Honestly, I was starting to behave like an old boyfriend who refused to let go. It was like I had some sort of sick obsession with looking at the number.  Every time I would log on, I would just stare at it. There was something about the number that made me feel “accomplished”.  It wasn’t overwhelmingly large, but it was bigger than most.

That was me and my relationship with my list.  We were like peanut butter and jelly.  Well, because I am from New Orleans, I should say that we were more like red beans and rice.  But in reality it was time for me to let go.

I needed to release those people who were not opening up my emails and had been on my list for years. But I wasn’t ready to say “Bye Felicia.” Yet I knew I had to.  Sounds familiar?

It was time for me to break-up with my inactive subscribers

I have learned that you need to put the same level of energy into cleaning your list as you put into growing it.  In other words, List Management is just as important as List Building. But the so-called experts don’t tell you that.

Industry standards say that if a person hasn’t opened your emails in the past 12 months then it’s time for them to go.  Some folks had been on my list and hadn’t opened them in more than 5 years. Yikes!

How Inactive Subscribers Negatively Impact Your List

The problems related to having inactive subscribers on your list run deep.  The first problem you will run into is low deliverability scores.

That’s right! When people on your list do not open your emails it hurts the ability for your emails to be delivered into their inbox.  It sends a message to your email software provider that your emails may very well be SPAM! Say whaattt?  Yep.  You may become known as a spammer.  And you know what happens after that?

Your emails begin to go straight to the SPAM folders.  And the best way to prevent this from happening is to CLEAN YOUR LIST.  But most people don’t know what that looks like. Cleaning your list is a process.

First you must get over it in your mind that you’re losing people because you can’t lose what you never had. If people are not opening up your emails it is almost as if they don’t exist.  So, the best thing you can do is purge them.

Send Inactive Subscribers a Dear John Email

If you want to give them a chance to stay on your list, send them an email.  There are several approaches that you can take.

  • Send them a “Dear John Email.” This email will let them know that you’re breaking up with them because of a lack of attention. You can have fun with it.  But if they open the email you can also tag them and put them in a new list.
  • You can also try sending them a “This is Your Last Email.”  In this email you can tell them that this will be their last opportunity to stay in contact with you. If they open the email and read it you can give them a specific tag.

After you get rid of those who don’t open your emails, the next thing you will want to do is get rid of all bad emails.  If you have a ton of emails that bounce, then you will want to get rid of them too.

How to Check Your Email Delivery Rates

One of the things you you can do if you send out emails is check your Sender Score.  How they do this is by checking the return path.  The company will give a number to each outgoing email service and will calculate the score using a combination of unsubscribes and spam reports.

Sender Score uses a very sophisticated process.  You can find out more by clicking here.

Balance The Rate and Frequency of Sending Emails

Let’s face it…some of your inactive subscribers may be fatigued.  If you send out a lot of emails your subscribers will get tired of you over a period of time. So you may want to send an email out maybe once or twice a week and more during a launch phase.

My mentor used to say that two emails a day keeps the JOB away.  His philosophy was that you should email your list until they unsubscribe.  He was an internet millionaire, so I couldn’t really argue with that.

At the end of the day, subscribers will always come and go and this is way you should “always be list building.”  Never take a break, because you never know who is going to be your next customers.  And if you can’t stomach breaking up with your inactive subscribers, then outsource that task to someone else on your team.

List building always starts with a good lead magnet and if you don’t have one, click here to get 25 High Valued Lead Magnet Ideas.  I know you will enjoy this no cost guide.

Toni Coleman-Brown
Toni Coleman-Brown

Toni Coleman Brown is an author, coach, motivational speaker, social media strategist and professional networker. She is also the Founder of the popular, Network for Women in Business, which is an online community designed to train, connect and advance women in business.

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