How to Lose a Subscriber in 10 Days


In 2018, an email is the beginning of a digital relationship. So, when someone voluntarily gives you theirs, it’s a pretty big deal.

In fact, it’s almost the same thing as giving your number to a cute stranger you met at the grocery store. In that moment of optimistic spontaneity, you’re hopeful. Hopeful that things will go well, they send you messages you care about, and that you’re ultimately interested.

So, when a consumer gives you their email… it’s game on. Out of all the fish in the sea (err internet), they picked you. Our advice? Don’t f#*8 it up!

We’ve compiled a list of how some brands get broken up with, stood up, or worse, ignored. Avoid these pitfalls to maintain a very long and happy relationship with your new digital BAE.

Making it hard to unsubscribe

Nothing kicks off a healthy relationship by force and trickery, right? Wrong. Well, unless you’re Andie Anderson or Benjamin Barry, whose relationship is based on a bet in the 2003 rom-com, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days.

Give your consumers the courtesy and respect to exit the relationship as they please. Sometimes, they’re just not that into you. But if they like you, they’ll stay. And If they don’t, you still have the opportunity to improve and woo them back another way (social targeting, etc.), but don’t force a relationship when it’s not wanted.

Netflix and overfill

3 emails a day your first week together? Not a good look. Nothing says “I’m crazy” like inundating someone with a constant barrage of (unwanted) communication. Remember the love fern? Don’t be like Andie.

Don’t set the tone of your relationship as one sided, if you’re using consumers as a receptacle of for email communication, that’s exactly the type of relationship you are creating.

Too many last chances

Your subscribers are smart and they can sniff out a fake “last call” email faster than Andie can say, “I’m a vegetarian.” There are a few things to consider when running a last chance promo. Is it actually the subscribers last chance? Or, will they see this offer again soon? If the latter is true, you’re lying to you subscribers and they’ll start to catch on to your untruthful marketing practices.

Oh, and let’s not lower the bar too low. If your subscribers get used to see marked down prices, they’ll likely not buy your product at full price. Just look at Banana Republic or Gap. Will you ever pay full price for any of their items when you know a 40% sale comes around every other week? Not likely.

Sharing isn’t caring

For many brands, and publishers in particular, third-party emails are a common practice. While it is a consistent revenue and service opportunity, third-party emails can be the death of any consumer/business relationship. The biggest mistake we see? Publishers giving up all branding in lieu of a third-party email. If the “from” name is yours, it’s your email. Don’t confuse your consumers about who you are by sending out items that don’t look look like and feel like you. This is your relationship. Don’t let anyone else author or decide how that relationship should go.

Don’t overcomplicate things

If you have to describe to someone how to use their account, your account setup is flawed. If I have to keep telling someone how great you are, you’re probably not that great. You can likely blame Apple for this, but consumers are accustomed to intuitive technology. If yours isn’t? Don’t put a spotlight on how complicated it is with a wordy email exchange. If yours is simple to use? Don’t complicate it with a wordy exchange. You have much more to offer than instructions, show ‘em what you’re made of.

It’s too soon

Sending a subscription offer too soon can feel … icky. If you begin your relationship by giving first, you can ask later without it feeling like a sales pitch. Give them content first. Wait until the subscriber is interested, engaged, and wanting more from your brand, then hit them with a subscription offer they won’t be able to refuse. This way, it will feel like the natural next step in your relationship … much like meeting the parents, or saying “I love you.”

Where do you shake out?

If your current email marketing strategy is anything like Andie Anderson’s dating strategy you’re bound to lose subscribers. It’s time to start changing your habits. Start small and see how your subscribers respond.

But if you treat your subscribers like an IRL relationship, you can be riding off into the sunset together. Soon, they could be buying an annual subscription (woah … commitment), following you on social media, introducing you to their friends, and even attending events you’re hosting. Before you know it, you’ve got yourself a lifelong partner. That, my friends, is a real modern day rom-com.