The subscribe/unsubscribe rookie marketing rollercoaster

About oh, 8–10 million emails ago, I was a total email marketing rookie.

I had a tiny little list — just a few hundred subscribers. And it felt like I had to slave away for hours to earn each and every one.

The way I had my email software set up, I’d get an email every time someone subscribed or unsubscribed from my list.

What a sickening roller coaster that was.

Every day, I’d wait with bated breath… Hoping to see 2–3 more signups trickle in. And I’d do a little happy dance every time I saw someone opt in. “Yay, they love me! I matter!”

Then I’d send out my weekly email… And my euphoria would would crash to despair as the unsubscribes piled up in my inbox.

“They hate me. What do I even bother?”

It’s pretty funny to me now, although it was anything but at the time.

Here’s what I discovered over time:

Every time you send an email, people will unsubscribe. Period.

You could send an email giving away $100 bills to anyone who replied, and you’d probably find that the same 0.5% to 1% of your list would still opt out.

Your subscribers leave for all kinds of reasons — and it’s rarely because they hate you.

Maybe they lost interest in your topic. Maybe they already bought from you and don’t want to get the emails anymore. Or maybe they’re just feeling overwhelmed with their inbox and looking to cut back on the emails they’re getting.

So now, when people ask me what to do about their unsubscribes, I say: “Ignore ‘em.”

Focus on adding new subscribers and leveling up your email writing chops.

And for crying out loud, if you are checking your notifications every time someone unsubscribes from your list, STOP IT.

You’re just making yourself sick and depressed for no good reason.

But how can you tell if your unsubscribes are *too* high? Here’s a simple rule of thumb you can use.

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