"A small list that wants exactly what you're offering is better than a bigger list that isn't committed." -Ramsay Leimenstoll
If you’re an entrepreneur using the online space, you’ve probably heard: list building is a thing.
It’s been drilled into our heads that we need to build a list, focus on our list, and have it be the biggest list ever!
If you’re scratching your head wondering what the heck I mean by “list building”, I’m talking about email lists. An email list is all the names and emails you collect for your business and (hopefully) communicate with.
Our email list IS pretty dang important.
Like so many things in business, the more “important” it gets, the more we obsess over things that don’t really matter or can spin and stall us out. I'm talking to you, unsubscribes.
An “unsubscribe” is anyone who decides to do exactly what it sounds like, “unsubscribe” from receiving your emails. We’ve all done this. We’ve opened one too many Goop emails with products we'll never buy and hit the unsubscribe button.
People unsubscribe for all sorts of reasons: they’re cleaning out their inbox; they don’t need or want what you’re selling; they thought they had signed up for something different; they can’t remember who you are; they don’t like your content; they wish you emailed more; they wish you emailed less; they just got into a fight with someone who reminds them of you; they got your free content and are offended you’re now selling something (the nerve)….I mean, the reasons are endless, and the reasons really don’t matter.
I know there are some gurus out there who will tell you what percentage of unsubscribes you don’t want to reach. I’m going to tell you the opposite. I don’t look at these numbers, and I don’t think you should either.
I DO track my metrics, and I coach my clients to do the same. I don’t track my unsubscribes. I used to pay very close attention to them, then I’d invariably feel frustrated, discouraged, and start to doubt my content. I’d pull back in the places I needed to lean in, or I'd put effort into fixing the wrong thing and make a mountain out of a barely formed ant hill.
One to two people leaving my list would make me want to adjust, pull back, or water down something that the rest of my people didn’t seem to have a problem with.
I mean, can we talk about misdirected focus and a great way to sabotage our efforts? And how rude to the rest of my awesome, loyal list?
Given the number of times this has come up with my clients, I know I’m not the only one who’s done this!
Let’s break this down and talk about why your unsubscribes really don’t matter, and why you should stop looking at them.
1. It keeps us focused on the wrong thing.
It’s like that friend we have who won’t stop talking about their ex they broke up with three years ago and wonders why they’re still single. We focus on the wrong thing and the wrong people when we obsess over unsubscribes.
Those people are gone and they were probably never our people to begin with, and that’s ok!
We can’t and shouldn’t be for everyone, so let them go with gratitude and grace.
We want to put all our focus and loving energy into the people who are on our list. Where our focus goes, energy grows. So, let’s shift our focus to the amazing people ON our list and love on them.
2. It’s most likely a GOOD sign.
If no one is ever leaving your list, I’d actually be MORE worried. It might mean you’re playing it too safe or not communicating and connecting with your tribe frequently enough.
It’s kinda like the couple that NEVER fights because no one actually cares enough to fight, or because someone is keeping a whole lotta stuff bottled up (heavy on the relationship analogies today, I know.)…if a few people aren’t leaving your list from time to time, they either don’t care, or you’re keeping some stuff bottled up and people pleasing.
If we’re niched down and effectively showing up and sharing our message, we’re not going to vibe with everyone. If you’re selling, some people might leave. It’s also a beautiful thing in business to disrupt and have an opinion, but this might rub a few people the wrong way.
All of this only weeds out those people who were never your people to begin with.
3. They’re costing you money.
Unless you’re using a free email delivery service, you’re paying for everyone on your email list.
If people don’t want to stick around for your awesome, free content, let them go and stop paying for them! This keeps your costs down and makes more room for someone else.
4. They won't help you make bank.
Oh man, we’re numbers crazed. I’m watching people buy their followers and likes on Instagram left and right. But those numbers are like a padded bra.
I’d so much rather have fewer numbers on my list and elsewhere and more numbers in my bank account. Wanting to keep people on our list just to watch our subscription numbers rise is lunacy.
I know people hitting $10k months in their business with lists around 500 people, and others with much bigger lists who are barely scraping by. It’s not all about the numbers, it’s about the PEOPLE on the other side and the connection you create with them. Ditto for social media.
Again, double down on the people who ARE on your list instead of worrying about the ones leaving.
5. It makes you feel shitty and takes you out of the game.
Paying attention to people unsubscribing doesn’t feel good. If you’re heart-centered, creative, and passionate, it can feel especially personal.
Paying attention to these numbers is like continuing to pull the scab off a wound, it hurts and it makes it take that much longer to heal.
Every time we focus on things that make us doubt our efforts, we temporarily (if not longer) take ourselves out of the business game. More importantly, we take ourselves out of our mindset game, which is what’s running the show.
THIS is the main reason I don’t look at my unsubscribes anymore. At a certain point, I decided I’m not available to feel shitty about my work. It doesn’t serve us, our work, or our people.
I’d like to invite you to adopt the same mindset with your list and elsewhere.
We want our heads IN the game, and we want to love on the people who are on our lists. The rest is irrelevant.
Instead of unsubscribes, let’s focus on sharing value, connecting, and building relationships.
Let’s remember to appreciate and focus on what IS working and WHO is already here in front of us instead of what we don’t have. I promise this will grow your business faster than obsessing over the unsubscribes.
Wishing you your version of success!