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How To Prune Your List Using MailChimp

It’s been well over a month since I wrote the post about pruning my list to get rid of all the deadwood. By deadwood I’m referring to those subscribers who have never bothered, or hardly ever, to read my emails. Normally I’d just let them go to build up my list numbers except that I’m rewarding my list members by placing a link to their site from my List page and I figured it just wasn’t fair to reward them if they weren’t holding up their end.  :noway:

That post included a youtube video showing my readers how MailChimps star system highlighted the quality of your subscribers. This post has a video which shows how to use that star system to separate the good subscribers from the bad ones.

Pruning Your List With MailChimp

I have to admit I was surprised how simple the procedure was and I am really glad that I did it. I have to admit there were a few bloggers who were regulars and I struggled with the decision as to whether or not I should delete them with the general culling and in the end I decided it was the only fair thing to do.

 The Positives Of Pruning Your List

I know that there were a few comments in that first post where people thought I was crazy for pruning my list as they felt that the deadwood may actually come to life one day.  :lol_ee: Well, as far as I’m concerned deadwood is deadwood and you’re better off clearing them out of the way so you can concentrate on growing your live limbs.

There are also certain positives for pruning your list.

  • If you have a large list and are paying for the amount of emails you’re sending out pruning your list will reduce those costs.
  • Having a more dedicated list will also improve your open and click through rate which will give you a nice warm fuzzy  feeling when you check your campaign reports  :party:
  • In my situation I know I am only rewarding those subscribers who are actually interested in what I have to say which is as it should be.

I’ve also made sure that any new subscribers know what to expect when subscribing to my list, that I only want dedicated members, ones who actually read my emails occasionally and that I will be pruning my list on a regular basis.

What’s that, how many did I cull in the pruning process? Reckon you’ll have to watch the video to see that.  :hi_:

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Peter Pelliccia

I'm an Aussie blogger who loves to blog and share everything that I've learned on my blogging journey, including blogging tips and ways to blog for money. I am also trying to make my way on YouTube. You can follow my progress by subscribing to My Bonzer Channel.

This Post Has 42 Comments


  1. Twitter:
    Looks like the process was made as simple as possible, and that getting rid of the ‘deadwood’ can benefit everyone involved (you’re not rewarding those that don’t deserve it, our blogs are left on a smaller list so are less likely to get overlooked in the links, and the deadwood gets a little less unread email in their inbox). Gotta look at the positives, right? ;)

    BTW – I love Australian accents, and enjoyed getting to hear you in the video. But, hey, that’s just me! lol

    1. That’s right Allie, it’s always a good idea to look at the bright side of things. As for the accent, I ain’t got no accent. :laugh_tb:

  2. Hey Peter,

    Great video, that’s something I could do with mailchimp. I have a free account which I’m not using much at the moment. But I have some friends who’s got mailchimp and I could do that for them.

    But I have one concern about the video, I can clearly see emails on there. This could be breaking your own privacy policy to keep the email details of your subscribers private.

    Look into it, and you make have to redo the video and blur out the email addresses.

    Spammer may harvest those emails, thanks to the video.

    Ben Wan
    Ben Wan recently posted…Top 5 Factors for Local Search Engine OptimisationMy Profile

    1. That’s great point Ben, but I don’t think that there are too many spammers who are interested in my posts and no reputable auto responder would have you incorporate a person that hasn’t opted to be part of the list.

  3. Culling your list is difficult and sometimes it is easier to carry on with a big list to impress your boss with some flashy numbers but it all has a cost. Every dead email address you are sending to costs money and if you run a newsletter for a few years without removing dead addresses they build up quickly. We have a scoring system set up so if people don’t open the email they get -5 points, every open is +30, a click is +50 a bounceback is -100 etc so if their score goes below a certain point they get removed. You can get rid of a sizable chunk of your data doing this which may on the surface look bad but could lower your costs by a big percentage. In the end it’s the number of people who reach your end goal, not the number of people you send to that matters

    1. That’s not a bad system Pete, gee, it feels like I’m talking to myself :lol_ee:

      MailChimp actually records any bounces and automatically deletes hard bounces saving me the job :thumbup_tb:

  4. Interesting – do you now need to go and remove these people from your list page manually or do you have a script for that?

    Nice to see someone who is not just all about the numbers…
    Alan Chatfield recently posted…Influence VisualMy Profile

    1. I did it manually Alan. It didn’t take all that long and it will be easier next time if I do it on a regular basis.

    1. You had me worried there for a minute Keith, but I just checked and yes you’re still there :clap_tb:

      Mine is free because it’s still under 1000 members but I was referring to those list owners who have to pay for theirs, which I will have to one day if I ever grow it to that amount. :smoke_tb:

  5. Thanks for passing this on. I’ve actually really been needing to trim some lists, so I’ll have to give Mailchimp a try!

    1. Although this post describes how to trim a MailChimp list it shouldn’t really matter which autoresponder you use, you should still be able to trim it.

  6. Great article! My problem is that the lists can become so overwhelming that the idea of “pruning” becomes intimidating and time consuming. Reading your article is a little inspiring though and I understand I just need to grin a bare it.
    T.A. recently posted…Texting and Driving – Car Accidents and InjuryMy Profile

    1. Not if you’re a MailChimp member :homage:

  7. Does aweber actually let you reduce your list? They seem to want to keep you at the higher levels. But it does make sense to reduce the list to only those that are interested.

    1. They sure do otherwise the option wouldn’t exist. Instead of deleting them entirely you can even move them over to a new list.

  8. Thanks for the video. It looks simple and easy just how I like to manage my list.
    I’ve seen this kind on my friend and I planning to ask her thoughts about mailchimp and possibly ask on how to make it work properly.

    1. Why, is there something about the video that was unclear? :dont_know:

  9. I can see the sense in what you are doing Sire – you don’t want people who are not interested in your site in any case. Spring cleaning, sort of thing!

    1. Yep, spring cleaning would be a good name for it Peter

  10. I guess the greatest benefit we can get from this is the reduced cost. As we all know, if we are into business, we really need to find ways on how we could maximize our resources.

    1. That certainly would be an important reason Samantha.

      1. Yup! Very important reason especially to those who have tight budget for their business. At least, they won’t no longer have problem in getting additional funds that can support their operations.

        1. Always best to run a tight ship I reckon.

  11. A very important process and any good sales or marketing person will tell you that a list is no good at all unless it is well maintained.

    1. And yet there were some people in that last post that inferred it was the wrong thing to do, but I did it anyway :lol_ee:

  12. I was thinking of switching to Mail Chimp from infusionsoft. If I do, I now have a good trick up my sleeve for clearing up some cyberspace. Thanks!

    1. No worries Chris.

  13. Great advice! Especially with a service where you pay per subscriber, pruning deadwood is definitely a good idea!

    Thanks for the great post!

    1. That’s certainly my take on it Jon

  14. pruning a list is something to do often, I think. Those services are expensive, so I’m with you on this issue.

    I’ve got a newsletter as well and it’s hard to maintain it. Sometimes I had in mind also to delete it because of its cost but all my friends tell me it’s very useful, so I continue to keep it, at last it helps my community of artists.

    1. As long as they’re getting something out of your news letter I think you should keep it up. However, if you know some of them are not reading it and never have then you may as well cross them off the list.

  15. I watched the video; at first I thought you were reading on a sheet; I have to admit, Allie is right – you have a different accent. I should start rewarding my subscribers too. I’ll follow your advice. Thanks for sharing!
    Tony recently posted…The Top Ten Home Improvement Ideas to Do YourselfMy Profile

    1. Nope, it was completely off the cuff Tony, as most of my videos are.

  16. Reducing waste and inefficiencies is one of the most important things you can do. Trimming/pruning your email lists is an excellent way to do that.

    Not only will it save you money, and on big lists that some people report (75k) it will be a substantial saving.

    It’s almost counter-intuitive though. We spend ages trying to build our lists and then we spend more time reducing it :)

    1. If you do it regularly it won’t take that much time at all, especially using the method stipulated in the video.

  17. I definitely need to prune my list too, also for the reason of wanting to reward the subscribers that are actually interested in what i have to say. I’ll check out Mail Chimp sometime soon. Thanks for the advice.

    1. No worries Katie

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