Why, When, and How to Trim Your Email Subscription List

It’s true. Bigger is not always better. And such is the case with email subscription lists. Now don’t misunderstand me, of course we all want fat, profitable email lists. However, the truth is, your list could be filled with deadbeats. Knowing of this possibility, it’s important to know the ins and outs of trimming your list.

Why should you trim your email list?

Think of it like pruning a fruit tree. It’s necessary to cut off some of the branches to promote future growth. In the end, your tree will be much healthier, and consequently much fuller. And as a direct result, your tree will yield more fruit.

The same goes for your email list. By cutting off the inactive subscribers, you set yourself up for future success. More fruit—or more sales.

When should you trim your list?

You should periodically analyze the quality of your email subscription list. And during this time you should trim the fat. But how do you know it’s time to cut someone? Well, you may want to cut a subscriber if:

  • They sent a complaint about your emails—This one’s a no-brainer. If someone reports you as spam, cut them! However, the goal is to trim them before they complain. If you get too many complaints, your third party list manager may drop you.
  • They aren’t responding to your reactivation attempts—Before you start cutting subscribers, you want to give them an opportunity to become active again. You might do this by offering a special discount, or perhaps a new product. If they fail to respond to your attempts, it’s probably time to say goodbye.

Once you trim your list, try to take measures to fight inactivity in the future. Make sure you engage the new subscribers frequently within the first month of signing up. Also make sure that what they see is what they get. Meaning, however you describe your email list in the beginning is how it will actually be. Don’t make any empty promises.

How should you go about trimming your email subscription list?

Make sure to take things slowly. Don’t just start chopping away. This is a careful, delicate process.

  1. Identify your subscribers who are chronic non-responders.
  2. Give them plenty of opportunities to get re-engaged.
  3. Get more aggressive with yours offers. In other words, make them an offer that’s too good to refuse.
  4. Send them a personal email designed to get them to take an action. Even if it is unsubscribing.

Remember, while you want to give your inactive subscribers plenty of chances to get re-engaged, you don’t want to overdo it. Eventually you need to let them go.

Do you trim your email list? How do you keep up with it?

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