Email List Never Grows but Shrinks After Each Email

If you have the challenge of a shrinking email list, you actually have two (2) problems happening at the same time. Which is not good, but the good news is, it's fixable.

Your email list growth doesn’t outweigh unsubscribe rate

Email shrink! Let’s talk about it. This happens when you’re not growing at a pace that outweighs your email list attrition, or the rate of unsubscribes at any point on your email list. You’re going to experience email list attrition throughout your journey as an entrepreneur; putting a plan in place to counter it with both growth and delivering insanely rich content is the key here to win this battle.

If you have the challenge of a shrinking email list, you actually have two (2) problems happening at the same time. Which is not good, but the good news is, it’s fixable.

First, you have a growth problem, which I introduce you to in the challenge of Not Enough Email List Subscribers. Then, you also have what I’m assuming to be a fairly high attrition rate of unsubscribes. So much so that it’s at least 20% of your total opens, which is fairly significant. Otherwise you wouldn’t be here seeking my insight, right?

So let’s start with diagnosing what the problem is.

52 Email List Growth Ideas
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Diagnosing Email Shrink

There are three questions I’ll start you off with to consider your email shrink problem. I ask a lot more in The Story Your Email List Tells, which will help you get to the exact root of your problem faster. But let’s start with these first.

  • If you had to listen to your gut, why do you think people unsubscribe from your list? Your gut reaction is usually spot on. But typically, you already know what the problem is, and the fix requires work and effort, which might be why you’re avoiding it.
  • What’s the one thing impeding your email list growth? Do you find yourself in a catch-22 where the solution you think you need requires money, and you don’t have it? (Hint – my solutions to fix this are in The Story Your Email List Tells and not only do they work well, they don’t require any additional investment of funds. Just your time and effort.)
  • Is there any specific point or type of email you send out that gets the most unsubscribes? Part of diagnosing the issue requires evaluation of all your emails, and noticing patterns; trends for unsubscribes. So if you’re not using an email marketing platform that gives you that kind of data, it may be harder for that data to become clear, but certainly with a little bit of reporting and working with a dashboard, it can be done.

There are a lot of other questions to ask to help you arrive at the problem, of course, but this is a good start. Trusting your gut, while also focusing on the numbers (which don’t lie) is essential to resolving this issue. Because let’s face it; you’ve got two problems to fix and it’s going to be a little whack-a-mole for a little bit until you understand the story that your email list is trying to tell you.

Your subscribers aren’t liking something you’re dishing out. It’s up to you to put yourself as the sidekick to the hero of this story, and let your heroes emerge (your customers / readers) because they’re getting the support they need from you, with the right mix of content. Plus, you’ll need to focus on your growth, and only you know what is stopping you from that growth. But if you need some suggestions or need help with that, definitely start with The Story Your Email List Tells. It’ll help you with ideas for list growth and get more customers / readers like the ones who have converted on your email list.

52 Email List Growth Ideas
Download this FREE guidebook and start building an email list fast!
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What You Need to Know About Email List Shrink

Here’s a few things you absolutely need to know about email list shrink.

  1. You have two problems happening at the same time, and each requires their own diagnosis and treatment. Either way, the bottom line is, people aren’t digging what you’re dishing out. So you’re going to have to make some modifications on both a) how you grow and b) your messaging.
  2. Largely, the email attrition or shrink issue has to do with your copywriting and overall messaging. You could have the most cliché call to action buttons in the world, and still succeed with email list growth. You could have the most vanilla images from Unsplash and still have wild success.
  3. Having something unique that people want is the key. Something no one else has, or is willing to provide. For example, I see lots of tips on growing an email list out there, but there’s not a lot of focus on diagnosing what else could be wrong, which is why The Story Your Email List Tells is not just essential, but the preferred download resource if you’re having challenges with email list issues.

Ideas for Fixing Email List Shrink

There’s a few ideas you can start with, and the first starts with reading Not Enough Email List Subscribers. Then take a look at these three things:

  • Are you tapping into an audience space that has an actual interest in what you offer who also has the funds available to invest in your work?
  • Have you mastered Pinterest marketing yet? Because I have to tell you, that’s a market you’ll want to tap into, because these are people who plan out purchases and are open to learning new things. They are blog readers, DIY-ers, and will be some of the best followers and customers you’ll ever have. (Facebook? Not so much). Pinterest users like to quietly plan and express their interest in pins on a regular interest, and intentionally seek content like yours out. So this is something I’d recommend pursuing.
  • Think about personalizing results for when your subscriber signs up and focus on self-segmenting, so that your emails work harder for you, and your list gets further defined.

That’ll get you sorted out with some ideas for email list growth. Next you’ll need to focus on the data, and where on the journey with your readers you’re struggling. If you’re doing a crash and burn scene somewhere, you need to re-write and turn that entire act into a happy ever after for your brand.

52 Email List Growth Ideas
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  • Look at your data and circle which emails get the worst kind of responses from a click-through, open, and unsubscribe rate perspective. Put those emails on pause and plan a day for re-writes. I once re-wrote my entire welcome onboarding messaging because the more I thought about it, it came across as trite, overly professional, and a bit more corporate-sounding.
  • Consider the messaging in those problem emails. Does it provide value? Is there something “in it” for your reader? Is the content directly related to the reason why your reader signed up for your list?
  • Read through your problem emails. Look for something in common with each one. Is there something – like a phrase – that you use in those that could be off-putting? Do those emails sound like you or does it seem like you’re trying too hard to come off as cool? Are they a little to sales-y? Are they too long or require too much reading effort? Are they too brief and lack value? It’s a balancing act, I know.
  • Is there a reference to a story? What would keep your email reader from unsubscribing? What’s the one carrot you could dangle that will keep them subscribed?

Going to level with you here – all the great ideas above are not going to fix your email list growth problem alone. When I was growing my own email list, there were a bunch of things and behaviors with my list that I had to figure out. So I put together “The Story Your Email List Tells” as a way to help you identify, diagnose, and figure out what your specific problem or challenge may be. Plus, it gives you tasks and goals to work on and attain as you improve your email list situation.

This is a 160+ page interactive guidebook that walks you through specific email list challenges and provides 10 solutions/activities to work on for each situation. Plus, you’ll learn metrics you can work on and what to look for, how to encourage more sales from those lurking & downloading, but never buying, and how to set up workflows that combat inactivity, low open rates, download dashers, and more. And finally, you’ll learn an easy to implement system to get your funnels organized, and create a smooth transition from one to the next.

10 challenges with tactical & strategic solutions for the creative email list marketer. A 100+ page interactive guidebook to help guide you through 10 different email list challenges, including:

Inside you’ll receive activities, tactical solutions, and a larger strategy to make your email list building and management effective and easy.

You’ll learn:

  1. What the problem seems to be (the cliche response) versus what the problem actually is
  2. Tactical steps to improve each scenario
  3. Strategies to implement that will align your brand with a bigger picture result
  4. Metrics to shoot for at various stages (beginner, advanced, intermediate)
  5. Goals (both long- and short-term) to work on each month
  6. My own story with each challenge and what I did to correct them (a behind-the-scenes look at my funnels, stats, and more)
  7. Workflows to set up to conquer download dashers and set up rewards-based system to give favor to your most loyal readers
  8. What to check in diagnosing any of these challenges
  9. How to test and measure results
  10. Quick fixes (for the short-term results) and long-term solutions (for achieving those big dreams of yours)
  11. Other thoughts and suggestions I’ve given clients I’ve worked with and implemented myself that have been helpful

Ready to finally solve your email list growth challenges once and for all? Download the guidebook today!

52 Email List Growth Ideas
Download this FREE guidebook and start building an email list fast!
Thank you for subscribing!

pst! – I do not accept money for my editorial content or posts. All opinions are my own and are not influenced by third parties. This post may contain affiliate links that at no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission. This helps keep the blog running!

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