Practice Good Email List Hygiene Monthly (No Need For A Daily Clean)

clean your email list

You’re proud of your growing email list. You regularly put out quality content intended to educate, inform, entertain and let potential customers get to know you.

But is your list of email subscribers bringing you the value you need or expect?

One often overlooked problem is the number of inactive subscribers – those who never even open your emails, let alone read them.

So what should you do about them?

Clean Your Email List Monthly

That’s right – clean your email list. This isn’t something you want (or need) to do daily, or even weekly – but once a month is about right.

I’m not talking about scrubbing your list with soap and water, but the end result is a squeaky clean list of email addresses that only includes people who really want to hear from you.

Each month you’re going to remove subscribers from your email list.

All of those names you worked so hard to acquire – you’re going to ruthlessly cut some of them off.

Now you’re probably thinking “Wait a minute! I thought the goal was to GROW my email list, not hack it to pieces!”

And you’re right – sort of. The goal is to increase the number of people who want to hear from you, who look forward to your emails, who open them regularly and even read all the way to the end.

What you don’t want is a list full of deadwood. Subscribers who never open your emails, even though you’re sending them valuable stuff. And even worse, you’re paying for the privilege of having them on your list!

Segment Your List

Create a new segment of subscribers who haven’t opened any of your emails in the last X months, or who haven’t opened any of the last X emails.

For example, in MailChimp you could create a new segment for your list with the following options:

Mailchimp list segmentation options
That number, X, depends on how often you send emails and how aggressive you want to be in cleaning your list. For one of my lists, I remove anyone who hasn’t opened the last 10 emails; on another list I go with the last 3 months. Pick something you’re comfortable with – you can always change it later.

Try to Re-Engage

Then send everyone in that segment one final email saying something like this –

“Hey ___, I notice you haven’t opened any of my last 8 emails. I don’t want to keep bothering you with emails you don’t want to receive, so next week (give a date here) I’ll stop sending you these emails. If I’ve made a mistake and you really DO want to get my emails, just hit “reply” and let me know.”

If someone replies, it’s a great opportunity to re-engage them with a personal email and to find out what would keep them interested enough to open your emails more frequently.

Cut Them Free

But I guarantee you that almost no one will reply. If they haven’t opened anything from you in that long, they’re highly unlikely to ever open any of your emails.

In other words, they aren’t a potential customer and you’re wasting your time and energy pursuing them.

It's time to cut bait.Click To Tweet

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