Why I Deleted Almost Half of My Email List Subscribers & You Probably Should Too

I don’t care if you’re an affiliate marketer, a freelance writer, an e-course developer or a self-published author — if you do business online, one of the first things you learn pretty quickly is, “The money is in the list.” As in, your email list. Ostensibly, the more email subscribers you have, the more money you should earn.

In this post, I’m going to go over some cold, hard facts about growing your email list. Some may surprise you. In fact, let’s start with a common myth that floats around about email marketing.

5,000 Subscribers = $5,000/Month

You may have heard a common stat thrown around that each subscriber is worth about $1 per month. So, if you have 5,000 subscribers on your list, you should be earning at least $5,000 per month, right? Unfortunately, it’s not as straightforward as that, as digital marketing writer Pam Neely describes in this post about how to really calculate the value of each subscriber. She wrote:

… you can make $10,000 a month from a list of 10,000 subscribers. Take that figure with a grain of salt. Or maybe a pound. Very, very few people actually pull off the $1 per subscriber per month goal. And if they do, the vast majority of them do it once, and then never again.

Note: This post contains affiliate links. Here’s the site’s affiliate disclosure policy for full details.

The Best Thing You Can Do to Make Money from Subscribers – No Matter How Big or Small Your List Is

Delete. Delete. Delete. As in, get rid of dead weight. As Pam alluded to in the post referenced above, inactive subscribers are really not subscribers.

If they haven’t clicked any links or opened any of your messages within a certain period time, then they’re dead weight. Get rid of them. And that’s exactly what I did.

A few days ago, I deleted 844 subscribers from my biggest email list. Many of these had been subscribers since I first signed up with AWeber, my email list management service, in 2009.

FYI, you can get started with them for free. But, back to why deleted so many subscribers …

I did it because they hadn’t opened a newsletter since the beginning of the year.

You see, with AWeber, you can check data like this. A few days before I deleted them, I sent an email giving them a chance (48 hours) to stay on the list.

A few (about 30) said they wanted to remain subscribers, and they started opening past newsletters (yes, you can see stuff like this with AWeber too). But the rest didn’t respond, so off they went.

Getting Jiggy with Email Marketing

I had a business mentor who used to say to me, “Know your numbers; they’ll never lead you wrong.”

Even with this piece of sage advice front and center, it was hard to think of deleting so many subscribers. I mean, I worked so hard to grow my list for years. But to be honest, it’s been stagnant for years. Heck, I don’t even have an email responder series that goes out to this list (which I’ll be putting in place soon). But, back to why I took a surgeon’s knife to my list.

You only want to do business with people who are really interested in what you have to offer, and will one day become paying customers. And if they’re not interacting with you regularly (ie, not even opening newsletters you send regularly), then they’re probably not ever going to become buyers. That’s dead weight that you pay for — literally.

List management services cost, and you pay by number of subscribers. So I was paying for people who have no interest in me and/or my products and services. That’s just not smart business, so I deleted them all; cutting the list almost in half. And you know what? It felt good because now I can talk to only those people who are really interested in what I have to say and offer.

Different Email Lists for Different Types of Subscribers

I have three different lists:

One for Inkwell Editorial subscribers … those who are interested in this site’s mission, which is to make money writing, either for yourself(eg, self-publishing, developing and creating e-courses) or for others, ie, writing for clients.

This list had almost 1,800 subscribers. This was the list from which I deleted 844 subscribers.

My second list is for those who are interested in having a mobile career; mainly by building a blog and monetizing it via affiliate marketing. It has almost 650 subscribers.

My final list is for buyers of my romance novellas. It has 70 subscribers.

How Often to Delete Subscribers from Your List

I did some digging around the internet. One successful affiliate marketer in a Facebook group I belong to says she trims her list every three months. Another said to do it every six months. I’ll be keeping a close eye on all of my lists from now on – deleting subscribers two to three times per year.

How to Segment Your List in AWeber (Find Which Subscribers to Delete)

In AWeber, it’s really easy to find out who these subscribers are. Just log into your account and do the following.

1. Choose list you want to delete subscribers from. Note: Click on all graphics below for an enlarged view.

2. Click “Subscribers.” Once you do, you’re going to see a pull-down menu. Select “Manage Subscribers.”

3. Click “Select Field” from the first box (see graphic below). Another pull-down menu with tons of options is going to open up. Go all the way to the bottom and select “No Opens.” Then, enter the date right beside it. When I deleted the 844 subscribers, I entered January 1, 2017 because I wanted to see who had NOT opened a newsletter since the beginning of the year.

FOR THIS EXAMPLE, I entered 5/22/2017. It’ll take a few minutes, then a list of subscribers will pop up. So since this past Monday, it showed me that 749 people have NOT opened a newsletter. You want to separate these out, which is the next step.

4. Segment your list. See the box in the graphic below that says “Save as Segment”? Once you give this generated list a name and click “Save”, you’ve officially separated them from your other subscribers.

It contains ONLY the subscribers with the parameters you’ve set. In this case, that’s everyone who has NOT opened an Inkwell Editorial newsletter from Monday, 5/22/2017, to Thursday, 5/25/2017. They’re still a part of your list, but it means you can do whatever you want with them as a separate group.

So, for example, when I first lopped off my 844 subscribers, I had about 872 who were on the list. I sent that group an email giving them 48 hours to remain on the list. About 30 of them opted to stay subscribed. The others never opened an email, so I deleted them.

See the highlighted lines under the “By Segment” section on the left side of the graphic just above? These are all segmented lists I’ve created for various purposes.


My old business mentor was right, you do have to pay attention to your numbers. And I’m not a numbers person. But after some years of stagnant growth in my email list building, I’m realizing that I must become one.

When I hear about bloggers who started like a year ago and already have 5,000 or 10,000 subscribers, I’m like, “WTH! I’ve been at this so much longer, why am I only getting a couple of subscribers every few days?” So now I’m paying attention to that, because I want to work smarter, not harder.

How to Get More Email Subscribers — FAST!

Click below to learn how I’m growing my email list faster by doing this one thing that’s already showing great results. Don’t worry, it doesn’t cost a thing. It’s absolutely free!

Have Listbuilding Tips to Share?

What have you done to grow your email list? I’m all ears! Share in the comments section below.

P.S.: Drive 10,000 to 100,000+ monthly visitors to your blog using Pinterest — in just 30 minutes a day. You’ll learn how to …

P.P.S.: How I First Learned about the “Magic” of Pinterest

I first learned about how effective Pinterest marketing can be when I took the “Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing” e-course. It has a really good strategy that’s included as part of the course. But if that’s not your cup of tea, the system above works great too.

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    1. Hi Yuwanda. Thanks for sharing these tips. I was wondering if you’re still using pop ups to get emails? how do you avoid getting penalized?

    2. Faith Emmanuel says:

      Thanks Yuwanda. You had me checking my email to see if I am still on you list lol. I plan to sign up for the mobile career list as well.

      • You are, and hey, if you ever aren’t just sign up again. But thank you for wanting to stay on. That warms my heart.

        Have a safe, happy Memorial Day weekend. 🙂

        • Hi Yuwanda, I meant pop-up forms or email forms.
          Emmerey Rose recently posted…20 Best Blogs for Learning SEO in 2017My Profile

          • No Emmerey, I don’t use popups. That’s another thing on my list to integrate — an overall form that pops up when you first log onto the site, and another one that pops up as you leave. FYI, it’s important to give visitors an option not to see these more than once each session, so keep that in mind if you do implement this.

            Right now, I just use email opt-in forms, enticing subscribers with a free ebook (my lead magnet), and recently content upgrades, like what’s offered at the end of this post.

            Hope this helps, and feel free to get in touch again if you have additional questions.

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