What I Learned Deleting 16,282 Names From My List (By Hand)

Not too long ago, I went on a list cleaning campaign.

My open rate was dropping below where I wanted it to be, even though traffic and sales were climbing. Since low open rates drive me crazy in a way that can’t possibly be healthy, it was time to cut inactive subscribers off of the list.

Because I am a glutton for punishment, I decided to do it the hard way.

(The easy way, incidentally, is to send 3 emails saying “Do you still want to be on my list?” to people who haven’t opened your emails in forever. Then you nuke everyone who doesn’t a) open these emails and b) click the “yes” link inside. Easy peasy.)

The hard way is to send those emails, then slowly – and by hand – manually delete everyone who didn’t click “yes”. While looking at each inactive subscriber and wondering what their story was.

Given that I ultimately deleted 16,286 names, that’s a lot of wondering.

However, I learned a few things in the process – which was the point.

I’ll share them with you now.

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