How and why to clean up your email list.

Every 3 to 6 months you should do a sweep of your email list and clean up subscribers who are not opening your emails. These inactive subscribers are also referred to as cold subscribers.

Exactly how your email marketing service will define cold subscribers will vary.

 ConvertKit defines cold subscribers as:

We define cold subscribers as anyone who hasn’t opened or clicked an email in the last 90 days. For subscribers who have been active for fewer than 90 days, we define cold subscribers as anyone who has been active for at least 30 days and has not opened or clicked an email in that time.

Keep in mind that because of how open rates are calculated (based on displaying images or clicking a link) someone could have read your email without triggering an open.

In Mailchimp you have to create your own criteria and create your own “inactive” segment to be able to clean them up.

To figure out how to do this within your chosen email marketing service simply Google “remove inactive subscribers ____(your email marketing service provider name).”

Here are the instructions to do this in ConvertKit.

In ActiveCampaign, what I now use as an email marketing service, you can set up an automation to tag and unsubscribe disengaged subscribers.

Using this automation you get to choose what defines a disengaged (cold) subscriber. However the same rule applies that the system doesn’t always recognize an email open if the images aren’t downloaded. Here is the instructions for that A/C automation.

Why Do This?

Most email marketing services charge you based on number of subscribers. If someone is never opening your emails then do yourself and them a favor and boot them off your list.

It doesn’t mean they can’t join your list again or that you hate them. Honestly, if they have not opened a single email in 6 months, they don’t even remember who you are.

Inactive subscribers are taking up space on your list, and you are taking up space in their inbox.

The purpose of having an email marketing list to connect with your audience, provide value to them and make sales for your business. But if emails are never opened none of these objectives are being met.

Just like with social media, numbers are just that, numbers. Connection and engagement are where the focus should be because otherwise those numbers are just costing you money and skewing your metrics.

If your list is bloated with peeps that don’t care it’s much harder to see what those that do care resonate with.

How To Approach Cleaning Your List?

There are several ways to approach cleaning your list.

#1. You can give people a chance to make sure not to be cut.


#2. You can simply cut them out.

Honestly most of the time they are not even going to notice, so it’s more about how you want to approach list cleaning.

Again this is not blocking anyone from re-joining just giving them a break and an opportunity to rejoin and get your full welcome experience.

✨Your Action✨

❏ Clean your list and then set a reminder on your calendar to do this again in 3-6 months. If you have a rapidly growing list, then 3 months would be my recommendation.

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