How to Unsubscribe Gracefully

Every rose has it’s thorns. Oh god, that was so corny I can’t even take myself seriously.

Last week I shared what content I love receiving (and reading), but this week it’s all about boundaries. That’s right ladies and gents, I’m talking the big ‘U’…Unsubscribing. And at the end of the post I’m writing you a big ole permission slip to unsubscribe from whatever or whoever you want, so you won’t want to miss that. ;)

Here’s the first thing I want you to know: unsubscribing can be as simple (or as complicated) as you decide to make it.

For a long time I would take it personally when I saw that someone had unsubscribed from my list. What did I do wrong? Why do they hate me? They obviously did this to let me know that they think I’m a big loser…And because I took it so personally when someone unsubscribed from my list, I felt guilted into staying on a bunch of lists that I didn’t really want to be on. I’d sign up so I could download a potentially useful workbook, and hand over space in my inbox indefinitely as penance…even if the workbook turned out to be a disappointment.

No more inbox penance. Your inbox is like your virtual home, you don’t owe people a spot on your sofa.

So here are some hard and fast measurements that I use to decide when it’s time to unsubscribe:

  • I haven’t read/have instantly deleted the last three emails from the account. I don’t know about you, but if I want to read something and just don’t have time I tend to let it hang out in my inbox with a star or flag next to it for a few days until I have time. But those emails that are still hanging out after three week? Or the ones I keep archiving or deleting as soon as they pop in? Those are a sign that I don’t really want to hear from that account.
  • I signed up to get a free resource, but I’m disappointed with the quality of what I received. This one is a toughy…it can feel a bit like a dine-n-dash, but here’s what I’ve learned: someone’s opt-in is typically the BEST content they’re willing to give away for free. So if the opt-in is a disappointment, the subsequent emails typically aren’t any better.
  • I just don’t feel good after I read emails from this account. I have to check myself on this one all the time (not just for emails, but also Instagram). I have a tendency to feel like I have to follow XYZ Influencer in my field, and then I get sucked into a comparison trap every time they pop up in my feed or inbox. Each post is like a knife to my heart - showing all of the success that I’m missing out on. And that just sucks. So I’ve given myself permission to unfollow these folks. There are plenty of influencers that won’t make you feel bad about yourself - so find your people and forget the rest. One of my favorites? Marie Forleo.

I hope that these rules make it a little easier for you to cut ties with all that stuff you didn’t want to read anyway - or have at least given you some insight as to why folks might be unsubscribing from your list.

P.S. Are you losing subscribers? Have a feeling it’s because they’re disappointed with your opt-in? Check out this blogpost about creating freebies your audience actually wants.