We’ll start with three little confessions:

1️⃣ It’s always a little uncomfortable to discuss unsubscribes in our email content. It feels like flirting with danger (even though you’ve always known it was an option).

2️⃣ People unsubscribe from theCLIKK every day. Sad but true.

3️⃣ When we look at the unsub numbers, there’s always a creeping fear that it’s “our fault.” More specifically: we might worry that our editorial decisions directly caused those unsubscribes, that we’ve “failed” those readers, or worse, that we’ve made enemies of them somehow.

Let’s use today to dispel that last worry in particular—because we know better (it’s an irrational fear) and, more importantly, because we know we’re not alone in our occasional nail-biting.

This is a daily cycle for us, so we’ll share three ways that we quiet the subscriber’s guilt unsub worries and stay focused on the work:

🌎 We remind ourselves of the big-picture math. When your audience is (tens of) thousands of people, it’s simply not reasonable to think that everyone will stay. It might seem awful to think that 20 people went f**k this, I’m outta here—like you’re picturing all 20 people walking out of one small room—when in reality, it’s more like 20 people walking out of a basketball arena (which will happen even in the most exciting moments of a game).

📊 We track our baselines and averages. Still, we don’t want to “blow off” the people we’re losing, in case we really did make a mistake somewhere—so we look at each day’s numbers knowing what’s typical. If that day’s unsub number is average or lower, we don’t dig any deeper; if it’s above average, we take another look at the mail; if it’s way above average (which has only happened a handful of times), we discuss it as a team.

🤔 We remember the last things we unsubscribed from. Very, very rarely have we ever unsubscribed out of spite, anger, bitterness, or anything we’d ever bother to discuss with other people. 99% of the time, it’s just some version of “growing apart” and there’s no hard feelings. (Without some red flag to the contrary, this is usually a pretty safe assumption.)

Beyond this sort of “due diligence” checking the data, there’s only one thing left to do: the best you can.

It’s easier if you can have a little fun with it. 😎

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