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Shrink Your Email List

This post was most recently updated on July 30th, 2016

Shrink Your Email List

Shrink your email list, only if you want to increase your email profits.

I know, you’re thinking I’m a bit confused.

It sounds funny to talk about “shrinking” your email list when mostly what you hear around the water cooler is to build up your list.

Let’s start with this.

What’s so great about having a big list?

The Money Is In The List

I haven’t told you anything you haven’t hear a million times.

Of course, the money is in the list.

So, at a glance, you’d think the bigger your list, the more money it would bring it.

That’s right, too.

You do have to build your list.

The more people you can email offers to, the more commissions and sales you’ll make, and the more leads and prospects you’ll drive to your business opportunity.

On the other hand, it’s not only the size of your list that matters.

There are real people opening your emails.

They’re not just numbers.

They’re real people with real problems, looking for real information and solutions.

The money is in the list as long as you are giving these people what they’re looking for.

If you’re not, then they will become “unresponsive” in email marketing jargon.

In other words, you may be sending them great offers, but they won’t be interested if you’re offering things they don’t care about.

Who’s Fault Is It?

One way to look at this problem is to say “I have a bad list.”

I hear this all the time.

It’s true, too.

Your list can be “bad” if it’s a mismatch for your offers.

If your list is mostly people looking to lose weight and you keep offering them fitness tapes, it’s because you think people who want to lose weight also want to get physically fit.

But that may not be the case.

I don’t really know if it is or not, because I don’t work in that niche.

But if you’re sending those people offers to something they’re not interested in, then that list is “bad” in the sense that it’s not perfectly matched to your offers.

You’d probably be better off to try to build your list with people who like exercise instead of people who want to lose weight.

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Then, the “bad” list of people who don’t open your emails or buy your offers, will suddenly become a “good” list of people who do.

So, the fault can’t really placed on your subscribers.

The fault is your own because you’ve built your list the wrong way.

Not a problem.

We can fix things.

Shrink Your Email List

Here’s the solution to this problem.

Shrink your email list.

Find out which “segment” or part of your list is, in fact, interested in exercise and fitness, and send them your fitness offers.

But, at the same time, find out which segment is NOT interested, and get rid of them.

Get them off your email list because

  1. They won’t open your emails (open rate)
  2. They won’t click through to your offers (CTR, click through rate)
  3. They won’t buy them (conversion rate)

By sending emails to the “bad” (mis-matched) segment of your list, you’ll decrease your open rate, CTR and conversion rate of subscribers being converted into paying customers.

Why Not Keep Everyone So You Have A Bigger List?

They don’t give awards for having a big list.

In fact, if you’re sending offers to people who don’t open your emails, you’re seriously hurting your general open rate.

If you have a list of 100 people and 50 typically open your emails, you have a 50% open rate.

If you have a list of 1,000 people and 50 typically open your emails, you have a 5% open rate.

Who cares?

The spam bots care.

When they see you only have a 5% open rate, they’ll be far more likely to send your emails to the spam boxes.  In other words, those messages won’t get delivered.

Eventually, your entire email marketing will suffer because even people who want to see your offers won’t be getting them.

This is an issue of what is called “deliverability.”

If your emails aren’t getting delivered, there’s little point to even running email campaigns.

It’s like sending postcards to the wrong address.

Nobody’s getting them.

To make matters worse, email delivery companies like Get Response, Mail Chimp, Aweber and all the others, charge you according to the size of your list.  The bigger your list, the more you get charged.

That’s great if your profits are increasingly with the size of your list, but if not, you’re paying for nothing.

So What’s An Email Marketer To Do?

First of all, don’t build your list with people who may be a mismatch.

If your niche is exercise equipment, give away a free ebook about the best types of exercise equipment to buy.

Sure, you can build it with people who want to lose weight, or people who don’t exercise enough and give them a free ebook called “why you should exercise more.”

But then, you have to convince them to buy your exercise equipment.

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When you build your list with people already interested in exercise equipment, you don’t have to convince them of anything.  You just have to present them with good offers… the ones they’re already looking for anyway.

Of course, things aren’t always that clear cut.

We all end up with email lists that include plenty of folks not really interested in taking action on our offers.

So we need to get them off our list.

One of my favorite ways is to just come out and tell people to unsubscribe if they’re not getting value from my emails.

Or, send them emails that tell them they must subscribe again in order to stay on your list.  This is a really effective method for getting rid of people who never even open your emails.

It’s also a great way to get rid of people who never take action.

They won’t even take the action of re-subscribing.

Most of my students don’t like the idea of doing these things because…

it will definitely shrink your email list.

I love doing it because…

it will definitely shrink your email list.

Shrink Your Open Rate

Another good tactic here is to shrink your open rate.

Wait… I thought we wanted to get a higher open rate.

Well, yes we do.

But that will happen as a result of first, discouraging certain people from even opening our emails.

The people we don’t want opening our emails are those who are mismatched for our messages.

Let me demonstrate with this common little scenario.

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Let’s say your “exercise equipment” list is full of people only wanting to lose weight.  They’re not really interested in exercise equipment.

Had you done a better job of building your list, they wouldn’t be there to begin with, but, hey… nobody’s perfect.

Now you have to send out emails.

It’s time to create the subject header.

You could send out an email with this subject heading: “This really worked for me!”

Or, you could send out this one: “Here’s a treadmill that really worked for me!”

Which one do you think will get a higher open rate?

The first one will for people who may or may not be interested in my treadmill offer.

But the second one will among the smaller segment of people interested in my treadmill offer.

And those are the folks I’m really talking to.

The first group is a mismatch for my offers.

I’d rather they not open my emails, so I can identify them over the course of 10, 15, 20 emails as being “unresponsive.”

Now that I know who they are, I can send them that email asking them to subscribe again, and that will probably be the end of them.

Or, I can even just delete them from my list without asking them anything.

Either way, by periodically lowering my open rate with highly targeted messages, I’ll grow a better and more responsive list.

If I do this as a matter of course, my list will actually have a higher open rate in the long run because it’s increasingly stocked with people interested in my messages.

Shrink Your Email List

These are some of the best ways to shrink your email list.

To build a profitable online business, you almost always need to involve some level of email marketing.

That requires you build an email list.

To have a profitable list, yoYour Blog Is A Sales Funnel need

  1. People to open your emails
  2. People to engage with you
  3. People to become your clients or customers

Some subscribers will show no inclination to do any of those 3 things.

Getting them off your list will vastly improve your email marketing.

That will help your online business to increase in profitability.


Do you think only of “growing” the size of your list?

Or do you work to shrink your email list, too?

Please leave your comments below.

Donna Merrill
Donna is a well known blogger and creator of "Blogging Magic" - an intensive guide to blogging. "Blogging Magic" is for beginners who are trying to figure out how to bring their blogs to life with tons of visits, comments and social media interaction. It's even for advanced bloggers looking to reach new levels of authority and engagement with their audience.

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74 Responses to Shrink Your Email List

  1. Atish Ranjan
    August 3, 2015 at 5:52 am #


    Thanks for writing so detailed article in this interesting topic. Having a list that is not interested in our product, is just the waste. Sending the right product to the right audience is what works best in email marketing.

    Personalization of emails is indeed important.
    Atish Ranjan recently posted..10 Link Building Mistakes You Should AvoidMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill August 3, 2015 at 5:51 pm #

      Hi Atish,

      It is sure wise to shrink your list when people aren’t interested in our product/services. It is a waste of time.

      Our emails have to be closely monitored and sometimes segmented in order to keep interest.

      Donna Merrill recently posted..Boost Your Blog With Social MediaMy Profile

  2. Donna Merrill July 6, 2015 at 7:48 pm #

    Hi Monna,

    I always find that I rather have quality than quantity. I like a specific list for my blog, and another for my buyers.

    I keep engaging there but if people aren’t responding what’s the use. I like to clean things up especially on my buyers list and keep things fresh.

    Donna Merrill recently posted..The Most Common Excuses For Not Being Listened ToMy Profile

  3. Monna Ellithorpe
    July 4, 2015 at 11:22 am #

    Hey Donna,

    I’ve never heard of this before but it makes perfect sense when you explain it. Again, I believe a lot of marketers, including myself have a hard time sometimes of putting ourselves in the shoes of our audience, who they are and what they want.

    Great advice and thanks again. Have a great weekend.
    Monna Ellithorpe recently posted..Join A Community That Is Your One-Stop PlaceMy Profile

  4. Rachel Lavern
    May 31, 2015 at 11:39 pm #

    Hi Donna,

    I love the idea of shrinking the email list for the reasons you mentioned.

    My preference is to delete unengaged subscribers frequently and not to fret over unsubscribers. I agree that it is better to have a smaller list with active readers than a huge list with a lot of inactive ones. It is less expensive (might as well not pay for all that dead weight) and the open rate will be much higher (more attractive to advertisers). Lately I just don’t blanket delete them…I make a couple of attempts to re-engage them first. If I am unsuccessful, they are out of there! 🙂
    Rachel Lavern recently posted..Are You Making the Most of Your Business?My Profile

    • Donna Merrill June 1, 2015 at 4:09 pm #

      Hi Rachel,

      It sure is better to have a smaller list with active readers than a huge inactive one. It is expensive carrying around dead weight. And yes, the open rate will be higher and attractive to advertisers.

      Making some attempts to re-engage first is always best to do. But after a while, we just have to delete them.

      Donna Merrill recently posted..How Can I Break Through Endless Failure?My Profile

  5. Jenni Ryan
    May 31, 2015 at 7:36 am #

    Excellent advice! I have often shrunk my email list removing dead wood who never open emails but never thought to actually take these steps. Thank you again for great advice.

  6. Susan cooper
    May 26, 2015 at 8:11 am #

    Donna this is brilliant. I’m sure most people think either the bigger my email list the better, whether it’s full of worthless emails or not, or what difference does it make when if there are bad emails in there. You did a great job of explaining why Yes it does matter and here’s how to fix it. I think your plan to shrink your email list into a good profitable one sounds like it would work well.
    Susan cooper recently posted..Chocolate Tasting Board: #RecipeMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill May 27, 2015 at 10:45 am #

      Hi Susan,

      I think people who think “the bigger my email list the better” have probably not really build much of a list yet.

      When you actually do build a list, or like in my case, many lists… you start developing a sense of the difference between a “productive” list, and a stagnant one.

      The same is true of Facebook, Twitter and all the rest. Once people build big numbers of followers, they soon learn that they’re either benefittng from those numbers, or that they’re wasting their time and resources.

      Donna Merrill recently posted..The Internet Marketer LifestyleMy Profile

  7. Shelley Alexander May 25, 2015 at 11:48 pm #

    Wow Donna, This post is really timely for me! I recently added a popup subscriber box on my site with a free gift and it has really increased my subscribers. Now I need to follow your advice and find out which subscribers are really interested in being a part of my community for the long term and also open to checking out my services and products that I offer in some of my emails. Thanks for all the great advice and I have to get to work to make sure to shrink my list and only keep the people who are truly engaged and interested in what I provide.
    Shelley Alexander recently posted..Superfoods Cinnamon Coffee LatteMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill May 27, 2015 at 10:42 am #

      Hi Shelley,

      Good job building your list, and now, as you say — you need to figure out who wants to be there.

      One decent strategy for determining that right from day one, is to make your “welcome to my list” email include a survey from Survey Monkey or whatever.

      Ask people, “What’s your biggest challenge with ….” or “What kind of content would you find valuable by being on my list, A, B, or C.”

      That’s one way to find out right from the start who is on the same page with you, or not. It also builds engagement, which will improve you open rate and CTR.

      Donna Merrill recently posted..The Internet Marketer LifestyleMy Profile

  8. Willena Flewelling
    May 24, 2015 at 7:46 pm #

    It sure makes sense to cull your email list once in a while. I can see how a blogger could end up with the “wrong” people on his list, especially if he’s not crystal clear on who his target market is. The sooner he figures that out, the better, because he’ll be more focused, and more help to his readers. Thanks for the ideas on how to shrink the list.
    Willena Flewelling recently posted..Smoky SunsetMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill May 27, 2015 at 10:34 am #

      Hi Willena,

      The key, as you point out, is to be “crystal clear” on who your target market is.

      If you build your list with that understanding, and by targeting precisely the people that you can help, and who you can do business with, or build a team with, etc., then your list will be congruent with your overall marketing strategy.

      It’s often tempting to get people on your list with some slick “bribe” that might be trending at the moment, but really doesn’t pull the most targeted people onto your list. Then you’re left with the task of shrinking your list to eliminate many of those folks that you worked hard and maybe spent money on to get them onto your list in the first place.

      Donna Merrill recently posted..The Internet Marketer LifestyleMy Profile

    May 24, 2015 at 7:29 pm #

    I go through my ‘list’ once a month and tell people if what I offer is of no value then THEY should unsubscribe. Yet no one does. Either this means they like what I am providing or they are too lazy to hit the unsubscribe button..which some people are. I’d rather give me audience what they want and have them happy than give bad service.

    WILLIAM O’TOOLE recently posted..Meet Robert Hollis – Multi MillionaireMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill May 26, 2015 at 10:58 pm #

      Hi William,

      You’ve hit the key issue here… give your subscribers what you want.

      Cleaning out your list once a month is certainly an aggressive way to deal with the issue. Of course, the bigger your list, the more proactive you need to be.

      Thanks for you insight here.

      Donna Merrill recently posted..The Internet Marketer LifestyleMy Profile

  10. Monisha Kapur
    May 24, 2015 at 4:53 pm #

    Hi Donna,

    Great post!! You’re so right- it’s important to have a list with people that are more interested in what you have to offer and will convert to clients, referrals etc.

    Thanks for this great post! I definitely need to start working on cleaning up my list…

    Monisha Kapur recently posted..What to Wear to a Summer EventMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill May 26, 2015 at 10:42 pm #

      Hi Monisha,

      Cleaning up your list should really be done on a regular basis.

      Mark your calendar for a period of something like every 6 months to get rid of some dead weight.

      When you do it regularly and consistently, it won’t get out of control to begin with.

      Donna Merrill recently posted..The Internet Marketer LifestyleMy Profile

  11. Jacs Henderson
    May 24, 2015 at 4:15 pm #

    A very wise concept that not many speak about!

    I am paying attention to my list at the moment, and in the past I have deleted people in the system who have not opened them for months. I did have some dead wood from old solo ads, and aweber allows you to view subscriber actions.

    Interesting that you contact people via facebook, I haven’t taken that approach.

    I like the idea of sending out speciffically chosen titles to prompt opens in the correct niche that we are in, rather than a similar one… sometimes people join and lose interest, and sometimes we maybe target the wrong subscribers…

    but either way it is a good idea to align our message to market criteria 🙂

    thanks Donna

    Jacs Henderson recently posted..Do You Leave Your Footprint Wherever You Roam And Generate Leads Behind You?!My Profile

    • Donna Merrill May 26, 2015 at 10:36 pm #

      Hi Jacs,

      As you say, it’s most important to “align our message” to our specific marketing criteria.

      I think most people understand this in theory, but somehow, they tend to forget it when it comes to putting it into practice.

      It’s just easier to talk to our subscribers about the things we want them to be interested in, rather than focus on those things we already know they are interested in.

      It’s important to avoid trying to talk people into things. A far more effective approach is to appeal to their known interests.

      Donna Merrill recently posted..The Internet Marketer LifestyleMy Profile

  12. Akaahan Terungwa
    May 24, 2015 at 7:31 am #

    Hi Donna,

    A real insightful article, I must say. Many persons erroneously believe that a bigger email list is also best…it’s a great thing that you have disputed that here (and in a brilliant manner too).

    My strategy is simple: when I hit a landmark number (like 1000, 5000, 10000 etc) on any of my numerous lists, I prune. By pruning, I remove all the subscribers who either do not open or those who fail to click.

    Why waste time and money with non performing subscribers?

    Do make the day great!

    Akaahan Terungwa
    Akaahan Terungwa recently posted..How To Make (Real) Money Online In Nigeria With Affiliate Marketing ProgramsMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill June 15, 2015 at 12:08 pm #

      Hi Akaahan,

      I like the way you put it that you “prune” your list. Yes, we do have to remove those who either do not open our emails or fail to click.

      So true, why waste time and money with a non performing subscriber?

      Donna Merrill recently posted..5 Wise BloggersMy Profile

  13. Dennis Seymour
    May 24, 2015 at 1:02 am #

    Oh definitely. We all have to do this eventually especially with the extra charges because of it. Managing a big email list thats not profitable can just put you in a tight pinch.

    Great reminder and great suggestions Donna!
    Dennis Seymour recently posted..Local SEO Schema and How It Helps with On-Page SEOMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill May 26, 2015 at 10:18 pm #

      Hi Dennis,

      I appreciate your confirmation.

      There’s nothing wrong with having a large list, of course, as long as it’s filled with people who are opening our emails and clicking through on our calls to action.

      That’s the best case scenario we want to work toward achieving.

      Donna Merrill recently posted..The Internet Marketer LifestyleMy Profile

  14. Sue Bride
    May 24, 2015 at 12:56 am #

    When I first started online marketing I made the mistake that I think many make, that of using free safelists and solo emails. I soon realized that they were a complete waste of time. Recipients only opened them for the purpose of earning points to send out emails themselves, very often to advertise other safelists!

    Although I’ve built lists for specific purposes which would only be subscribed too by those really interested, I hadn’t thought in terms of shrinking a list. It make sense.

    Your point about avoiding the spam bots is really important. Thanks Donna
    Sue Bride recently posted..Free Tools to Check Competitors WebsitesMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill May 26, 2015 at 10:12 pm #

      Hi Sue,

      I certainly agree with you about using free safelists. Although there are ways to use safelists effectively, it’s not a great method of building a list for the vast majority of us.

      I’m not sure what you mean by “solo emails,” but buying “solo ads” is a very good way to build a list. You have to know what you’re doing though, and that’s a whole other subject.

      Of course, it doesn’t matter how good your list is if you’re tripping spam bots. You need to know how to avoid this or else your emails won’t even get to the inboxes of your subscribers.

      Donna Merrill recently posted..The Internet Marketer LifestyleMy Profile

  15. Lesly Federici
    May 23, 2015 at 7:41 am #

    Hey Donna,
    Building a list is important for sure… but you’re sharing, within that list, how to use it better so it’s more effective for you and your readers .. Love it and good discussion ..
    Lesly Federici recently posted..3 Minute Expert ReviewMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill May 26, 2015 at 10:07 pm #

      Hi Lesly,

      Building a list is important.

      But it’s only the beginning of the story. It’s how you engage your subscribers, and encourage them to take targeted actions that really matters the most in the long run.

      Donna Merrill recently posted..The Internet Marketer LifestyleMy Profile

  16. Dr. Erica Goodstone
    May 22, 2015 at 5:24 pm #


    Wonderful and timely post. For the past few months, continuing at this point, I have been a featured speaker on 4 different Love Summits. The first requirement was to have a large list, a minimum of a certain number. Nobody asked whether the subscribers on the list would be repsonsive. Nobody asked if I have interested contacts on social media. All they were concerned with was a certain list size.

    As part of the agreement for each summit, I was required to send 1 or 2, and in some cases 3, emails using their swipe emails as a model or as the exact email to send. So, I have thousands of subscribers but once my autoresponder series had ended on their specific list, they rarely heard from me unless they received a blog broadcast in AWeber. In ConstantContact, I have no autoresponders set up and no blog broadcasts, so they had not heard from me in quite awhile. Suddenly I was sending all these emails – and – many subscribers unsubscribed. But I thought that was great because it was cleaning out my lilsts.

    Now many new subscribers have joined and these people, coming from a current love summit, are interested in what I am teaching and offering. They ARE my target market and it is exciting to see this. So I said goodbye, happily, to those who were no longer interested. And to my delight, many of the people on my old lists did open the emails and some even responded.

    It is fun to work with an interested list. I am through with worrying about numbers m- numbers of friends, numbers of clients, numbers of email subscribers. Instead it is about each individual relationship.


    Dr. Erica
    Dr. Erica Goodstone recently posted..What are the Benefits of a Long-Term Business Relationship?My Profile

    • Donna Merrill May 26, 2015 at 10:05 pm #

      Hi Dr. Erica,

      Thanks so much for sharing your experience.

      It’s very common for promoters to do all they can to leverage your list for their own purposes, and you’re right… they only care about the size of your list, not the quality.

      That’s because they play the “numbers game.” They just want to get offers in front of as many people as possible, knowing that a certain percentage of them will convert into buyers, customers or whatever they are targeting.

      They often insinuate that your list has little value unless it reaches a certain size.

      That’s clearly not the point as you illustrate in your story.

      Thanks again.

      Donna Merrill recently posted..The Internet Marketer LifestyleMy Profile

  17. ikechi
    May 22, 2015 at 5:48 am #

    Hi Donna

    What a cool way to get the attention of everyone. You have discussed an important.

    There was a time I believed that the bigger your list, the better but like you brilliantly mentioned, what’s the point if having a large unresponsive list. It is a waste of time and money.

    I have had to shrink my list and weed out unresponsive subscribers and when I did this, I was feeling uncomfortable like what was I dong but I needed a responsive list with high open rates

    So you are right and we need to think about the quality of our list and the quantity.

    Thanks for sharing. Thumbs up dear.

    • Donna Merrill May 26, 2015 at 9:45 pm #

      Hi Ikechi,

      I know it’s a bit nerve wracking when you first start “weeding out” your list.

      We are so intent on building our list, that we can feel like we’re giving up on trying to interest people in what we’re doing.

      But if they’re not even opening our emails, then we have no opportunity to interest them in anything. That’s why a good method could be to ask people to confirm that they want to stay on your list.

      Of course, if they’re not opening your emails, they won’t see it. So use a very direct subject heading like: “You are about to be deleted from my email list.” If they still don’t open, you’re better off without them.
      Donna Merrill recently posted..The Internet Marketer LifestyleMy Profile

  18. Robin Strohmaier
    May 21, 2015 at 7:55 pm #

    Hi Donna,

    This is an interesting topic. It totally hits home. I’ve been thinking about “spring cleaning” my email list for some time now. I keep an eye on the open rates and have wondered why some that never open the emails have not opted out.

    In a marketing world where the message is to build your list, it is refreshing to hear your perspective. Now, I am convinced that it is the right thing to do.

    On the subscriber side, I find it sad when some try to trick users into signing up for something and then they end up putting you on an email list. When this happens to me, I unsubscribe. My inbox is precious space.

    Thank you for the fresh perspective. Love the title! It totally drew me in.

    ~ Robin
    Robin Strohmaier recently posted..7 Fabulously Free SEO ToolsMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill May 21, 2015 at 9:45 pm #

      Hi Robin,

      All we do hear is build your list and it is true we do need to build it. But at the same time, we must do our Spring Cleaning. Those that haven’t opened our emails may have them in their spam box.

      Some just don’t unsubscribe…why I don’t know. But when looking at our open rates we do have to see what is or isn’t working.

      Maybe it’s our headlines….I check that first. But it’s great to connect with people and ask them to unsubscribe if they are not opening our emails.

      Indeed, on the subscriber side, I don’t like it either when signing up to something and get on an email list for something else. At least we have the option to unsubscribe and keep our own emails tidy.

      Donna Merrill recently posted..Your Silent Inner VoiceMy Profile

  19. Cararta
    May 21, 2015 at 6:48 pm #

    Hi Donna,

    Guess Housekeeping is a necessary part of list building.

    Keep it nice and tidy and full of engaged and happy followers!

    Easier said that done, I’m sure. But the goal is to
    make the list aware of helpful things, besides that freebie they received
    to join.

    Great share..because a list can become a full time job on top of blogging!

    Cararta recently posted..AboutMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill May 21, 2015 at 9:37 pm #

      Hi Cararta,

      A list sure does become a full time job o top of blogging. We have to make sure we nurture it and engage properly, especially when we have segmented lists.

      Sure is easier said than done. But once we do our housekeeping it does become a little easier.

      Donna Merrill recently posted..Your Silent Inner VoiceMy Profile

  20. Leanne Chesser
    May 21, 2015 at 2:41 pm #

    Yes, I definitely think about shrinking my list as well as building it :). I love this: “They don’t give awards for having a big list.” I agree with the direct approach – just ask people to unsubscribe if they aren’t getting value from it, or if it’s not a good fit for them.
    Leanne Chesser recently posted..The Secret to Networking Effectively OnlineMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill May 21, 2015 at 9:22 pm #

      Hi Leanne,

      They sure don’t give awards for having a huge list! It’s not about the quantity, but quality that does count.

      Donna Merrill recently posted..Your Silent Inner VoiceMy Profile

  21. Lea Bullen
    May 20, 2015 at 6:24 pm #

    Hi Donna,

    I’m sure you knew you’d get everyone’s attention with that headline. They were probably thinking, what, don’t I want to do the opposite?!

    But it does make sense. If people are on your list and are interested in what you’re providing then there’s no point in them being there.

    Besides you’d have higher conversion rates with a centralized group.

    Wow, I didn’t know the spam bots could detect your open rates.

    Lea Bullen recently posted..4 Distorted Beliefs That Slaughter Your Chances at a Better LifeMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill May 21, 2015 at 9:21 pm #

      Hi Lea,

      That headline did draw some attention …what a hoot! It sure does make sense – if people are on my list for a long time and have not opened my emails, there is a problem.

      Either I’m in spam, or the are not interested. So cleaning up the list is a win win for them and me.

      And it sure creates a higher conversion rate.

      Donna Merrill recently posted..Your Silent Inner VoiceMy Profile

  22. Sherman Smith May 20, 2015 at 5:05 pm #

    Hey Donna,

    I like where you’re coming from with this. Sometimes the best solution to getting benter results is by cutting some people loose. If you don’t serve them or vise versa why keep them around. Isn’t this life in general?

    But yes you do want to focus on the subscribers that’s actually gaining something from your value. You want to present them with something that is aligned with their wants and needs, and when you can do this your reputation also flourishes.

    Also as you mentioned, most email autoresponder programs do charge based on the size of your list. This is something you want to be aware about and take necessary action on.

    So with all of this said, it is definitely a benefit to decreasing your list. I’ve been procrastinating on it and I’m going to get more into the habit og this starting now!

    Thanks for sharing Donna! Have a good one!
    Sherman Smith recently posted..Why Should Solo Entrepreneurs Like You Focus On Blogging?My Profile

    • Donna Merrill May 21, 2015 at 11:14 am #

      Hi Sherman,

      I like the way you put it when you mentioned cutting people loose if you don’t serve them or vise versa is like life in general. What a great way to look at our lists!

      We always have to give value, and if we have several lists, no matter how small they may be, we have to give it all we got!

      Yes, those autoresponder programs do charge based on the size of the list so why not clean it?

      Thanks for your input,

      Donna Merrill recently posted..Your Silent Inner VoiceMy Profile

  23. Corina Ramos
    May 20, 2015 at 3:30 pm #

    Hi Donna,

    I had to start my email list over but it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. My open rate and click rate are much better than when I had a bigger list.

    I didn’t know spambots cared about our open rate. Thanks for sharing that information…it’s good to know that.

    The one thing I’m working on is engaging with them. I do ask questions in my newsletter and encourage them to reply but I get one, maybe two replies. Do you have any other suggestions on how to get them to engage?

    Before I thought growing the size of our list is what mattered but after reading your post I understand why shrinking our list wouldn’t be such a bad idea.

    Thank you for putting this post together. I hope you’re having a great week!

    Corina Ramos recently posted..Understanding How Affiliates Get PaidMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill May 21, 2015 at 11:10 am #

      Hi Corina,

      Thanks for sharing that. Yes, once you clean up your list open rates become higher.

      As for your question: First make sure that your headline won’t end up in spam. If you read my comment above that I have given to Jens above. Sometimes the little things we might do in a headline will end up in the spam box.

      I would also tell folks on your list to “white list” your emails so they can receive them too. There are many ways to play around with the headline. That is where you capture their attention. Just think of being cleaver.

      Of course the content is important, you want to write to your list and give them more information than you do on your blog. After every blog post, you can elaborate on it for those “special people” on your list.

      Just write like you are talking to a friend. Always follow the 80/20 rule whereby you are giving them value and then give them a pitch.

      When pitching you can get a little cleaver there too….”If you are a marketer you want to give this a peek” Something like that.

      Personally, I do use many of my headlines that are given to me when I get an affiliate and just tweak them a bit. If you are getting a new JV affiliate product they sure give you a lot on their affiliate sites, even email swipes.

      See…the learning never stops lol.

      Donna Merrill recently posted..Your Silent Inner VoiceMy Profile

  24. Ryan Biddulph
    May 20, 2015 at 4:16 am #

    Hi Donna,

    This is why I make it TOUGHER to sign up for my list. Or, why even though I offer 2 opt in forms, why I do not do the pop up. I want people who WANT to sign up, to search my form just a little bit, to sign up so I can keep my sky high open rates, and so each person wants what I have to offer.

    If they put effort into signing up, they want my offering. So the email thingee is just another way to give them what they want. No need to force folks or trick folks or do any silly stuff to grow numbers, because numbers do not grow business; intrigued, interested people do, and these folks sign up when they want to sign up, based on what you’re offering them. Love this message!

    Ryan Biddulph recently posted..How to Become a Blogging from Paradise Amazon AffiliateMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill May 20, 2015 at 11:03 am #

      Hi Ryan,

      I do like the way you do the double opt in. I do the same so that if people are really interested, they can sign up.

      Not a numbers person myself. I like a high quality list that is responsive. I can never understand those who do that trick thing to get large quantities of people on their list. A waste of time and money.

      Our list is so important to us as we can communicate so well with others. Why would we ever want dead weight?

      Thanks for adding value to this post.

      Donna Merrill recently posted..Your Silent Inner VoiceMy Profile

  25. BG Jenkins
    May 19, 2015 at 7:25 pm #

    Hi Donna, Lots of great points here, especially when talking about the cost you incur from sending email to the wrong niche. I love your thoughts on matching correctly and identifying those who are never going to open anyway. Thanks again. Great article.
    BG Jenkins recently posted..Feeling Left Behind?My Profile

    • Donna Merrill May 20, 2015 at 10:12 am #

      Hi BG,

      Indeed, there is a cost when having a list, so from time to time it is good practice to check and see your open rates.

      If one has a few niches, we have to engage with them, on each specific matter and then we can offer them a product and/or service.

      Donna Merrill recently posted..Your Silent Inner VoiceMy Profile

  26. Adrienne
    May 19, 2015 at 5:35 pm #

    Hey Donna,

    I’m oftentimes given advice about what I should be offering my list but in my mind I want to stay true to what my business is built around and not have people on my list that may just purchase from me one time and never again.

    I had this lady approach me a few years back who wanted to partner with me of course and email my list about a conference they were having. I would get a commission from the people who signed up that I sent her way and she wanted to know how big my list was. It wasn’t near the size they felt was appropriate but I’ve actually kept it that way on purpose. Not that I don’t want a bigger list of course but it’s like you said. How responsive are they? What’s my open rate on emails? They are a heck of a lot better than most so to me the money is in the list when you treat them right.

    I’m not about the numbers, I’m about the relationships and when you treat your list right they’ll be much more eager to buy from you if it’s something they want at that time.

    Your tips and suggestions are spot on my friend and I know that if anyone is eager to have more luck with building their lists and only having those that will buy from them then they need to learn from you and David.

    Good luck everyone and happy learning.

    Adrienne recently posted..Breaking Away From The Me Too CrowdMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill May 20, 2015 at 10:06 am #

      Hi Adrienne,

      I do remember talking to you about that person who wanted to partner with you but your list wasn’t the appropriate size. It happens sometimes…people want to either swap lists or do some kind of business but there is a huge number they are looking for.

      I sure do know you are all about relationships and your open rates must be great because you do like to get involved with people. Yes…so true the money is in the list when you treat them right.

      And when comes the time you offer them something I’m sure they are very responsive. That’s why I liked cleaning up my list. I did have dead weight from the past and wanted my open rates to be better and they sure are now!

      Now that I have segmented lists, I do more writing these days than ever. Each list has to be on point of what they want to know. It is more work, but I do enjoy it!

      Donna Merrill recently posted..Your Silent Inner VoiceMy Profile

  27. Mark
    May 19, 2015 at 2:58 pm #

    Thanks for sharing some excellent points Donna!

    And like it or not, sooner or later, you are definitely going on to end up
    in the exact situation that you’re so accurately describing!

    Because either your email mis -matched subscriber(s) will decide
    to unsubscribe on their own or you would be
    wise to simply suggest they do so!

    That way, those that remain are the one to stay focused on.

    Of course,as you also pointed out, it may also be a matter of getting
    your subscribers better segmented.

    But either way it’s best to get them on your most suited list(s),
    for their specific needs asap!

    That way you can serve them better and maximize your long term profits!

    Thanks for sharing yet another extremely practically and highly informative post!
    Mark recently posted..Three All Too Common Internet Marketing Mistakes Far Too Many Entrepreneurs Make!Part FourMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill May 20, 2015 at 9:59 am #

      Hi Mark,

      Oh if only they would unsubscribe! Many don’t and when I contact them say via Facebook, and ask the if they are receiving my emails, they say no. Then I ask if they are interested and yes yes yes…so I tell them to check their spam box and there I am. They need to white list it in order for me to show up or create a folder.

      Other than that, I do try to contact those on my list that are “dead weight” Maybe I’m in spam, maybe they are not interested and are lazy to unsubscribe. Or maybe it is an email they created for their junk mail.

      In any case, it can be a bit of a job to contact people, and ask them if they want to be on my list, and if I don’t get a reply, I will take them off.

      Oh yes…I do have segmented lists lol.

      Donna Merrill recently posted..Your Silent Inner VoiceMy Profile

  28. Donna Merrill May 19, 2015 at 11:53 am #

    Hi Don,

    I do agree, completely, that as much as it’s a privilege for us to have people join our list, it’s also a privilege they should value to be there.

    How will they come to realize what a privilege it is to be on our list, though?

    Usually, people think we’d do anything to get them their, so we’re just lucky to have them.

    We can educate them, though, to the fact that they are actually fortunate to be part of what we do on our digital newsletter.

    That education begins by telling people to join our list ONLY if they’re interested in what we’ll share on it. We do that by offering a free report or whatever, that is very specific in scope. When we say “Join our list to get a free report on how to manage your Facebook page,” we are also saying (by default)… Do NOT join our list if you’re not interested in Facebook pages.

    If we offer a free report on “how to make huge profits with little effort,” we are basically saying we want anyone, anyone, just anyone to get on our email list. Please 🙂

    We look desperate. People will rightfully be suspect, and those who do join will be very poorly targeted and are likely to open only the very first email. If dollars bills don’t drop out of it, they’ll never open another one.

    We continue the education by telling people in the very first “welcome” email… “YOU are lucky to be here because I”m going to give you all this value… A, B, C. If you don’t think that’s valuable to you, please, please, please Unsubscribe right now.

    We further continue the education by actually giving them the value we promised, consistently.

    Can selling be valuable? Of course!

    Email marketers are afraid they give no value if they sell.

    If people are truly interested in what you’re teaching them on your newsletter, they will want to buy things to get even more value.

    HINT: I love being on your “great juice recipes” list, but juicers are so expensive. Any ideas what a good one is for me to buy? Oh, you’re an affiliate. Great… let’s do it! And thank you so much.

    Donna Merrill recently posted..Your Silent Inner VoiceMy Profile

  29. Don Purdum
    May 19, 2015 at 11:16 am #

    Hi Donna,

    Absolutely genius!!!!!! I am so thankful and I got to know you and David and the information you shared on this in my podcast back in February forever changed the way I look at email.

    When you guys said that the list size is to be determined by engagement I just kept wondering why I hadn’t thought of that sooner. Isn’t that the truth?

    I think I’m still in the “attraction” phase of my thinking about email. It’s the same for blogging, right? We want to attract those are able, ready and willing to engage and buy from us. Why would email be any different?

    Therefore, we have to create content that appeals directly to the audience we are wanting to attract. If it’s large and productive that’s great. But, still weed out those that are just sitting there.

    I love the idea of giving them opportunities to stay on our list. As much as it’s a privilege to have them on our list, it’s also their privilege to be on our lists. I think we communicate that way it increases the value of what we have to say.

    Do you agree? I would love your thoughts on that?

    Thanks again for another inspiring article on the subject of email!

    Have a great week.

    ~ Don Purdum
    Don Purdum recently posted..Stop Misleading Yourself and Assuming You Know Your Target Market!My Profile

  30. Brenda Lee
    May 19, 2015 at 9:31 am #

    Morning, Donna!

    I think I read this email entirely too early in the morning. I’m confused! ha ha Not really, I can see the point you are trying to get across. My only question is if people are not going to open the Newsletter and read it, why even be Subscribed? That makes no sense especially when it’s so easy to Unsubscribe.

    I will finally be tackling the Free eBook for MGP in the next several months. I’ve been really thinking about the type of eBook and finally pinned it down. But essential, I’m not really marketing anything through my Newsletter, it’s really more of a networking and building up the community Newsletter. Make sense?

    Anywho, that’s for confusing me so early in the morning. Forgive me as I must go bang my head on the way for a few seconds. 🙂

    Happy Tuesday!

    Brenda Lee recently posted..Dogs Are Scientifically Proven to Aide In HealingMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill May 19, 2015 at 11:38 am #

      Hi Brenda,

      Whenever we offer something free, people are more likely to subscribe. Unfortunately, they don’t unsubscribe and for the life of me, I don’t know why. I too have subscribed to some things in the past that don’t fit anymore and always unsubscribe to keep my own email fresh.

      Sometimes, especially when the offer is free, they do hang around for the next free thing coming their way. So my question is do we want to offer things for free and attract people who will probably never purchase anything? OR…. do we put a very small price on it so that we are attracting serious buyers?

      I do see your point of networking via your newsletter and if you don’t intend to sell anything that’s fine. But think about it lol.

      Now there is more confusion for ya lol.

      Donna Merrill recently posted..Your Silent Inner VoiceMy Profile

  31. Marquita Herald
    May 19, 2015 at 8:24 am #

    Great advice Donna and I am happy to admit I regularly cull my email list. The reality is that even when your offer is perfect for your target audience, there will ALWAYS be people who just sign up for the freebie and never open another email.

    One thing I am working on now though is a f/u for people who started out engaged and then stopped opening my emails. Maybe my content is no longer a fit, or maybe life just got in the way. I found some very clever examples of company emails asking people if they want to stay or go and I’m working on the design now. At least that way I have a plan in place to potentially re-engage with subscribers who may have just gotten distracted.
    Marquita Herald recently posted..Practice to Be Good, Practice Deliberately to Be GreatMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill May 19, 2015 at 11:34 am #

      Hi Marquita,

      Good to know you regularly cull your email list. Great going! Yes there will always be people who just sign up for a freebie then just never unsubscribe.

      I like what you are working one. It is always great to ask people if they wan to stay or go before we cut them out.

      It does help to re-engage with those subscribers that may have just gotten distracted, or life has gotten in their way.


      Donna Merrill recently posted..Your Silent Inner VoiceMy Profile

  32. Moumita Ghosh
    May 19, 2015 at 5:44 am #

    Hello Donna,

    I was confused when I read the title. But when I start to read your article, I understand why you select the title. I always concentrate to create bigger email list as you say blogger email list makes more money. But after reading your article I will shrink my email list and try to make an effective email list.

    Thanks & regards,

    Moumita Ghosh
    Moumita Ghosh recently posted..Why Should You Choose Full-time Blogging?My Profile

    • Donna Merrill May 19, 2015 at 11:12 am #

      Hi Moumita,

      I think I confused everyone with this title he he he. But it was deliberate. As everyone is writing about building a list….and so have I, we have to think of the quality of the list.

      Sometimes bigger is not better if you don’t have an open rate. It is good practice to keep up with your list and see who is opening and who is not.

      Also check and see if your emails are going into their spam box.

      Donna Merrill recently posted..Your Silent Inner VoiceMy Profile

  33. Rohan Chaubey
    May 19, 2015 at 2:51 am #

    Hi Donna ma’am,

    I am hearing to shrink the email list for the first time. There are thousands of bloggers and marketers shouting to build and expand the list. This post brings in a new perspective. I really liked what you suggested and I believe that is true. Why send e-mails to people who don’t even bother about what we are giving them. In fact, focus on the target audience.

    I got to learn something new that bots watch the open rates and then categorize the e-mails into spam or mark as important, as the case maybe.

    There is always a valuable takeaway in your posts which tempts me to keep coming back to your blog. Thank you so much for sharing this post. Very insightful indeed. 🙂

    ~ Rohan.
    Rohan Chaubey recently posted..The Dark Side Of Blogging: Lessons From Expert Bloggers [Expert Speak 2]My Profile

    • Donna Merrill May 19, 2015 at 11:03 am #

      Hi Rohan,

      As we do want to build our list, we have to clean up the people who haven’t opened our emails in a long time.

      There are many ways your emails can end up in someone’s spam box. Sometimes just from the title alone. And we have to be aware of this so that we are not carrying dead weight on our lists.

      I had answered Jens’ comment above with some things never to put in your title because it ends up in spam. You can check that one out.

      It is also a good thing to tell people to “white list” your emails so they can be informed.

      Clean ups are necessary as part of our communication to our list. Sometimes the person hasn’t received anything because it ended up in their spam box. So writing an email to all, asking them if they still want to subscribe now and then is a good way to find out who wants to still be on our list.

      Donna Merrill recently posted..Your Silent Inner VoiceMy Profile

  34. Harleena Singh
    May 19, 2015 at 1:25 am #

    Hi Donna,

    You are absolutely right in all that you mentioned 🙂

    Of course, we all want to build our lists and increase it over time. However, as you mentioned, if the click through rate isn’t there – it’s just a waste of your money. Makes sense to keep cleaning your list.

    For us, we’ve now started asking people to subscribe to the niches they wish to be notified about, so it’s all segregated, with an option to choose all the niches also. So, this way people get notifications only about posts and matter they wish to be notified about. I think it’s the best way for us, as we have a multi-niche blog and it’s tough to target a few people. I am all in for shrinking the list in such cases, makes a lot of sense and saves us a lot of trouble too.

    Thanks for sharing. Have a nice week ahead 🙂
    Harleena Singh recently posted..Olive Oil Nutrition Facts Revealed And Myths ExposedMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill May 19, 2015 at 10:41 am #

      Hi Harleena,

      Asking people to subscribe to a niche and segregate your list is something that sure does work. When we have multi-niches, we sure have to do that.

      The last thing we want to do is to give people something they are not interested in. I have 4 lol.

      They are not all from this blog, but rather different ones I have. Each niche needs to be in conformity. Good to know you are doing that.

      And yes, shrinking lists in some cases does save so much time and trouble.

      Donna Merrill recently posted..Your Silent Inner VoiceMy Profile

  35. Jens-Petter Berget
    May 19, 2015 at 12:09 am #

    Hi Donna,

    This is a very interesting topic and one that I started to think about when I was using AWeber and realized that I was paying for people who was not on my list anymore (people who had unsubscribed, but I hadn’t deleted).

    I didn’t know about the spam bots and that open rates actually will have an effect on whether your message will end up as spam or not.

    One thing I’ve been thinking about is to start with a question, that’ll help me understand who the subscriber is. Like, what’s your biggest struggle in marketing type of question. This will help me create better content for that person.
    Jens-Petter Berget recently posted..Do you write when you have nothing to write about?My Profile

    • Donna Merrill May 19, 2015 at 10:37 am #

      Hi Jens,

      It can be quite costly when we have a list that is unresponsive. I like to clean up my list now and then because sometimes my emails will end up in someone’s spam box. I usually tell people to “white list” my emails so this doesn’t happen.

      Yes, the bots will check out open rates also to see if it is spam. There are many ways to overcome that. There are certain things in our headlines that can get our emails into a spam box. All caps,
      Words like Free or dollar signs, exclamation marks, bold text and a few others.

      We have to make sure that our emails look like we are writing to someone personally. That’s the trick.

      Your idea is great…start with a question. This way you can write better content and you can also give the a CTA to answer. It will improve your open rate.

      Donna Merrill recently posted..Your Silent Inner VoiceMy Profile

  36. Siphosith
    May 18, 2015 at 8:01 pm #

    I like your title “shrink your email list”. at a glance I thought what do you mean I want to create the biggest list, but as I read the post I got your point. It is so true, it is of no use to have a large but unresponsive list, or unmatched list because you are just as good as one with no list. Cleaning up is very necessary. This is a good lesson you shared Donna. Thanks
    Siphosith recently posted..Using WordPress SEO Plugin by Yoast Doesn’t Have To Be HardMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill May 19, 2015 at 10:23 am #

      Hi Siphosith,

      I see I “tricked” you too with the title Siphosith lol. Of course we want to build our lists and that is something I’m doing also.

      But when it is unresponsive, it is time for a clean up. Sometimes it can be unmatched. This is when we have to segment our lists. It can be a job, but sure worth it.

      Glad you liked this lesson.

      Donna Merrill recently posted..Your Silent Inner VoiceMy Profile

  37. Lisa Sicard
    May 18, 2015 at 3:39 pm #

    Donna, I had to stop and read this with your headine. I’m just growing my list with the Hello Bar and now you are giving me reasons to shrink my email list!
    But after reading it does make some sense. I should go through the list and weed a few out. Why keep them on if they are not opening or reading anything right? That could increase my open rate.
    It’s like bounce rate with SEO, why have more people come to your site to only leave after a few second and they don’t engage, read or do anything on the site? Google will only penalize you in rankings afterwards too.
    So less can be best! Thanks for this valuable lesson Donna!
    Lisa Sicard recently posted..3 Ways to Not Make Money BloggingMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill May 18, 2015 at 4:31 pm #

      I got ya didn’t I with my headline Lisa?

      As we want to always be growing our list, we do have to clean it up now and then. If they are not opening emails for a long time, they are dead weight.

      Open rates do count similar like boiunce rates with SEO. It is great when you have people not only opening your emails, but replying to them.

      Takes a bit a cleaver writing here and there to get them to respond, but a good CTA will do the trick.

      Yes, less can be the best. But we all have to evaluate the time people spend, the open rates and replies.

      Sylvianne mentioned above that she does it all the time. I have also. I know that it takes people up to 7 ties of exposure to open something sometimes. But after a while, why not clean it up?

      Donna Merrill recently posted..Your Silent Inner VoiceMy Profile

  38. Sylviane Nuccio
    May 18, 2015 at 3:18 pm #

    Hi Donna,

    Long time no see I feel.

    Of course, having a list that’s not our target market is useless, and depending on what auto-responder we’re using, this could really turn out to be a big waste of money, as we get charged for useless subscribers who really are not interested in what we have to offer.

    It is much better to shrink our list and keep our target/potential buyers. I’ve done that many times with my own list.

    Thank for this valuable info, and have a great day!

    Sylviane Nuccio recently posted..How To Keep Your Writing Jobs Going While You Travel The WorldMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill May 18, 2015 at 4:16 pm #

      Hi Sylviane,

      So good to see you! I’m sure glad you know what to do with your list. You have successfully done the shrinking to keep your target/potential buyers on board.

      A huge list with no action can be a waste of money.

      Happy travels!

      Donna Merrill recently posted..Your Silent Inner VoiceMy Profile

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