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Blog Action Day Lost Me Subscribers – What To Do About Unsubscribes

So was Blog Action Day a success? I feel like it was. My post got a warm response and there was a lot of buzz around the intarwebs.

It seems though my comment about the topic getting folks hot under the collar was spot on. I had the worst day for unsubscribes ever!

I have FeedBurner email me whenever anyone unsubscribes. Every so often I will email and ask why people left. Up to now I have had stinker posts that send people away, but it is usually when people get tired of getting a daily email they leave me.

Yesterday I had double the previous record of unsubs. If you think email counts for around 40% to a half of my subscribers at any time this means I lost a shed load of people by talking about the environment.
While a good many will have dropped my feed because the post was off-topic (although I did try to make it relevant to blogging and memes)Β  and I use a few people every day anyway, it seems as I got positive feedback in the comments, the subject matter of the post was responsible.

Should I worry? Is there something I can do to “fix” this?

No, I don’t think so.

  • Success means some people will hate what you do
  • One off-topic post in several hundred is not excessive
  • They likely only want to read stuff that agrees with their world-view, not likely to find much of that here
  • I will be taking part in the next Blog Action Day so they might as well leave now

The time to worry about unsubscribes is when you have an over all downward trend or you have no idea why people have left you. I am pretty sure I know the reason for this as I have been monitoring my unsubs for quite a while and thankfully my trend has been broadly upwards since I launched πŸ™‚

My advice:

  1. Monitor your unsubscribes – Go to Feedburner and navigate Publicize/EMail Subscriptions then tick “Send me an email whenever people unsubscribe”
  2. Ask Why – Email people who unsubscribe and ask why they did. Half the time it will be nothing you did or you will have no control over it.
  3. Learn From Trends – You can’t please everyone all the time but if many people say the same thing there is probably something to learn from. Keep your subscriber count growing and experiment, learn from the positive and negative feedback.

How did Blog Action Day work out for you? Let me know in the comments …

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Comments

  1. Major Bummer Chris. I remember John Chow also saying something like “a sign of success is when people start hating you” or something along those lines.

    It definitely shows that people were moved by what you said, just unfortunately in the wrong direction πŸ™

  2. Major Bummer Chris. I remember John Chow also saying something like “a sign of success is when people start hating you” or something along those lines.

    It definitely shows that people were moved by what you said, just unfortunately in the wrong direction πŸ™

  3. Yeah I am not too upset because overall my subscriber count is going up but I would love to create something of value for each and every one of my readers while knowing that is never possible

  4. Yeah I am not too upset because overall my subscriber count is going up but I would love to create something of value for each and every one of my readers while knowing that is never possible

  5. I posted something a little different, asking people to educate me about the environment since I don’t really know too much about it. I got 0 comments, haha.

    Oh well, I picked up some things to think about on other blogs, including here, so I’m happy. πŸ™‚

  6. Your feedburner stats seem to have gone up πŸ™‚

  7. I posted something a little different, asking people to educate me about the environment since I don’t really know too much about it. I got 0 comments, haha.

    Oh well, I picked up some things to think about on other blogs, including here, so I’m happy. πŸ™‚

  8. Your feedburner stats seem to have gone up πŸ™‚

  9. @Mike – Sometimes writing a comment can be a chance to get something “wrong” in public, especially on topics such as this, so they get frightened off. I wouldn’t be too put off by the lack of comments πŸ™‚

    @Jack – I am glad to see that πŸ™‚ Thankfully as well as losing a bunch of folks I gained some at the same time πŸ™‚

  10. @Mike – Sometimes writing a comment can be a chance to get something “wrong” in public, especially on topics such as this, so they get frightened off. I wouldn’t be too put off by the lack of comments πŸ™‚

    @Jack – I am glad to see that πŸ™‚ Thankfully as well as losing a bunch of folks I gained some at the same time πŸ™‚

  11. Watching for trends goes both ways. At my stage of the game, I’m looking at what gets the traffic in the door and also looking for related subscription increases to see what content was created and read. Something as simple as an article that links to an older article (more popular article) could be the key.

  12. Watching for trends goes both ways. At my stage of the game, I’m looking at what gets the traffic in the door and also looking for related subscription increases to see what content was created and read. Something as simple as an article that links to an older article (more popular article) could be the key.

  13. Absolutely, we need to look at what makes the count move in either direction. Normally what makes my count grow more than normal is a good link from another blogger.

  14. Absolutely, we need to look at what makes the count move in either direction. Normally what makes my count grow more than normal is a good link from another blogger.

  15. Sorry to hear you lost subscribers Chris, How did the environment become so controversial?

  16. Sorry to hear you lost subscribers Chris, How did the environment become so controversial?

  17. There is saying Chris

    When you try to change something first people resist it, then they accept it and later on they appreciate it.

    No worries, Keep doing what you are doing and people will come back one way or the other.

    Ashish

  18. There is saying Chris

    When you try to change something first people resist it, then they accept it and later on they appreciate it.

    No worries, Keep doing what you are doing and people will come back one way or the other.

    Ashish

  19. Can I be honest? I marked all of the ‘blog action day’ posts as read without really even looking at them.

    Think most of it has to do with the fact that I have been busy this week however!

  20. Can I be honest? I marked all of the ‘blog action day’ posts as read without really even looking at them.

    Think most of it has to do with the fact that I have been busy this week however!

  21. I didn’t know that ONE (slightly) off-topic post could result in unsubs. And man, your subscribers are mean!

    I mean, it wasn’t that you were going to talk about the environment forever. It was just a one-off post, and it was actually for a good cause! If they didn’t like it, or didn’t have time to read something irrelevant, they could always scroll pass it, and mark it as “Read”.

    They didn’t have to unsubscribe just because of ONE post, no?

  22. I didn’t know that ONE (slightly) off-topic post could result in unsubs. And man, your subscribers are mean!

    I mean, it wasn’t that you were going to talk about the environment forever. It was just a one-off post, and it was actually for a good cause! If they didn’t like it, or didn’t have time to read something irrelevant, they could always scroll pass it, and mark it as “Read”.

    They didn’t have to unsubscribe just because of ONE post, no?

  23. Thanks for the information about feedburner, I didn’t know we could do that.

    And it is a good idea to ask why they unsubscribed, because being able to do something about it will all help in building your readership, and getting to know what they like.

    Thanks again!

  24. Thanks for the information about feedburner, I didn’t know we could do that.

    And it is a good idea to ask why they unsubscribed, because being able to do something about it will all help in building your readership, and getting to know what they like.

    Thanks again!

  25. BlogActionDay was pretty cool for me I have to say, got linked to from the blog action day blog, and the next day I noticed an increase in RSS subscribers (12% more, not bad at all)

    I check every once in a while on Feedburner and e-mail folks that didn,t verify their e-mails, or e-mail people and ask why they unsubscribe, most of the time, it’s because they added the feed to their feed reader instead.

    “I will be taking part in the next Blog Action Day so they might as well leave now” hehe that’s a good one, will participate too πŸ˜€

  26. BlogActionDay was pretty cool for me I have to say, got linked to from the blog action day blog, and the next day I noticed an increase in RSS subscribers (12% more, not bad at all)

    I check every once in a while on Feedburner and e-mail folks that didn,t verify their e-mails, or e-mail people and ask why they unsubscribe, most of the time, it’s because they added the feed to their feed reader instead.

    “I will be taking part in the next Blog Action Day so they might as well leave now” hehe that’s a good one, will participate too πŸ˜€

  27. Chris,

    I un-subscribed recently primarily due to the fact that you seemed to be posting every day even if you did not have anything useful to say. After a while this has become more of an annoyance that precipitated the decision to cut the feed and make a visit once in a while to the blog to scan the posts for what might be of interest.

    So I guess the feed burner stats perhaps may not tell a whole story as there may well be many more visitors like me out there.

    My suggestions are post less and spend the time coming up with better quality posts.

    PS. I hope you were not driving when you took the photo’s of the cooling towers?

  28. Chris,

    I un-subscribed recently primarily due to the fact that you seemed to be posting every day even if you did not have anything useful to say. After a while this has become more of an annoyance that precipitated the decision to cut the feed and make a visit once in a while to the blog to scan the posts for what might be of interest.

    So I guess the feed burner stats perhaps may not tell a whole story as there may well be many more visitors like me out there.

    My suggestions are post less and spend the time coming up with better quality posts.

    PS. I hope you were not driving when you took the photo’s of the cooling towers?

  29. @Steven – It might not have been the environment, maybe I just suck πŸ™‚

    @Ashish – Hope so!

    @Jermayn – I would much rather people mark as read or delete emails than ubsub because of one post but we all make our own choices πŸ™‚

    @pelf – People unsubscribed before because I posted a picture of a UK tabloid newspaper that they didn’t like so I am not too surprised.

    @Mandy – Yeah when I have time I try to ask. Some people reply, others don’t. They will rarely tell you without prompting.

    @Jon – Glad you did well from it πŸ™‚

    @Mark – Were there any posts in particular you didn’t like? My wife was driving when that pic was taken, I can multi-task but not that well πŸ™‚

  30. @Steven – It might not have been the environment, maybe I just suck πŸ™‚

    @Ashish – Hope so!

    @Jermayn – I would much rather people mark as read or delete emails than ubsub because of one post but we all make our own choices πŸ™‚

    @pelf – People unsubscribed before because I posted a picture of a UK tabloid newspaper that they didn’t like so I am not too surprised.

    @Mandy – Yeah when I have time I try to ask. Some people reply, others don’t. They will rarely tell you without prompting.

    @Jon – Glad you did well from it πŸ™‚

    @Mark – Were there any posts in particular you didn’t like? My wife was driving when that pic was taken, I can multi-task but not that well πŸ™‚

  31. wow, that’s rough. My blog action day post has actually been the most popular post ever on my blog. It netted the most 1st day hits of any other post and also the most trackbacks.

  32. wow, that’s rough. My blog action day post has actually been the most popular post ever on my blog. It netted the most 1st day hits of any other post and also the most trackbacks.