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5 Fast Ways to Get Readers to Unsubscribe

Building a responsive list of engaged subscribers that have given you permission to market to them is a common goal for many business owners. But often there is so much focus on building the list, that the most important part — nurturing subscribers after they have signed up — is forgotten.

Retaining subscribers once they have joined your list and continuing to build your relationship with them is the key to growing a responsive, engaged list. Unfortunately, some simple mistakes can sabotage your list building efforts and get your subscribers to unsubscribe and leave your list in droves.

Here Are Five Marketing Mistakes That Cause Readers to Unsubscribe:

1. Sell, Sell, Sell

Your tribe signed up because they believed you would be delivering value. If all you do is constantly sell, pitch, and push your products, programs, and services to them, you’ll irritate and alienate your readers. Aim for a good balance between quality, value-added content and promotions. We tend to stick to a ratio of 80% valuable content, 20% sales and promotion.

2. All About Me

Remember that while your readers may like to hear a quick update about what’s going on with you, it’s not all about you! They didn’t subscribe to constantly hear how great you are, and your newsletter isn’t one big opportunity to promote yourself. You do need to share some personal tidbits, but whenever possible, try to keep it short or try to tie it into a lesson.

3. Bait and Switch

One super basic way to get subscribers to unsubscribe and report you for spamming them is to promise one type of content, or an email newsletter on one topic, and then deliver something totally different. You may have changed your mind about what your focus is — but that’s not what they signed up for. Stick to the topics you promised to provide content on.

4. Inbox Bombardment

Finding that sweet spot of “just enough” emails can be tricky. If you don’t contact your list enough, you risk losing their interest and weakening your relationship with them. If you contact them too much and bombard their already overcrowded inbox, you risk unsubscribes and spam complaints.

5. Disasterous Design

Design — Good Design — makes a big difference. If your email newsletter or announcements are poorly designed and look unprofessional, their perceived value is diminished. Likewise, if your margins are off and the design is distracting, it can take away from their content and cause subscribers to flee your list.

These five mistakes may seem like simple mistakes that aren’t a big deal — and you could be right. Making one of these mistakes every once in a while won’t kill your list building efforts. But when you’re guilty of multiple offenses at the same time consistently, you may just be sabotaging your own marketing!

How about you? Do you notice any other mistakes business owners make that cause you to unsubscribe?

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Comments & Feedback:Check out what others have to say about this post!

  1. I would add boring content into the list. The Internet is full of dry, devoid content at every turn. The trick is to use punchier language, and write conversationally (instead of academically). Good post!

  2. Great tips, Jennifer. I would like to underscore the need for good design. I just opened an e-newsletter the other day that had text printed on a dark green background. I could barely read it. Stuff like that gets deleted in record time. It’s so important to have a well-designed newsletter and test it in different browsers before sending it out.

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