Email is at the core of a strong marketing strategy. As such, your marketing team spends considerable effort and resources on building a large list. So when someone unsubscribes, it can be discouraging. It feels like you’re moving in the wrong direction! 

But fret not. Email unsubscribes aren’t something that you necessarily need to dread. In fact, sometimes, they can be helpful, healthy, and beneficial. 

Here are three reasons why email unsubscribes are a good thing. 

1. Email Unsubscribes Help Ensure Your Emails Are Being Delivered to the People Who Want To Receive Them. 

One of the worst things that can happen is that your carefully crafted and executed email campaigns would go directly to your subscribers’ spam folders, never to see the light of day. 

Unfortunately, this is what can happen when you have a high number of disengaged subscribers on your list. Email providers seek to protect their users from emails that they do not wish to see. When a high number of subscribers are disengaged, or when a large number of them mark your content as spam, it signals to email providers that your content isn’t worth going directly to your subscribers’ inboxes, hurting your deliverability. 

Conversely, a more focused list can increase deliverability, getting your content into the inboxes of people who actually want to receive it. In this respect, disinterested subscribers who unsubscribe are actually doing your marketing team a kindness. 

Furthermore, a leaner list may also result in higher open, clickthrough, and conversion rates. Your messaging may be effective with your engaged contacts, who fit your target persona. However, that effectiveness might not be reflected in your metrics if it is being sent to too many of the wrong people. Unsubscribes can help your organization get a better read on how your content is actually doing. 

2. Email Unsubscribes Purify and Sharpen Your List. 

The end goal of your email marketing strategy shouldn’t be to amass the largest list possible. It should be to increase the size of an engaged following that is likely to convert. Because, at the end of the day, your email list is a means to an end. 

While you want to add value with your emails, ultimately, their purpose is to get your followers to sign up for or purchase your organization’s products and services. Therefore, there is no reason to keep high numbers of unengaged contacts anyways. 

Sometimes, users will sign up for your list because of a very specific offering or promotion you were running at the time. And that’s a good thing! But once that particular offering has been actualized, some members of your audience might not have any further use or desire for your content or offerings. In other words, they aren’t likely to convert again. In that case, it’s good for them to unsubscribe. 

Your email marketing strategy will be much more effective when you are seeking to cultivate a relationship with users who are interested in what your organization has to offer, leading them toward a next step, rather than trying to convince disinterested email subscribers that they should be interested. 

3. Email Unsubscribes Can Alert You To When Your Messaging or Segmentation Is Missing the Mark.

Sometimes, when members of your audience unsubscribe from your email list, there isn’t anything that your marketing team needs to immediately do or consider. The person wasn’t interested in what your organization offers. They weren’t the right fit, and it was good for them to request that you stop sending them content. 

On the other hand, if you notice a considerable uptick in unsubscribes, particularly when it occurs over the course of several emails, then you may need to consider how your marketing strategy is missing the mark. 

For some, the issue may be segmentation. Perhaps you send every email to every user on your list. For the individual user, if they sense that you are only sending content relevant to them and their goals every third email or so, they may want to save themselves the trouble of deleting your emails without engaging—even if there are valuable offerings you may have been able to provide for them. 

Segmentation can solve for this, which we discuss here.

Other times, it may be the overall messaging itself that’s missing the mark. Perhaps you defined your target audience, their motivations and pain points. It’s just that you didn’t do so accurately, and you need to revisit that persona description to be more effective in hooking your audience. 

This can be a painful lesson. But an untick in unsubscribes may only be a temporary setback in your process of refining your messaging so that it lands with your target audience

It’s Okay if Your Subscriber List Only Grows Incrementally. 

The bottom line is that every marketer wants their email list to grow. Unsubscribes seem like they’re the enemy of that goal. However, so long as you are gaining subscribers at a rate even just incrementally higher than you are losing them, your marketing team is on the right track. 

We all want to make a big splash and make it quickly. But robust, successful marketing strategies are not built overnight. So don’t set unreasonable expectations for yourself or your marketing team.  

So long as you consistently do the right things over the course of a long period of time, your email list will continue to increase in its number of engaged contacts. Those engaged contacts will grow to love your organization, and they will show it with the way they sign up for and purchase your products and services.