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  • Writer's pictureMeghan Carr

3 surprising ways unsubscribes help your business.

Updated: Jan 16, 2023

If you want to save money, increase deliverability and improve your content - then this article is for you…


Real statements from real conversations I've had recently:

Email marketing is so cringe....

I don't want to spam my customers.

And my favourite.

But what if they get annoyed and unsubscribe?

My resounding answer: show them that door!

[I know, I know — it feels like a punch in the gut to lose subscribers you worked so darn hard to gain in the first place!]

But think of it like this: they were here for a good time — not a long time.

In fact, make that UNSUBSCRIBE button hard to resist.

Because in my experience, if someone unsubscribes, they were NEVER EVER going to buy from you in the first place. #sorrynotsorry

People who are even remotely thinking of buying don’t unsubscribe, they wait to be convinced.

Now, back to those unsubscribed.

After you’ve dusted yourself off and tidied up from you’re pity party — you can send them a thank you note.

Because they just saved you some cash.

Here are the 3 reasons why losing subscribers isn’t so bad!

Lesson 1:

More subscribers = more expensive

On some email-sending software, the payments are tiered. This means the more subscribers you have, the more you pay.

Now before you fall asleep or shout, “they might buy someday,” hear me out… Imagine you’ve got 5000 subscribers on your list, and 1000 of those don’t even open the emails you send.

Most likely, they go straight to junk.

And hey, it’s not that they have a vendetta against you — they simply don’t need your product right now or maybe ever again…

Regardless they will never see you’re email, and ISPs (internet service providers) are starting to think you [yes you] don’t have anything interesting to say.

(This is bad news for your sendibility score, but more on that in lesson 2.)

Tough pill to swallow, am I right?

Now, imagine all those 1000 people feel super inspired to unsubscribe at the same moment.

Why? We’ll never know, but we’re surprisingly okay with it. You’ve just saved yourself $bucks!

BECAUSE they were removed from your total subscriber count, those non-buying list loiterers have potentially dropped you down a payment tier and thus won’t be a drain on your financials any longer.

Another great method (because all those junky subscribers aren’t actually going to have a mass exodus!) is asking them to unsubscribe with a really clear CTA.

Example below:

Subject line: It might be time to say goodbye.

Body: No longer want to hear from us? Unsubscribe here

Now that your list is primed with people who actually open your emails… ISPs are taking notice!

Lesson 2:

Active Subscribers = More Opened Emails

Ahhh… your list has never looked so good.

But, in order for it to stay that way, you’ve got to keep your deliverability rate up. Say what now?

In essence, you need to increase the likelihood of subscribers receiving and opening your emails…

Now, there are lots of ways to improve your chances (like too many to mention and a killer idea for my next blog post…); however, I want to touch on how active subscribers help your emails end up in the inbox.

Yes, not all emails go where they should…

That’s because too many inactive subscribers can cause your email to rank lower in the inbox and potentially end up in the promotions tab or [gasp] spam folder. [Think people who delete your emails right away, send them to junk, never open them etc.]

Generally, this information is decided by ISPs and based on how your previous campaigns have performed…

(I know, it’s absolutely creepy how much information there is being conveyed behind the scenes!)

If you send too many emails that don’t get opened.

Poor score.

Why? Because your low open rates are a clear signal to ISPs (internet service providers) that your recipients are not engaged with you, your brand, or your content.

They want to help users put out the trash, so to speak.

And it gets worse.

This situation can snowball. Your poor open rates lead to fewer emails being received and even fewer people opening them, and so on. Further impacting your score…

That’s a lot of non-active subscribers!

The good news, though.

If you are writing insanely magnetic subject lines, then your active subscribers are opening and making your list look like a chip to a seagull.

Lesson #3:

Studying Unsubscribes = Increase Sales.

Have you ever heard the expression:

When you speak to everyone, you speak to no one.

It’s pretty common in marketing.

Sometimes brands are so afraid to “not include” everyone that their copy comes across as bland and generic.

And no one wants to hang out with the dude who has the personality equivalent of an AI cyborg…

I bet you’re now wondering what this has to do with unsubscribes… Well, listen here.

Now that you’ve said goodbye to absent subscribers and your audience is super-engaged, you can begin to learn a thing or two from them.

Learn what makes them tick.

Or what doesn’t in this case.

In this scenario, your list is crazy healthy, so let’s look at the unsubscribes that are happening after each campaign.

Yes, you can do that by studying your past campaign analytics.

Obviously, you shouldn’t fret over a few unsubscribed.

But, if you notice you are getting more than, say, a normal rate or above 0.05% — you should be concerned.

All those remaining subscribers liked being on your list until now… So what changed?

Did you: ambush them with a sales-y post after being MIA for 3 months?

Did you: hammer a promotion that, frankly, wasn’t that great to begin with?

Did you: send a controversial newsletter? Spammy? Off brand? Poorly worded? Rushed? Boring? Or worst of all, not mobile-friendly?

Hey, it happens.

Just monitor and learn from your mistakes.

Because copywriting is all about trial and error.

So go deep dive into your last campaign.

Hell, even get a friend to read over it who can see it with fresh eyes.

Most importantly, now that you have your core database in good health, find out what gets those loyal fans excited, and use that info to give the people what they want!


Looking to cleanse your list? Comment below for some moral support ;)


Hi, I'm Meg! Freelance copywriter and email marketing strategist based in Adelaide, South Australia.

I like to write about all things wine, health and wellness. My inbox is now open to clients looking to level up their email marketing in Summer/Autumn 2023 ✨

Please comment for details...

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