Neat Newsletter Tip: Delete Inactive Email Subscribers

They say email newsletters are blogging gold.

But here’s the truth – a small list that wants exactly what you are offering is a million times better than a bigger list that isn’t committed.

As it is with social media, chasing the vanity numbers is not enough. You need to think of your email list engagement and keep an eye on the following metrics within the email marketing software of your choice:

Email opening rate aka how many people actually read your newsletter. MailChimp shares some stats on the average opening rate per industry:

  • Beauty and Personal Care – 18.48%
  • Hobbies – 28.46%
  • Media and Publishing – 22.14%

If you are already doing better than this, way to go, girl! If your current numbers are a bit more modest, don’t worry, we’ll show you how to level up your game just in a moment.

Click rates on included links show that your readers don’t just skim through the email and forget it, but feel eager to learn more and get updates from your blog.

Unsubscribe rate shows how many folks opted out of your newsletter. Maybe they just changed their mind or subscribed by accident. No biggie.

Unengaged subscribers. Pay the most attention to this metric. It indicates how many people stay on your list, but never read your emails or interact with your brand in any other way. And this metric can mess up all the other numbers including your email opening rate, click rates, conversions and so on.

Wondering why those unengaged subscribers are on your list in the first place?

Then you should remember the word “graymail”.  Graymail is an email newsletter you technically subscribed to, but don’t really feel interested in. If you are a lifestyle publisher, it might have happened for the next reasons:

  • You’ve hosted a giveaway/competition, which asked participants to share their email to enter the draw.
  • You’ve offered a special discount/coupon from a brand in exchange for a newsletter subscription.
  • You have created a cool, but slightly irrelevant freebie for readers to opt in.

Here’s a quick example: You’ve published a guide to growing your Instagram following as an opt-in freebie. A lot of social media managers, marketers and entrepreneurs signed up to get it…but most of them aren’t that interested in other things you share in the newsletter such as new outfit posts or recipes.


In short, a lot of graymail subscribers never read your emails. Or worse, they choose to send it straight to junk/promo folder without giving you a chance to engage and inspire them. Ouch!

Most email marketing services charge you based on the size of your list. So why on earth should you pay extra for those 10,000 people that bring zero value to your blogging business?

It’s time to do some email newsletter spring-cleaning!


Log in to your account, choose the list you want to clean up and click ‘Manage Contacts > Segments’.

chloédigital Newsletter Tip How To Delete Email Subscribers via Mailchimp

Next, in the upper right corner click ‘Create a New Segment’. In the new screen, adjust the settings as shown below:

chloédigital Newsletter Tip Create a New Segment Button via MailChimp

Now you can see everyone who’s not engaging with you. If needed, you can toy around with more settings in this screen to refine your list even further. Just don’t get too carried away

Next, you will want to export the list of inactive subscribers (click the ‘Export Segment’ button). Save it on your computer just in case anything goes wrong.

Finally, select all the subscribers in this segment and from the ‘Actions’ menu choose ‘Unsubscribe’:

chloédigital Newsletter Tip How To Unsubscribe via MailChimp

Et voila – you have successfully cleaned your newsletter.

Isn’t it awesome to have 5,000 people on the list with a 60% open rate, rather than 10,000 people with a 25% open rate?


Blogging is all about creating mutually beneficial relationships. There’s no point in trying too hard to appeal to the wrong audience and push your content down their throat.

To avoid doing the newsletter spring clean just too often, try these tips:

Revisit your opt-in freebies. Are they in line with your other content? Do they attract your target readership?

Test if your newsletter goes to the ‘Promotion’ tab in Gmail. Google uses smart algorithms to analyze whether your email is promotional or not and categorize it accordingly for the user. So, if it looks too advert-ish it will land in that neglected Promo tab. Here are the quick ways to avoid this:

  • Ask your subscribers directly to drag your emails to the Primary tab.
  • Whenever possible, include the recipient’s’ first name in the greetings.
  • Don’t include too many external links.
  • Don’t use too much HTML styling (different fonts and sizes, div blocks etc) and opt for plain text instead.


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