Never Fear the Unsubscribe

By Jessica Albon

Never Fear the Unsubscribe

Kaptain Cookiedough by Nomadic Lass

I work with a lot of clients in a lot of industries (over 90) all around the world (on 5 out of 7 continents). They have lists of all sorts of sizes ranging from the teeny (under 100) to the very large (in the millions).

What does every single one of those clients fear when they hire me? Unsubscribers.

By my second suggestion at our first meeting, they’ve said at least once: “We can’t do that. People will unsubscribe!”

To which I tend to say, “That’s the point.” Because that’s why they’ve hired me.

If you want to move forward, you’re going to have to let some of the people on your list go. Without fail, there are people right now on your list who are a bad fit. You’ve outgrown them. They’ve outgrown you. Your perspective has changed. Theirs has shifted.

Whatever the reason, they don’t belong on your list anymore.

Let them go.

The faster you get this done, the easier it is.

Here are three great ways to do it:

  1. Send a mass email explaining exactly where you’re headed and what your philosophy currently is. Then, invite people to resubscribe if they want to continue hearing from you. Alternatively, you can invite them to unsubscribe if they don’t which is less scary, but also less effective.
  2. Go through your list and unsubscribe anyone who doesn’t fit certain criteria. You can choose whatever criteria makes sense to you. Maybe you’ll bump anyone who hasn’t opened an issue in at least six months. Or maybe you’ll remove people who haven’t clicked a link in the last year.
  3. Send a couple on-target ads for your best products or services. These ads must be awesome and specific. Nothing gets the wrong people to reevaluate their subscription faster than making it clear that you’re in business.

By the way, I believe there’s nothing wrong with someone being on your list and never buying. Where I get cranky is when they’re on your list knowing it’s a business and they begrudge you advertising that business. I have many amazing subscribers who can’t or won’t be buying from me who stick around for the stories about Izzy and the stuff I share–that’s awesome!–they send me emails, they share the newsletter, they’re just generally super great people. But they don’t get irked when I send a solo ad every so often because they know it’s a business.

If you’re making unsubscribing difficult in any way, you fear the unsubscribe. When I consult at large companies, one of the first things I do is make them simplify their unsubscribe process. One of the first things they say is: “But then people will unsubscribe!” Make this easy.

If you would cringe if I told you to send a marketing email every week, you fear the unsubscribe. Marketing emails can be just as valuable to readers as a newsletter.

If your list growth is flat, you fear the unsubscribe.

A healthy list means about .5% of your readers unsubscribe every time you publish. (It should also be growing by at least 15%.)

Set aside some time today to make getting more unsubscribers a part of your list growth plan. If you want to move your business forward, you’re going to have to let some of your audience go. Stop fearing the unsubscribe.

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