No one likes it when people unsubscribe from their lists (particularly if it’s someone they know!).  It’s a human need to be liked and an unsubscribe seems like someone is saying they don’t like what you’re saying.

But wait.

Step away from the unsubscribes!

Don’t get too hung up on numbers and focus on quality over quantity on our lists.  However, if you have a steady stream of unsubscribes, this could be an indication that something is not quite right with your emails.

We can’t always be sure why people unsubscribe although we can use our unsubscribe settings to ask them.

In this article I’m outlining reasons why people unsubscribe and what you can do to limit the leavers.

1. Sending too many emails

Every email marketer has their own opinion about how often they should be sending emails.  Some may send daily, but that might scare some subscribers off.  I recommend starting with weekly or fortnightly mailings to build up your audience.  You can then begin to feel for what is the right frequency for you and your audience.

Make sure you fully explain your frequency in your opt-in form and in the first email. If people are signing up for a daily newsletter, make it clear to them so that they know what is expected from them right off of the bat and don’t feel overwhelmed by an influx of content on day one.

Whilst some people may be happy to hear from you daily, others probably won’t yet will still be happy to receive some content from you.  Let them choose at the time they subscribe or in the first email you send.

If you are sending lots of emails during a launch, allow people to opt out of just the launch campaign if they are not interested.


2. You are selling too much 

Subscribers don’t want to be sold too all the time.

If you do this in every email they will soon stop opening your emails and eventually unsubscribe.

People want to be helped and, yes, they realise you will probably be selling to them (again make it clear in your welcome email what you will be sending) but they don’t want to be blatantly sold to every single time.  Think about the objectives of your email. What is it you want someone to do following your email?  That may be visit your website, leave a testimonial, complete a survey or maybe visit your social media account. 

Content is a crucial part of my relationship building strategy.  Your content warms people up for the sales pitch by providing value-adding content that educates them on how they can solve their own problems or help themselves in other ways. The next time you send out an email ask yourself: ‘will my audience find value in these few sentences?

By warming your list and highlighting your expertise, they will be more receptive to buying from you when you make an offer.

3.  You’re content is too boring

On the other hand, if your emails offer nothing at all – no offer, no support, no advice – then subscribers are going to be turned off very quickly.  

Always ensure your email has a purpose.  When you create an email marketing strategy, outline the objectives for your email marketing and check your email meets at least one of those objectives.

We’re all short of time these days so don’t waste your subscribers’ time by sending a bland email that leaves them wondering what your point is. 


4. No longer relevant

It happens.  People move on, move away, people reach their goals.  

Someone moving out of an area probably won’t need to be on the email list of the local dentist or chiropodist.  If you help people specifically to start something be it running, starting a business or knitting, then those who have reached their goals will no longer need your help.

Don’t worry about this.  Instead be happy that you have helped someone reach their goals.  Then focus on your new followers and support them.


5.  They didn’t subscribe or had forgotten they had subscribed

There are few things more frustrating than receiving an unsolicited email from somebody and you have absolutely no idea who they are or what they are about.  Even if someone does know you, don’t assume they want to receive your email.

Do not buy lists off some dodgy website.  These lists could have been compiled illegitimately. Never upload a bought list without permission from those on it because then they’re just getting spammed by lots of strangers!   Mailerlite makes it very clear in their terms It is absolutely not acceptable or allowable to use a list that has been purchased, rented or from a third-party

Make sure it’s very clear to people on your opt-in form what they are opting in to receive.  You must have their explicit consent.  Also do not add people you’ve met via networking unless they have given you their permission.

Additionally, some subscribers may forget that they’ve subscribed in the first place and wonder who is sending them unsolicited email.  This may well happen if you neglect your list and don’t send regular content after they have signed up.  Put a welcome sequence in place and move them to your main list to receive your regular updates once they have been through that sequence.


These are 5 of the most common reasons people unsubscribe from your email campaigns. If you see any of these symptoms creeping into your marketing efforts, get in touch with me so I can diagnose the problem and come up with an effective plan for recovery.


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