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How to Learn From Unsubscribes

How to Learn From Unsubscribes

Update: 2022-02-15


Rejection is a terrible feeling. Especially when you’re pouring everything into a business and yearning for the approval of a new audience. But there are things to learn from every negative in life, and unsubscribes are no different.

So if you’re feeling down about your unsubscribes, consider this: the unsubscribe button is an automated list-cleaner, allowing subscribers the option to opt-out themselves, saving you the hassle of removing them manually when your deliverability starts to wane. And by implementing tools like exit surveys, you’re turning that unsubscribe into an invaluable insight. 

Not to mention, unsubscribes are an unavoidable fact of email marketing. As our lives change, so do our email preferences. Plus, with a new feature from ConvertKit, you can send every unsubscriber a survey on their way out the door. While responses are never an exact science, there’s knowledge to be gained from every answer. 

In this episode, Alyssa and Melissa discuss why an unsubscribe option is a win-win, what you can learn from every exit survey, how not to position your unsubscribe option, and why trying your best to avoid them can turn a minor loss into an email catastrophe. 

Key Takeaways

  • [04:47 ] - Legally, all bulk emails are required to have an unsubscribe button, and morally, including an unsubscribe option is respectful to everyone. 
  • [08:47 ] - Don’t make the unsubscribe button difficult to find. If you make it extra complicated, subscribers may mark your emails as spam to speed up the process. 
  • [11:48 ] - Subscribers removing themselves from your list is beneficial to you because unengaged subscribers will ultimately damage your deliverability.
  • [12:11 ] - Surveys are a great way to learn from unsubscribers, and a new feature from ConvertKit sends your unsubscribers an exit survey. 
  • [17:09 ] - If someone responds, “I no longer want to receive these emails”, most likely, they’ve simply outgrown your services. 
  • [20:26 ] - A lot of “I never signed up to receive these emails” responses indicate that you’ve been a victim of listbombing. 
  • [23:00 ] - Responses that your content is “inappropriate” may mean subscribers are surprised by the content they’re receiving. Be transparent with your subscribers about what they’ll be receiving from the get-go. 
  • [26:51 ] - Multiple responses that your content is “spam” is also concerning. It may be an email frequency issue. 
  • [28:46 ] - When someone marks “other”, there’s not much to be learned. It may be that you’re sending too much, the emails are no longer relevant, or maybe that subscriber just didn’t feel like explaining themselves. 


[11:07 ] - “Deliverability is one of those things where you really do have to follow the rules or you’re going to end up putting yourself in a hole. There are not a lot of ways you can get around doing things you don’t want to do. You have to do the right thing or you’re not going to have success.” ~ @mel_lambert_

[11:51 ] - “Unsubscribes are not personal, but they’re beneficial to both the subscriber and you. If someone doesn’t want to be on your email list, you don’t want them there. Having people on your list who don’t actually want to be there is guaranteed to damage your deliverability, ultimately hurting your ability to reach those people who do want to be on your list.” ~ @alyssa_dulin

[22:26 ] - “We’re here to help you reach the inbox and emailing people who didn’t sign up for your list is not going to get you there. Make sure that any list you’ve imported comes from sources where each individual opted in to receive emails from you specifically.” ~ @alyssa_dulin


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How to Learn From Unsubscribes

How to Learn From Unsubscribes

Alyssa Dulin & Melissa Lambert