A big email list is great. But it’s not the size of the list that matters—it’s how excited, engaged, and responsive your subscribers are. If you have a list of 100,000 people but only 5 percent of them open your emails, then you basically have a list of only 5,000 people.
Not so impressive when you look at it that way, right?
I’m fortunate to have built a list of responsive subscribers. My open rate (the percentage of people who actually open the emails I send) averages around 55–60 percent per email, which is much better than typical open rates for my industry, which hover around 20–30 percent.
I also get a lot of engagement on the emails I send—people clicking the links and even replying to them. Reading is one thing, but you also want people to take action!
In an ideal world, we’d all have big email lists full of responsive, engaged subscribers.
But here’s a scenario I hear about all too often: Someone has been building their audience and growing their email list for a while. At first, their open rates and click-through rates are really good, but over time they begin to slowly drop off.
This is sadly pretty normal. It’s common to find that the early emails a subscriber receives—the first one or two they get from you when they sign up for your list—get the highest open rates. But with each successive email they receive, the open rate goes down. The excitement wears off. Plus, as your list grows, you may find that some of your new subscribers are not the best fit for you, and they’re not as excited to read and engage with your emails.
In this chapter, I’m going to share some tips to help you enhance not just your open rate but your response rate too—how much people are engaging with, replying to, and clicking links in both your autoresponder and broadcast emails. I’ll share my guidance for creating an effective autoresponder email series, using email segmentation smartly, and culling your list to maximize the responsiveness of your audience. Here's what this chapter covers:
- My Five Simple Rules for Email Success
- Tap Into the Power of Autoresponders
- Put Email List Segmentation to Work for You
- Clean Your Email List to Maximize Quality
But before we get to all that…
I’m a big fan of the quick win. And I want to give you five quick wins you can achieve with all your emails. Here are my top five tips for writing great emails every time.
My Five Simple Rules for Email Success
Rule #1: Keep Your Email Formatting Simple
You want people to actually read your emails, not get distracted by the design and formatting. A little branding (like a logo) is okay, but even then not all email service providers (ESPs) include options for images. Plus, adding designs to your email just means another opportunity for something to break or look funky.
I suggest sending emails like you’re sending them to a friend, which is what we want to do because we’re looking to build a real relationship with our subscribers. Would you send a super fancy, heavily designed email to a friend? Not usually.
Typically you just write something up and hit send. Just text on a white background. That’s what has always worked best for me.
Most of my emails look like this, and that's on purpose.
There are exceptions, however. If you have an ecommerce store, your subscribers may expect more structure and design in your emails, with lots of links and things to look at. But in most cases, eliminating or cutting down the design formatting for email is the best thing to do.
If you’re just getting started with email marketing, keeping it simple is definitely my suggested approach. And if you’re having issues with your emails not making it to people’s inboxes and ending up in the spam folder, stripping down your emails could help you get them through the filters.
Rule #2: Give Each Email a Goal and a Specific Call to Action (CTA)
When you craft any email, you should always ask yourself: “What’s the purpose of sending this?” Each email you send should have one specific goal. Maybe that goal is to get people excited about your latest podcast episode or YouTube video, or to drive them to the sales page for your latest product.
Each email should also include one specific CTA.
This is important because if you include too many CTAs, you’re less likely to get people to take that action. This happens because of the “paradox of choice,” where more choices actually can hinder a person’s ability to make a decision. Also, when you include more than one CTA, you’re usually not focused and honed in on your messaging within your email, and it just becomes far less effective.
You can have multiple instances of the same call to action within an email, but it’s a good rule of thumb to pair one email with one CTA.
One email = one CTA.
Of course, there will be exceptions. But as with your email formatting, generally speaking you’ll be making it easier for people to follow through on the intended action when you keep to a single goal and CTA in each email.
Rule #3: Keep CTA Links on Their Own Line
This is a small rule that’s more tactical, but it matters big time. Whenever you include a CTA link in an email, keep the link on its own line of text.
Why does this matter?
It matters because a lot of subscribers will open your emails on a mobile device, and many of them may suffer from “fat finger syndrome.” In other words, it’s not always easy to click on a link when it’s surrounded by other text.
Just one CTA per email, whenever possible.
When you place a link on its own line, you won’t have to worry about that anymore, and as a byproduct your CTA will also become more obvious. Make it easy for people!
Rule #4: Always Preview Your Emails Before You Hit Send
Please preview your emails before you hit send! This means not just reading the email in draft mode, but sending yourself a copy of the email (which most ESPs allow you to do) before you pull the trigger.
When you receive your test email, read your email copy out loud and click on all of the links to make sure they go to the right places. I know you’re anxious to hit send after writing your copy, but it’s not worth the potential disaster of sending an email where the links don’t work. Plus, you’ll likely notice small spelling and grammar issues that you can take care of first before the “grammar police” lets you know about it later.
You may also want to check your emails on your mobile device so you can see what that experience is like.
Get in this habit, and you’ll save yourself a lot of trouble down the road.
Rule #5: Subscribe to Your Own List
Finally, subscribe to your own email list. This will help you understand the exact experience a potential subscriber will have after they sign up.
If you’re just starting your email list, become your first subscriber. As you’re setting up your autoresponder series, you can catch any required frequency or rhythm changes before the emails start going out to real subscribers.
Those are five quick and easy ways to send better emails.
Create Winning Emails
Learn to Write Great Emails.
Once you’ve set up email marketing, you have a direct line to each person on that list. And if you provide value to these people, they’re going to want to open your emails. Every time. Score!
Write Winning Emails with These Great Game Plays
- Plans for emails to round out campaigns— Each “play” in this playbook has a unique purpose and structure.
- Timing to strengthen the relationship you have with your audience— Like a “choose your own adventure,” you select what structure works for you.
- The when, where, what, and how for your Calls to Action (CTA)— For when it's time to finally pitch to the people who trust you.
Now let’s dig a little deeper, by sharing some of my best tips for creating awesome autoresponders.
Tap Into the Power of Autoresponders
Perhaps the most important step to cultivating engaged email subscribers is to create a great autoresponder series, one that gets people hooked from the very first email and eager for each successive email.
Autoresponders help you nurture your subscribers, by building their trust and teaching them more about what you can offer.
And the best part? You create these emails ahead of time, so you can start building a relationship with each new subscriber with little ongoing maintenance.
And the success of your autoresponder all starts with email number one. Let’s talk about why the first email is the most important, and a couple more simple but powerful tips to keep in mind if you want that first email to be as effective as possible.
Keep Your First Email Simple (and Deliver What You Promised!)
That first email in your autoresponder is a do-or-die opportunity to spark the interest of your new subscriber. If someone doesn’t open your first email, the likelihood that they will open your later emails is much lower. You need to hook them.
When you’re thinking of ways to get people amped up about that first email, it can be tempting to go over the top and try to manufacture excitement by using lots of exclamation points or all caps, or creating a false sense of urgency.
I ask you now: Please don’t beat your subscribers over the head with the wow factor. Your email is likely to end up in the spam folder.
Instead, you can make it more likely someone will open and engage with your first email simply by giving them what they’re already expecting.
In the previous chapter, we talked about the power of the lead magnet—a valuable piece of content that you offer in exchange for someone’s email address—to entice people to join your list. You can succeed with your first autoresponder email simply by keeping it super simple and delivering people what you promised them!
You see, if someone signs up for your list in return for receiving a lead magnet, they’re already primed to expect that lead magnet. So, deliver it! If someone’s excited to get your lead magnet, then make it as easy as possible for them to access it. Your first email can be focused entirely on delivering your lead magnet, with a simple subject line like, “Here’s the free resource you requested.” Get right to the point—don’t waffle on about something else before you give them the link to the lead magnet. Don’t wait until the P.S. line to tell them where to find it. And definitely don’t wait until the second email to deliver it.
I’ve seen too many people miss out on an easy opportunity to grab their new readers’ attention and interest in this way, so don’t make the same mistake.
Now that we’ve covered how to create a great first email, let’s turn our attention to how you build the rest of your autoresponder series.
The 3 Best Types of Autoresponders—and One to Avoid
An autoresponder is like a journey you take your subscribers on, or a story you tell them.
Below, I’ll share with you 4 different examples of how you can handle your autoresponder series, including the one I use—the one that scores me really high open rates—and one you should definitely avoid.
Autoresponder Series #1: The Bait and Hook
The first autoresponder series I want to talk about is the “bait and hook,” and it looks something like this:
Bait and Hook Autoresponder Series
The basic premise is that you first share valuable content related to a particular subject (the bait), and then introduce a product or solution a little later (the hook).
I see this approach used by a lot of people, probably because it can work well in many cases. The content-based emails provide value while also creating awareness about a particular problem or subject, one that the promoted product is aimed to solve or address.
With that said, you have to be cautious if you choose this method. Because this is a common autoresponder strategy, people have also become more attuned to it. There’s a difference between creating awareness and building hype, and people are more savvy about the distinction.
That’s why you must take great care in what goes into all of the emails in the series. Emails must be crafted carefully because it can be really easy to sound like you’re just leading up to a product, in which case the emails can be a real turn-off and you’ll find a lot of your subscribers will unsubscribe from your list.
The most powerful way to avoid that issue is to deliver a ton of value in the content-based emails. Make those emails stand on their own and give people more than they expect to get from you, so that they don’t just feel like you’re building up to eventually selling them something.
When you get to the promotional emails, continue to deliver more value than people expect! The promotion itself can be a small part of the email, like a delicious after-dinner mint following a deeply satisfying four-course meal.
Autoresponder Series #2: The Ground and Pound
This next framework for building an autoresponder series is the most aggressive, but it can still be effective and profitable in some scenarios. The “ground and pound” approach works like this:
I know what you’re probably thinking: I just told you to be careful about promoting things via email, so being more aggressive there is a big no-no, but in some situations the ground and pound approach can actually work to a website owner’s advantage.
The key is to set the right expectations before someone even gets that first email from you.
For example, sometimes an autoresponder series is introduced to an existing customer—someone who’s already purchased something from you. They’ve shown their willingness to pay money for the things you create or provide. You could add that person to an autoresponder series built around the ground-and-pound approach, with promotional emails containing upsells for other products that complement the person’s initial purchase. In this case, the customer has already shown themselves to be a buyer, and those kinds of promotional emails may actually be welcomed.
As always, the emails should deliver value even if the person never buys the thing you’re promoting.
The ground-and-pound sequence works best if you manage the expectations of your subscribers appropriately. If you tell potential subscribers that by signing up they will receive promotional emails from you, then those people will expect it—no harm, no foul.
Let’s say you have a photography site, and you send a weekly email newsletter that contains exclusive deals and tips about photography products and gear. A ground-and-pound approach could be your best friend, because your subscribers already expect you to tell them about photography products they might want to purchase.
But you should exercise caution with this approach. It won’t work in every situation, so use common sense and think about your audience, their wants and needs, and the expectations you need to set with them before you start with a sales-heavy autoresponder like the ground and pound.
Autoresponder Series #3: The Pat Flynn
This next one is called “Pat Flynn” because—surprise, surprise—it’s how I’ve put together most of my autoresponders! I’m pretty sure I’m not the first one to do it this way, but to be honest, I’m not familiar with anyone else who does (and I’m subscribed to a lot of email lists).
The Pat Flynn works like this:
The Pat Flynn Autoresponder Series
There are two components to the Pat Flynn autoresponder series: content-based emails and engagement-based emails.
Content-based emails are tips and tricks that I provide to my subscribers that can’t be found anywhere else on my site or my social media channels. This exclusive content helps keep people on my list and wanting to hear from me.
Beyond this killer content, I use the Pat Flynn autoresponder to engage with my subscribers—and by “engage” I mean try to get them to respond directly to me. In one particular autoresponder email, for example, I ask my subscribers what they wish I’d write a blog post about. This makes people feel like they are involved with the content on my blog (which they are, because I use a lot of the responses as inspiration for upcoming blog content), and it helps them connect with me on a more personal level.
Hitting reply is a form of taking action, and here’s the thing—any type of action taken by an email subscriber is a win.
Now, you might not like this idea because you “don’t want to get a ton of emails” from your subscribers. If that’s the case, you’re going to miss out on opportunities for engagement—opportunities that may not lead to an immediate click or a sale, but could help build a relationship that eventually does.
The real magic of this approach is two-fold:
- I’m establishing credibility and building relationships in a non-evasive manner, which keeps people on my list and opening emails. By not being aggressive and promoting anything directly in my emails, the open rates and response rates on all my emails are pretty high.
- Some of the content-based emails send people back onto another platform (like my website) where I have more opportunities to keep them engaged with great content and yes, promote my own products and those for which I have affiliate relationships.
The second point is probably better illustrated by the diagram below, which is the same diagram as above, with a few more details:
The Pat Flynn Autoresponder Series Expanded
This doesn’t represent the exact order of how everything happens, but it gives you the main idea.
The key is that I’m not promoting anything in the emails; instead, I use them as a medium to connect with my readers, delivering them valuable content and offering them opportunities to respond. Any selling done via the emails in this type of series in indirect; I may send people to my blog, where I promote my own products and my affiliate products.
One of the downsides to the Pat Flynn approach is that any sales transactions that occur are harder to track. In a more promotion-focused autoresponder series (like the ground and pound), it’s easier to tell how much money you’re earning directly from the emails in that series, because someone is typically clicking a single link in the email to a sales page on your website. This makes it easier to connect the link clicks from that email with the sales or commissions earned as a result.
But when the path from first click to sale is longer, as it can be in the Pat Flynn series, it can be harder to know how successful those emails are at driving sales.
Here’s an example. Let’s say someone becomes a fan of me on Facebook or subscribes to my YouTube channel as a result of one of my emails. They may not buy anything from me that day, week, month, or even year. But, some of those people may eventually find a link to a post on my Facebook page or watch a newly uploaded video on YouTube in which I’m promoting something, and buy it.
Or maybe they’ll end up on my blog as a result of one of my emails and see an ad in the sidebar. There are multiple points of possible transactions that can stem from clicking a link in one of my emails. That’s why this kind of series is much more valuable as a relationship builder rather than a sales driver.
Is this the best way to do things? It is for me, but for you it’ll depend on your niche and your audience, so think about it from your readers’ perspective and what they would want to get in your emails.
Autoresponder Series #4: The One To Avoid
Now that we’ve covered three potential options for your autoresponder series, let’s talk about an email sequence you should avoid at all costs. Unfortunately, this is the sequence most people usually have:
The One Autoresponder Series to Avoid, aka no autoresponder series at all.
A lot of people set up their email lists and focus purely on broadcast emails. Broadcasts are great, but if you skip the autoresponder sequence, you’re missing out on valuable opportunities to connect with your audience and drive passive income.
These aren’t the only ways to build an autoresponder series, but they should give you a good starting point.
How Long Should Your Autoresponder Be?
Now that we’ve covered some options for how to build an autoresponder series, let’s talk about how long your autoresponder should be, and how to space your emails.
First, I recommend erring on the side of a longer autoresponder series. Some people create short autoresponders because they “don’t want to bother” their subscribers too much, but guess what? People signed up for your list because they want to be bothered! Not bothered in the sense of annoyed, but in that they want you to teach them something, to give them valuable information and resources they wouldn’t be able to easily get elsewhere.
If you’re focused on delivering as much value as possible, then making your autoresponder series a bit longer is a great way to do that. This person has agreed to receive your emails, so make the most of the opportunity.
A longer autoresponder series gives people more touchpoints, more opportunities to learn from you and become a fan of your brand, more chances to engage with you, visit your blog or YouTube channel, respond directly to you, and even buy something from you.
Dan Faggella is an email autoresponder ninja.
Next, how far apart should your emails be?
I prefer to err on the side of spacing them about a week apart. I know others who have autoresponders that send an email every day.
As a baseline, you definitely want to make sure someone’s not getting multiple emails from you in one day. But beyond that, how often you send emails depends on the content of those emails. Are your emails really dense, with tons of information and action steps that will take your reader some time to understand and implement? If so, waiting a week to send the next email might be wise. But if your emails are short and to the point, and don’t require the reader to go and build a treehouse before they get their next email, then you can probably safely space them closer together, perhaps every two or three days.
When it comes to email timing, you also want to be aware of not just what’s happening in a single autoresponder series, but with your emails as a whole. As your business grows, you may have multiple autoresponder series for different topics, along with regular broadcast emails. This can increase the complexity of your email list and make it harder to track exactly what each person is receiving from you and how often, and to make sure that you’re not overloading them with emails.
Want more information on creating autoresponders? Here's my 20-minute deep dive into creating an awesome autoresponder series.
I use ConvertKit to help me manage all this complexity. ConvertKit makes it easy to set up an autoresponder using their “Visual Automations” feature, which lets you map out all the emails in your autoresponder and see how they fit together. [Full Disclaimer: I am a compensated advisor and affiliate for ConvertKit.]
Our next big tip has to do with email segmentation—how to create “mini” lists from your main email list so you can better talk to the different groups of people in your audience.
Put Email List Segmentation to Work for You
Segmenting your email list is one of the most powerful ways to increase the effectiveness of your email marketing.
Email segmentation is dividing your email list into smaller sets of subscribers based on certain criteria. These criteria can include things like open rate, clickthrough rate, demographic details, interests, purchase history, and other behaviors.
You might be thinking, that seems like a lot of trouble. Is it worth it? But if you go about it the right way, segmenting your email list is definitely worth it—and I’ll explain why.
Why You Should Segment Your Email List
So why segment your email list? Simply, it allows you to be more targeted about how you talk to different people in your audience. Because, guess what? Not everyone is the same. They have different needs, concerns, and ways they talk about things. In my case, although my audience is composed of various people all trying to build their own online businesses that will help them serve their audience and provide passive income, these people may be at widely differing stages of building their individual business. So I’m not going to talk to the person just starting out the same way I would someone else who’s been building their business and growing their audience for five years.
The answer, when it comes to email, is to organize the people in your list into categories so that you can tailor your language and your strategy to each category separately.
Remember, the more you can use email to talk directly to a person’s needs, wants, fears, and dreams, the more likely they’re going to want to engage with you and your brand—and the more likely they’re going to stay on your email list.
All it takes is one email that doesn’t align with a subscriber to convince someone “this is not for me anymore,” and lead them to click unsubscribe.
How to Segment Your Email List
So how do you go about segmenting your email list? The first step is to understand that you want to segment your list in a way that ensures you’re sending people emails they’re likely to be interested in.
You may need to do some research to figure out a good place to start. But I don’t suggest creating a lot of segments, especially right away. More segments means more ways you’ll need to tailor your communications, which means more work for you.
My email list is split up into just three main segments, based on the stage people are at with their businesses. I created these three segments after doing research on my entire audience and figuring out a way to split up everyone into three clean categories based on how much revenue their business was generating.
Once I’d identified the three segments, I needed to start placing people in them. To initiate this process, I sent an email to my entire (pre-segmented) list, asking a simple question:
Which one of the following describes you?
- I don’t have a business yet.
- I have a business, but I’m struggling to make over $500 a month.
- I have a business, and I’m making over $500 a month.
That’s how I’ve divided my audience. Depending on which link they click, they get put into a specific list with its own autoresponder series. But it’s definitely not the only way to segment your list. One of the most basic and common but useful examples of email segmentation is this:
You have a single product to sell, along with an email list. You segment your email subscribers into two groups:
- Non-buyers (prospects)
- Buyers (customers)
For group 1, you send these kinds of emails:
- Valuable, educational content to build trust and authority.
- Success stories to show proof of concept and build even more trust.
- Emails meant to drive sales.
If a subscriber from group 1 makes a purchase, they are no longer a part of the “non-buyer segment,” and have now entered the “buyer” segment, where they will get a different set of pre-written emails, including:
- A thank-you email for purchasing the product, along with important information about how to access their product.
- A follow-up email two days later to make sure everything is running smoothly and to check up on their progress.
- A survey email fourteen days in to gauge what they like and dislike about their experience so far with your product.
- A free and unexpected gift twenty-eight days later as a thank you, which happens to be two days before they get billed for their membership. The gift reminds them how great the purchase was, and when they have to pay the next installment, they are more likely to be happy with it.
- A promotion for a secondary product or course you have for the same audience.
The prospect vs. customer example is simple, and is a great place to start if you sell products. Each group deserves different types of emails, and your buyers would hate to see an email pitching a product they’ve already purchased.
The easiest way to start applying this strategy is to split your list into two segments. You’ll have to think about the most logical criteria to use for this based on your business. Perhaps it’s people who’ve purchased something from you vs. people who haven’t. Or maybe it’s people who’ve responded to at least one email vs. those who haven’t.
In any case, email list segmentation is a must-have strategy if you want to talk to the different groups in your audience in the best way possible and get the most out of your email list.
Our final big tip is all about cleaning your email list—making sure that the people on your list are the ones who really want to be there.
Clean Your Email List to Maximize Quality
My next big email marketing tip involves—gasp!—deleting some of your subscribers from your list.
That’s right: I’m asking you to let some people go. One powerful way to improve your email open rates and engagement is to do a regular “spring cleaning” of your email list.
It can also help you save on the fees you pay your email service provider, since many of them charge according to the size of your list
But the biggest benefit is that you’ll only be sending emails to people who want to receive them.
So how do you go about cleaning your email list? There are a couple ways to do it, and one is definitely preferable. Let’s talk about them both now.
How Not to Clean Your Email List
So how do you go about removing inactive or unengaged subscribers from your list so you have a really engaged, active audience?
We don’t often know how people use email on the other end like this. So I have a big email list and I send emails out all the time, and not everybody opens them.
It’s technically easy to do. Most email service providers give you a way to track which subscribers are opening your emails and clicking links and which ones aren’t paying much attention—the latter ones are “cold” subscribers. These are the people who haven’t opened an email from you for a good period of time, usually around 90 days.
You can simply log in to your email service provider, pull up a list of cold subscribers, and delete them. Boom! Presto! You immediately have a more engaged audience!
Depending on your email service provider, you should have some way to identify your cold subscribers. Thankfully, this is something that ConvertKit makes it really easy to do. (You just have to go to your Subscribers page and use the Subscribers dropdown to select only Cold Subscribers.) [Full Disclaimer: I am a compensated advisor and affiliate link for ConvertKit.]
I really appreciate that ConvertKit makes it easy to see who your cold subscribers are. Because guess what? When you delete people from your list, ConvertKit may lose money because your email list just got smaller. Since ConvertKit and similar companies make money based on the number of people on your list, it’s to their advantage for you to have a larger list, even if it’s not full of people all equally interested in what you have to say.
Making it easy to improve the quality of your list—even if it costs them money—is one of the reasons I love ConvertKit, why I love Nathan the CEO and founder, and why I’m an advisor to the company.
At the same time, I definitely don’t recommend you use this feature to pull up a list of your cold subscribers and delete them from your list right away.
I’ve heard from people who have been removed from email lists they didn’t want to be removed from.
Did you know that email marketing providers determine whether someone opens an email based on whether or not a 1px transparent image was loaded in the email? If someone has disabled images in their emails—even if they’re reading all of your emails—they won’t show up as having opened those emails.
Or sometimes, people might be reading a preview of your emails—the subject line and the first paragraph or so—and even getting good information and value from that preview, but since they’re not technically opening the email, this won’t show in your metrics.
So, you have to be careful here. They’re gone, but maybe they shouldn’t be.
Open rates don’t always tell the whole story.
Thankfully, there are some smarter ways to go about cleaning your email list. Here are two better ways to go about it.
Email List Cleanup Strategy #1: Okay
We’ve established that just deleting your cold subscribers with no warning isn’t a smart way to go about cleaning your email list.
Instead, you want to make sure that when you delete someone, they’re actually a cold subscriber who’s no longer interested in hearing from you—rather than someone who’s just lost track of you and needs a reminder of how they can benefit from what you’re sharing or teaching.
A better option is to send your cold subscribers an email asking if they want to continue hearing from you. Then, if they don’t respond within a certain amount of time—let’s say a week or so—you delete them from your list.
It could be as simple as saying, “Hi! Please click on the link below to stay on my email list. If you don’t click on it in the next week, I’ll delete you from my list.”
That said, I would still be very careful about just deleting all your cold subscribers as soon as that week is up.
It’s one way to do it, but it’s not my favorite way. It’s the easiest way to clean up your list, but it’s not the best.
Why? Well, some people might miss that email! If you only give them one opportunity, then that’s it—no second chances.
What do I recommend you do instead?
Email List Cleanup Strategy #2: Better
The second option is much safer. You’ll be creating a three-mail mini sequence that will give people a fair chance to determine if they still want to be on your list. This will let you find out who’s truly cold—and who’s just a little chilly.
The first email should be a gentle nudge, and not aggressive at all. Subject lines like, “Haven’t heard from you in a while” or “Are you still there?” are good options to get people’s attention and open the email.
Of course, you want people to not just open the email, but to take some sort of action that indicates their interest. It could be asking them to reply with a simple “yes” or “no.” Or you could set up custom links for the “yes” and “no” answers that lead to a landing page thanking them for responding and confirming their response.
What if someone doesn’t respond to the first email? Then it’s time for email number two.
In the second email, you can be a little more aggressive. Go with something like, “I noticed you didn’t respond to my first email.” The call to action in the body of the email will be the same as the first email, but with a little more urgency.
If you have no luck with the second email, you can send one more.
How to clean your email list, the audio version.
Your final email can be a little more aggressive. The more aggressive you are, the more likely you are to capture people’s attention—but use your judgment. You have less to lose with this final email, but you don’t want to upset people or give them a bad impression of you. A subject line like “This is your last chance” creates the right amount of urgency without being mean or harsh.
The call to action will again be the same as the first two emails, but you definitely want to ramp up the urgency so people know it’s their last chance to stay on your list.
How Often Should You Clean Your Email List?
At this point, we’ve covered two options for cleaning up your email list and removing cold subscribers: the “okay” option (one email) and the “better” option (a three-email sequence).
That brings us to the next question: how often should you clean out your list?
You don’t need to clean out your list every day, every week, or even every month. It’s not like laundry—more like seasonal cleaning. This is a good practice to do every three to four months.
And again, please don’t just delete your cold subscribers straight away. It may be tempting, but you won’t be doing your audience a service this way. Give people a few chances to let you know if they want to stick around, or if they’re truly cold.
This is important because sometimes people just don’t open every email they receive. They may still want to be on your list.
You can use any email service provider to accomplish this—but I like ConvertKit because it makes it super easy to create a workflow to re-engage cold subscribers and delete them from your list if they don’t respond or they say they want to leave. [Full Disclaimer: I am a compensated advisor and affiliate for ConvertKit.]
Above all, whatever email service provider you use, make sure you’re always sending great content. Remember that email is simply a channel to reach your audience. That’s why people are on your list: they want to learn from you, and they want to feel like they matter.
In the next chapter, I’ll share some awesome case studies of email marketing done right, so you can see how real people have succeeded in the real world with great email marketing.