There’s nothing quite like logging in to your email service provider only to be CONFRONTED WITH HORROR:


After we sent our most recent email, waaaaay more people unsubscribed than usual.😟

In fact, 65% more unsubscribes than the previous email. Ouch!

When this kind of alarming thing happens to you…

It’s time for a root cause analysis:

First things first: Don’t panic.

Second thing: Follow a set of steps to identify the problem…

  1. Take a good look at the email itself, the content, and then
  2. Take a good hard look at all of the elements around the content and the email

Here’s the email in question:


So, about the content…

  • Did the email suck? Nope! It was succinct af.
  • Did the guide suck? Nope! It was full of goodness.
  • Was it a topic nobody cared about? Nope! It tackled one of our most-asked questions.

Why the massive unsubs then?

Chances are the reason is lurking in the things around the content and the email.

What do we know about unsubscribing behavior?

Well, for starters… people are busy. Their inboxes are crowded. And the one thing that’s more irritating than anything else is email you didn’t even want.

What do you do when you get a “newsletter” you don’t even recognize? CLICK. Bang. Boom. Bye.

How do you recognize email as being desirable?

By the sender, of course.

Now, 99 times out of 100, the emails come from yours truly! People know my name.

But I didn’t send the last email. Alex did.

There’s our the most likely cause: They didn’t recognize Alex’s name. (Or, you know, they hate him! Either way!)

And he sent the email with just his name (Alex Hillman) without even a mention of our brand.

Here’s how we’ll fix it

We’re taking a three-prong approach:

  1. All emails going forward will be From: Alex (Stacking the Bricks) or From: Amy (Stacking the Bricks).
  2. We’ll add a heading (text or design) to all our our emails so our subscribers will immediately recognize the source.
  3. Raise Alex’s profile, period, so people will recognize his name (and not just mine!)

#1 and #2 are easy peasy fixes, which will catch somebody if they start to fall down the who is this guy?? well. But, they won’t solve the root problem which is: Who is this guy??

The best, most lasting fix requires us to make Alex and his role known to everyone who reads, shares, and subscribes. If everybody knew his name, this wouldn’t have happened in the first place.

So, we’re working on a design strategy to raise Alex’s profile.

And it includes some shiny, shiny interactive design.

Read all about it in Design Problem - The Invisible Cofounder.

There's more where that came from

We email every Wednesday with the latest insights from our business, our students, and our research. Drop your email in the box below and we'll send new stuff straight to your inbox!

Absolutely no spam, ever. We respect your email privacy. Unsubscribe anytime. Huzzah!