I know, I was shocked myself.
Here’s the scoop: I usually do regular cleaning of my Aweber optin email marketing list.
About once a month I would say.
I currently have 4 lists and each one of them has people who at some point unsubscribed or entered wrong email addresses, usually hoping that I don’t use double opt-in (if you don’t know what it is, I’ll explain later) and then can just download my absolutely awesome, if I may say so myself, 7 Steps to Complete Search Engine Domination report. That group of people is called undeliverable subscribers.
First of all, what’s the point of taking your time to do this kind of email list cleaning?
Well, the biggest reason is money. What else, right?…
Aweber, as most other autoresponders, charge per quantity of email addresses stored in their database, whether ACTIVE or UNSUBSCRIBED.
Of course you want to keep your list lean for that reason alone.
So back to my story.
Here I am trying to cut down on my list as much as I can before meeting the next pricing tier, and that’s when I stumbled upon John Chow’s post on the topic.
Turned out there’s a whole lot more you can and need to do to keep your list lean and healthy.
Step 1. Delete Unsubscribed/Undeliverables
Already talked about that; very easy to do – if you are with Aweber autoresponder, of course, which is the one I use and love.
Go under Subscribers ==> Search tab – that’s where all these functions are.
From the View Segment window, choose “unsubscribed” or “undeliverable subscribers” and press “Search”.
When you see the list displayed below, just erase all the names on this “You don’t want my tips, your loss” sorry list.
Double/Confirmed Optin Email Marketing List
Before I go on to the next step, let me explain something.
When I wrote my Aweber review, many commentators said that they wouldn’t use Aweber because it requires a double (confirmed) opt-in.
What is a double opt-in?
With this option, instead of you sending your new subscribers directly to the product download page, you politely ask them to check their email inbox and confirm that they indeed would like to get information from you.
By the way, Aweber DOES give you an option to turn off double optin and that’s exactly what I did in the beginning of my “how to build an email list” career.
The reason bloggers do it is because your list grows faster, and when you are a beginner blogger, you want those numbers to be high no matter what.
Partially, it’s because the size of our list becomes one of the factors by which we measure our blogging success – for all the wrong reasons.
As I learned from my personal experience, here’s the problem with no double optin way of building your list: what’s the point of having a big list if only a small percentage of people every open your emails or click on the links in them?
Isn’t that the point of building an optin email marketing list to begin with? To provide your subscribers with value and ask for a sale every once in a while? But if no one opens your emails, what your ROI would be?
I now use double optin and realized I should’ve done it from the very beginning. It
- gives me proof that someone actually subscribed to my list without me twisting their arm;
- I get a lot fewer unsubscribers;
- I get no spam complaints;
- my open and click rates improved dramatically.
And that’s why YOU should always use double confirmed opt-in.
Step 2. Remove the “Not Confirmed”
So now that you use your confirmed optin option, you’ll realize that so many people sign up just in hopes of getting your freebie without any intention of staying on your list.
Away with them.
I actually spoke with an Aweber representative about this and other “list cleaning” issues (because the next step literally took my breath away and I had to speak to someone to confirm that what I was seeing was correct) and I was told that if a subscriber doesn’t confirm their request for information within 30 days, they will be automatically removed by Aweber system.
I am sure they do, but to be doubly sure, I still do it by hand as well.
Once again, you do this under Subscribers ==> Search tab.
Since a picture is worth a thousand words, here’s a screenshot of the options you should choose:
As you can see, it’s important to choose a date in the second field – you don’t want to accidentally delete new subscribers who haven’t had a chance to confirm their optin.
Note: if you had turned off double optin in the past, like I did, but now went back to it, your numbers will be all wrong, because it’ll basically show you your entire list is unconfirmed, which technically it is. So make sure you delete only more recent unconfirmed subscribers.
Step 3. Remove the “Un-opens”
Ever wonder why your open rate is so low (mine was between 20-30%, which I considered very low)?
I was blown away to find out that about half of my list NEVER opened my emails.
Many subscribers will go to such lengths as to create a special email address for your follow-up emails, thanks to the abundance of free email providers, so your emails get collected into this giant “I don’t care what you have to say” vacuum no one ever visits.
So when I went to clear out my list of unopens… well, I already told you what happened: I couldn’t believe my own eyes and rushed to call Aweber to make sure that what I was seeing was correct.
Roughly HALF of my optin email marketing list hasn’t opened emails for MONTHS.
No wonder my open rate was so low!
Yes, it hurt to delete all those names. But it had to be done.
Of course, you can give these folks one more chance to “activate” their interest in your emails by sending them a discount or a special offer of sorts.
I didn’t do it though.
In my opinion, I am already pouring out my heart and soul into producing quality content on this blog.
I am not in favor of begging people to join or stay on my email list.
So here’s what you do for this step of your email marketing list cleaning:
Let me explain what I did here:
- Out of all subscribers, I chose the “no opens” option and set the date almost 1.5 months ago – to be on the safe side. Basically that means that this particular group of people hasn’t opened a single email for over a month. Of course, you can be much more conservative here.
- Then I added another segment “date added” to make sure I included only people who have been on my list for a while.
My list was quickly reduced by several hundred of subscribers who could care less whether they heard from me or not.
Email Marketing Wakeup Call
If you don’t have a list, you need one and I bet you already know that.
There’s no better time to start than NOW.
Make sure you start it right though and use confirmed optin – it will save you a lot of trouble later.
And if you don’t have any freebie to give away to your subscribers, don’t worry: just use my 7 Steps to Complete Search Engine Domination report – you have full distribution rights to it, as long as you don’t try to sell it or change anything in it.
Also, make sure you are thinking long-term and pick the best autoresponder around: Aweber. Most bloggers, big or small, use it and are very happy with the results.
Join us here:
Optin Email List Marketing Takeaway
Remember the goal: not the biggest list you can built, but the most responsive one.
Make sure you make use of confirmed optin option, clean up your list every once in a while and stay in touch with those subscribers who actually want to hear from you.
Start Your Own Email Marketing List for Only $1.00
If you haven’t started building your list yet, let me tell you – you are missing out big time. My list is number one reason I make the money I make with this blog and have such a strong readership.
Aweber is the best email autoresponder I have even used. And I am not the only one. Many A-list bloggers I know also use it for their businesses. This segmentation feature is just one tiny example of what you can do to improve your email marketing with Aweber.
Aweber offers a $1 trial month for all new customers. You’ll have access to all features a paid account is entitled to: unlimited lists, email campaigns, automatic follow-ups, broadcasts, and many, many more. If after 30 days you don’t like them, just let them know and Aweber will give you your $1 back. Guaranteed.