How To Put Your Email List On A Diet

One thing John stresses that every blogger should do is create an email list. And for good reason as it’s how he makes the bulk of his earnings every month (if you don’t have an email list then sign-up for an Aweber account now). But, an often over-looked aspect of having an email list is the clean-up.

Unless you follow a proper diet and exercise, as you grow and get bigger your body will store unwanted fat. The same can be said for your email list. As your subscribers list gets bigger it starts to collect unwanted fake or non-existing email addresses and subscribers who are generally uninterested or didn’t realize they signed up for your newsletter (yes, this happens even though they confirmed).

There are many reasons to put your email list on a diet:

  1. It can save you money – Most autoresponders charge you based on the amount of subscribers you have, so you can potentially save yourself a lot of money by getting rid of these unwanted email addresses.
  2. Lower your spam complaints – If you have a big enough list or have been email marketing for a fair amount of time, you will eventually get a spam complaint, but by following a few simple tips you can lower the chances of this happening
  3. Multiple bounces can get you blocked – ISP’s track how often your newsletters bounce and will block them if you attempt to continually deliver messages to closed subscriber mailboxes.

Now, that doesn’t mean to start deleting users that aren’t opening your emails, but rather put the following tips into place to cut out the fat and build a strong, lean list.

Tell Subscribers What They Are Getting

A great way to explode your subscriber list is to give them something for free if they in turn subscribe. But, many people don’t realize that they are also signing up for your newsletter in addition to getting your free product. This can lead to subscribers marking your emails as spam or just simply ignoring your emails completely.

A way around this is to tell them exactly what they are getting. For example, instead of just offering a free product by signing up, tell them they can immediately access your free product by signing up for your newsletter. This way they know that they will be receiving regular emails from you in addition to the free product.

Tell Them Again

Sometimes you need to beat a dead horse. In your “Welcome” email your subscriber receives after signing up it may be a good idea to tell them again that they will be regularly receiving emails from you. If you want you can give them a time frame on when to expect these emails and the frequency in which you typically send them out so there’s no surprises and they know exactly what to expect. I’ve even seen email marketers include a prominent unsubscribe link at the top of the “Welcome” message to help push those that might be uninterested out the door.

Subscriber Addresses

If you don’t already, ask that subscribers use their primary email address, an address given to them by their ISP, before even signing up. Free accounts like Hotmail or Yahoo are commonly used as throw away or temporary accounts. The life span on these accounts can be minimal.

So for example, on your opt-in form you could replace “Email Address” with “Primary Email”. And under the opt-in form ask that subscribers use their primary and valid email when subscribing.

Delete Bounced Addresses

Addresses that bounce with a permanent error 2 or 3 times in a month should be deleted from your list. As stated above, ISP’s track these bounces and will block your newsletter if you attempt to continually deliver messages to closed subscriber mailboxes.

Bonus Tip

In typical John Chow fashion, I’m going to leave you with a bonus tip. If you’re using Aweber as your autoresponder (which is highly recommended), then make sure to delete unsubscribed users. These count towards your total amount of subscribers and depending on the amount of unsubscribers you have, it could save you some money by lowering your monthly fee.

Tory runs a low calorie diet blog that focuses on creating healthy habits for permanent weight loss.


47 thoughts on “How To Put Your Email List On A Diet”

  1. I find that sometimes it helps to re-opt the entire list too – usually when you’re pushing 10k subscribes or so.

    1. Do you find this strategy the best route to go? Just wondering if you have attempted other routes with less results.

      1. Ryan McLean says:

        I don’t know if I agree with re-opting your list. What difference does it make cutting down a few subscribers just to save a couple of dollars?
        The bounced subscribers will be automatically removed, as will those who mark your email as spam. Aweber automatically does this for you.

        The thousands of idle subscribers you have will still take advantages of your offers every now and then and more than pay for the extra cost. Plus you can use the numbers to your advantage when JVing and advertising.

    2. Most people that I heard from that did full re-opt in mainly because of changing to Awaber form their own software lost more than 70% of subscribers.

      This is why I’d caution against taking this route.

      1. d3so says:

        I lost 80% by importing feedburner to aweber.
        You have to decide on quality or quantity.

        1. hmmmm…that’s a big loss, yet, I would rather have 20% targetted subscribers than 80% of untargetted….

          1. 80% loss … so now you have the quality not crap.

            But you are still having feedburner.

            I also think that you should hire some web designer and make your website … more attractive.

    3. re-opt? How? By introducing another offer? Or something along those lines..?

    4. interesting…I would think you would lose a few targeted subscribers that way as well…those that don’t remember signing up…

    5. Really bad tip! Experience shows that you will loose a lot of subscribers that way. Ask John, he has a story to tell about that one when he switched from a self-hosted list to aweber and was forced to let them all re-opt in. I think he stated he lost 70% of his subscribers, SY

  2. Nothing worse than paying for people that aren’t interested :-/

    1. d3so says:

      Yup, which happened to me. I didn’t know about the quotas and was charged extra. I couldn’t get a refund 🙁

      1. That’s why I’m holding off on Aweber until I start getting targeted traffic…right now its all across the board..

      2. Definitely… I feel like so many people sign up for the free offer or just as a momentary urge and then get annoyed with the email they signed up for. Sorry to hear about that d3so!

      3. Repeat after me ‘Always read the small print, always read the terms and conditions!’ Now you 😉 SY

  3. i especially like this one,

    In typical John Chow fashion, I’m going to leave you with a bonus tip. If you’re using Aweber as your autoresponder (which is highly recommended), then make sure to delete unsubscribed users. These count towards your total amount of subscribers and depending on the amount of unsubscribers you have, it could save you some money by lowering your monthly fee.

    1. EXACTLY! I was going to comment about the same thing. I really did not know that unsubscribed users count towards total amount of subscribers. So thanks a lot for mentioning this bonus tip.

  4. PPC Ian says:

    Tory,
    GREAT tips and very much appreciated. I need to do a better job, especially on emphasizing the “newsletter” aspect of my email list.
    Best,
    Ian

    1. I need to get an email list going period! lol

  5. Funny title but awesome read.GO JC!!!

    1. If you read the post carefully you’ll realize that it is a guest post written by somebody who has a diet related blog or website.

      I’m not sure then if it’s your fan cry that’s rather funny.
      My point is that you probably didn’t read the post carefully enough beyond the title and your comment reflects that.

      I’m trying to help you here. Try to post comments of value.

      1. Now your embarrassing me!

  6. Good point but even asking for primary email address doesn’t prevent people from giving you throw away or disposable addresses.

    Yahoo and hotmail are primary addresses for some people so I wouldn’t necessarily judge the subscribers on that.

    Vance

  7. Jason says:

    I have wanted to get Aweber for awhile now! I am just starting as a blogger and I will eventually get this service as my site grows.

    1. Just don’t wait too long. Most people later regret not having started with list building right away.

      AWeber is the best according to a lot of people, John included.

    2. d3so says:

      If you’re serious, start now!

    3. Lakhyajyoti says:

      I am planning to use Awebar.Because Awebar is so important for every blogger.

    4. Bidet says:

      Its never too soon to start a list, if you are blogger you should start right away and have a place for readers to subscribe.

  8. Ryan says:

    Thanks for your great tips!

    One way to keep ur list clean and responsive is to check the newsletters performance regularly so you can see which newsletter is causing the complaints.

    If you are a Getresponse user like me, you can check it on the Performance Statistics.

  9. d3so says:

    These tips will definitely help maintain lists. I had to learn the hard way by being charged extra fir unsubcribers on my list.

    1. Bidet says:

      That sucks that you had to pay more for unsubscribed emails. Too bad you did not read this sooner.

  10. It’s like asking a thin person to watch his weight WHEN he gets fat enough! 😛

  11. elie palima says:

    hello tory. Wow I didn’t know that Aweber still charge me for unsubscribed users. now that I had reached my 500 subscriber quota, it really helped alot. Thank you so much for that bonus tip.

    anyways, I have a question for John, I was wondering how Much do you pay Aweber for 100,000 subscribers???

    I heard they were charging about $150 for 25,000 subscribers.. so, does that mean you pay them $600 a month for keeping 100k subscribers?

  12. Good advice Tory – I clear out the Aweber unsubscribes on a regular basis. It doesn’t seem to make any difference to my costs but I have a tidy mind…..

    1. Lakhyajyoti says:

      I am not using awebar till now.

  13. I uses Aweber, and it is a good email service… anyway thanks for telling me that those unsubscribed users are also counted… I didn’t know that. oh well… time to delete them away….

  14. Scott Henson says:

    Aweber is something like $130 for 25,000 subscribers.

    Then it’s $8 per thousand after that.

    you can see that a list of 100,000 starts getting a little bit expensive. BUT you really should be able to make that money back by emailing your list regularly with offers.

    1. elie palima says:

      hey, thanks for the answer. 🙂

  15. Great tips and thanks for that. I really enjoyed the title. That’s what got my attention and got me reading.

    I’m only just starting my email subscriber list, but I will be sure to keep these ideas in mind when my list becomes too big for its britches.

  16. Tory says:

    Thanks for all the positive responses everybody! I’ve learned a lot from John and even you, the commenter’s on this site, so it feels good to give back.

  17. Great tips. Interesting to see the author expanding from the world of dieting to the world of finance/SEO. Way to use all your talents!

  18. Excellent write up Tory, I liked the one with emphasizing the newsletter aspect best. Kind of make the reader think they get value for subscribing and not only sales pitches, SY

    1. Lakhyajyoti says:

      Really this was nice post.Waiting for another article from you Tory.

  19. Lakhyajyoti says:

    Another nice post.It takes me some time to start such a list.

  20. Like the way you mixed your diet niche and business.

    Simply awesome.

  21. Bidet says:

    I never thought of this before, its a great analogy using the body to refer to your email list. Its very true though, having fake emails or emails that are not subscribed can cause you a lot of troubles.

  22. Spamming is a serious problem these days. Nice points made by you. Trivial but right on the money.

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