Skip to content

The #1 Reason People Will Unsubscribe To Your Medium Emails

  • 5 min read

Tough love helps: The big cleanup is coming and it’s totally understandable why.

You’re frustrated because your readers unsubscribe to your Medium email list?

You’re not alone, my friend.

It’s tough but it happens to hundreds of writers on Medium at the moment. I also experience it.

Whereas my email list grew +45 every month, this month it’s gonna be only 15 people.

15 people?! Although I have a viral article about the new blogging platform Simily (check it out)?


My unsubscribe rate is high in relation to my opt-in rate.

And for me, it’s 100% understandable. It’s no knife-to-the-heart moment anymore when someone unsubscribed.

I even addressed the issue in this article and finally stated:

Boom! I’ll leave Medium!

I almost cried.

In December 2021, for the first time, I experienced that a few readers unsubscribed to my emails.

I was frustrated. Sad. I almost cried.


Because your email list is the most precious asset in your business and you want to be liked.

I thought:

They don’t like my work anymore. They hate it. Why? What did I do wrong?

So, I gotcha, writers.

It really hurts.

Knife-to-the-heart-moment or eye-opener?

Since I have a marketing background, I love to analyze the data and ask my subscribers for help.

So I told them what has happened to me and for the first time, they replied to a specific article of mine via email.

Some comforted me and said something like

When bees fly out the window, more butterflies come inside. (Thanks Cathy Coombs)

Others gave me their tough love.

No, they don’t hate you. Tough love helps.

Waist-up portrait indecisive spaced-out cute asian girl thinking about something while standing white wall, smirk look left questioned and unsure, pondering tough decision
Education photo created by cookie_studio —

Tough love is the act of treating a person harshly or sternly with the intent to help them in the long run. Wikipedia

I received feedback that opened my eyes as to why people unsubscribe from your emails.

The good news.

No, they don’t hate you.

They hate the system.

Meaning, on Medium they feel bombarded with emails every day.

The moment they become subscribers your email list is already doomed to fail.


Because people’s inboxes get flooded.

Every single story you publish gets in their inbox.

Let’s say you publish 1x per day, that’s 7 emails per week and 28 emails per month.

Do you feel it too? Total overwhelm!

Let’s say you only opt-in to receive emails from one person, by superstar Tim Denning. Even if you do this, you get 2–3 emails per day because he’s smart and keeps the writing hula hoop spinning.

Cleaning up your Medium inbox is like shoveling while it’s snowing.

And how does this make you feel?


Here it is again.

Our new buzzword.

Overwhelm is our new buzzword on Medium

This is how readers feel:

  • The inbox is becoming full with quantities even a robot can’t handle.
  • The inbox is full of unopened emails, which is very distracting.
  • Every new email coming in feels as if it’s been shoved at you.😉
  • They are missing seeing important emails and this bugs them no end.

So what do they do about it?

Yes! Say it.

They hit unsubscribe.

It’s enough. Getting back control over the inbox becomes the highest priority.

The first thing writers think when readers unsubscribe is that it’s something personal about them.

Here’s the truth.

It’s not.

It’s the system. It’s Medium.

The solution and my recommendation for Medium’s marketing team.

Sassy blonde girl show okay sign, wink and smiling, assure you will like this, best choice ever made
Woman photo created by cookie_studio —

All of you who have been following me for a while know I like to help others and to give valuable advice.

This article isn’t supposed to be a rant or something like that. I simply want to open your eyes to a huge issue.

From my marketing background, my suggestion for Medium’s brand management team is this:

  • Medium needs to offer its readers daily or weekly Digests.

Writers, why do we love Reader’s Digest so much?

Reader’s Digest on smartphone
ID 203522268 © Transversospinales |

It saves us time and money. It feels healthy to consume it because it’s compressed knowledge and information.

Reader’s Digest is America’s fourth largest-circulation magazine brand for a reason!

Its motto:

“simple, informative and fun”

That’s what I want for my email subscribers too.

Please Medium, when you read this re-think your email subscriber strategy.

It’s somehow doomed.

You’ve got some serious work to do and offer our readers a customizable (daily/weekly/biweekly/monthly) digest.

Final Takeaways

The big cleanup is coming, writers.

It’s just the beginning.

Of course, you’ll gain subscribers over and over again but you’ll also lose a lot of subscribers on the way.

You might say that’s acceptable. In the long run, my subscriber count seems to grow.

But here’s the thing, writers:

When your unsubscribe rate is high in relation to your opt-in rate, your email list is about to fail.

It doesn’t provide the amount of value that it could provide with a customized weekly or maybe even monthly digest.

I’m curious what you think. Please share your feelings, thoughts, and suggestions in the comment.

© Kristina God

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *