4 Reasons Why Email Unsubscribers Are A Good Thing!

Serious bloggers are always working hard towards building their email list.  The aim is for lists to grow and become stronger over time, and the thought of having unsubscibers is not a great one.

I love this quote by Derek Halpern at Social Triggers on why you should build an email list.  It’s simple but to the point!

If you’re not building an email list, you’re making a HUGE mistake.

Why?  It is your email list that allows you to build a connection with your readers and that connection allows your business to grow.

Email Unsubscribers(Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

When I first started blogging I would love seeing the subscriber counter increase but almost feel  a sense of dread when someone unsubscribed from my list.

All sorts of questions would run through my head, such as:

  • Why don’t they like me?
  • Am I spamming them?
  • Is my content provision too much?
  • Am I not meeting their needs?  How am I going to change that?

Do you know what the result of this was?

It sounds silly of me to say now, but I actually stopped emailing!  I was so worried about having people unsubscribe that I pretty much gave them no reason to.

My subscribers never heard from me, so they basically forgot about me!  You don’t bother unsubscribing from someone you have forgotten about do you!

The result was that I was continuing to build my subscriber list and NO ONE was unsubscribing.  WIN!

Well….not quite!

What is the point of having a subscriber list if you are not utilizing it.  How many times have you heard that there is money to be made in your list?  You are not going to make any money with a list you are not connecting with!

So, I finally got my but back into gear and started up a weekly newsletter.  You know what happened?  I started to see those dreaded unsubscribes again….Eeek!!!

But in truth, those unsubscribers are not such a bad thing, and now they almost give me a little smile!

No, I have not lost the plot, let me explain why!

1. Your list is being utilized

Whilst it was great not to see any unsubscribers for a number of months, the reality was that I was not using my list!

You seriously have to ask yourself what is the point of having a list that you are not going to use.  Is there any?

The moment my list was being used, there were some people on that list that decided they did not want to be part of it.  You know what?  That’s totally ok!

The fact that they took the time to unsubscribe meant that they actually received an email from me.  This is great because it means that my presence is finally getting out to those on my list.

2. Your emails are being read

Unsubscribers of email(Image courtesy of Michelle Meiklejohn at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

To unsubscribe to a list, you have to actually have read it, or at least look at it.  This means that other subscribers (who are not unsubscribing) are also reading it!

This is GOOD NEWS!

Wouldn’t you rather have someone unsubscribe but several more click through to your site?

Or would you prefer to keep that subscriber who clearly doesn’t want to be there, but then miss out on the opportunity of those other readers heading to your site?

It’s a bit of a no brainer really.

3. Your headline is working

For people to unsubscribe from your list, means that they have had to click to open your email!

Something in your headline made them click through.  It could have just as easily been deleted!

There must have been something that sparked an interest in your headline (even if only briefly), for that person to decide to read the content.

OK, so when they got to the content, they decided it wasn’t for them, but hey….you won them over with the headline at least!  Let’s focus on the positives here!!

The chances are that more people will have also opened the email, and they will have not unsubscribed from you.

4. You are building a stronger list

It is one thing to build up numbers on an email list, but it is another to build a strong email list.  Is there any point in having numbers if the majority of those subscribers really don’t care for your content?

I have realized that I would much rather have 100 subscribers who engage, purchase goods and really care about what I can provide them than 2,000 subscribers who really couldn’t give a toss!

The more defined that my list becomes, the more I know that my list is getting stronger and stronger.  I am seeing open rates and click rates increasing which helps me know that I am on the right track.

If I know that I have a list that on the whole likes my content, I can see where improvements need to be made.  On those occasions that subscribers are not opening or click through I know I need to adjust things.  This is clearly showing me that the content or the headline was not appropriate.  How can you make those decisions if you don’t know what your list wants?

In Summary

It is definitely important to build an email list, and of course we want people to stay on that list.  What’s the point of growing a list if people just unsubscribe all the time.

However, instead of getting upset or stop emailing (like I did), focus instead on the positives of those unsubscribers and how you can build a stronger and more engaged community as a result of it.

Building an email list doesn’t have to be expensive and there are a number of providers that charge a relatively low cost for managing your list.  There are also providers, such as the learn how to blog team that allow you to build and operate a list for free.

Whatever method you choose, the key is to start building that list as soon as possible, and keep your attitude positive, even when those dreaded unsubscribers start to appear!!

Now it’s your turn

What do you normally think when you see unsubscribers from your list? 

Does it worry you, or does it encourage you to keep going?

Have you ever made the same mistake and stopped emailing for fear of loosing your subscribers?

Please share your thoughts with us below.


Written by

Catherine Holt is the founder of Blogging Tips 101. She has been an internet marketer since 2012. Connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, Google and Pinterest.

13 Responses to “4 Reasons Why Email Unsubscribers Are A Good Thing!”

written by Steven J Wilson On 29 August 2014 Reply

Hey Catherine,

Interesting post indeed!

We focus or should be putting more focus in our list. For the most part it’s about getting more subscribers and keeping this.

This is a fresh look on a widely discussed topic for sure but it makes complete sense. Why spend a fraction of your money sending post to this subscriber who is not interested anyway.

You mentioned a key word when you used the word ‘Positive’! We have to keep focused on the things that will help use succeed. That is easier said than done for sure but it’s whats most important when we weigh out all the possibilities.

I enjoyed it Catherine. Take care…

written by Catherine Holt On 29 August 2014 Reply

Thought I would do something a bit different Steven :-)

Yes absolutely we want to keep our list. But at the end of the day we can never please everyone 100% of the time. The important thing is recognising this, not getting all upset about it and finding the positives in it. Building a STRONG list is the most important thing, not just numbers for the sake of it. Numbers wont do you any good, but a strong list will work wonders for you.

I guess it all depends on how you look at things sometimes!

Thanks for leaving your thoughts with us Steven. Have an awesome weekend :-)

written by Tim Bonner On 30 August 2014 Reply

My primary goal on my blog currently is list building Catherine.

I used to dread seeing anyone unsubscribe, particularly if it was someone who you knew through blogging. I still feel a little sad when I see someone unsubscribe but you’re absolutely right that we shouldn’t take it to heart.

Some people sign up just to get the freebie, whilst others are there for the long haul. Those are the people you want to stick around and get to know better.

Every few weeks if a group of people haven’t opened an email, I send them a separate broadcast and ask them if they still want to remain on my list. If they at least open the email, I tend to keep them on the list but if there’s no interaction I just unsubscribe them. No point in paying for people who don’t interact with emails!

written by Catherine Holt On 30 August 2014 Reply

That’s a great idea about sending a broadcast to those subscribers you havn’t heard from in a while. Like you say, if they don’t want to be on the list or have any interest in receiving your mails…what is the point in paying to have them on your list!

Whilst building a list should be a priority, it is important to make sure that list is strong. It’s good to have a list of people who will engage with you and have an interest in what you say, rather than those that are just ignoring you.

Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts with us :-)

written by Brittany Bullen On 31 August 2014 Reply


I never thought about it that way but you’re absolutely right. I hate when I see that people unsubscribe too, but it happens to everybody and once you remove the fear, you stand to benefit quite a bit more.

I really do intend to do a more involved newsletter, I have to confess my email subscribers get an rss-based campaign, I don’t do individual emails because I just don’t have time. Someday I will… maybe. I totally get how important it is, but there are only so many hours in a day =)

Glad to hear your list is growing!

written by Catherine Holt On 31 August 2014 Reply

It can be a dread of bloggers can’t it Brittany….that notification that the hard earned subscriber has unsubscribed. Whilst we all want to build large lists, you will never be able to keep all your subscribers and panicking over it doesn’t solve any purpose. Instead however we want to build a strong and engaged list, one that will be of benefit to the site.

If we take a step back and look at what is going on with our lists, we can certainly learn a thing or too.

Your thoughts are appreciated here Brittany :-)

written by Marc On 1 September 2014 Reply

Hi Catherine,
It’s funny to see this post because just earlier this week I added the same topic to my list of posts to write. I felt the way way as you when I first started with email marketing, and I think most people probably do. I still wouldn’t say that I enjoy seeing people unsubscribe, but know I just look at it as a sign that it was not a good fit between my list and that person, and if it’s not a good fit it doesn’t benefit either of us.

written by Catherine Holt On 1 September 2014 Reply

Great minds think alike Marc :-)

I agree, I don’t exactly jump for joy when I see someone has unsubscribed, but I no longer become upset by it. There are many reasons why someone would unsubscribe and it doesn’t have to be taken personally. If you can move past that personal barrier, then you will be able to look at a lot of positives and learn a lot more.

Thanks for your comment today and I look forward to reading your take on the matter at a later date :-)

[…] No blogger likes to see email unsubscribers, but this can actually be a good thing! These 3 reasons will help you look different at your unubscribers.  […]

written by Ryan Biddulph On 1 September 2014 Reply

Hi Catherine,

I love the power of contrast and I love posts like this. If everybody loves what you’re saying, you have a list of like 10 people. Once that number grows, contrast will kick in. This means that some’ll like your emails, and some won’t.

Folks are either matches or non matches. No big deal.

I recall speaking to a successful internet marketer when I was visiting Thailand. He noted how he sometimes worried over 2 or 3 unsubs, and truthfully, I used to do the same. After much soul searching and acceptance of the fact that some people would be matches and some, non-matches, I was able to let go the worry over people who didn’t want to receive my updates.

As you said, your list grows stronger when non-matches release you. Let them go, prosper.

Thanks Catherine. Tweeting in a bit.


written by Catherine Holt On 1 September 2014 Reply

That’s a great way of describing it Ryan. If someone is not a match for your blog, then that’s fine. Not everyone will be, and trying to kid yourself that they are will just send you crazy. It is not necessarily a reflection on you or your blog at all…rather it simply suggests that what you have to offer is not something that they are looking for. No biggie!!

Spending your efforts on building a stronger list is far more worthwhile than worrying about the odd unsubscriber. Use time wisely and to the advantage of your site and business.

Thanks Ryan for sharing and :-)

written by Kevin Duncan On 2 September 2014 Reply

Hi Catherine,

Very nice post. Knock on wood, but I’ve been fortunate thus far in that I’ve had very few unsubscribes. (Of course, as I’m writing this, I probably just lost 10!)

These are excellent points to keep in mind, though. An unsubscribe just means your list has become stronger. True, true.

written by Catherine Holt On 3 September 2014 Reply

Let’s hope you didn’t loose that 10 Kevin!!!! The obvious goal should be to build the list and have the numbers increase. We have heard so many times, that in business, the money is in the list!! However, we want to make sure that list is strong and working for us. If we loose a few subscribers along the way, then so be it!

Glad you enjoyed the post Kevin…have an awesome week :-)

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