I recently deleted over 1300 subscribers from my email list. Why, you ask?
Do you think a big, fat email list is desirable? Are you focused on growth only and using all kinds of tactics and strategies to just grab that email and then don’t look back?
Well, I have found, it is really not all about the BIG list.
It’s about an engaged list. A list that cares. A list that actually opens your emails, at least a few times a year, and then…..clicks through to your site.
Last week I went through and deleted over 1300 subscribers.
It took awhile, I want to be sure I’m not just reacting to my need for downsizing these days or hyperfocusing on saying NO to opportunities so I can hone in on more of what I want. Because I’m definitely in that stage right now, with everything.
This year and last, I’ve made blog maintenance a priority, as the age and size of my blog warrants a clean up. I wrote about some good practices to start with your blog to make maintenance easier, on down the road, in this post about my process.
So, my Mailchimp cost just went up again because I crossed a threshold number of subscribers. And while I love having subscribers and want a decent sized list, having subscribers that never open your emails is kind of fruitless.
Especially if they have been on your list a few years.
My list of emails in Mailchimp, for my main blog for consumers, is good sized, it was near 10,000 email addresses, now at around 8000. However, less than 5000 are now actually subscribed.
Mailchimp allows you to unsubscribe people but keep their email on a list. So, you don’t have to delete them completely. (Although, some I do.)
I have done this culling before. It’s been about 2 years, and then about a year prior to that, and one thing happened that made me feel really good.
My open and click through rate jumped up!
And that did a lot for my attitude toward my blog and my readers, I realized.
So, it not only had to do with the cost of sending out emails to a bigger list, but it had to do with how I viewed my stats in Mailchimp and my overall outlook toward blogging.
I also had found that a few people had marked my email as spam. Well, you don’t want that to happen.
Why not delete that subscriber before they have the chance to show you how annoyed they are that you are emailing them?
That’s what prompted me to go through my list.
In Mailchimp, they have a fast, easy way to see how responsive an email address is to your mailings. They rate them with stars, 1-5 stars, with a 5 star rating being the best, most engaged subscriber.
Mailchimp is getting even more features these days, and it is interesting to see how deep you can go to find more information. You can now see each email you send under that individual email address, and how many times it was opened and clicked on, or if it wasn’t at all.
So, if I click on a 2-star rated email address and see that they hadn’t opened an email in the last 6 months, well…...good-bye.
Did I look at all 1300 + 2-star subscribers to check out their opens and click throughs?
No. That would have taken forever.
But I did some random checks, just to make sure I was on the right track. I found some had never opened anything. Likely it might have been going to their spam folder. Maybe?
On all the 2 star rated email addresses, I was able to see (in the main list of subscribers), when they joined the list. I didn’t want to delete or unsubscribe addresses that had joined in the last 6-9 months. I thought I’d give them a chance. :-)
Here’s how I did it.
I clicked on the “Contact Rating” column of my list, so it would start with all the lowest ratings first. Then I checked the dates they subscribed, which is the column just to the right.
It was easy to see some that were a few years old. I knew those were fruitless to keep on the list, as they’ve had plenty of time to open and click on my emails.
I ended up leaving the ones that had signed up more recently, as you can see in this image.
Your delicious opt-in might be creating some 1 and 2-star subscribers.
If you have a nice, juicy opt-in (like me :-), you actually might be getting subscribers who are subscribing only to get the opt-in.
So, you might see a bigger list or more growth, but it might actually end up being a less engaged list or you might even see more unsubscribes. Not that you don’t want to have a nice opt-in, but it does make a good argument for a periodic culling of the list.
Not only that, but a lot of the experts agree, cleaning your email list is a good practice for several good reasons.
I’m happy to report that my open and click through rate increased dramatically.
And that made me really happy. :-)
Just started a blog in the last year? Don’t cull your list yet.
Now, if you have only had your blog for a year, don’t do this yet.
However, if you’ve been going along for 3 years or more and haven’t done a little culling, I would definitely check into it.
Why pay to send emails to people who never open them? Why risk being marked as spam? Why clutter up an inbox and have a substantial part of a list that doesn’t really want to read anything you send?
It just doesn’t make sense, does it?
Speaking of email lists…..here’s my sign up form for this “Designer/Design Blogger” blog. :-)