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How big is your email list? Does it really matter? There’s always talk about the number – the number of subscribers on your list. And a large amount of the focus is directed towards increasing that number and making the subscriber number the highest it can be. Which is the reason I wanted to explain why I deleted a third of my email list.
When I first started this blog it was called Perfect Enough For Us and was a mishmash of a lifestyle and parenting blog. I didn’t really know what I wanted to write about – just that I loved writing and wanted to share what I wrote.
I knew at the time having an email list was important… but I had no idea what to offer or what to share with my subscribers. So I offered everything. From my eBooks about being a NICU Mum and Breastfeeding through to printables and quotes to share on Instagram. I offered it all. And my list grew.
In October last year I had a big lightbulb moment – I knew exactly what I wanted to do with my blog. I wanted to focus on a topic I always loved and makes my heart flutter – and I wanted to turn it into a successful business.
I changed my blog’s name, I focused my content and tailored my opt-ins. I also created The Femme Report and knew exactly what I wanted to send to my subscribers. And again… my list grew.
But now I had an issue – my list was a mishmash of it’s own. Filled with subscribers that opted in because of a parenting eBook or a printable as well as subscribers who would love the topics I was now talking about.
My email open rate wasn’t bad by any means, but I knew my list wasn’t as concentrated as it needed to be.
So I decided I needed to focus on the QUALITY of my list rather than the QUANTITY.
This was the culmination of a lot of things really. As many of you know list building and email marketing are some of my absolute favourite topics (I seriously love my list – I just want to chat to my awesome subscribers all the time…). Because of this, I absorb as much information as I possibly can about lists, including this amazing podcast by Pat Flynn and Bryan Harris (so much love for these two).
We have all heard time and time again ‘the money is in the list’ but really – the money is in the quality list. You could easily have a list of over 10,000 subscribers but if only 1000 of them are opening on a regular basis and even less clicking on your content then you’re running off false numbers.
What are you doing to grow your subscribers? Does it directly align with your business as a whole or are you simply offering an opt-in because you know it will be downloaded, despite having nothing to do with your business or your products? What’s the point?
On top of all of this, I realised I was about to go up a level in my email marketing plan with ConvertKit. This would mean I was paying even more for subscribers who might not be interested in what I was offering and not opening my emails. This was absolutely dead money.
Initially I was a little nervous about deleting people from my list. When I was with MailChimp I was able to easily see who hadn’t opened an email for a certain period of time and segment them off. Thankfully ConvertKit also added this feature to their repertoire.
However, because I had only been with ConvertKit for two months, I didn’t have quite as much information as I would have liked.
In an ideal situation, I would tag all subscribers who hadn’t opened ANY emails for at least the last 3 months.
But, because I was coming up to pushing myself over to the next pricing point, and I knew that if people hadn’t opened any emails for the last two months there was a high chance they hadn’t opened any for longer, I decided to go ahead with what I had.
I had decided I was going to send a ‘breakup’ email to my ‘cold subscribers’ (those who hadn’t opened any emails for more than two months). This served two purposes. It would allow those who opened the email to opt back in to receiving my emails and it mean that if someone was accidentally tagged as a cold subscriber, they could easily say ‘hey, that’s not me.’
I had read a few different versions of these emails and created a few versions of my own. Here’s what the email looked like and is largely adapted from the suggested email from ConvertKit:
Subject: Do You Want To Break Up With Me?
Hey There Gorgeous One,
There have been a lot of changes at The Daily Femme over the last 6 months and I want to make sure that I’m only sending emails to my readers who are getting a lot of value from them. So I’ve decided to remove anyone from my list who isn’t engaged. My stats show that you fall into that category… Is that true?
If so, no action is required. You’ll get removed sometime next week. And don’t stress, no hard feelings at all. I understand your inbox can be a busy place so I want to make sure I’m only landing in there if you want me to be.
But if you’re scratching your head right now thinking “Wait, I love your emails” then just click the link below to stay on the list.
Don’t Break Up With Me!!! (Linked)
Sending out this email broadcast resulted in a few unsubscribes (yay!!) and also a decent number of clicks from people wanting to stay on my list. This was fantastic! It meant that I had reminded them who I am and hopefully the next time they see an email from me land in their inbox they will be more inclined to open and click.
I also resent this email out to all of those who hadn’t opened the original email (an awesome function of ConvertKit) which resulted in a handful of additional clicks from people wanting to stay on my list.
After a week I was left with around a third of my subscribers still on my ‘cold subscriber’ list. It was time to delete them. And surprisingly it was quite liberating.
What I was left with was an incredibly responsive email list. Naturally my open rate and click through rate increased which in my opinion is a far more important metric than the overall number of my list.
Moving forward this is something I plan on doing on a regular basis, ideally every 3 months. It is my intention to have a list of incredibly quality, even if it means it’s significantly smaller than that of others.
Remember, just because someone else has a list that is ten times the size of yours doesn’t mean they are more successful. It’s just a number. It’s what you do with that number, and how much they love you that really makes a difference.