I have to admit, I used to get pretty bummed when someone would unsubscribe from my blog. Especially if it was a former client, a decent prospect, or someone who I had a good conversation with at a networking event.
The notion that certain people did not find my content riveting was unfathomable. In some cases, I took it personally.
Then I took a step back and looked at those unsubscribes from a business perspective. I realized that an unsubscribe didn’t mean the sky was falling or the world was ending.
In reality, unsubscribes can be a good thing.
The Freedom to Unsubscribe Is Good for Both Sides
Just having the ability to unsubscribe is a win-win.
If I watch live TV or listen to the radio, I can’t unsubscribe from the ads. I might have the option to pay for ad-free programming, but I can’t just opt out.
Same goes for display ads, pre-roll ads, and those awful ads that cut off videos right in the middle. I have no choice but to sit through them or try an ad-blocking tool.
Blogs, newsletters, podcasts and other forms of content marketing are different. Email marketing is different.
Not only is the option to unsubscribe a legal requirement, but it’s in the best interests of both the recipient and the marketer.
Unsubscribing allows the recipient to stop receiving content they don’t want and, in many cases, they do so without bitterness or negative emotions. No hard feelings.
For the marketer, unsubscribes translate to better click-thru rates, conversion rates and ROI. You’re not wasting marketing dollars on people who just aren’t interested.
Instead of getting depressed about unsubscribes, focus on the people who are interested.
The more people unsubscribe, the closer your list of subscribers gets to representing your ideal client.
A Harsh Reality
Wouldn’t it be great if everyone on your list waited on the edge of their seats and set up alerts so they would be notified when your content arrives?
Unfortunately, marketing isn’t all rainbows and unicorns.
The truth is, most people on your list will never read your content. Far fewer will ever do business with you or refer you. Average open rates are around 25 percent, while average click-thru rates are 2-3 percent.
To be clear, those numbers aren’t necessarily bad, although the goal is always to be above average. Even with average numbers, email marketing can deliver tremendous ROI.
But that ROI comes from a pretty small percentage of your audience. It shouldn’t be surprising or disheartening when a few people unsubscribe.
Also, think about why people subscribed in the first place. If they did it for a discount or a free download, maybe they just got what they wanted and moved on. Maybe they’re just trying to downsize their inbox.
Have you ever subscribed to something for a discount or freebie and then unsubscribed after you got it? Me too.
So don’t get upset when people do the same to you. It’s nothing personal.
Now If People Are Leaving in Droves…
If you’re seeing a steady flow of unsubscribes in high numbers, there’s reason for concern. And it’s time to re-evaluate your strategy.
Are you emailing too often?
Is your content self-serving?
Are your headlines click bait?
Does content fail to deliver on the headline’s promise?
Is your content too generic and vanilla?
Are you just rehashing the same stuff everyone else is talking about without offering a unique take or spin?
Are you being a little wimpy instead of taking a strong stand?
Did you say something that was downright offensive?
If the answer is “yes” to a few of these questions, make the necessary adjustments. But don’t overreact to a few unsubscribes.
Continue engaging those who are already engaged. Build stronger relationships with them. Focus your content on the wants and needs of your ideal client.
As for those unsubscribes? Don’t lose sleep over it. Both sides are probably better off.