Having an email list thousands of subscribers strong is a dream for most bloggers. However, the more subscribers you have, the harder it becomes to keep them all interested. Some people will just ignore your emails no matter what you do, and that can spell trouble for you.
The good news is modern email marketing tools enable you to clean your email list regularly. That means you get to trim all the dead weight and keep your numbers looking good.
In this article, we’re going to talk a bit more about the benefits of cleaning your email list. Then I’ll walk you through three tips on how to do it efficiently. Let’s tidy things up!
Why You Need to Optimize Your Email List
When we talk about cleaning your email list, we mean removing those contacts that haven’t engaged with your emails for a while. It’s pretty normal for people to ignore some of your emails. However, if you get a subscriber who does so consistently for long periods of time, then you’re probably not going to be able to get their attention.
Your goal then is to identify who these subscribers are and use the tools at your disposal to remove them from your email list. I know you want your list to be as big as possible, but trimming it comes with several benefits, such as:
- Your analytics will look better since you’re not carrying dead weight.
- Those users would’ve probably unsubscribed at some point, so you’re saving them time.
- It prevents your messages from getting earmarked as spam.
- You get to focus your efforts on those users who are interested in your emails.
Ultimately, cleaning your email list is all about keeping engagement high. In terms of how often to do it, we recommend you wait until you have at least a couple hundred subscribers. Then, you can clean your email list once every two or three months if you want to be thorough.
By waiting a little while between ‘purges’, you get several chances to re-engage users. However, if someone doesn’t open any of your emails for a couple of months, then you can be certain they’re not interested. Don’t worry, though – it’s not you, it’s them!
3 Tips to Clean Your Email List and Keep Engagement High
In this section, I’m going to walk you through a few tips to help clean your email list. For all of these, you’ll need to use an email marketing tool. If you haven’t chosen one yet, we recommend Constant Contact, which is the platform I’ll be using to showcase examples below.
1. Use Double Opt-Ins to Prevent Accidental Signups
I’m ashamed to admit I’ve signed up for a lot of email lists I didn’t care that much about. Sometimes I did it to get freebies while others I just entered my email for without giving it much thought.
It’s hardly a cardinal sin, but it can make you question how many people have indeed signed up to your email list without thinking it over. Once you start sending them emails, then they’ll quickly realize they’re not interested and either unsubscribe or ignore them altogether.
One of the best ways to prevent this issue in the first place is to enable what’s called a ‘double’ opt-in. The way this works, users will sign up on your website by leaving their email as usual:
Then they’ll get an email asking them to confirm if they’re interested in subscribing:
It’s a simple feature, but it can make a lot of people rethink their decision, which is (surprisingly) good for you. If you want to enable this feature using Constant Contact, you can do so by going to the My Settings screen from your dashboard.
In there, look for the Confirmed Opt-in option under the Other settings section:
Go ahead, turn that feature on and you’re good to go. Constant Contact will ask you to confirm your decision, and then you can start signing up new subscribers, guilt-free.
2. Send Re-Engagement Emails From Time to Time
Sometimes people will forget about why they signed up to your email list in the first place. It might not be they are done with your content, but just that they need a reminder about how great it is.
If you think that might be the case, then sending a re-engagement email can be worth your while. These kinds of emails are simple messages asking people if they’re still interested in remaining a part of your email list. However, they often have a fun spin to them, like this:
By keeping things light, you’re removing the pressure of asking people “Hey, are you still interested in getting these messages?”. Ultimately, your goal is to remind people that you exist and they should be on the lookout for your next campaigns. In some cases, these emails can be wildly successful.
As a plus, you can also use re-engagement emails to trim your contacts list by including a prominent unsubscribe option within. To be fair, all your emails need to add this option as per the law. However, by making it more evident, you make it easier for people to decide if they’re in or out.
3. Only Target Subscribers That Haven’t Opened Your Emails For a While
If, after trying all that, you’re still getting subscribers that aren’t paying attention to your emails, then it’s time to dump them. You gave the relationship a good shot, but it just wasn’t mutual, so don’t take it hard and move on.
Just remember – you don’t need to be hasty when it comes to removing subscribers from your list. If someone doesn’t open one or two of your emails, then that’s no reason to panic. What you really care about are those subscribers who haven’t interacted with your campaigns for long stretches of time, like a month or two.
To do this, you can go to your Constant Contact Contacts tab (try saying that three times in a row quickly) and look for the Inactive option to the left of the screen.
Within this section, you can mass select all your inactive contacts, and once you do that, you can hit the Delete option at the top of the page:
Remember, though – if you delete a contact manually, you won’t be able to reach them again unless they choose to resubscribe to your list. That’s why it’s so important you only weed out subscribers you’re sure don’t want to receive your messages anymore.
Removing contacts from your email list sounds crazy. However, there will always be users you can’t engage even if you’re running amazing campaigns. Removing the dead weight from your contacts helps keep your numbers up, and it saves those subscribers from dealing with messages they don’t want.
Before you go, here are a few tips to on how to keep your email list tidy in the first place and to know which users you should cut:
- Use double opt-ins to prevent accidental signups.
- Send re-engagement emails from time to time.
- Only target subscribers that haven’t opened your emails for a while.
Do you have any questions about how to keep your email list clean? Ask away in the comments section below!