Your latest campaign isn’t getting much traction; your conversion rate is low and you’re not seeing a significant ROI. There’s only one bright spot, you tell yourself, nobody seems to be unsubscribing, at least. Whoa-up there. It sounds like it’s worse than you thought. You want people to unsubscribe.

No, I don’t

Yes, you do. Your list is a living thing that needs to be refreshed regularly. People unsubscribing isn’t a failure. It’s part of the game. Even with newsletters I’ve enthusiastically signed up for, I find myself occasionally unsubscribing. Sometimes it’s that I’ve purchased the product I wanted information on. Sometimes the offer in the newsletter changed. Sometimes my interests have changed.

I am a fickle human being, like all of your audience. But, as you can see from the reasons above, unsubscribes could be a sign of success as easily as one of failure.

If you’re sending out a few hundred emails, you should expect at least a couple of unsubscribes with each wave. People drop off your list, people get added. It’s the cycle of life.

The dead letter office

If people aren’t unsubscribing and you don’t see good open and conversion rates, there’s a pretty good chance that your emails aren’t reaching anybody’s inbox at all. They may be landing in spam folders like the good old days, but systems are more sophisticated now, particularly if you’re doing B2B marketing.

In order to reach a client, your email has to pass the spam The world's greatest marketing challengefilters of their mail client, the company-wide filters which are often instituted from a third party like Spamhaus, or even from your ISP provider. Whichever of these might be the case, it’s unlikely you’ll be informed that you’ve been branded as undeliverable spam.

An absence of opens or clicks will be your first indication that something may be wrong. We do, occasionally, find that we’re tracking a bot from an email to a form fill. We can only tell this if the landing page doesn’t have a captcha, but we know they’re out there. The unsubscribe links are a fairly reliable indication that what we’re getting are a percentage of genuine readers who are actually looking through your content and reacting to it. It could still be a bot, but we find much less suspicious activity in unsubscribe and privacy links. Other indications of spam filtering are up in the air because the rules, which were never stable, are constantly changing without our knowledge.

The living list

In the end, you want to send communications to the people who want to move down your sales funnel. It costs you money to send out those communications, and if somebody isn’t ever going to purchase from you, the best you can usually hope for is that they’ll unsubscribe. Fill those spaces with new contacts who may become buyers. There is no sense chasing the magic, “what if” of an email that will make the whole world purchase from you. Sure, you will always need to strive to produce better content, but you can never expect that nobody will unsubscribe from your list, no matter how good your content is. And you shouldn’t want to.

Grow your list and harvest. Contact Starshot.