Is It Time For You To Spring Clean Your Email List?



I woke up to an unfamiliar sound yesterday morning.

My eldest daughter was dragging a large black rubbish sac into my room, full of old knick-knacks, stray pieces from games they hadn’t played in years, and some childhood notebooks that she was now embarrassed about.

She’d been cleaning out her room – entirely voluntarily.

It wasn’t even 8am….

Any other week, I would have practically fallen out of bed in shock. But in truth, I wasn’t surprised.

You see, we’ve put our house on the market and are planning to move to pastures new (an all-consuming project….).

One of the side-effects has been that we are all in clear-up mode. Nobody wants to drag old clutter with us.

A new house is a fresh start, and we are all anxious to be rid of possessions we no longer have use for or no longer love, even if they were very important to us at some point in the past.

Everyone – even the kids – instinctively understands that superflous things make our house less pleasant and less functional. There’s less space, it’s harder to find the things we need and even when the house is tidy, it doesn’t look as good as it could.

The house of our dreams will be more streamlined – at least for the first few weeks! (Let’s be realistic here…)

By coincidence, we “decluttered” our email list yesterday morning as well.

You see, over the past few years we’ve built a largeish database of subscribers. In fact, we’ve paid quite a lot of money to build our list. That’s because having a receptive, engaged audience that you can develop a relationship with is the foundation of any modern marketing campaign.

The problem is that – inevitably – over time, some of those subscribers stop reading

Perhaps they’ve changed jobs and their interests have changed. Maybe they’ve switched email addresses and aren’t actually seeing our emails any more. They might (gasp!) even be bored…. (I know, I know. Hard to imagine :)).

In short, our email list has gradually became clogged up with email addresses that for whatever reason, are just not opening our messages any more.

This is a completely natural process which happens to every email list. If you are actively growing your list and messaging people regularly (as you should be!), you’ll get readers who fall by the wayside, too.

But while that sounds fairly harmless, in reality it messes up your email marketing.

Your open rates start dropping, and if they get too low, that sends a clear signal to the Internet Service Providers that people aren’t interested in your emails.

They’re more likely to send your emails to the Promotions or Spam folders where they are much harder to find, causing your open rates to drop even further…. Sparking a vicious cycle.

That’s why it’s crucial that you periodically clean out your email list, just like you declutter your home.

We regularly send any address that hasn’t opened one of our emails for a few months through a short campaign, giving them a chance to opt in again and say they still want to be a subscriber. We do the same thing for our clients.

If recipients don’t respond… They get unsubscribed. Which is what happened to a bunch of our subscribers yesterday morning.

It hurts when you’ve paid to get them on your list in the first place, and it is painful to see your list shrink, even temporarily. Just like, in all honesty, I felt a little pinch throwing out some of the toys my kids had grown up with (and which perhaps meant more to me than they did to the kids….).

But ultimately, it’s for the best. Your cleaner, tidier email list will be more engaged, open rates will rise, and your deliverability will not become a problem.

So get spring cleanin’….


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