How to Prune Cold Subscribers from your List
No matter how engaging your content is, some subscribers will always lose interest over time. That's fine. It's not about having the biggest list, but instead the most engaged list. So you can prune cold subscribers from your list after they haven't engaged for a while.
We define cold subscribers as anyone who hasn't opened or clicked an email in the last 90 days and has been subscribed for at least 30 days.
Now keep in mind that because of how open rates are calculated (based on displaying images or clicking a link) someone could have read your email without triggering an open. We'll account for that later.
Let's jump in.
1. Select all your cold subscribers
Go to your subscribers page and use the Subscribers dropdown to select only Cold Subscribers.
Then use the checkbox at the top to select all of them. Then click the "Select all subscribers" text link.
2. Tag all your subscribers
You could delete all of these subscribers, but chances are there are people in here that are falsely tagged as being cold. That's because all email marketing providers determine opens based on whether or not a 1px transparent image was loaded in an email. So if someone has been reading all of your emails, but has images disabled, they will show up as cold—even though they aren't.
So here I would add them to a new tag that you create called "Cold subscribers" (you do have to create this tag before selecting it). You can do that by selecting "Tag" from the actions bar at the top of the subscriber page.
Once everyone is tagged (this can take a little while to finish), move on to the next step.
3. Create an automation rule
Next go to automations and create a new rule. The trigger should be clicks a link and the action should be to remove the cold subscribers tag. Here's an example:
You'll need to create a page on your site that people will go to after they click the link. It could just say "Cool! You're still on the list."
4. Send a breakup broadcast to the cold subscribers
Next you want to send a broadcast to all of your cold subscribers to give them a final chance to stay on the list before you delete them. The broadcast can be simple. Just say something like:
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'm removing everyone who isn't engaged from my list. 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.
But if you're freaking out right now thinking "Wait! I love your emails!" Then just click the link below to stay on my list.
[ Link ]
Then make sure that you make that link use the link trigger automation that you setup in the previous step.
Select your cold subscribers as the group to send to and hit send!
Create a Cold Subscriber Re-engagement Workflow
A few notes if you copy the workflow...
- There are a few notes of help text in the sequences. DELETE THEM 😬
- Add in your own topic, goals, and name to the sequence emails.
- Replace the links with your own link triggers. You can use the tags that will be added to your account from the workflow. Here's how to create a link trigger.
5. Delete everyone who doesn't click
Plenty of people will click that link to say that they're engaged. Because of the automation they'll automatically be removed from the cold subscribers tag. So you should just wait a week or so to give people time to do that.
After that time has passed, bulk select all the subscribers in your Cold Subscribers tag and delete them all.
Then your open rates will be higher!
Note: This is an advanced feature, so if you don't feel comfortable with the process, then don't do it. We wouldn't want you to do something you regret!