Email unsubscribe guilt-trip

By Chad Kluck on

You’ve lost an email subscriber.

It’s hard, I know, but don’t take it personally. They felt strong enough to find the unsubscribe link at the bottom of the email. Maybe figure out how to log into email messaging preferences with a username and password they long since forgot. They were able to decipher a list of check boxes that didn’t make it clear whether they were accepting or rejecting further messages.

Unsubscribing is a chore, one your now ex-subscriber undertook because just setting up rules to automatically send your emails to the trash wasn’t cutting it anymore. Or maybe they just got tired of hitting delete.

Whatever made them think enough was enough got them here to where they are now, the realization that they don’t want your messages anymore.

I mean, really, did you think you were the only one sending them messages? They got overwhelmed, smothered even. They are taking time to trim unnecessary relationships from their hectic lives, focus on those they desire most. Sorry, they just can't go on pretending they read your messages anymore.

And now, after they hit “Yes, I’m sure. Take me off this/these lists” you want the final say. Just saying, “We’re sorry to see you go” wasn’t good enough. No, you feel angry, maybe even spite. Your messages are important, how could they not realize this? What is wrong with them? It's their fault but you can change and meet their needs! Yes, you got defensive and you said something you can’t take back by putting the blame on them. “We’re sorry you didn’t find our messages useful and felt the need to unsubscribe. Millions of customers rely on us every day to give them the latest deals and information on our products. If you unsubscribed by accident, please click the link below. You will be removed from our server in 2-3 days.”

Maybe if you said this with an image of a crying robot, or even some humor it would lighten the mood. I doubt it. You'd have to be pretty special to pull that one off.

But no, the malice is felt by your ex, the final bridge burned. You and your ex-subscriber are lucky if you can even “just be friends” anymore. You've lost any chance for a casual hook-up when they have needs that only you were once able to fulfill. They'll find someone else, someone not a needy or impulsive.

Maybe instead of taking time to craft a guilt trip you could just end things amicably. Let it go and maybe they'll come back when you have perfected your communication, shown your worthiness--your ability to listen and not talk all about you. Email a little less, make your content something a subscriber would actually like to read and engage in. Maybe they just don’t need a special offer every day, week, or month. Were they a high volume customer anyway?

And maybe, just maybe, they already follow your Twitter or Facebook account. Maybe email was just an unnecessary clutter in their already messy inbox.

Even if it wasn’t your fault just let the subscriber go. The relationship wasn’t going anywhere anyway.