What Do You Do When Someone Unsubscribes?

What Do You Do When Someone Unsubscribes?Getting the first email subscriber on your mailing list is exciting. Nurturing it to grow to 10 and beyond is like being a green-fingered gardener.

You spend so much time focusing on getting the opt-in form right, putting out the right message, and adding value to your readers then one day you get someone who unsubscribes.

The first reaction is disappointment but when it happens again you start to worry that you’re doing something wrong.

As easy as it sounds, the trick is not to panic. People unsubscribe for lots of reasons.

It’s much the same as when people no longer follow you on Twitter.

Why Do People Unsubscribe?

They’ve lost interest

It seemed like a great idea to subscribe at the time but since then they’ve not read any of your emails and decide to look elsewhere.

They don’t remember you

You don’t send emails very often and people forget they subscribed to your list.

They don’t like what you send

If you send endless streams of emails promoting products and don’t give your subscribers any value, they’re going to unsubscribe faster than lightning.

Thinking about it though, I’m sure you’ve unsubscribed from a mailing list before. There are many reasons why people will no longer want to be on your mailing list, so don’t take it personally.

The key thing is that you continue to engage with your subscribers and grow your list because it’s inevitable that some people are going to unsubscribe.

What Can You Do To Avoid Unsubscribes?

There’s no perfect answer to that question. I’ve tried a number of things and continue to test and tweak things as I go.

Here are some of the things you need to think about for your email marketing strategy.


It does all depend on the people on your mailing list and what your niche is as to how often it’s appropriate to send an email.

Emailing people several times a day though is more than likely going to annoy them and get you labelled as a spammer.

Equally though, if you leave it for weeks or months between emails, people will have forgotten who you are and your unsubscribes will increase.

Personally I think that emailing two to three times a week is fine. Most of the time I only email twice a week; once with a blog update and once with hints and tips.

How often do you email your subscribers?


If you told people they’d get email updates each time you publish a post to your blog or they’d receive a weekly newsletter then that’s what you need to give them.

It’s important that you provide, at the very least, what you said you were going to when people signed up to your list.

Be careful that you also send emails relevant to your niche. Sending someone emails that aren’t relevant to what they signed up for would definitely be flagged as spam!

What did you agree to send your subscribers when they signed up?


Do you send out plain text emails to your subscribers? How effective are they for retaining subscribers?

If they’re not then you might want to try adding your logo to your emails and sending in html format.

I use the same header for the emails I send out as I do for my blog.

That way people know it’s from me and get used to seeing my emails in their inbox.

Over To You

What do you think about getting unsubscribes? How do try to keep your subscribers happy? Do you have a plan of action for the emails you send out to your list?

Please let me know in the comments below and as always please share this on your favourite social network!

Image courtesy of Feelart / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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42 Comments on "What Do You Do When Someone Unsubscribes?"

1 year 8 months ago

Hi Tim,

I’m not much into building email lists, but sending away email updates to my subscribers :) That’s what I promised and no more than that.

Usually I’m not fond of emails. I prefer social networks over email newsletters. Anyway, before I spend more of my time with social networks, I used to follow tech and game updates via email.

The first reason I decided to unsubscribe was frequency. When I log in, I find way too many emails I can’t handle and before anything, I just go unsubscribe from them. Second is relevance for sure. If they are not what I expected or if there are more promotional messages, I’d unsubscribe too.

However I don’t think we need to worry too much about unsubscribing, but now and then we need to assess if we do it right :) As I think, those who don’t unsubscribe are either who interested in updates or else who don’t check emails at all (Those who signed up just to grab free ebook or lazy to read emails).

But those who take time to unsubscribe could be the ones we should worry about, as probably they leave ’cause of a reason. I wouldn’t be mad at those who unsubscribe immediately, but ones who used to be in the list and unsubscribe after some time :)


1 year 8 months ago

Hi Mayura

I tend to only send email updates to my subscribers as well.

Although I do sometimes send another email during the week if I find anything interesting to talk about!

That’s a great point that we should be more concerned about those that have been on the list for some time and unsubscribe.

If that happens, I’ll probably email them directly to see if I can do anything to change their minds.

1 year 8 months ago

Hey Tim, very informative post here. You are right, you can’t stop some readers from leaving your mailing list, and you certainly shouldn’t panic when they do. It’s the nature of the business, although it still will sting a little. All you can do is continue to build relationships with your audience, listen to their wants and needs, and provide them with high quality content on a regular basis.

1 year 8 months ago

Hey Brian

I couldn’t have put it better myself!

When you get your first unsubscriber, it can send you into a panic.

It’s really not worth it though. I just think about how many email lists I’ve unsubscribed from when it happens.

Jens P. Berget
1 year 8 months ago

I have received a lot of unsubscribers during the years, and at first, I was really sad when I received a message that someone had left. I was thinking that I needed to do something fast. I was thinking that I needed to email the person and say I was sorry. And, maybe I should have, and maybe I should have asked him or her why she left and what I could have done differently. But, now, I just keep doing what I love doing, and I’m thinking that if they don’t like it, I’ll find someone that will :)

1 year 8 months ago

Hey Jens

Perfect! That’s exactly how I go about things too.

Mary Stephenson
1 year 8 months ago

Hi Tim
I guess I am just on the same wave length as Sue Neal.
You are right it hurts when they unsubscribe, but better for them to leave and then you know what you are dealing with. If I am sending out emails and know one opens them or if they do but don’t go read the post again and again, I wish they would unsubscribe. I would rather put my energies elsewhere or know what to focus on. There will always be people that are not entirely interested with your message every time. That is okay, but I know when I am done with some sites, as they no longer hold my interest. I may have changed or they may have changed, either way it is time to part ways.


1 year 8 months ago

Hi Mary

That makes sense to me too.

If people aren’t interested in what you have to say then there’s no point in them being on your list.

I always do a check every few months to see if anyone is on my list who hasn’t opened an email for a while.

I’ll send them a quick email to see if I can get their interest but if I can’t then I remove them!

1 year 8 months ago

Hi Tim,

1. Getting your first subscriber is exciting, indeed. Getting your first “unsubscriber” is not exciting. However, when it happened … I wasn’t impressed at all. It is inevitable. There are so many reasons for unsubscribing… . Only when it become a “trend” you need to worry about.

2. I think 1-2 emails a week are enough in the beginning. Then you may add another one (preferable a broadcast) that will keep them interested and “awake”.

3. This idea of an email update, whenever you publish a post seems brilliant. I will adopt it for sure.

Have a nice day

1 year 8 months ago

Hi Silviu

I agree with everything you say.

Certainly, if you’re getting a lot of unsubscribers you need to rethink what you sending, when and how often.