Is THIS why people unsubscribe from your newsletter? Three easy ways to reduce email unsubscribes
I don’t always fan-girl over fellow entrepreneurs. But when I do … I go all in.
I read everything they’ve ever written. I follow all their social media accounts. I imagine what would happen if we stumbled into each other on the street.
(In 99.9% of these imaginary scenarios, we become BFF’s, she moves into the apartment next door and we share a co-working space filled with animals, chocolate and puns.)
There is no middle ground. I love deeply, yo.
Aaaaand I’m guessin’ you’re the same. You seem like the all-or-nothing kinda babe.
Which is how I know you’ll relate to what happened to me recently. It went a little something like this …
From love to loss: The story of an unsubscribe
I hadn’t heard from her in months. At least six of ‘em, but probably less than eleven. In any case, it’d been a long time. And when her name popped into my inbox I dropped everything and dove straight in.
It didn’t matter that she’d fallen off the radar and been MIA. I understood. I’m an introvert prone to hermiting it up when the big, beautiful world gets a little too much too.
I was ready to forgive, forget and return to bi-weekly co-working daydreams of her, me and our menagerie of pets.
Then I read her email.
And my heart dropped.
She wasn’t here to connect with me. She didn’t want to share a story, or tell me what was going on in her life. There were no juicy tips, no love-filled help.
All she wanted to do was …
Sell something to me.
I swept up my disappointment into a neat pile and brushed it into the corner of my mind.
“Maybe it’s a one-off.” I told myself.
After all, everybody has rent to pay and mouths to feed.
(I like to imagine I have two; it justifies my UberEATS bill.)
Sales emails are a part of building a successful business. Heck, I make a living writing sales emails. Who was I to judge?
I wasn’t ready to give up on her yet. I still believed in her.
The next day, another email arrived. Pitching the same offering. I skimmed the story, frowned and tried to be patient.
Later that evening, I remembered that the last time I’d heard from her, she’d been selling something too.
The next morning, she was in my inbox. Again. With the same offering – just a different, and more emotional, spin.
I deleted it.
This continued for a full month.
It was the most I’d heard from her in years. Yet, I felt more disconnected from her message than I’d ever been.
Finally, after her sales pitches became too much, I unsubscribed.
When I clicked that button, it felt like time, heavy with disappointment, paused.
In one month, I’d gone from being her biggest fan to having zero relationship at all with her.
So, what went wrong?
Why people unsubscribe from your mailing list
I’m the first to admit that I’m a sensitive, sassy soul. In the TLC stakes, I need three servings. So, for me, it’s super important that I feel seen, understood, appreciated and loved.
When the object of my fan-girl desires slid into my inbox day after day with increasingly urgent sales pitches, I felt like my only value was the potential dollar sign above my head.
Because even though I’d never met her, for me, we’d had a relationship.
Just like I have a relationship with every single one of my subscribers.
(I see you. I love you. You da bomb.)
Sure, you and I don’t get to have Netflix and pizza nights (my loss.) And sure, in some cases we’ve never even spoken (doubly my loss). But you and me? We’re in this together.
Just like I thought sales bomber and I were in it together.
Spoiler alert: We weren’t. At all.
Now, she’s not a bad person. At all. She probably had no clue what my emotional reaction would be. And I bet she got some sales outta those emails.
But still … our relationship ended.
The good news? Lessons, yo! Life is rich with them. And now I can share three tips for ensuring you don’t piss off your peeps … and draw their eyes to your ‘unsubscribe button’.
Three mailing list faux pas (that might just earn you an unsubscribe):
You only get in touch when you have something to sell.
It’s the like friend or relative that only calls you when they want something. We seeeeee you. We know what you’re doing. And sure, we might have patience for a little bit, but eventually we’re gonna get tired of your ‘me me me’ act.
You don’t care about building a relationship with your audience.
Remember that annoying co-worker that didn’t talk TO you – they talked AT you? You could have replaced yourself with a cardboard box you drew eyeballs on and the interaction would have remained exactly the same. That’s what it feels like when a business sends emails solely as a tick-box gotta-do-it marketing thing.
There’s. No. Soul.
You forget why you’re there.
It’s not about you, sailor. It’s about your audience. Just like this article isn’t really about me, it’s about – and for – you. Sure, I’ll share my stories to bring some colour and perspective into my writing. But at the end of the day, I’m here with one goal:
To make your life easier.
Now I’d love to tell you that if you avoid these faux pas, you’ll have an ever-growing, ever-happy mailing list that imagines themselves running into you in the real world.
But … these rules don’t apply to everyone.
Some people only sign up to your mailing list because they wanted that awesome freebie you offered.
Others are competitors checkin’ out your goods.
And others still thought you did something TOTALLY different to what you actually do and are now sitting there with a confused expression on their face.
(It’s okay. This happens a lot. I have a tip for fixing that too; I’ll cover that next week.)
Which means if you feel like you’re doing everything right and you STILL get an unsubscribe … don’t panic.
Some people just aren’t meant for you.
We’ll talk about it more next week, so until then, stay wild and keep tilting towards the light.