your email list you’re going to want to go back and take a look at what you’ve been sending. Since it’s so important to have the content be related to the audience in one way or another, try asking yourself these two questions:
- What is the point of this email? Obviously you’re trying to connect with your audience, but why are you telling them about this experience or these thoughts? Don’t just send something because people say you should. You always want to have a specific reason you’re sending your emails!
- What will my subscribers get from this? Building right off of the last question, you then need to take a look at what your audience will get out of reading the email. If you’re talking about your experience with trying something new and the point is to encourage your subscribers to try things even if it makes them uncomfortable, maybe they’re getting encouragement to keep pursuing their goals and dreams even if they’re sort of scary.
If you can definitively answer these questions and you know what your readers are going to get from it, then it’s okay to send your email. However, if it’s just a personal rant about something, you might want to save that for a more private place of sharing.
You’re only sending blog posts to your subscribers
I get it, y’all. Running a blog, a business, managing social media, our personal lives, it’s all so much, and adding on an email list just adds another spinning plate to an already chaotic list of responsibilities. Since everyone tells us that we “must” have an email list, most people who just can’t find the time to generate more content often rely on sending blog post content.
However, this is my biggest pet peeve, and I know a lot of people out there agree with me. Over the course of just the last 3-4 months, I’ve unsubscribed from several newsletters that I had been on for the better part of last year because they started sending me blog posts instead of the truly great content they were writing before the change. If you’re just copying and pasting your blog post content into your email marketing provider each week (or a few times each month), you’re likely losing a good portion of people simply because you’re doing this.
Let me share some tough love with y’all, by sending blog posts to your subscribers, you’re ultimately only doing yourself a disservice. In fact, by just relying on blog post content with your list, you’re creating a sort of lazy impression of your brand. While you obviously have your own set of reasons as to why you send post content, it’s much better to invest time into creating exclusive, actionable content so that you’re not only encouraging your subscribers to stick around but also actually helping your subscribers with the various pain points in their blog, business, or life.
You only send an email when you’re trying to make a sale
So a lot of people tell us that we can make sales through our email list; in fact, that’s the only reason most people are saying that everyone should have an email list. However, if you’re only sending emails when you’re trying to sell something, you’re going to start getting a lot of unsubscribers before you can even get anywhere with your growth goals.
Why is this? Well, because even though we all know and exact people to sell to us through their email lists, it feels super icky to only hear from someone when they want me to buy from them. In fact, it creates this reputation that the person cares less about helping their audience and more about bringing home the bacon. Trust me, this is not a reputation that you want your brand to have
To keep from experiencing the drop off of subscribers because of this, make sure you’re getting in touch with them regularly outside of trying to make the sale. Even better? By sending valuable content on a regular basis you’re not just teaching your audience that you truly care about helping them, you’re also establishing your expertise and gaining their trust!
Your emails don’t feel like they relate to your brand
So I talked about this in last week’s post on how to keep your emails on brand, but I wanted to remind you that this is a real reason that people may be hitting that little unsubscribe button at the end of your email. It’s not always as simple as your emails not looking like a visual extension of your brand, sometimes they just flat out don’t sound like you. Regardless of what the disconnect is, it could be driving people away.
If you feel like this might be you, there are a few things that you can do to make sure you’re staying true to yourself and that brand of yours that everyone’s familiar with.
- Make sure your content is relevant. It would be totally weird if I wrote blog / business / email tips here on the blog and then shared recipes or my workout routine with my email list. You don’t have to send the same exact content, but you don’t want things to be so different that people get confused about your brand.
- Make sure your email looks like your brand. Instead of your emails looking generic and like they could have come from anyone, take a few minutes to create a header and customize your template to better match your brand’s visual identity. This doesn’t take long to do, and it can boost the impression that your subscribers get from you.
- Make sure your emails actually sound like you. Remember when I mentioned that everyone tells you how you should be selling through your email list? It’s okay if you do that, but if you’re creating sales emails that don’t sound like you at all, your audience is going to get a bit turned off. Just like with the rest of your emails, try to write in the same tone you would on your blog and social media.
Why is it okay if people unsubscribe?
They’re making room for the people who actually want to be there
For all of these email marketing platforms, you have to pay for how many subscribers you have. Regardless of what your final cost is, when someone is unsubscribing, they’re making room for you to have more of the people that truly want to be there and get your content. Wouldn’t you rather pay for people who want more of what you have to share instead of those who don’t really care what you’re sending?
It’s not always your fault or something that you can control
At the end of the day, friend, there are only so many things you can do to encourage your subscribers to stick around. There are many reasons that someone might unsubscribe, including more than just what I’ve listed here today, and honestly many of those reasons are things that you just cannot control. Sometimes people want to unsubscribe to simplify their inbox or they’re taking some time away to focus on their own content. Whatever their reason is, it’s okay! You can’t stress yourself out over trying to please everyone because that’ll never happen.
People are going to unfollow you on social media and they’ll unsubscribe from your email list. I know that the first couple of unsubscribers hits you hard, but at some point, you do end up just getting used to it and looking at it like anything else. The key thing is to not spend too much time worrying over why someone left your list.