email sales

I’ll admit it — I used to take it personally every single time someone decided to unsubscribe from my email list.  Sad, right? Unsubscribes always felt like a hit to my ego, and I constantly second guessed my email content.

I convinced myself that unsubscribes meant that I was doing something wrong so I spent hours on each email trying to please everyone. This was a waste of time. Self reflection is important, and making tweaks to your email marketing strategy may be worthwhile. But stressing out over every unsubscriber is unproductive.

Here’s why you don’t need to worry:

Everyone’s Not Going to Love What You Say — And That’s Okay

We all want to have raving fans.

Some people will love you, your message, and your business. These people will stay on your email list because they want to get to know you and they find your business valuable. These engaged people are who you need to focus on. Understand their needs and serve them.

Other people won’t be as interested in what you have to say no matter what you do. You could send out an amazing product offer, host an enticing giveaway, or write an inspirational tearjerking piece of content and people will still choose to leave for one reason or another. Maybe they decided to unsubscribe from all broadcast emails in their inbox, or maybe your business is no longer serving their needs.

This isn’t bad; it’s normal. Many loyal subscribers email thanking me or saying how helpful a piece of content was for them. Those are the people who deserve my attention. 

I no longer worry unless my unsubscribe rate changes drastically from what’s normal. Otherwise, unsubscribers are par for the course and life goes on.

Long Lists of Unengaged People Are Expensive

A long email list is a vanity metric unless the email list is performing.

I used to set a goal for how long I wanted my email list to be. My email list finally reached that goal, but it didn’t make a remarkable difference in my business. It’s not about size, it’s about quality.

If your list isn’t converting, there’s no point.

Be thankful for people who are unsubscribing. They’re cleaning out your list for you. Usually, email marketing systems charge you by the number of people on your list. Unsubscribers can help you avoid having a long, expensive list of people who aren’t engaged anyway.

I routinely clean up my list as well. ConvertKit, the system I use for email marketing, has a feature where you can isolate cold subscribers and delete them. I usually send out a warning before deleting them. They can decide whether they want to stay or go before I do the cleaning.

Getting unsubcribers and cleaning your list shouldn’t be taken personally. People thinking of unsubscribing are probably not going to buy from you anyway so what’s the point of keeping them on your list? I’m happy when those people exit on their own. It’s less work for me.

When people unsubscribe from your list, it can feel like a rejection. Don’t take it personally; it’s just business. Generally, you want an unsubscribe rate of less than 1%. If your unsubscribe rate is creeping towards 1% or becoming abnormal, then it could be time to investigate further.

Taylor K. Gordon is a personal finance writer and founder of Tay Talks Money, a personal finance and productivity blog on hacking your way to a happier savings account. Taylor has contributed to MagnifyMoney, The Huffington Post, GoGirl Finance, Madame Noire, and The Write Life.

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