Advanced Email Marketing for Bloggers – How To Really Clean Your List

This is part five of my series on advanced email marketing for bloggers. In case you missed the past articles or need a refresher course. Here are the links to the past posts:

In this lesson, I’m going to show you how to really clean your Aweber mailing list. There are many reasons to keep your list clean but I would say the number one reason would be it saves you money. You see, Aweber and most email service providers, charge you based on total subscribers. So if you have 450 people on your subscribed list and 100 on your unsubscribed, you have a total of 550 subscribers even though the 100 unsubs will never get your email. What’s more, you will be billed for 550 subscribers.

This will push you into the next price bracket. By not removing the unsubs, you end up paying an extra $10 for nothing. If you remove the 100 unsubs, you’ll be back in the first price tier. Here’s a video I did a few years ago on how to remove unsubs.

If you have a large number of unsubs then the method in the video will take too long to do. In that case, you just click the “Live Chat” button at the bottom of your Aweber control panel and ask the tech support guy to do it for you. Within 20 minutes, all the unsubs will be deleted from your list.

Removing unsubs is the most obvious way to clean your list but it’s only the start. Most email marketers don’t clean their list beyond removing unsubs because of ego (or not knowing the other methods). They want to show a nice big subscribers number (Na! Na! Na! My list is bigger than your list!). However, it’s much better to have a super clean list of 10,000 than an unclean list of 100,000. It’s also a lot cheaper. Why pay for subscribers who are not active?

Let’s do some advanced email list cleaning!

Remove The Not Confirmed

Many people enter fake email addresses hoping there’s no double opt in so they can get whatever free incentive is behind the squeeze page. When they see a page asking to confirm instead, they just leave.

Aweber requires all subscribers to double opt in to your list. That means they must confirm their email address. This is the main reason why Aweber has the best delivery rate in the industry. They will not send a broadcast message to a subscriber who hasn’t confirmed his email.

The not confirmed emails will count towards your total subscribers but will never receive any email from you. To keep your list clean and your billings low, you should remove subscribers who are not confirmed. Here’s how to do that.

Choose “Search” from the “Subscribers” tab in your Aweber control panel. This will bring up the segment search box. The field you’re looking for is “Confirmed?”

This will produce a segmented list of all subscribers who have not confirmed their email. You should combine this search with a search by “Date Added” to segment out the people who have recently subscribed but may not have time to confirmed yet. Generally, if someone hasn’t confirmed within a week, he’s not going to.

When aweber produces the list, click the erase box and delete the names. If there are too many names, then click the live chat button and have the Aweber tech do it for you.

Segment Subscribers Who Don’t Open Your Emails

This little trick is great for removing people who use throw away email addresses. Many people use a secondary email address for Internet offers. They sign up and confirm with that second email in order to get the free incentive but then never open any other broadcasts.

*Please note: This only works if you’ve been sending your broadcasts with stats enabled.

Do a search of your subscribers using the “No Opens” option. This will produce a segmented list of subscribers who have not opened any email since the date you specified. Like the not confirmed, you should combine this search with a search by “Date Added” to make sure you’re only looking through people who have been on your list for a while. You wouldn’t want to group a new subscriber, who just got your first email but hasn’t had time to open it, in with someone who signed up to your list a year ago and hasn’t opened any emails in 6 months.

Instead of erasing the No Opens like you did with the Not Confirmed, you should give them one last chance (or maybe a few chances) to respond. While most no opens are secondary emails that are never checked, there will be some subscribers who just stop opening your emails for one reason or another. This is your chance to “reactive” them.

The Reactivation Campaign

Create a broadcast (or a series of broadcasts) to try to get non-engaged subscribers to start responding again. Many retailers use coupons or discounts to try to re-engage email subscribers. You could do this, or offer a free report or some other compelling incentive to get them clicking again.

At the conclusion of your reactivation campaign, delete all subscribers who didn’t respond. No sense in having someone on your list who doesn’t want to be there.

By performing weekly (or daily) deletion of the unsub, undeliverable, unconfirmed and no opens, you keep your list super clean and responsive. You won’t be able to brag about your list being bigger than the guy next door but you’ll have a far more responsive list and you’ll be saving money as well. I’ll take that over bragging rights any day!

Test Drive Aweber for Only $1.00

Aweber offers a $1 trial account for all new customers. The account is just like a normal Aweber account and includes unlimited email campaigns, newsletter, broadcasts and follow ups. It’s a great way to test drive Aweber to see what it can do for your blog. Your satisfaction is guaranteed. If you find that having an email list is not for you, contact Aweber within 30 days and they’ll give you the $1 back.
$1 Aweber Offer

63 thoughts on “Advanced Email Marketing for Bloggers – How To Really Clean Your List”

  1. Sean Supplee says:

    John this is great a few months back I got nailed with the higher rate because of people that where unsubscribed. It still boggles my mind why people unsubscribed to my list count as my list size lol.

    But the other two methods you showed I was not aware of how to do. My open rates have been pretty low and cleaning house is just what I need to do. Thank you! The way to get rich and stay rich is to find every possible way to save 😉

    1. Abhik says:

      Me too just delete people who unsubscribed.
      Now gonna try the other filters John mentioned.

    2. John Chow says:

      I would bet that most peole don’t know that unsubs counts towards total subs for billings.

      1. Hey John,

        Great post and including all the links to your previous posts on Email Marketing is very helpful.

        I didn’t know that unsubscribes still count towards your number of subscribers in the eyes of AWeber until very recently but I was removing them anyway just to keep things clean.

        1. Lakhyajyoti says:

          I also did not know.BWN I am not using Awebar till now.

      2. Yeah agree. Obviously people won’t want to delete them because having’em just increase the list.

        They’re just lying themselves..

        But others just don’t do that kind of “maintenance” so that tip will really help them.

        Great tips John!

    3. It’s amazing what people do on an email list. I’ve had people sign up and then complain I’m sending them spam even after they double opt in. Freakin bizarre.

      1. John Chow says:

        Don’t feel bad. I get that all the time!

        1. When this happened to me for the first time I was really upset. Now I just feel sorry for those people.

          There is, however, more of those who opt in just to get the free product and then unsubscribe immediately. They probably raid every site to get the loot. My only question is what they do with all that and no friends.

          1. Gotta watch out for the trouble makers out there. No matter what you do, you can’t get away from them.

          2. many people also use different email address.

            This is quite obvious in today’s time when you get spammy and affiliate links in email and no quality contents or posts.

      2. d3so says:

        Depends on what you’re sending them. Offer after offer? I’d label you as spam too.

        1. If you sign up and then don’t like what you’re getting you can unsubscribe. Labeling the person whom you subscribed to as spam is back stabbing and unfair. You should evaluate the soundness of your reasoning.

    4. yes last few posts on awebar were really gems.

      Infact awebar should give credit on their website to John’s effort.

    5. d3so says:

      I was billed on the third tier right after my $1 trial because I ported my feedburner subs. Costly mistake because they didn’t want to refund me.

  2. Hi John thanks for your tutorial and your information!! I’ll try to use aweber right now. thanks

    1. Lakhyajyoti says:

      Definitely it is a great tutorial.Thanks John.

    2. I use GetResponse, but after reading all the tutorials about Aweber, I’m thinking about changing.

      1. that will be wise decision believe me.

        1. If you have a big list, changing may not be the best option. Starting a new list with AWeber and keeping the old one where it is might be better.

  3. Abhik says:

    Cool!! Another sequential post 🙂

    1. Abhik what do you mean by another sequential post? There were posts on other subjects before this post.

      If you had said another post on Email Marketing it would have been clear.

      1. Abhik says:

        What I meant is its another sequencial post on aweber tutorial.

  4. Good info, thanks John. Have a bit to go yet myself before this but good to no all the same

  5. PPC Ian says:

    Thanks so much for yet another great post! I’ve been meaning to clean up my list and know I know exactly what to do! I’m going to bookmark this post for sure!

    1. Hi Ian,

      Where do you bookmark posts like this? In your browser on your computer for your own record or on Digg, Stumble Upon or such places?

      1. you can bookmark from anywhere. If you do not want to share than keep it under personal.

      2. d3so says:

        For me, I use my browser.

  6. Lakhyajyoti says:

    I am not using Awebar till now.But after reading your article planning to use it very soon.

    1. believe me that will be a nice move.

      Through awebar you will be able to build your own assets.

  7. I do have to say that one of the good things about GetResponse is that I’m grandfathered in under an old pricing plan and only paying about one third what most people are.

    1. Abhik says:

      I never used GetResponse personally, but I am sure they also have features like this.

  8. Bob Matharoo says:

    Thanks for the great info John!!..

  9. john are you on any kind of sales target for awebar and hostgator ?

    1. John Chow says:

      Nope. Just offering unique content. 🙂

      1. not only content but also helpful advice and tutorial.

        Would love to get this kind of posts in coming days as well.

  10. stop smoking says:

    I’ve been with Aweber for 2 years now and I’d never look back.

    Great tips John!

  11. Peter says:

    Hi John,
    Is there any service, which automatically removes all unsubs??

    1. John Chow says:

      Not that I know of. Doesn’t make good business sense for the mail host to provide that since they charge for undeleted unsubs. If they delete them for you, they wouldn’t be able to charge you as much.

  12. eduardo says:

    I wish that it can be generate to soon as posible

    1. Abhik says:

      Generate what!!? buddy?

    2. You can’t generate a list automatically, you gotta get subscribers dude.

      1. now people do want list automatically as well.

        Interesting …

  13. a5v19 says:

    It is very important to increase the efficiency of email marketing campaigns, especially when you use a paid autoresponder.

    1. Or when you buy a list too. Email marketing can be expensive.

  14. Kirk Taylor says:

    The strategy is great, why waste time with people that aren’t valuable to to your organization?

    1. yes quite agree with you if you do not believe in numbers.

      Carrying non responsive and dead subscriber is not a wise thing.

      1. ZK,

        I think that John was referring to unsubscribes.

        But you have a good point about the subscribers who are still subscribers but do nothing.

        It would be interesting if John covered that subject too in the near future wouldn’t it?

  15. fas says:

    Its actually sad that Aweber try to bill you for unsubscribed too.

    1. John Chow says:

      They’re not the only one. Everyone does it! They claims it takes server resources to store unsubs, which I guess is correct.

  16. anitha says:

    i use to work with email marketing tool will set the timing of the mail its start getting to send

  17. Wonderful article, John. I am newbie when it comes to aweber and my total subcribers are count are very low right. But I will follow this tutorial to clean up my list and keep it fresh always. Thanks for sharing an useful tutorial.

  18. Ashish says:

    Nice article John. Was curious about one thing. The article was delivered to me via a feed, subscribed through feedburner. Have you connected Aweber and Feedburner ? Also, the address at the bottom was that of Google (Feedburner), so was curious about whether this post is via Aweber or Feedburner.

    1. John Chow says:

      I used to have feedburner by email installed. You must have signed up for it back then.

  19. Blogercise says:

    I’m surprised more people aren’t angry that Aweber counts unsubscribes in the list count in the first place.

    “Everyone else does it” is a terrible justification.

    1. It seems that you like people getting angry for very little or no reason.

      It makes a perfect sense to clean up your lists. Why in the world would you not do that even if they didn’t charge for unsubscribes being on your list?

      Instead, you will moan and look for reasons to be upset.

  20. I didn’t know Aweber had that sort of functionality and I have been using it for years – thanks John these tips will save me some money 🙂


  21. Design Flyer says:

    It will certainly save money of many people..

  22. Kristi says:

    Awesome series! I don’t have enough unsubscribes to jump a tier yet, although I just checked and I’m about 50 short of hitting that mark. Going to clean them up right now so I can save a few $$s. 🙂

  23. christina says:

    but its some times emails will reach the spam box how to avoid them

  24. BlogFront says:

    Hi John, is committed to uphold the quality standards of blogging. We strive to maintain and promote only the most credible blogs in their respective fields.

    Spam blogs or “splogs” has been a problem for some time now and people are getting confused about which blog to trust.

    We would like to thank you for maintaining such a reputable blog. We know that it takes time, effort and commitment to keep such a blog and as such, we have added your blog as one of the top Blogging Blogs.

    You can see your blog listed here:

    You can also claim your BlogFront Top Blogs badge at

    Thank you for keeping your blog credible. Let’s keep the blog revolution alive!

    Maria Blanchard
    Blog Revolucion

  25. we should not send the continuous mail it will not reach the people due to spam

    1. singer divya says:

      i too agree with this, because by using some softwares, most of the mails were gone into spam box.

Comments are closed.