Skip to content

Why I Just Unsubscribed 400 of You

CJ Chilvers
CJ Chilvers
1 min read

The goal of my newsletter is to connect with my readers. It’s a simple, clear goal, but it’s not easy to maintain. Higher open rates on fewer emails are worth vastly more to me than lower open rates on many emails.

Because of this, I periodically unsubscribe large numbers of readers from my newsletter who haven’t opened an issue in a long time. This time it was around 400 people.

This is something businesses almost never do. If there’s even a microscopic chance someone will open an email and buy something, that person stays subscribed.

Here’s why I do what most businesses don’t:

  1. I’m not a business, I’m a person. My goal is connecting with other real people. Most good things in my life have come about because of connections I’ve made online. No joke — even my family.
  2. It costs more to maintain a large list. Each non-reader, or not-interested reader, is a cost incurred with nothing to show for it.
  3. Gmail hates it. Unfortunately, Gmail is what most of my readers use for email (please consider something like Fastmail or Hover — don’t let an ad company host your email). Google knows your open rate. If they deem your emails lower quality because of a lower open rate, your emails can end up in the promotions tab or spam folder. You become invisible. You’d be shocked how many big name newsletters I find in the spam folder of my old Gmail account.

I give these subscribers a chance to stay subscribed if they want. I send out an email with a button or link they can click to stay. If there’s no response, they’re unsubscribed from the list.

If you’d like to learn more about how to weed non-readers on Mailchimp, check out this thread from Paul Jarvis (you can dive even deeper into these topics in his course Chimp Essentials).