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Why Unsubscribes Can Be a Good Thing

When was the last time you subscribed to an email list?

Do you remember why?

Chances are, the reason why you subscribed to that email list wasn’t the same reason why you subscribed to an email list several times ago. There are many reasons why people sign up for an email list. Depending on the reason, it could mean that you might never make a profit from certain subscribers.

So when some of those people unsubscribe, it’s not a bad thing.

I’ve listed the most common reasons why people subscribe to an email list below:

→ The person believes you or your company can help her/him solve her/his problem

→ The person wants the promised discount that’s mentioned on the form copy

→ The reader wants to find out your strategy because:

a) S/he is a competitor

b) S/he is doing research on your company to prepare for an interview

→ The reader is loyal to a friend/family member/colleague who asked her/him to sign up

→ The reader felt guilty in not signing up because the sign-up form was at a live event

→ The reader was automatically signed up because:

a) S/he bought a partner product from an email list that s/he is already signed up for

b) S/he attended an online event co-hosted by a partner of an email list that s/he is already signed up for

c) S/he downloaded material endorsed through an email list that s/he is already signed up for

→ The person wants to stay updated on matters that concern their interests

Do you really want all of those people on your list, giving you inaccurate data about your email marketing results?

If you’re interested in having high deliverability scores, then I’m guessing your answer is “no”. Because as fewer people open your emails over time, your deliverability gets worse.

Also, do you really want to PAY for more subscribers who might potentially never get you any profit?

You want the very best. You want the people who aren’t in it just for the coupon. You want people who get excited to see your name or your company’s name in their inbox.

You want people who signed up for your email list because:

- They believe YOU are the one who can solve their problem(s)

- The things you email them matter to them, even if it takes them longer than usual to read

- Your company values and products match their values, their worldview, their self-image, and their long-term goals

So when someone unsubscribes for any other reason, consider yourself lucky. Your tribe just got closer.

Of course, there are times when people unsubscribe from your email list even if they first subscribed for a good reason.

If one of those people unsubscribes, it’s either because:

A) Your content is no longer relevant or helpful to her/him because s/he has changed

B) Your content is no longer relevant or helpful to her/him because your content has changed

If it’s A, obviously there’s nothing you can do and it doesn’t mean that you’re doing terribly at email marketing. It just means that the person has moved on, their problems have become different, and there’s a better way to solve their problems.

If you think it might be B, then that’s something you can definitely change and improve upon. That requires more enticing subject lines, more specific subject lines, and even a survey to your list so that you can find out what your audience is interested in reading.

There are also times when you’ll notice subscribers not having opened emails for 6+ months in a row. That’s also bad for deliverability, therefore you don’t really want those people on your list.

In fact, you should even try to nudge them off your list with a reactivation email at the 6-month mark. If they don’t open it, consider unsubscribing them yourself.

How much longer are you going to pay for dead weight?

People like this tend to stay on an email list because:

a) They’re too lazy to unsubscribe

b) They get too many emails that they don’t have the time to unsubscribe

c) Your email goes to spam and they don’t see it anyway

d) They think that at some point they’re going to need your expertise and by staying subscribed, they are...

- Unconsciously keeping your company in their back pocket in case they need the content in those emails

- Trying to prove to themselves that the content in your emails contributes to their worldview, values, expertise, self-image, etc.

Here’s an example of a reactivation email you can use:

Subject line: You wanna stay subscribed? Click here

Hey <First Name>,

I was going through our email records and it looks like you haven’t opened a single one for the last 6 months.

If you’re still interested in learning about x, y, and z then click here and we’ll keep you subscribed.

If you’re no longer interested in getting benefit 1, 2, and 3 you can unsubscribe here.

<Sign off>

Obviously, the email will sound different depending on your company’s brand but that email should give you the freedom to get rid of groups a, b, and c if they don’t unsubscribe themselves. Group d is the most likely to open the email and take action.

There are also times when people will read all your emails, they’ll never engage with them, they want your products, but they just don’t have the money to invest in them right now. It doesn’t mean they’re dead weight. In fact, they might be some of the most profitable subscribers you’ve got on your list. They can see how valuable your products are, they’re important to them, and they’re ready to buy.

But they’re not ready to invest...Yet.

Those are the people you want. Because they subscribed for all the right reasons.

You just have to wait a bit.

The people who unsubscribed though? Why waste tears on people who never had the potential to make your company more profitable?

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