Why I Love it – Sort of – When People Unsubscribe from My Updates

Unsubscribe button

I can’t say I’m happy at first.

I’ll be honest. When I see that a bunch of people have unsubscribed just after I sent out a fresh newsletter update, I don’t exactly jump for joy.

In fact, my initial reaction is probably like seeing someone suddenly, without explanation, leave the party you had put on and thought was going well.

The questions arise.

“Was it something I said?”

“Is what I’m sending out useless/boring/annoying?”

And it’s worse when it’s someone you know well.

Now, I know that there can be many perfectly understandable reasons for someone unsubscribing, for example:

  • the information in my updates is not really relevant for what they are doing or interested in
  • they are trying to establish some control over an overflowing inbox (I can relate to that, especially)
  • they don’t remember ever signing up for information from me and might even feel a bit miffed about receiving anything

With the third of those, not remembering signing up, my email service provider AWeber fortunately provides a very detailed record of when people registered and when they confirmed, with date and time down to the minute.

So I am able, with any who leave a comment indicating that they don’t recall ever registering to receive information, to send those details, with a covering note indicating my regret that they might have thought themselves contacted inappropriately.

Generally those messages do not get a response. But happily, one recipient of such a communication from me the other day expressed his wish to be kept informed and asked me to put his name back on the list!

Why I do genuinely love getting those unsubscribe notifications and why you should too

Although my initial reaction is often a basic human “don’t they appreciate me?” one, when I have had a moment to reflect, I am pleased.


  • Who in their right mind wants to be sending messages to people who don’t want them?
  • When people unsubscribe I know I am making some impression and hopefully for those who stay on the list that is a positive impression
  • My mailing lists are improved by including fewer addresses of people who are not interested in hearing from me
  • It puts me on my mettle to do better, provide more interesting/valuable information, improve my communication generally

In fact, right now I can’t think of a downside.

Can you?

I wclcome your comments and any suggestions about how to turn the initial lemon taste of an unsubscribe into an even more delicious lemonade than I can manage currently.


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About Des Walsh

I show business owners and other professionals how to navigate the social media maze and use LinkedIn effectively. I'm an author, speaker, business coach, social media strategist and LinkedIn specialist. Connect with me on LinkedIn, Google Plus and Twitter. And to stay in the loop, get my weekly Social Business Bites.


  1. Great introspective article Des! Yes, just like in sales, there is a sorting and sifting process to find the right customer or the right subscriber in your case. Lots of people are curious and sign-up for stuff and then latter figure out it’s not exactly what they were looking for. That “rejection” isn’t really rejection, it’s just an admission that it’s not the right fit. That’s really part of the process in sales and in developing an on-line following too. Just like in sales, you can’t take it personally – it’s part of the process of finding the right people; letting the wrong people realize it’s not a good fit.

    I encounter this phenomenon all the time when people sign up on my web site to learn more about my home business opportunity. When they find out more, it’s not exactly what some were looking for and they decline. However, the golden nuggets I do find in my sorting and sifting process are true gold and make the process very lucrative for all parties involved. The key to understand is what you have is not for everyone, then you won’t see it as “rejection”.

    All the best,


  2. Enjoyed every bit of the blog post.Truly looking forward to read more. Fantastic.