July 10, 2011
Don't let list unsubscribes break your heart
I remember a time when it would break my heart to see people unsubscribe from my mailing list. I totally took it personal because I just knew they didn't like me anymore. Don't let me actually know the leaving subscriber! That was 100 times more personal and totally crushing.
It WAS personal back then. I lamented over their reasons for leaving: Didn't they like me anymore? Did I somehow offend them? I beat myself up something fierce.
Then, I started to understand a few of the reasons why most people unsubscribe from any list:
- Email overload Most people are inundated with email and don't always have or make the time to read every piece of mail in their inbox. I actually take the emails that I know are sent to me personally and read those first. Often times, unless the subject line is compelling, I might not even open the mail. It just depends on what I need at the time.
- Email frequency Too many emails in a short space of time can feel overwhelming if your subscriber isn't in the market for whatever you offer. It triples or even doubles the overload! It can feel like you're trying to force feed your information to an unwilling participant. That's especially true if your information doesn't offer value to the reader.
- Boring and repetitive content Saying the same thing over and over again can get tiresome to your reader. If you're not uniquely engaging in your message, you won't hold your subscriber's attention for very long - let alone foster the desire to remain on your list.
Here are a few considerations that may help:
- The departing subscriber may not be your ideal client. People are naturally curious and are often drawn to what's happening in the moment. One person on my list actually told me they were intrigued by my information when they joined my list. I discovered she was not my ideal client at all. She was simply curious.
- Your language doesn't resonate with your reader. Like moths to a flame, we're inherently attracted to language we understand - that speaks to us. This quote by Dr. Maya Angelou says it all:
“I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
- Your reader doesn't understand the value of your message. This is when you must put on your marketing hat. The source of value for your reader is pain. Yes, it's true that you want inspire, encourage, create connection and more in your writing. As an information marketer, you're also helping your reader acknowledge what's uncertain, uncomfortable and unsure — the sources of fear and the unknown. You want your information to alleviate as much of that discomfort as possible. Remember, you ARE the expert that can truly help!
It can be tough not to take it personal when a seemingly loyal reader unsubscribes from your list. If this is case for you, I invite you to read the book The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom, A Toltec Wisdom Bookby Don Miguel Ruiz. The second agreement is: Don't take anything personal.
"Nothing other people do is because of you. It is because of themselves. All people live in their own dream, in their own mind; they are in a completely different world from the one we live in. When we take something personally, we make the assumption that they know what is in our world, and we try to impose our world on their world."
Acknowledge the person's view of world. When you're in sync, they'll return with curiosity, intrigue and readiness to learn from you as the expert you are.
Now, say goodbye to your breaking heart for good!