February 17, 2022  

Become more effective with your email marketing when you clean your email list to remove unengaged subscribers.

Growing an email list is an important part of marketing your business online. However, it’s not just about the number of total subscribers on your email list.

It is important to review your email marketing stats regularly to ensure that your marketing plan is effectively engaging with your subscribers, and that your list is filled with warm leads.

This may mean that you have to clean out your email list every now and then.

Now, before you get too scared by that last sentence, I encourage you to keep reading and discover five reasons why it’s important to clean your email list.

I had a recent call with a client who had just started to re-engage with her email list after taking a hiatus from her business for a couple of years. Now, it shouldn’t come as any surprise that when she started to re-engage with this list, she did lose subscribers. This was to be expected as most people probably didn’t remember who she was and why they were receiving emails from her.


Side Note –> As much as it hurts to have people unsubscribe from your list, it is much better that they do unsubscribe if they are not interested in receiving your emails. These people are not warm subscribers, and they will drop your overall engagement and deliverability rates.  


The success of your email list comes from your engagement rate not the size of your list.

Although my client did have people unsubscribe, she still had a large number of subscribers that were not engaged in her emails. This meant very low open rates of around 5% which is way below the overall industry average of 25%. Now, we can’t rely solely on open rates especially with the recent iOS 15 update to Apple users which may inflate these rates. However, your open rates do still hold validity when looking at your overall engagement. (If you are unfamiliar with the impact of Apple’s Mail Privacy Protection changes, you can check out this article – it also includes some recommendations for not solely relying on open rates: How Apple’s Mail Privacy Protection Impacts Email Marketing)

Before we look at the benefits to cleaning your email list, which scenario do you think is better?

A. You have an email list of 100 subscribers with an average open rate of 50%, meaning approximately 50 of your subscribers are engaged with your emails.

B. You have an email list of 990 subscribers with an average open rate of 5%, meaning approximately 50 of your subscribers are engaged with your emails.

In both of these scenarios, approximately 50 people are opening and reading the emails that are being sent. Yet, one scenario clearly has better engagement overall. (Hopefully, you’re choosing scenario A!)

Remember, list size isn’t everything! If you have a large list but very low overall engagement, you are wasting your time and resources. Your strategy is then ineffective in turning your subscribers into warm leads; warm leads that become clients!

So, going back to my client … my recommendation to her was to clean up her email list. Yep, it was time for an early spring clean! She had been re-engaging with her list for a few months now. It was time to remove those subscribers who no longer had any interest in her teaching and services.

Before we get into the process of cleaning your email list, it is important to know why we need to do it.

Here are 5 benefits of cleaning up your email list:

1. It improves your numbers.

If you have a large percentage of unengaged subscribers on your email list, the statistics that you track (or should be tracking) will not be giving you an accurate picture of how effective your email marketing is. This is especially true with invalid email addresses that will never open or engage with one of your emails simply because the email won’t actually end up in someone’s inbox.

2. It increases engagement.

Cleaning out the email addresses of subscribers that are not interested in opening your email addresses will mean that you are building an email list of warm subscribers. These are people who are actually interested in hearing from you. This helps develop more meaningful relationships with your subscribers and increases the engagement you have with these potential leads.

3. It improves your sender reputation.

Removing invalid email addresses that will bounce from your list will help to reduce the number of spam complaints that email service providers such as Google, Yahoo, and Outlook receive. This will give you a better sender reputation with these email service providers and let them know that your emails are not spam emails.

4. It increases deliverability.

As people open, read, click links, and engage with your email, the more positive feedback your emails will receive. Increased positive feedback equals an improved sender reputation. An improved sender reputation means that your emails are more likely to be delivered to your subscribers’ inboxes. This will, of course, allow you to reach more people, increasing your overall engagement rates as your emails have a better chance of being opened when they land directly into a subscriber’s inbox.

5. It lowers the cost of your email marketing system.

Many email marketing systems have their pricing structure based on the number of subscribers in your list. So, if you have a lot of inactive or invalid email addresses, this could be costing you more. By cleaning out these inactive and invalid email addresses you may lower the number of subscribers and fit into a lower pricing tier, thus saving you money! If you do qualify for a lower tier, you will have to reach out to your email marketing system to request a downgrade in your plan – for most systems, it won’t happen automatically!

To recap, the 5 benefits to cleaning up your email list are:

  1. It improves your numbers.
  2. It increases engagement.
  3. It improves your sender reputation.
  4. It increases deliverability.
  5. It lowers the cost of your email marketing system.

Before you go ahead and just delete the unengaged subscribers in your list, it is important to give these people an opportunity to re-engage with you. There is also the likelihood that your email marketing system is not registering every subscriber that opens your emails. Some may have disengaged the pixel tracking that your email marketing system uses for tracking these stats.

Check out this article where we walk through the process of how to clean your email list in a way that gives your subscribers a second chance to stay on your list: How to Clean your ConvertKit Email List in 5 Steps


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About the author 

Natashia Tiel

Empowering Coaches & Course Creators with All-in-One Digital Marketing & Kajabi support to propel their business to new heights. Our mission is help you stand out online, build authentic connections and create a lasting impact in this world – without the marketing or tech overwhelm.

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