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It hurts when people unsubscribe from your list. You might feel like you did something “wrong.” But it’s actually one of the best things for your business. Here’s why…

Video Transcript and Relevant Links

So I just had this question come in, and let me just go ahead and read it to you…

“How do you deal strategically and emotionally with the people who opt-in, and as they start to receive your content, they unsubscribe? I understand these are not my people, but I can't help thinking, ‘Is there a way that will keep these people around to receive the value?'”

So it's an interesting question, and anyone who starts publishing, once you start publishing you will find that people unsubscribe from your stuff. If they're on your email, list they unsubscribe. If they're following you on social, they'll stop following you. And initially when you start out, it can be a little unsettling to have people leaving you. You went through all this hard work to get people to opt-in, to subscribe, and now you send out an email and all of a sudden a bunch of them leave, they unsubscribe.

It can be a little bit painful until you understand, that's just the nature of the game — that there are people that are going to be interested in what you want, and there are people that are not going to be interested. And for the people that are not going to be interested, if they don't want to receive your free stuff, they're not going to end up buying from you. So you just have to be okay with unsubscribes, it's just the nature of the game.

We are in the direct marketing world, we come out of this (that's what we're doing, is direct marketing)… There's this long history of direct marketing that goes back 100 years in the offline world. And in that direct marketing world, a conversion of between 1 and 2% is all that you really expected, all that you hoped for.

Now, sometimes with Product Launch Formula, with my process, you can raise that up depending on the list, depending on the traffic, depending on the source, depending on the offer. You could go up to 3 or 3 1/2% conversion. But the reality is, that the great majority of people are not going to buy from you; the great majority of people are not going to be interested in what you want. And you just have to be okay with that.
I'm not saying don't pay attention to your unsubscribes. If you send out a message and all of a sudden it has a huge number of unsubscribes, you might want to take a look and see… was there something that you did in that copy, in the subject line, that wasn't congruent with what people opted in for? Is it congruent with the voice that you normally publish in? It's just not the type of thing that you're used to sending to your people? And if that's the case, you might want to modify it.

But the thing is, that if you're going to be in business you have to become okay with the idea that not everyone's going to buy from you, and you have to get okay with the idea that people will unsubscribe. It's just a fact of life.

And the reality is, that you can't appeal to everyone. You are not in the market of appealing to everyone. There are some businesses, maybe a Walmart, that tries to appeal to everyone. But even they don't, they just appeal to the bargain shoppers — it's just there's a lot of them. So maybe Facebook tries to appeal to everyone. But your business and my business, we're in a niche business.

We're generally in the kind of business that is largely personality based. And even if someone is right for your content, is right for your offer, if they don't resonate with you personally, then they're probably going to unsubscribe, or they're at least not going to buy from you. And that's okay. Because you only need a small number of people.

There was this book, I never read the book, but the title says it all, it's “1,000 True Fans”. And the whole premise was, if you have 1,000 true fans, people that really love your stuff and that buy your stuff and come back and keep on buying your stuff, that that is enough to build a very, very significant business. You just have to find 1,000 people in the entire world.
So it's okay that people unsubscribe, in fact at some point you want to get to the point where you start to polarize, where you attract the people that you want and you repel the people that you don't want. And by repelling the people that you don't want, it will help you target the people that you do want more closely.

I have a business where I'm blessed to be working with people… I have clients that have been with me 10, 12 years now, and it's amazing when you get the right clients. But to get the right clients, you have to go through a lot of the people that aren't the right clients, and they're going to unsubscribe, and they're not going to buy, and you just have to be okay with that if you want to succeed in this business.

So wherever you're watching this, scroll down, leave a comment for me, and let's go get ‘em this week.

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43 Replies to “Why They Unsubscribe”

  1. Thank you! This conversation about unsubscribes was very helpful. It has bothered before this. Thanks again!

  2. Good timing Jeff…..just got 2 hate emails today! Thanks for reminding us that, as we get bigger, we’ll have more haters and we need to focus on repelling them early on as we attract our raving fans!

  3. Hi Jeff,
    Love watching your content, you are a real roll model for success whoe’s emails remains on my white list, keep it going one day I will be in a financial position to take advantage of your ideas and join your tribe and find my success.
    In my mind I feel I would be far better finding my direction first then I will have the emotional commitment to apply and become successful too.
    Some of us love your message but are not quite there today but will be tomorrow.
    Best regards,
    Allan. UK.

  4. Hi Jeff, I have been listening to your videos for a couple of years or more. Very informative. I have an online physical goods business nowadays (my second over the past 15 years) but never been quite sure if your system can help me as it seems mostly to do with services, but certainly my interest grows with each video you post. Your comment about ‘Congruency’ is spot on. I am disappointed by each unsubscribe but will take heart from what you say here. Thank you. Kel

  5. Very very very helpfulp post. And so clearly explained in a fe key messages. Thank you Jeff. Especially the percentages of conversion to be expected and what we might expect from a very sophisticated process like plf to do to these rates puts things in perspective. Also the niche effect on attracting and repelling clients and the personality effect. Very powerful ideas. The latter also works as reassurance for me that there is a market waiting to hear my message in my unique voice, even though its content may be overlapping with other publishers’ messages. The tone of voice and personality behind the message is equally important as the message itself. If you have a calling, this means that someone is call you. Thanks Jeff!

  6. I feel uncomfortable to unsubscribe.
    Now I know it is okay to unsubscribe, and there’s no need to be emotional about it.
    Thanks Jeff.

  7. Steve Etherington


    Yes, I’ve learned to deal with the reject when I sold product door to door. The first weeks was psychologicaly hard because when people reject you, even hate and tell you bad words, you have a feeling that they don’t love you. But after if you arrive to keep your positive energy and continue to give good vibes to everyone including negative people who reject sometime with hate, it’s a game change, you start to make more sales and you attract more buyers.

  8. Oh Jeff!! Talk about perfect timing!! You are not only brilliant but I’m starting to think you are actually reading my mind! 😆
    Thank you 🙏🏻

  9. Jeff… two great videos in two weeks – thank you. Last week you were talking about if people really buy “personal development” and this week there’s a gem information hidden in your video about unsubscribes… that a good conversion rate is around 3.5%.
    I’m in “personal development” since 1996 – a convert to PLF in 2018 – with an online Workshop and a conversion rate of 11% – thanks to PLF.
    Where would I be without you?

  10. Phyllis Rowan


    Thank-you, Jeff. In particular, I take away the idea that personality is key to the person you attract online and keep as a subscriber. It is a one-to-one relationship that works – and cuts -both ways.

  11. Awesome! I totally agree that it’s okay. It’s a matter of refining your list. In fact, sometimes you should push the envelope just a little to motivate people to make a decision about whether they’re truly interested in your stuff or not.

  12. Thanks Jeff, totally agree and I’ve always understood this, but I did have one unsubscribe that annoyed me a little! Just the one mind ha!

    Generally, most people who unsubscribe when giving a reason why just hit – I no longer wish to receive these emails. That’s fine and it’s their prerogative. Until one day someone actually clicked a button to say my emails were spam!

    Helpful emails, not sent over-often (I’m sure I get a lot more from you) – that they signed up for and essentially asked for. To label that as spam… it hit a nerve. But I know they’re not spammy, and it was a one off. I guess that’s what’s important to remember 😊

  13. Michael Tucker


    Thanks Jeff. As always it seems to be a number game. Friends in sales always tell me it is a number game. Guess it something you have to accept and move on. Thanks for your valuable insight in the online marketing area.

  14. Thank you so much, Jeff. Having just started connecting via email with my group, I so NEEDED your reminder of this fact—you are timely & on point! Which is why I always take time to open & listen to you. Bless you!

  15. Great video and good food for thought. Building an online presence after years of being only a client facing therapist here in London is challenging and your insights are really valuable. I’ll keep looking and nurturing my 1000 online fans. There’s no point doing incredible work when it’s only exchanging time for money. I’m ready to step up. Best wishes to you.

  16. This reminds me of the old sales adage of you have to go through a hundred NO’s before you get the first YES. Or, you have to kiss a lot of ugly frogs before you find your Prince. I guess the last one is more about dating, but I think it still applies. Clients are fickled. Let them leave, and go on to the next one.

  17. Great video, Jeff, couldn’t agree more.

    Quick question. Should I send an email out to my list basically asking people to unsubscribe? I have several thousand that don’t open the emails, and don’t unsubscribe. I was thinking of sending one w the subject being “Please unsubscribe if…” And the email basically saying “If you don’t need any advice and guidance for your business or career, and things are going perfectly well, and if you don’t have any friends or family that could also use that advice, please unsubscribe so that I can focus my message on those who do.” Something like that…would that be a good idea, or…? Any advice from you or the others on this thread? Thanks, and happy holidays from NYC! Mark

  18. I recently unsubscribed from 2 e-mails lists where the owners of those lists were sending 2-3 e-mails DAILY. I *could* have been a loyal buyer over time, but this behavior turned me off ! So, I’d also add that it’s important to get the quantity and quality right of the content we send.

    • I completely know what you mean. I too have unscubscribed over that approach, even when I appreciated the content.

  19. I subscribe to a lot of blogs and I also unsubscribe to a lot of blogs. Most times when I unsubscribe it’s because they are sending me emails EVERY DAY. An email every day is too much. One or two emails a week is OK but after that it starts to get annoying. Especially if all you’re doing is trying to sell stuff. If I subscribe to a blog it’s because I’m interested in that blog’s content, not because I want to be sold stuff.



    Great video Jeff – I realize that my content isn’t for everybody. Love the talk about making sure your content is in your voice. Also, appreciate the mention of Kevin Kelley’s 1,000 True Fans. Wishing you continued success, Jeff.

  21. Unsubscribes can often lead to business. I usually respond and find that”
    1) It may have been a mistake
    2) I let them know they are taken out of all data bases…
    Often this leads to additional correspondence and conversion

    John Rothschild

  22. I completely agree with you Jeff! I have nothing on those that unsubscribe! I am quite happy to have those followers that remain. They’re my people! 🙂

  23. completely relevant and people in this business need to continually reinforce that it’s ok to have people unsubscribe. On a response to this subject from another person who referenced “Hate Mail”. I attended a marketing bootcamp a couple of years back of a well known Marketer here in the UK and he said that on any given day he gets vitriolic hate emails, to some extent a bit like social media bullying. When questioned how he reacts he said for the main they go in the trash folder, but every now and then he may just be having a bad day and he gives it straight back to the sender. You have to have the hide of an elephant to ignore such vitriolic messages and Jeff I guess you have been subject to such emails in the past… what is your way with dealing with them?

  24. I absolutely agree. Those who unsubscribe will never buy from me. Nothing personal – my info was just not a good fit for them and that’s fine.

    I try to look on unsubscribes as a way to learn – if I have several from an email I’ll look at how I could improve the subject line, or whether the content was relevant. One way I try to keep it relevant to my “flock” is simply by asking them what they’d find useful in my newsletters.

    I can’t please everyone, all the time, but I can try to provide excellent value to the rest.

    To Mark’s question – I regularly clean my list. I write to people who haven’t opened for six months (I send two newsletters a month) saying I’m sorry they haven’t opened, I understand life is busy etc etc. If they open I leave them alone. If they don’t, off my list they go!

    I’m not going to pay for people to stay on my list who, again, will never buy from me.

    Hate mail – now that’s a different story. I try to think that the person sending hate mail must be a sad and lonely being, or having a particularly hard time. I don’t reply, usually, just bin it – but it’s hard to “unsee” hateful words.

    So it’s not always that easy, and if I’m not in a strong place myself it can be especially difficult.

    I’d also be pleased to hear how other people deal with that.

  25. Merlina Waterworth


    I’m really getting into how the world of creating and marketing online training courses can interface with and overlap with network marketing – as both are really part of ‘direct marketing’ although the business models are different. But what you’re saying here is absolutely relevant to network marketing – whether it’s people who aren’t interested in the products or in looking at the catalogues, or don’t join the opportunity, or who don’t stay.

    So this is a good example of how just the experience of doing network marketing can in itself be a good grounding and training for anyone getting into online marketing, because of what it can teach about dealing with these kinds of challenges.

    I do also think one of the reasons people don’t buy is not because they don’t want to take it further, but because they lack the funds to pay for the training. So I’m seeing that a network marketing opportunity, which often only requires a small monetary investment, may be a solution in some instances, as raising the money to pay for further training could be a goal for doing network marketing, and learning about direct marketing in the process.

    I’ve now joined the community of an online trainer specialising in the area of network marketing who’s coming at it from the opposite direction – teaching how selling your own expertise or being an affiliate for somebody else’s digital products can provide a more immediate income for network marketers….

    So there’s an interesting convergance right now between these two worlds….

  26. Jeff I want you to know I just love these videos! I watch them every week. Even though what I do, in this entrepreneurial world, is small by comparison your work it’s so very helpful to me. I have a question though, do you ever reply to haters or do you just always let it go and let the comment stand? I do little YouTube videos every month and I think people are entitled to their own opinion of me, whatever that opinion may be, good, bad or indifferent. Almost always they are really kind and wonderful to me but occasionally as you stated, there’s a rotten one in the bunch. I just leave them up (even though I do have the choice to delete them), because of the reason I stated before. It’s their opinion and th are entitled to it. Just like you said though, the people that appreciate what I’m doing come to my defense. I was always prepared for that part ( I’ve seen plenty of outright mean comments), so I don’t let it phase me. This month though someone said a total untruth and I’m really unsure how to address it? The problem is I’m kind of really pis…d off! What do you do? I don’t want a war on my hands and at the same token it feels wrong to let it stand. What would you do? Thank you again! Frankie

  27. Maybe coz I belong to the world of Natural science I feel quite okay when they leave me . Coz I know what I am creating is based on my dream to take care and responsibility of their own health and mind and all are not ready for that ! And Maybe it can be intimidating to be reminded of that with every newsletter!
    But my vision is much more bigger and setting myself to my higher purpose keeps me free from
    This thinking
    I wonder on the question to find the right target audience who are willing to understand that loving and taking care of themselves is the first step towards all attainable things

  28. Dara writer


    Nicely explained how to deal with the ” UNSUBSCRIBERS. Thanks jeff.

  29. Dara writer


    Nicely explained how to deal with the ” UNSUBSCRIBERS. Thanks jeff.

  30. Lacy Schoen


    Thanks Jeff! This is an awesome reminder and reinforcement. It’s something I forget sometimes. Perfect timing!

  31. I shared this with my peeps today, it’s so great to find someone else speaking to this so positively! I say all the time, if your list is growing – you’re getting unsubs and that’s a good thing! Some people will love me – some won’t. I’m Ok with that!

  32. This is great. I’ve had people emailed me after they unsubscribe, and say “please don’t be offended I’m unsubscribing to everything.” Sometimes we all need to just clean out our inboxes, I do the same thing. Also, our needs evolve and we find we don’t need the same content anymore. Sometimes when I’m sending an email that is a little different than what I normally send, I put in an intro that says this is a little off topic, or this is something that I don’t normally do, or something like that.

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