Never Look to See Who “Unsubscribed”

Young Woman With Lowered Eyes by Frederic Bazille, 1869, public domain.

If you use a service like MailChimp or Campaign Monitor, you probably know that you can look to see who has “unsubscribed” from your list. If you didn’t know this, I’m sorry to be the one to tell you because I’m urging you to never look at this list of who “unsubscribed” ever again.

Why? Because that list gives you no tangible information about why someone opted out. So, without information, you might imagine that the person who unsubscribed found your art boring or, worse, they don’t like you. If you’re like the sensitive artists I know, you might imagine all kinds of reasons someone opted out and your feelings might be hurt.

The fact is, you have no idea why anyone unsubscribes. It’s likely that their opting out has nothing to do with you or your possibly dull or probably stunning art. Your guesses as to why they unsubscribed are truly not worth thinking about. Here’s one case in point:

I was talking to a client, author Mickey Trescott, who hired me to coach her on presentations she gave at her book events. She mentioned how much she benefited from working with me. She even offered to write a testimonial. 

Then, a few weeks later, I was perusing the list of who unsubscribed from my newsletter and I saw her email address. What? How could she have loved the coaching AND unsubscribed?!

So, I asked her. She told me that she had unsubscribed from all newsletters because she likes to keep her inbox at “zero.” She prefers to connect with people on social media. She herself sends a newsletter because she knows that most people are not like her. 

If you peek at who unsubscribed from your list, remember: You don’t know why they left. Don’t take it personally. It’s a waste of your precious life energy.

In Twyla Tharp’s book The Creative Habit, she talked about how 25% of the people who experience your work will love it, 25% won’t like it and 50% won’t care either way. Why don’t you focus on the 25% who love your work and less on the ones who left early or unsubscribed?

That’s plenty of people reading your newsletter, showing up at your exhibits and leaning forward in the audience. Don’t work to attract the ones who aren’t interested. Pay attention to the ones whose interest you already hold.

Gigi Rosenberg is an author, artist coach and editor of Professional Artist. She wrote The Artist’s Guide to Grant Writing (Watson-Guptill) and coaches artists to help them find funding, blast through creative blocks and launch vibrant marketing plans. To sign up for her smart, art-filled news, visit