Yes, I Asked My Readers to Unsubscribe

By Alexis Rodrigo | Email Marketing

Jan 29

Every online marketer wants their lists to get bigger and bigger, right? So why did I just send an email to one of my lists today, asking them to unsubscribe?


I did this because I'm after quality and not just quantity. Sure, I want people to get on my list and give me permission to communicate with them regularly. On the other hand, I don't want subscribers who never open my emails or, worse, tag my emails as “spam.” (All my lists are double opt-in, so there's no way I would spam anybody)

Hopefully, today's email will purge this particular list of those who signed up only for the free information, or those who've grown tired or bored with me. Because if that's the case, then I'd rather make space in my list for those who are truly interested in what I have to offer.

Here's the letter I sent:


Subject: Will you stay or will you go?

I'm emailing you today with an urgent question: Would you
like to stay subscribed to the XYZ Newsletter?

I ask because as the number of subscriber grows, it costs me
more to keep using the service that allows me to communicate
with you easily.

So I'd like to keep you in the system only if you really
want to keep receiving information from me.

If you decide to stay…

You'll keep getting:

* weekly updates on new articles that are published at
* occasional news and information from me
* once in a while, a recommendation, promotion or offer for
a product or service I think you may like and find useful

If these sound good to you, then do nothing and you'll stay

However, if you:

* are too busy to read emails from me
* think what you've gotten from me so far are useless,
boring or irrelevant
* think it's offensive for me to send you promos that will
earn me affiliate commissions or outright sales (if/when I
come up with my own products)

…then please click the unsubscribe link below.

We'll still be friends, I promise. I won't get hurt or think
ill of you.

All I ask is that you take a minute or two to really think
about it and decide: will you stay or will you go?

Yes – Do nothing.

No – Click the unsubscribe link below.

Whatever your answer, thank you and have a great weekend!

*********END OF EMAIL**************

What do you think?

Was I foolish to ask my readers to unsubscribe? How do you make sure you attract and keep only quality leads in your lists? And how would you feel if you received this email?

PS: This email went out to my natural parenting list only. So if you didn't receive it, that means you're not on that particular list.

Creative Commons License photo credit: lovstromp


About the Author

Lexi Rodrigo is a communication and marketing professional for multimillion-dollar businesses, co-author of Blog Post Ideas: 21 Proven Ways to Create Compelling Content and Kiss Writer's Block Goodbye, and host of "Marketing Insights LIVE!." Connect with Lexi on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn.

  • Mike Korner says:

    Hi Lexi,

    I’m NOT a subscriber of your Natural Parenting list, so I’m just commenting in general.

    * If I love your newsletter, I would have just ignored it.
    * If I don’t love your newsletter, I may have unsubscribed just because you made it easy.
    * If I hadn’t read your newsletter for awhile, I probably would have stopped and read a couple of your recent e-mails and then decided to stay or go.
    * If I didn’t want your e-mail anymore because I’m getting the information via RSS feed, I probably would have unsubscribed just because you made it easy.

    * I think it never hurts to remind readers that you want them to feel engaged, and to remind them how your newsletter or website helps them.
    * Having some links to recent articles or newsletters would help the decision process.
    * Given that you were stirring the pot, so to speak, and were forcing me to think about the coolness of your newsletter/site, it would have been a natural place for you to solicit ideas for future topics, too.
    * A 10% off coupon might have enticed people to look around for a while.

    Hope it helps!

    • Alexis says:

      Hi Mike, Thank you very much for your thoughtful comments. I didn’t think to add links to recent posts. I guess I thought, if they haven’t been to the blog in a while, then that means they’re not that interested. As for soliciting advice, I really only wanted one action from my readers: do nothing or unsubcribe. That’s it. I didn’t want to give them too many options 😉

      And finally, I don’t have a product for this particular list, so no coupon. And besides, I didn’t want to “bribe” them anymore. They either love me or they don’t.

  • Lexi,

    I think it’s smart to check in with your list every so often to be sure they really want to stick with you. I’ll take a small but focussed list of interested followers any day over a large list of uninterested folks. This was a great idea. Did you get many unsubscribes?

  • Great idea, Lexi! Gutsy, too. What was the response like?

    • Alexis says:

      Thanks Catherine and Pamela! Strangely, very few have unsubscribed so far. I’m going to resend the email to those who haven’t opened it by Monday. Love Aweber for allowing me to do this 🙂

  • Marc says:

    Love it – In fact, I just subscribed to your list to see what other cool shizzle you got ging on.

    • Alexis says:

      Thanks for the feedback, Marc. And thanks for signing up for this list. I hope to keep sending you guys really useful stuff.

  • Eugen Oprea says:

    I have the same opinion about quantity vs. quality.

    I would rather have fewer readers/subscribers who engage than having thousands who don’t even read my emails.

    Thanks for sharing this with us. It’s good to hear that the unsubscribe rate was not too big.

  • Angela says:

    I’ve actually done this pretty regularly. It’s been quite a while since I have though so I might be due.

    I don’t think it’s foolish at all. I think it helps cull the list of people just sitting and will never take action, so they go. And it also gets people who could be engaged to start engaging.

    Once people misunderstood me or took offence thinking I wanted them OFF my list if they hadn’t bought anything yet, though that isn’t even close to what I said. So they were basically like “well if you don’t want me here, I’ll go then” lol. Overall it’s always been a positive thing, though.

    How did your people react? Did you get any people confused or upset that you well telling them they could unsubscribe?

    • Alexis Rodrigo says:

      Hi Angela – This was so long ago that I can’t remember anymore, LOL! I’m going to purge my email list again soon, but I’ve learned that, before doing that, it’s a good idea to run a re-engagement series first. Have you ever done something like that? If so, I’d love to know how you tried to re-engage your less active subscribers.

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