• Robin Kastengren

5 Best Ways to Make Readers Unsubscribe: Content Marketing Mistakes to Avoid


Anyone with a small business knows how hard it can be to get readers to engage with your blogs, newsletters, and other content marketing materials. Once someone has subscribed to your updates, it's not the end of the journey; it's only the beginning.


Small business marketing means focusing your efforts to keep each contact you've made to not only generate sales, but also to promote your reputation. Building your relationships is an ongoing process and attention must be paid to giving the readers what they want – or else risk being unsubscribed from. Here are five easy mistakes to avoid to keep your readers engaged and coming back for more.


  1. Me, Me, Me. Just because your readers are subscribed to your monthly newsletter doesn't mean they're eagerly awaiting several pages of promotional material about you and what you're up to. Providing a few current updates is good, but try to make it mean something to the reader and fill the rest of the space with more interesting material.

  2. Sell, Sell, Sell. Yes, the entire purpose of content marketing and promotional materials is to market and promote your products – but that doesn't mean that they should all be giant sales pitches. Give your readers useful information with an occasional sales tie-in without putting too much pressure to buy. People are skilled at rebuffing pushy salespeople, and on the internet, that rebuff is the “unsubscribe” link.

  3. More, More, More. One of the fastest ways to get spam complaints and unsubscribe requests is to send way too many emails. Most of us already have a pretty full inbox, and if your messages are constantly crowding out important messages from others it will get irritating fast. Every blog post with tips for saving time includes at least one about how to get off of mailing lists. Don't clutter up your reader's inbox.

  4. Bad Writing. Misspellings and tons of grammatical errors will make you look unprofessional and spammy. Some people just don't think that bad writing is that big of a deal, but the truth is that every error in your text reduces your credibility. If you want to be taken seriously, at the very minimum, you should run the spell checker before clicking “send.” If writing isn't your forte, hire a professional copywriter.

  5. Bad Design. Busy pages with tons of crammed-in boxes and columns are too difficult to read. When people read their email, they tend to start off thinking it needs to be deleted and skim the material to make sure it shouldn't be. If they can't decide it's worth keeping in just a few seconds, it's in the trash – right along with your opportunity. Good design makes content marketing materials easy for readers to skim, find things that they want to read about, and decide not to delete your message.


People are forgiving, and making the occasional mistake probably won't cost you all of your readers. But make any of these mistakes consistently and all of your efforts will be wasted.




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Aurora, Naperville, Oswego, IL