Five Ways to Love Your Unsubscribes


I went through my email today deleting all of the names of my cold subscribers. I’d already run a scrub sequence to re-engage them so here I was left with those who truly needed to be let go. Not gonna lie, it was slightly painful.

As I continue to create more content, I’m putting more stuff out there more regularly to my email list. Considering I used to engage with my subscribers once or twice a year, upping the frequency is a good thing. But for every email I send, I get at least one unsubscribe, sometimes several. Since I have a pretty tiny list, every single unsubscribe has an impact — but not on my emotions or sense of self-worth. I’ve come to be okay with those with those unsubscribes, knowing they’re just part of the landscape of email marketing. So how can you learn to love your unsubscribes, too? Let me count the ways…

1. Don’t take it personally.

I know it can be hard not to feel that slight gut punch, especially if you spent time crafting the email or creating the content you’re emailing your list about. But an unsubscribe is not a personal rejection. You have no idea why they no longer want to be on your list. You can make up all kinds of stories in your head about why, but none of them are true. I mean how could you really know? So quit wasting your time dwelling.

2. Turn off any unsubscribe notifications.

Frankly, I’m not sure why email service providers even offer this. If an unsubscribe bugs you, then why would you willingly let yourself know about it right when you’re in the middle of an important call or writing a new article or working on a client project? In the big scheme of things, those unsubscribes don’t really matter, so don’t distract yourself.

3. Realize that unsubscribes make for higher open rates and higher click-through rates.

For real! Your unsubscribes get you to a more refined list full of people who really do want to hear from you and are engaging with your content. If you’re sending stuff out to a list half full of people who aren’t, that just pulls your numbers down. A dirty list also increases your risk of ending up in the Promotions folder which is only slightly better than the Spam one.

4. Give yourself a giant pat on the back for having sent that email in the first place.

Do you know how many people don’t ever communicate with the folks on their email list? How many lists lay dormant because the list owner doesn’t have the guts or the time to send anything out? So congratulate yourself for doing what most people don’t or won’t. It’s scary to put yourself out there. It’s a little unnerving knowing someone (or more than one) might get that email and say ‘nope, I don’t want to hear from you anymore.’ But go back to point number one — it’s not personal. It’s always about them. This is rule numero uno for great marketing in general.

5. When you’re checking the reports and you see the unsubscribe(s), send a little love note.

I mean an energetic one. (For gosh sakes, PLEASE do not send a real note—they specifically said they don’t want that!) I know it sounds cheesy but wish them well. If you believe in karma and Law of Attraction and all of that, then know you’re cosmically making room for lots of new subscribers in your life.

Ask anyone taking their email marketing seriously, and they’ll tell you getting regular unsubscribes is a normal part of the game. And regular list scrubs are simply good hygiene. When you can learn to not only accept those lovely little cancellations but stay within a place of good vibes about them, you’ll keep your energy up for everyone else who’s still there loving hearing from you.

Lisa Mullis