Nothing lasts forever. Someone just unfollowed you on social media, or worse, they've unsubscribed from your newsletter or carefully tailored paid subscription plan. Now what?

Chances are you will get subscribers or followers that stick with you for a month, or a year, or ten years, and then, after some time, they’ll choose to unsubscribe or unfollow. They might tell you why they’ve made their choice, or they might catch you completely off guard with no previous warning. All that's left of that connection is an automated email notification ...or nothing at all.

The important thing is to know that unsubscribes or unfollows are perfectly normal (yes, even if they are from a close friend). And they can be a valuable piece of information to get you on the path to subscription growth. Learn from them, but don't let them ruin your day.

It’s not personal

There are so many reasons why someone might choose to unsubscribe. They might be low on cash, or time, or perhaps they just lack the motivation to keep up with your offering. Your yoga classes might be at odd hours now that they've started a new job or they've decided to cut caffeine from their diet so coffee subscriptions are off-limits.

Notice that none of these reasons have anything to do with you and everything to do with them. The best thing you can do is to thank this person for their commitment to you and to gracefully let them go. No bridges need to be burned. An ex-subscriber can one day resubscribe to you when they’re at a different place in life, or they might still be amazing friends and supporters on your social media and even attend one-off events. Plus, they could still bring you referrals.

It’s (kinda) personal

You won’t be right for everyone and that’s ok. Every business has its target audience and that applies to your subscription plan too. As you hone in on your niche and personal branding, you might lose some people along the way. And even though that is kinda personal, you shouldn’t take it personally. To each their own, that should be your mantra. Again, no bridges need to be burned. Your newest unsubscriber could still bring you referrals who are more aligned with your product or activity. You might not be right for them, but you might be perfect for their best friend. A subscription is very focused by nature, so in the end not everyone makes sense as a member of your core community.

Learn why

While getting someone to unsubscribe may sting at first, you should try to embrace it with curiosity. Have you ever noticed that when you unsubscribe from a newsletter you are often asked to give a reason why? You should do the same thing with your community. If your unsubscriber hasn’t told you why they’re choosing to leave, ask them politely. You might get valuable feedback that could be implemented into building out an even better subscription plan. The trick here is to know what feedback is actually worth taking in, and what isn’t going to take your business in the right direction.

Another thing to note is that asking for feedback is a request that might make some people uncomfortable, and you have to respect that. So if after a nicely written email and a follow-up you still get no response, then it’s time to let it lie.

The opposite might happen too. They might be too forthcoming and say things that end up hurting your feelings, intentionally or not. Evaluate whether their feedback rings true with something you’ve already picked up on (trust your instincts!), or if it’s feedback you’ve gotten repeatedly about your plan. You are the only person who knows how you want to run your business. So you have two choices. You can either take in their feedback, adjust your plan and reevaluate in the next few months whether it’s working on or not. Or you can go back to the mantra. To each their own. What they need is not something you can offer, and that is a-ok.

Knowing whether to implement feedback is very tricky. So before you make any sudden moves, you should check in with the rest of your community to see how they feel about your plan. The best and simplest way to do this is to send out surveys. If everyone else seems satisfied there’s no reason to mess up a perfectly awesome offering.

Truth be told, you should regularly be sending out surveys to check in with your community. Don't be afraid to get into the nitty gritty details. "How likely are you to recommend this subscription to someone" is a great indicator of overall satisfaction so be sure to include that one in the next survey you send out.

Stay in touch

Having someone unsubscribe from your plan doesn’t mean they never want to hear from you again. You can and should stay in touch. Stay connected to them on social media and keep them on your mailing list (unless they unsubscribe). As mentioned, a long-term subscription might not be right for them at this time, but who knows, they might still drop by for one-off events, share some of your content, or bring you their friends through word of mouth. Staying top of mind is also in your favour in case they choose to renew their subscription at a later time.


Canceling a subscription only to come back to it months later actually happens quite often. Sometimes people just need time to adjust to some real-life stuff, like a new job, or a new city. Whenever a customer unsubscribes, consider offering them a special discount if they choose to renew their subscription at a later date. This is common practice. To add some urgency to it you can even give them a timestamp for when their special offer expires. However, be mindful of whatever the reason behind people’s decision to cancel. You don’t want to sound insensitive so don’t cut into people’s grieving time, parental leave, or things of that nature.