This morning I did something that would probably make a lot of business owners sweat. I deleted a bunch of emails from my list. YES. DELETED. Not paused. Not unsubscribed. Sayonara deleted. (Hint: You received this email so you aren’t one of them.)

Why would I do such a thing? No, it’s not personal. I needed to keep my list fresh for the email spam filters. Believe it or not if you don’t keep your list updated the filters will be more likely to put you in a time out…meaning not deliver you or put you in spam. Here’s a few ideas to help freshen things up:

  • Clear the bounced emails. Bounce means they tried to deliver it and it didn’t go through. Probably this email is old or you have it wrong in your list.
  • Delete your unsubscribers.They unsubscribed. The chances are they aren’t your target audience. So delete them.
  • Filter.Periodically filter those who haven’t opened an email in 90 days (without the new adds within those 90 days) and delete them.

What will this do?

  • Up your open rate.More of the people who open out of a smaller bucket equals a higher open rate.
  • Activity.This shows the filter you are active in your list and it’s not just passive.
  • Spend less.If you use an ESP (Email Service Provider…don’t I sound cool with my acronyms?) like Mailchimp or Constant Contact you pay less because you have less on your list. Note: ESP’s get put in the “promo” box a lot of times in gmail due to the gmail filter.

As a side note and this could be a whole newsletter in itself (making note of that) always have the following to help get through the filters:

  • Catchy email title.Not: Newsletter 1234
  • Preview text.The text that is shown prior to clicking the email. This helps with the open rate.
  • DON’T take an unsubscribe personally.Do NOT email them and ask them why they felt they needed to unsubscribe. It’s not personal even though it can feel like it is. (I’d call out this person publicly here but they unsubscribed….).

If you like you can send an email asking those who haven’t opened if they would like to continue receiving your emails. That can get them paying attention and help you feel more comfortable with deletion. Just make sure to mention it in the subject line.

Email can be a very powerful and lucrative tool in your digital marketing toolbox. They just have to actually receive the email first!