Offering a free gift, or ethical bribe, is a great way to grow your email list.
But after spending hours agonizing over the content, putting it into a nice package with professional looking formatting and a nice cover, and then finally geting the optin box on the website where people can claim their free gift in exchange for providing their name and email address, you may discover that when you email these new subscribers ANYTHING other than their free gift, they unsubscribe. And then every email you send results in more unsubscribes!
What to do?
You may be tempted to stop emailing these people. After all, if you don’t email them, they don’t have anything to unsubscribe from! But if the point is to use email marketing to grow your business, emailing them is the whole point.
Instead of feeling bad about those unsubscribes, you need to put them into perspective.
First, there are a lot of reasons that people unsubscribe. The most common are:
1. They don’t remember subscribing. People have very short memories so even if you are using a double-optin process (and you should) and the only way they could actually be on your list is if they personally subscribed, it is possible that they will forget giving you permission.
2. They only wanted the free gift. Although YOUR intention with your free gift is to add people to your mailing list, many people only optin to get the gift and don’t actually want to be on your list at all.
3. They want more or less email than you send. Everyone has their own personal perspective on how much email is just right and what is right for you to send may, or may not, be right for other people to receive.
4. They are overwhelmed with email in general. Let’s face it, all of us receive more email than we can deal with and sometimes digging out from that overwhelm means doing a lot of unsubscribing…. and sometimes they will choose your list to leave in order to make their inbox more sane.
5. The content you send is not what they want. Your content can be valuable AND not what the subscriber was looking for at the same time. Think about the coffee you drink. You like what you like just because you like it… and it isn’t a comment on any other kind of coffee.
The attrition rate — the number of subscribers you lose over time — from a free gift offer can be quite high. Some will unsubscibe immediately — even from the email that delivers their free gift — especially if they fall into Reason #2. But with every email you send, you’ll see more and more of those hard-won subscribers leave. Don’t take it personally.
People who unsubscribe are self-selecting themselves as NOT being your ideal client.
They are participating in a sifting process that will leave behind only those who really want to be in your audience.
To keep yourself sane, expect to lose up to 50% of your free gift optins over time and you won’t find yourself disappointed when people leave (and you’ll be happy when the rate is only 20%).
Keep your focus on getting your offer in front of as many members of your ideal audience as you can and you will see your business grow (even when people unsubscribe).