As a service-based entrepreneur, I’m sure you know that one of the most important business building strategies you should be doing in your business is building your list.
As it can often take several messages (or more) before someone decides to invest in your services, regular communication with your subscribers through your blog and newsletter so that they get to ‘know, like and trust’ you – is essential.
Seeing your list number increase on a daily basis is certainly exciting and rewarding, but receiving an email to let you know that someone has unsubscribed can be discouraging.
However, receiving notification that dozens of people have unsubscribed from your list after a recent mail out is much worse. In fact, for an ambitious entrepreneur who genuinely cares about being of great value and service to your prospects and clients it can be soul destroying – right?!
So, what happened?
Firstly, you need to realise that there will always be people who will unsubscribe just as soon as they’ve received your free report/offer. Expect that to happen. And if it does – it’s probably a good thing. Why? These people were just there to get whatever information they could, and as soon as they did – were off to find the next offer.
Let’s call them ‘list hoppers’. A list hopper will probably never invest in your services so by leaving your list, they’ve made room for someone who is interested in what you have to say and may very well become one of your best clients.
On the other hand, if there are more people leaving your list than there are new subscribers OR you have a large percentage of your list unsubscribing each time you email them – there are probably some things going on that you need to address.
Cloud Social recently surveyed their list and they found that there were four common reasons that prompted people to unsubscribe.
- Emails come too frequently
- Content has become boring or repetitive
- Overwhelmed by the total amount of email they receive
- Content in your emails was irrelevant from the start
[Source: Cloud Social – 2011]
Here are three of the most common reasons why I have unsubscribed from lists, as well as some suggestions to avoid falling into these traps so that you can prevent people unsubscribing from your list in droves:
1. The follow up information in their newsletter (and other emails) is irrelevant
When joining someone’s list it’s because I believe they have the expertise to help me overcome a problem. I’m interested in what they have to say so I provide them with my email address in exchange for a report (or other product) to learn more about them and the work they do.
However, in their follow up emails (or newsletter) the information they send me has no relevance to why I signed up with them in the first place.
Action Step: Review the content you are sending out to your list.
Is it relevant to your prospect’s needs and interests? Does it continue to add value and speak to the issue/problem that prompted them to sign up with you in the first place?
If not, it’s going to be difficult to build your profile and reputation as an authority in your field. Get focused and continue to provide relevant information that your subscribers are interested in.
2. They’re bombarding me with sales messages (or affiliate sales messages)
While I anticipate that I’ll get a few sales messages in subsequent newsletters, what I don’t expect is to receive ONLY sales messages. Or, promotional material about a product or service they believe: “I may just find helpful”, and which they represent as an affiliate.
When I gave them my email address I didn’t give them permission to bombard me with their products/services, or their affiliate products/services. I gave them my email so that I could continue to learn more about them, benefit from the information they continued to share, with the goal of one day hiring them, after I’ve gotten to know them a little better.
Action Step: Compare the amount of sales materials versus valuable content you are sending out to your list.
Is the information you are sending your list of value to them or are you constantly sending out sales and promotional material?
Use the 9 to 1 rule; being 90% of your email/newsletter is providing informative content your list can benefit from and 10% of the content can be used to promote your products/services.
3. They’re flooding me with emails
After many of my colleagues speaking highly of a particular person, I decided to sign up for his newsletter. What a mistake that was. He and his team sent me so many follow up emails on a daily basis that it flooded my inbox. Talk about email overwhelm.
Recommendations as to the frequency you should be sending out emails to your list can vary depending on who you speak to. Some people send out emails on a daily basis; others twice a week.
Personally, I believe that receiving an email (or more) each day is too much or even twice per week is just too much. I prefer to receive one email per week with some hints and tips to help me in my business.
Action Step: Count the amount of times you are contacting your list.
Are you flooding your list with emails? If so, try cutting back on the frequency to once per week and see if that makes a difference.
Remember, when it comes to building your list think quality, not quantity. While it is nice to think you have thousands of people on your list, it’s pointless if the majority of people have no interest in the information you share.
Aim to attract and build your list with people who are interested in what you have to say and continue to provide them with useful, informative content so that they begin to know, like and trust you as an authority in your field. They’ll be far more likely to hire and recommend you if you do.
And, above all make sure that the information you send your list is relevant, informative and continues to showcase your knowledge and expertise.
What about you? Have you recently unsubscribed from a list? What was the reason? Please share – it’s always great to hear from you!
Till next time, stay inspired!
Hi Annemarie, I like the title of this post. I’m sure a lot of bloggers are faced with this issue and you’ve provided some excellent ways to resolve the issue. Thanks.
Hi Ileane, glad you found it helpful. One of the most important things for all of us to remember is that it is NOT personal. If you are providing information that you know is important for your readers to be aware of, your clients are succeeding with this information etc – then keep doing what you’re doing. Your ideal client will find you and LOVE what you write. An important reminder for us all.
Thank you for providing the statistics from Cloud Social, and for describing your experience related to email lists.
Email marketing is something I’ve worked with for years, but with all things – evolution occurs, and as technology takes us to overload there are insights to listen to.
Yes – people just unsubscribe. That’s the way it is. But when many are unsubscribing that is indeed the cue to find out why.
My unsubscribe rates were considered of the norm. But I actually got bored with what I was sending out. I asked, “What might my subscribers be thinking?” And, “Will this path serve my audience for the long-term?”
So, I took a “summer vacation” with my Ezine to look around, see what others were doing, find out how my information and presentation compared, and re-evaluate what I might include in upcoming Ezines.
Not a tactic I’d ordinarily recommend (vacation), but I think in the long run, my subscribers will be happy with changes I make, and I may attract a greater future audience.
Frequency – Ohhhhh – I’ve experienced just that. Emails everyday…sometimes more – YIKES! My opinion is that any more than once per week is too much.
Thanks for sharing your strategies on revitalizing your Ezine. This is very important for sure. Once you have a list of core topics that fits in with the services/products you offer clients, and you continue to deliver this information in a concise and interesting approach, you’ll continue to attract your ideal client. And, for those who decide it’s not for them – bless them, and send them on their way. They’ve just made room to your ideal client!
I agree totally about frequency. More than weekly is too much.
Thanks for addressing a hot topic. It’s such a fine line knowing what is the right number of emails to send to your subscriber list. I do find that valuable content keeps me coming back and sometime will make me turn the other way even if they are sending a significant amount of emails. People are becoming more selective about giving out their email addresses however I also know that when I do give mine out I’m allowing the marketing process to occur. At the time it no longer feels valuable to me or there is no substance and only hard core product marketing occurring I unsubscribe.
I’ve learned how to strike a balance I feel comfortable with and am happy that my unsubscribe rate is really low.
Hi Jeannie, my pleasure. It’s something that I’ve been watching for a while now. As you say, some people just don’t realize how important it is to continue sharing information and building relationships. Of course as a business it’s important to continue marketing and generating an income, however there is a fine line. It’s important to know what that fine line is and to make sure we don’t step over it. When we do – people will soon unsubscribe.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts here Jeannie – much appreciated!
This can be very scary for anyone because if so many people are unsubscribing it means that there is something that you are doing wrong. Sending mails once in a while is not bad but there are some people who keep on sending mails full of things you have read time and time again. This becomes irritating at some point and that is why majority of people unsubscribe from lists.