Why you shouldn’t cleanse your newsletter subscriber list

I received an email today from a guy I’ve been watching for a while, he does some pretty good stuff with Digital Marketing.

I signed up to his newsletter twelve months ago. As well as that, I follow him on Twitter so see his Tweets regularly too, and they’re easier to digest as they’re short – great for when I’m busy.

For the last three months I’ve been writing my second book so that’s meant things that do not need my immediate attention are waiting for me in a folder in my inbox, like reading newsletters.

However, I’ve received an email from Digital Marketing chappy this morning – as no doubt others have too as it’s come via an email marketing software tool – asking me if I want to stay on his list because he can see I’ve not opened his emails for three months and therefore here’s my opportunity to go. If I don’t ‘click this link’ he’ll remove me.


I get why people believe this is the right thing to do because;

  1. If people are not clicking / opening they’re not interested in buying
  2. Hangers on are just contributing to your audience numbers – you could save some money if you get rid of them
  3. You’d rather have people who are engaged on your newsletter list

I get that, but… I was busy!

When I had neurosurgery in October 2019 it took a good few months before I could read anything longer than a short social media post. I was constantly tired and my brain just didn’t want to compute much – understandably. But I didn’t want to miss out on anything, so I saved all the newsletters I wanted to catch up on in a folder to read when the brain permitted. It took about four months, but I eventually read and learned from them all.

I also made purchases from some of them, because I was ready to.

You really do not know what’s going on in someone’s life, you don’t know why they’re not clicking.

I agree that you don’t want dead wood on your newsletter list, but don’t give them an ultimatum and certainly not after just three months.

My recommendations instead are;

  1. Look at the subject lines of your newsletters – if people aren’t opening them, this is likely the problem. You can download my tips on ‘How to Write Newsletter Subject Headings That Get Opened’ here
  2. Are your sign up forms enticing the people who you really want to work with? Who are going to be interested in your services? Or is your lead magnet a bit out of date and rather unrelated to what you do?
  3. Are you sending too often? No one has time for that. Just send a newsletter when you have something to say. I hate to tell you, but no one is sat waiting for your newsletter to arrive.
  4. If you really must cleanse, think about how you word your email and give it 12 months of non clicking / opening at least. Maybe word your subject line something like; ‘I’d hate to lose you, how can we improve?’ and ask for feedback on why your newsletter isn’t being opened – that way you can grow!


Don’t forget; you can download my tips on ‘How to Write Newsletter Subject Headings That Get Opened’ here.

Have fun!