When Someone Unsubscribes From Your List

fired-up_webI was very sad today (at the time of original production of this post November 2013) because someone unsubscribed from my list.

It wasn't so much that she had “gone”, but I felt that I had let her down by not providing what she wanted from me.

The comment she left me was: “This takes too much time and money and isn't for beginners”.

My first instinct (which I actually did) was to email her to apologize for not meeting her needs, and I attached some completely free training that I'd already got lined up as my next newsletter. I was quite dejected.

Then I changed my thinking.

  • I had produced a survey for my readers asking: “How Can I Help You?” By process of elimination I am fairly certain she hadn't filled it in to ask for what she wanted.
  • If she has learned, by reading my posts, that she doesn't have a big enough desire to commit herself to building an online business, I've probably done her a huge favor by saving her time and money. So long as she doesn't follow the “bright shiny object” trail….
  • Everyone was a beginner at some time. I don't think any one of us started out online infused with a free drip-feed of Internet Marketing knowledge. We learned it the hard way, bit by bit!

My take-away lesson from this post is that not everyone is suited to starting an online business and working from home.

If they're not prepared to accept that there's no such thing as a free lunch, and hard work and learning are required, it's best they learn the truth sooner rather than later, instead of pursuing the impossible dream of instant riches.

Who should NOT start an online business? Click To Tweet

Update July 2018:

I learned from this lady's comment, and found some great training that beginners can follow. Click here (affiliate link).

Learn Internet Marketing

When Someone Unsubscribes From Your List

Returning to my dilemma of the lady who left my list, and what I could have done better.

The people who DID fill in my survey ranged from Complete Beginner to Advanced.

So I'm learning that it's actually quite tough to meet everyone's needs. I'd be really interested in comments from people more experienced than I am:

  • What you did when someone unsubscribed from your list
  • How you pitch the level of your newsletters.

Please share your comments at the bottom of this post.



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I left it too late to plan for a financially secure retirement. Don't make my mistake. Start building an extra income with a part-time (or full-time) business online. Think you don't have time? Can't afford the start-up cost? Can't meet sales targets? Contact me for free advice (no obligation) on the best fit for your circumstances.

Jason Power - November 12, 2013


Thanks for sharing your experience with this, the thought of someone unsubscribing can really ruin a blogger or website owners confidence. The thing that should really be realized is that the value you offer may not be for everyone and make everyone happy. Asking for feedback is a great way to meet the value that is needed.

Thanks for the advice,

    Joy Healey - November 13, 2013

    Hi Jason

    You’re right, it did knock my confidence – but in a funny way it was almost a confidence booster – why?
    Well I still think of myself very much a beginner in online marketing, so for someone to think my “stuff” is not for beginners – well….. I must have come on a bit LOL


Ron Killian - November 12, 2013

I use to be bothered when people unsubscribed from my list, but now I don’t give it much thought. Not that I don’t care, it’s just that I can’t do anything about it, so why beat myself up?

Also, if some one want’s off my list, I don’t want them on my list. For what ever reason they want off, and it’s often nothing you’ve done, or haven’t done. They could have had a bad day. They could be in information overload, which is most likely from what it sounds. It could have been a day that it was “all just too much”. We’ve all been there.

I would rather have people that want to be on my list, those are the ones that will be more prone to purchase if I promote something.

Well, just my thoughts. You shouldn’t take it so hard. 🙂

    Joy Healey - November 13, 2013

    Hi Ron

    Thanks for your thoughts – yes, I suppose I have “clear out” days when I just power through a load of lists and unsubscribe.

    Trust me to get all upset! LOL

    Thanks for cheering me up.


Jan Kearney - November 13, 2013

I really need to get back in the habit of mailing my list…

I don’t pay much attention if people unsubscribe, really for the same reasons as Ron. If people don’t want to hear from me that’s fine – what I do and how I communicate (or not at the moment!) isn’t for everyone anyway.

    Joy Healey - November 13, 2013

    Hi Jan

    You’re right of course – I guess I’m being unrealistic to expect to please everyone. It’s never going to happen 🙂

    Good to catch up again. I’ve been very much out of the loop lately for the best of possible reasons – too much paid work. Can’t knock it!!


Wendy Bottrell - November 13, 2013

When I first started mailing to my list I would be devastated if someone unsubscribed. Like you I would feel like I let them down and somehow it was my fault. Over the past year I have learned that if they don’t want to be on my list that it is ok! I am learning to speak directly to the ones that want the information, knowledge that I can provide them in a way that they will benefit from. Thanks for sharing your story and experience Joy! Always really great to hear from others what they experience and how it impacts them. Best Regards, Wendy PS- Liked your image! 🙂

    Joy Healey - November 14, 2013

    Hi Wendy

    Thanks for your reassurance. I expect I’ll get used to it LOL.

    Glad you liked the image.

    Thanks for dropping by.


Guy Martin - November 15, 2013

Hi Joy,

It appears you’ve gone out of your way to address this person’s concern.

I think you’re beating yourself up a little too much on this undeserving subscriber.

It’s a given that no one can please everyone so just do your best and let the chips fall where thy will.

Thanks for the post.


    Joy Healey - November 21, 2013

    Thanks for the reassurance, Guy.

    She didn’t reply to my email, so I shall just leave well alone.

    As you say, I’ll never please everyone!

    Thanks for dropping by.


Una - November 15, 2013

Great learning Joy! 🙂

While I’m a great believer that “Business IS Personal” (as in be authentic, be real, connect with people, etc) that doesn’t mean to take things personally…

Well done.

    Joy Healey - November 20, 2013

    Thanks Una.

    Good point – be personal without taking things personally!


Siraj Wahid - November 15, 2013

Hey Joy,

I’m not much into the mailing list, i know that getting rid of inactive people from your list is a good feeling but if someone active from the list unsubscribes it’s the worst feeling. Just try focus on the aspects which led her towards unsubscribing from your newsletter.

Have a good weekend 🙂


    Joy Healey - November 20, 2013

    Hi Sarij

    Yes, you’re right – if someone is inactive they may as well not be taking up space on my list!


Sarah - November 16, 2013

Hi Joy

hmmm…well here I am having just done a clean up of my inbox, wondering how many people I have upset by unsubscribing..then I thought, hang on! Like you, I am a relative newbie to IM but also like you, I work damn hard to figure out the stuff I don’t know.
I unsubscribe when I am in overload mode..when I realise I have taken on too many ideas at once..and often when people are spammy!

I know your stuff..you are not spammy, you are helpful..BUT..you cannot please all of the people all of the time. We all learn at different rates (trust me I’m a teacher..I KNOW this)..and we all need different things at different times. We are all beginners in different things..that, for example is why we seek out those who are on the next level..e.g the challenges we do with Sue, the blog posts we share to be helpful..you don’t need someone on your list who wants you to hand them a magic key, because there isn’t one!

Done properly, Internet marketing brings you into a community, where people share, are helpful and move forward together. Occasionally, you pay money for good stuff, sometimes you get sucked into Shiny Object Syndrome, go OUCH..and warn others!

But, making money online..is a learning journey and for some that is just too hard..because it requires WORK..and they believe the nonsense spouted by Get Rich con artists.

You just keep doing what you are doing, honestly and with integrity and that unsubscribe will be outweighed by the new subscribers (like me)

Sarah 🙂

    Joy Healey - November 20, 2013

    Hi Sarah

    Thanks for your comments – and yes you’re right I sometimes have mass unsubscribes and I hope people don’t get upset!

    I’ll carry on as ever!


Samson Ogola - December 3, 2013

I must say you have touched on an issue that I have been the source of my discouragement. I have seen people joining my blog only to unsubscribe some without even a reason. The ones that appear frustrating most is the Twitter and Google+ Unfollowers.. You just feel like you are loosing it. Thanks for sharing this piece I feel encouraged now.

    Joy Healey - December 4, 2013

    Hi Samson

    I sometimes wonder if “they” know how hard we work. But I suppose I unsubscribe from lists with no particular reason. It’s maybe better than them just staying there costing me money! Incidentally – I think that unsubscribes actually “stay” costing you money until you free up the space (a bit like a recycle bin LOL). Something for people to check out with their own Auto-responder provider.


John Talbot - April 4, 2014

I may not be an experienced blogger, but I do DJ, and a lot of the marketing techniques that bloggers use I use as well to promote myself. It feels great and horrible to lose someone, but all you gotta do is just keep doing what you’re doing and the people that truly appreciate your work will stay.

    Joy Healey - May 4, 2014

    Hi John, thanks for the encouragement. You’re right the techniques are the same for DJ as for blogging. Sorry for the late reply – I had to go away on (happy!) family matters. Joy

Mark - September 17, 2014

Hey Joy!

Great post BTW! First of all, your concern for an ex- subscriber is truly admirable!

But hey, keep in mine, it’s your current and future subscribers that will be supporting your business!

Not ex subscribers.

Every body gets unsubscribe requests. Some people simply aren’t that committed!

And there’s absolutely nothing anyone can do to change that!

So don’t focus on them. She obviously knows better than you if what you have to offer suits her current needs!

There are literally tons of future potential subscribers, that are far more serious and committed, who’ve yet to join your list, buy your products and services!

Send you referrals and social bookmark your content all over social media.

And then there’s the occasional un-subscriber! Sounds like your well ahead in the big picture!

We don’t need to retain every single subscriber, in order to have an extremely prosperous on or offline business!

Take care and keep your head up!

Your future subscriber/customer/clients are all depending on you!

    Joy Healey - September 18, 2014

    Hi Mark,

    Welcome to my blog and thanks for looking round.

    I appreciate your encouraging remarks about my ex-subscriber. I guess when it really comes down to it, some people just don’t want to be self-employed, even though they think they do. It’s certainly not as easy as it’s cracked up to be!

    But you’re right – I should be looking to the future, and not looking back. I’m gathering people steadily and the overall drift is up rather than down!

    Thanks for the encouragement.


Rachit - June 2, 2015

Once a user commented on my blog. Accidently akismet took it as spam and I deleted it without reviewing.
the user unsubscribed and shot me an email about how sad it was for her.
I found her website from footer link and donated $34 to her ngo. She was more than happy and came back.
As a blogger and marketer, I can do anything for capturing readers. Because they are a blog’s lifeline.

    Joy - June 4, 2015

    Oh goodness, that really is going the extra mile, and very generous of you.

    I have to check all my “spam” comments very carefully because I have an over-aggressive anti-spam plugin and it spams almost everything which is rather annoying, but I’ve got used to it.

    For those who wonder what it does: it added an enormous number of words to the list that triggers a “spam” alert. I’ve been through and deleted some of the really stupid ones, but I’ve left the rest in place because it’s such a comprehensive list I haven’t the heart to delete it. Someone has gone to real trouble to put that list together.


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