Building a newsletter subscriber base is an important aspect of running a blog or business. If you haven’t yet discovered all of the reasons why you should be collecting email addresses, check out this post.
While increasing your subscriber count is awesome, there will come a time when you will have to start paying your mailing list provider for their service based on the amount of subscribers you have. If you continually add more and more subscribers, this cost can increase and be a pretty hefty monthly payment when all is said and done.
The problem with this is that you are paying per subscriber, not per the amount of people who actually open and read the emails you send out. Sure, it would be nice if every single person read your newsletters, but that just doesn’t happen. Instead, you end up paying for “dead” subscribers who never even see your mailings. This also causes problems with open rate percentages because inactive subscribers aren’t opening anything!
This can be an ongoing issue if you’re paying your subscription service for 25,000 subscribers but only 5,000 people on average are actually opening your emails. Obviously, a plan for 25,000 subscribers can cost considerably more than a plan for 5,000 subscribers.
So, what can you do about it? Clean up your list!
First, you need to identify those who have never opened a single one of your mailings. These are the ones who are simply taking up valuable space on your list.
I will show you how to go about this in MailChimp as well as MadMimi. If you are using a different service, look for similar options or check their help knowledgebase for articles about filtering users.
Here is an example using one list that contains over 25,000 subscribers.
Step one: See that little “Chat” link at the top of your account? Click it. The MadMimi support people are awesome and will help you right away. In the chat, ask the support person to “generate a list for you”. This is something that only the MadMimi admin can do for you as it’s not yet a part of their user features. Tell them that you need a list generated of all of the subscribers who have not opened a single mailing from (Month) until (Month). I usually choose a month 6 months or so in the past, and about 2 months prior to the current month so that no new subscribers will be affected in case they haven’t yet had a chance to open a few mailings. The timeline you choose will depend on the amount of mailings you send and when you send them. You want to give people a good enough chance to have had the opportunity to open a decent amount of your mailings before deleting them.
For example if this month is August and I said: I need a list generated of all of the subscribers who have not opened a single mailing from January until June, and I had started collecting email addresses in January, all of those people who had not opened a single mailing during that time would be included.
Their support team will create a list for you as shown in the image above which will put all of these people in one place.
Step four: Now that your subscribers are saved to your computer, click on that trash can button to delete them. Confirm the deletion (don’t worry, you can always import them again using the export you saved!).
Voila! Bad subscribers are toast.
Here’s how to remove inactive subscribers in MailChimp as well:
Step One: Click on your Lists page then select the list you want to manage. From there, select the Segments option and Create A Segment.Step Two: For the Segment settings, copy the above image settings. Step Three: Click the little + icon and add another condition as shown above. You can choose your final selection based on your own needs. Basically this is telling MailChimp to create a list of people who did not open the last 5 campaigns you sent, but only if they subscribed BEFORE the last campaign was sent, a specific campaign was sent, or a specific date. This makes sure that your newer subscribers don’t get mixed up in here!
Step Five: Finally, click the “down arrow” column and Select All. Then from the Actions menu choose Unsubscribe. This will unsubscribe all of the inactive users.
Deleting inactive subscribers might feel a little counter-productive, especially after you’ve worked so hard to gain them. However, if they are inactive, they were never truly of value to you anyways and shouldn’t be held onto. Would you rather have a list of 50,000 people and 60% inactive subscribers, or a list of 25,000 people and 80%+ active subscribers?