This is not my first time cleaning up my email list. As a matter of fact my email list would have probably reached 80,000 members by now if I hadn't taken the time to clean it up. As I'm writing this post I'm about to do something drastic. I've had my aweber account for more than a year now and looking at the number in my email list it gives me a sense of pride.
The bigger the numbers are the better people perceive you. I made a promise to myself this year to not let my ego influence my business. I should only follow my numbers and work on improving things where needed.
I'm About To Delete A Huge Chunk of My Email List
Why am I taking such a drastic measure? Well it's simple my list needs to be cleaned. My Aweber bill is getting bigger and bigger every month. I've paid as much as $500+ a month to maintain my aweber account and list. Looking at my email open rate and the click through rate I know that unfortunately not everyone is opening my emails. Some people in my email list are no longer opening my emails. Can I blame them? Not really I can't. I read somewhere that the average person receives about 147 emails per day! that's just nuts.
How can one person possibly keep track of all the emails in that case. I also failed at providing value to my email list over time and I can understand why people would lose interest in my emails.
Every time I get ready to clean up my list I get nervous, I get scared because I don't want to accidentally erase the emails of the few people that are opening and reading my emails. My email list is mainly responsible for my income and it pains me to have to trim it but alas it has to be done because aweber charges me for every email address I have stored in their database. I didn't know this until recently but when someone unsubscribes from your email list that person is not deleted from the database. So you're still paying aweber to store the email address. It's February but I'm ready to do some spring cleaning. So let's get started shall we?
Remove the Undeliverables and the Unsubscribed emails.
Once I log onto Aweber the I select the email list that I want to trim. Next I select the subscribers menu
On the following page you will see the "Filters" menu on the left hand side. Note that Aweber can change their user interface at anytime but I believe the options to do this would remain the same.
Notice the unsubscribed and undeliverable links. We need to go through those two links and erase them from our email lists. In this example I will show how I remove the emails that are undeliverable. You can repeat the exact same process with the unsubscribed emails.
Here are the steps to follow:
Click on undeliverable, the Aweber app will provide a report for you to see. Notice the red arrows on the image above. You have the option to save this segment in case you would like to do something else with this list and not erase it just yet. At the bottom of this page you will see that you can increase your field view between, 20, 50 and 100 email records. You can erase up to 100 emails at a time. I have several lists and created segments for the ones that did not open my emails for a period of 3 months.
- Remove the Un-Opens
I unfortunately noticed over time that my open rate was slowly declining and at the time of writing, I've built up a massive list, that I didn't nurture. As a result my open rates have decreased from 20 to about 1%. Which is honestly very low. Only 1% of my email list pays attention to me. That’s sad as they are not showing me any love and they are just occupying space in my aweber database and have all but forgotten about me. These numbers are in fact shocking, more than half of my email list NEVER open my emails.
The number of undeliverables and unsubscribes were already high to begin with. Getting rid of them hurt a little bit because I know that most of them were purchased through solo ads over a period of time. These guys didn't opt into my email list for free! I paid to have them come see my offer page, and I paid to have them stored into my aweber database. Seeing a surprisingly high number of people not opening my emails made it weigh heavy on my heart. I'm just blowing money out the window. So they literally hurt my pride and my wallet!
I know however that I have to let them go. There is no pride in holding on to junk. In order to thrive in a business you have to optimize what works and trim out what drags your business down.
Yes I can create a re-engagement campaign where I send emails exclusively to the ones that do not open my emails but I already email my list often and decided this was not worth my time. So I opted not to run a re-engagement campaign.
So here are the steps I followed to clean my list of subscribers that would rather not open my emails.
In the first box I selected the No Opens setting then decided to select everyone that has not opened my emails since the beginning of this year. In an earlier post, I mentioned that I would be starting over. My first product was released in January, and this is also when I turned to this blog to write content and share my experiences. I think that is a good place to start.
On the next line I selected the "Date Added" field and included everyone who joined my email list before November 1, 2015. Then hit search. The results were as expected. There were emails in the thousands that just chose to ignore my messages. I explained earlier that Aweber only allows us to delete up to 100 emails at a time. To save myself time I opted to save this segment for later.
I then got on the phone and called Aweber to see if they would help me
To my surprise I got a representative on the line in no time. I explained the situation. I have a big email list and I need to delete several lists of unresponsive and or emails that do not open my messages. I then elaborated that I had some segments already saved and I need their assistance in erasing them. If I were to erase those emails myself it would take me an insane amount of time and I honestly rather use that time to work on more important tasks.
A few minutes later this task was taken care of. I believe the entire communication and the shrinkage of my email database took about 5 minutes. I thought the process would take much longer than that but I was pleasantly surprised of how quick and painless it was. Long story short my email was reduced to about a fourth of its original size. As we were wrapping up our conversation I asked if they could send me a free t-shirt because why not i’m a happy customer. We agreed on a size for the t-shirt and I waited a few days to receive it.
Aweber sent me the shirt with some additional free swag “as they call it”. I had my wife take this pic. I’m ever so grateful. So I received a large t-shirt, some awesome Aweber socks, some stickers and a handwritten note that reads:
Since you’ve been a long time customer and asked so politely, enjoy the shirt, socks and I added some stickers too because the more free swag the better
Tom & The Entire Aweber Team”
Thanks Tom and Aweber you guys are awesome!
My email list got slashed by more than half. It's hard not to get emotional about it. I mean worked really hard to collect these leads and they were a vital part to my online success thus far. I should take measures to limit this from happening again. However the odds are against me since the average person receives more than 100 emails a day it's going to be hard to compete with everyone else.
It would definitely help to send better emails.
It would help to find other traffic sources besides just solo ads
My goal was never to have the biggest email list but I know and my numbers have proved that the size of my list does not matter. It's how responsive my list is and the content I share with them that matters.