Over the past few weeks I have been victim to a rather drastic increase in the number of unsubscribes to my email list. This probably isn’t something I should admit, but then I’m not one to hold back on stuff like this, am I?
Here’s the thing though — I’m not that bothered. Yes, it’s not exactly pleasing to see that a pretty considerable number of people are unsubscribing, but I could feel worse about it. Despite the fact that an email list is touted by the vast majority of bloggers as the most important asset you can have (and I agree), I’m not breaking a sweat.
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The State of Affairs
First of all, let me fully reveal the extent of the issue:
Yep — I wasn’t lying when I used the word “drastic”. Starting in September, the number of subscribes per week has increased massively.
However, this apparent mass exodus of LWB subscribers is contradicted by the spreadsheet I update on a weekly basis:
The number in the right column is the number of subscribers gained in that week across two lists — the main LWB list, and a list I created for my Smart Passive Income guest post. This number is taken directly from my AWeber homepage:
The AWeber stats seem to be contradicting themselves, which is really confusing (and frustrating). I contacted support but they were unable to figure out what the issue was.
I don’t actually know what to believe at this point. Aweber’s graph shows that unsubscribes are outnumbering subscribes by a huge margin — here’s what data from the past 30 days looks like in line chart form:
But according to my spreadsheet, my weekly number of subscribes has been positive, with last week being particularly good. I have no idea what data to trust.
So let’s assume that I am losing more subscribers. Why?
In short — I don’t know. I can’t think of one clear reason as to why I would suddenly start dropping so many subscribers. I have a couple of ideas, but I wouldn’t typically envisage either of them having such a major impact.
First of all, I reintroduced a signup incentive — my guide to keyword research and competition analysis. One could theorize that I am getting a lot of people subscribe just to get the guide, then immediately unsubscribing. I don’t think this is happening, because it’s not something I experienced when I previously had the guide on offer as part of subscription.
My second theory centers around my somewhat sporadic broadcast/autoresponder habits. I reintroduced autoresponder emails a few weeks back, to be sent out once every seven days. At the moment I only have three emails in the series, and most of my subscribers won’t be receiving them, as they received up to seven messages as part of a previous (and now scrapped) autoresponder series. They won’t get a new autoresponder message until I have written eight. Aside from that, I tend to write a new broadcast email every Monday, which gets send to all subscribers.
But again, I don’t see why this would provoke such a major shift in unsubscribes. Apart from those two theories, I have no idea why my unsubscribes have apparently increased so much.
Why I’m Not Worried
It would be all too easy to freak out about the kind of “leakage” I may be experiencing. And it would be fair to say that I will be more concerned if it continues in the long term. Judging by one set of data, that would result in my list eventually reducing to zero!
But at the moment I’m not too bothered for three reasons:
- My autoresponder messages are good — at least, I think they are. I haven’t received any complaints yet, and I have had subscribers email me just to tell me that they like them (one even wanted to know how she could share it).
- It’s a learning process. Even if I am leaking subscribers, I will eventually figure out why and learn from it. There’s no point crying over spilt milk — I am constantly pushing myself into new areas, and that will inevitably result in unanticipated results and mini-crises.
- Even if I am losing subscribers because they don’t like me, I am who I am. This blog is very personal to me, I have no plans to change it, and I would like to think that the guys and girls who do hang around like it. This blog’s for you — if someone unsubscribes because they don’t like it, I’m not going to lose sleep.
One thing’s for sure — I definitely could be doing more to build my list. I could be optimizing the sign up forms on my blogs, split testing, and adding autoresponder messages. But you’ve got to prioritize your time, and I’d rather focus on serving existing subscribers and readers than trying to boost my subscribe rate.
Having said that, I would like to get my autoresponder series up to the magic number eight as soon as possible. I don’t want my old subscribers to be seeing nothing but my Monday broadcasts — I want to give them genuinely useful content that they won’t find elsewhere. I put a lot of time into my autoresponder messages, which is one reason why I have been so slow in creating them, but I could try harder to write more (in fact, I’m going to write one right now).
What do you think? Do you have any theories regarding my mysterious unsubscribe increase? If you’re a subscriber, do you take value from being on my list? What suggestions would you have?