Why Newsletter Unsubscribes Are GOOD News!

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Your hands are shaking. There are butterflies in the pit of your stomach. Should you send this email promotion? Is it too bold? Will it turn people off? What if readers – gasp – unsubscribe?

But it needs to be done, so you hold your breath and click the Send button. Then hold your breath some more.

A few hours pass and the world doesn’t come screeching to a halt. You start to relax a bit. Then – horror of horrors – a few unsubscribes trickle in. You may even get a nasty note from someone who just doesn’t “get” you. And that stings. A LOT.

It happened to me this week. I sent a bold, risky email with the subject line “Stop ignoring me!” -which was not actually about me feeling ignored but about how we as marketers often get our marketing messages ignored, and how to stop it. There were a handful of unsubscribes, as to be expected with any email you send out. Someone’s having a bad day and unsubscribes in a “take that!” motion ‘cuz she can’t take out her frustrations where she really wants to. Another person is no longer in need of your teachings. Yet another is just plain overwhelmed with the 100s of emails flooding their inbox each day. There are a million reasons why people leave your list. So I get the unsubscribes, and while each one still saddens me at the thought that there’s one less person I’ll be able to reach with my trainings, I respect each unsubscribe and (try to) take it in stride.

But then I got the email. One reader took the time to send me a rather scathing email (at least in my mind….likely it was rather tame :)) declaring that she had unsubscribed from my newsletter list, and even accusing me of sounding too desperate for her tastes.

My knee-jerk reaction?

At first, I gotta admit, I was devastated. My heart sank to somewhere near my knees. To think that someone would think such poor thoughts of me was horrifying (I’m one of those people-pleasers by nature, and hate the thought that not everyone in the world loves me :)), especially the idea that she would think I was really chastising her for “ignoring me” (which, if you read the email, you’d know that’s not where I was going – but I digress). Even worse was the thought that I’d completely missed the mark with that reader, and that now she was gone for good.

But then I thought about it some more.

And you know what I realized? That her leaving, however painful, was best for both of us.

Because for whatever reason, she wasn’t my ideal client, so even if she had decided to work with me at some point, or if she had taken one of my workshops, we likely would have both been miserable. We never would have “meshed” in the way you do with the people you love to work with. You know, those clients who you adore so much that you’d wanna hang out with them even if you weren’t engaged in a working relationship (and for whom the feeling’s mutual).

I realized then that I was okay with this reader leaving, because in doing so she opened the door for me to really, truly communicate with the people who do “get” me. Without my constant concern about ticking off those who don’t.

Because when you realize who you are, and who you click with most, then you can stop hiding in fear and stand boldly in your marketing. Knowing that you’re gonna tick some people off. You’re gonna get unsubscribes. You may even get a nasty email or two.

And you know what?

You should welcome those unsubscribes and disparaging emails as a sign that you’re on the right path. Because if you aren’t ticking some people off, you’re holding back. As journalist and Pulitzer Prize winner Herbert Bayard Swope one said, “I can’t give you a sure-fire formula for success, but I can give you a formula for failure: try to please everybody all the time.”

It’s not gonna happen. No matter what you do, you’re likely to turn someone off. Even if you try to play the “safe route,” you’re going to end up either irritating your ideal peeps by a lack of backbone or skating by them completely unnoticed (and THAT ain’t good!).

If you can hold your head high and share your message, knowing that it’s all in the name of speaking your truth, then it’s all good. Because the people who do resonate with your message are gonna be shouting their own “Hallelujah!” from the rooftops, and loving you all the more. And that’s a beautiful thing.

Tammi Metzler, founder of The Write Associate, is a Marketing Copy Strategist who helps solo entrepreneurs worldwide get more clients with their online marketing efforts. Interested email marketers can claim a complimentary copy of her “Plug-and-Publish Email Autoresponders that SELL Your Products and Services” report, designed to help you immediately form a strong, lasting connection with your subscribers (to keep ’em around for the long haul), encourage them to invest in your products and services to solve their pains and reach their goals, and establish yourself as the expert who can help them live the life they dream of living. Click here to grab your complimentary copy now!


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