Ask Mavis – Are You Still Paying for the Dead Weight on Your List?

by Mavis Nong on July 6, 2011

Ask Mavis   Are You Still Paying for the Dead Weight on Your List?Welcome to this week’s round of the Ask Mavis series. I don’t know about you, but I always look forward to Wednesdays Ask Mavis   Are You Still Paying for the Dead Weight on Your List?

Here’s last week’s *hot* topic:

Ask Mavis – Should You Be Posting on the Other People’s Walls on Facebook?

Most people shared their frustrations and same observations as mine.

It’s clear that the Facebook set up and constant changes are doing nothing but confusing the users – you and I.

If you missed the discussion, I invite you to check it out and join in.

I’m glad to announce that the unauthorised activities on my walls have decreased a great deal, following this post. So, please bookmark it and keep spreading the word Ask Mavis   Are You Still Paying for the Dead Weight on Your List?

Moving on… My question for you this week:

Are You Still Paying for the Dead Weight on Your List?

Doubtlessly, building your own list is critical in every network marketing business, because without a list your business will collapse.

You definitely need an auto responder system that will allow you to have people opting in to receive more information about your offer(s). I use Aweber, one of the top auto responder systems on the internet, and I’m happy with their service and support.

Yes, it’s not free. And, the monthly fee goes up as your list gets bigger – you pay more for more subscribers.

As my list and my monthly fee were increasing, I kept asking myself one question: Why do I have to pay every month for people who are unresponsive? They have been on my list for a very long time and they haven’t taken any action to change their circumstances.

I have also sent a couple of broadcasts to this category of subscribers with the subject line: “How to Unsubscribe From My Emails!” Do you think I got a high number of people unsubscribing from my list? Not at all!

Why? It’s because half of my subscribers were not even opening my emails. That’s right – half of them and I was paying for their space.

I didn’t know how to deal with this growing problem. Well, I never bothered to do a research on how to get rid of my unresponsive subscribers.

And then, I came across Ana Hoffman’s post on how to keep your list clean and healthy.

I must admit, I didn’t take action straight away as I was so busy with the other projects. So, a few days ago I decided to do some house cleaning.

Here’s what I did:

1. Deleted the Unsubscribed/Undeliverable Subscribers

Even though your unsubscribed list has stopped receiving your emails, they are still on your list and you’re still paying for them. Most auto responders including Aweber, base their pricing on the number of email addresses (valid or not) stored in their database, whether they are active or unsubscribed.

How do you delete them? It’s very easy to do.

1. In your Aweber account, go to Subscribers, then click on the first tab, Search.

2. On the View Segment window, choose from the drop-down menu as you can see below: Unsubscribed or Undeliverable Subscribers and click on Search.

Ask Mavis   Are You Still Paying for the Dead Weight on Your List?

3. Scroll down to your list, then check the Erase option and hit save.

4. That’s it all done. If you have multiple lists, you need to repeat this process for all of them.

 

2. Deleted the “No Opens”

As I mentioned before, this is the exercise that revealed that half of my list was not even opening my emails at all. And, I’m not talking for days or weeks – for months!

This explained why I had a low open rate, no matter how creative I got with my subject lines.

Clearly, there was just no point of keeping these people on my list. They had to be removed.

Here’s how to remove the “no opens”:

1. On the View Segment window, choose from the drop-down menu as you can see below: All Subscribers.

2. Create the first segment and choose No Opens and set the date – this category hasn’t opened your emails over what period? You decide.

3. Create the second segment and choose Date Added – when were these people added on your list? You want to include people who have been on your list for a long time.

Ask Mavis   Are You Still Paying for the Dead Weight on Your List?4. All done!

 

I have to tell you that this process was very heart-breaking. I have worked hard to build my list and I managed to cut it in half in just a few minutes! Ask Mavis   Are You Still Paying for the Dead Weight on Your List?

On the bright side, I now have a very clean and responsive list. My open rate has improved as I now have people who are interested in what I’m sharing with them.

I’m going to keep cleaning my list regularly, going forward.

 

Over to you now:

  • Are you still paying for the unresponsive list?
  • Do you clean your list?
  • What do you plan to do with the dead weight on your list?

 

If you enjoyed reading this post, make sure you fill out this form to receive my blog post updates via e-mail, leave a comment below and share this with your friends and followers.

 

 

Ask Mavis   Are You Still Paying for the Dead Weight on Your List?

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{ 52 comments… read them below or add one }

Dr. Bob Clarke July 6, 2011 at 12:41 AM

Hi Mavis,

I agree that tending to your email list is a lot like weeding your garden — it must be done periodically and if not, the weeds will take over.

I “weeded” my email list a few months ago, doing exactly what you instructed here. It somehow felt great to delete all the dead wood from my list. Psychologically, it’s great to see my the responsiveness of my subscribers triple.

And its mostly because I deleted those that weren’t even opening my emails.

The best part? My Aweber bill went DOWN! :-)

Thanks for the great reminder, Mavis.
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Mavis Nong July 6, 2011 at 1:13 PM

Great to hear that you have already weeded your list, Dr Clarke.

How I wish I did that sooner! I’m also looking forward to a reduced bill this month :)

Thanks for the visit and input.

All the best,
Mavis

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Pam Lawhorne July 6, 2011 at 12:58 AM

Mavis -

This is something I need to seriously consider doing. I know what you’re saying makes sense but as you know it’s hard to see those numbers just fade away!

Thanks for the info!

Pam
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Mavis Nong July 6, 2011 at 12:02 PM

You’re welcome, Pam. I know, but it has to be done! :)

All the best,
Mavis

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Ryan Biddulph July 6, 2011 at 8:38 AM

Hi Mavis,

Trimming the fat can feel uncomfortable, but oh does it feel good after you trim!

I just had a cathartic cleanse on FB. I left some 60 groups. I needed to let go to make room for better things, and I felt so good about it. Naturally, I attracted better things almost instantly.

The numbers we acquire in terms of our list subscribers don’t matter as much as the energy behind the numbers. 500 people who really want what you have to offer mean more than 10,000 people who could care less and wanted a freebie. 500 people in harmony with what you do means infinitely more than 10,000 people who are out of touch with you.

Prune the list, stick to the 500 hungry folks and save a few bucks in the process.

Bookmarked this post, and WILL follow your steps after I go for a run in a few. Thanks for the awesome reminder Mavis!

Ryan
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Mavis Nong July 6, 2011 at 11:50 AM

I couldn’t agree with you more, Ryan! It’s more about quality rather than quantity.

What’s the point of having thousands upon thousands of people on your list who are clearly not interested in what you have to offer?

I must admit, I felt very sad after trimming the fat but then felt great as I realised that I now have people who are truly hungry for success.

Thanks for stopping by and for your wonderful comment as always :)

All the best,
Mavis

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Ryan Biddulph July 10, 2011 at 4:40 AM

I just did it Mavis, cathartic!

Thanks again for the tip :)

Ryan
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Mavis Nong July 12, 2011 at 10:53 AM

You’re welcome, Ryan, It feels great, doesn’t it?

All the best,
Mavis

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Viola Tam September 13, 2012 at 6:31 AM

Hi Ryan and Mavis,

Ryan, I appreciate your response to Mavis’s excellent post. You have always come up with additional values. I have bookedmarked this page too!

I am starting to build my list. I am thankful for your success tips, Mavis. I agree with you and Ryan that it is better off doing the cleanse and keep the quality followers (and save some money!).

Viola Tam
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Mavis Nong September 19, 2012 at 3:25 PM

You’re welcome, Viola. Why keep people who don’t want to hear from you on your list and pay more money?

Hope your list is nice and clean now ;)

Best,
Mavis

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Meg from Bath Screen July 6, 2011 at 9:42 AM

Very useful post for me coz I am still away from this services and not paying anything inorder to building such list and the reason is it no need to do such thing at present.

But yes if in future if any circumstances arises like this and I have to use this type of services then at that time your post will show me the way. You experience with this will definately comes to my help.

So thanks a lot for sharing such a useful post.
And feel SAD for you by reading this post. I can understand that how one feel when his/her hard works are not get desired response or awarded. But remember one thing “All days are not SAME” just like our 5 fingers.

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Mavis Nong July 6, 2011 at 11:45 AM

I know, Meg. On the bright side, it’s their loss! :)

Thanks for the visit and encouragement.

All the best,
Mavis

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SeoDezin from fred loya insurance July 6, 2011 at 11:57 AM

You have mentioned a good point.I think energy should be exerted at that point from where you get some fruit.

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Mavis Nong July 6, 2011 at 1:55 PM

Absolutely!

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Terje Sannarnes July 6, 2011 at 1:25 PM

Of course it is impossible to do business successfully without a list on the one hand. Also, it makes sense to pay every month for people who are unresponsive on the other hand. That’s why it is expedient to use auto responders like Aweber and delete users, who just ignore your emails, from time to time.
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Mavis Nong July 6, 2011 at 3:01 PM

How does it make sense to pay every month for people who are unresponsive, Terje?

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Terje Sannarnes July 13, 2011 at 12:05 PM

I am sorry, Mavis, it was just a typing mistake :) I mean that it “doesn’t” make sense to pay for people who are unresponsive.
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Mavis Nong July 15, 2011 at 2:44 PM

No worries, Terje :)

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Michael Kellam July 6, 2011 at 4:49 PM

Hi Mavis,
We frequently remove the ones where stop status is “stopped” but we don’t have an option in our Aweber account to display “No Opens”.

Is it possible you have a newer account? Aweber tried to get us to upgrade for better analytics once, but the cost of the new account is 4 times what we were paying originally and definitely not worth the additional cost.

We have a large list, but if we upgrade, we’ll still pay more than double our current price, even if we eliminate half our list.

How old is your Aweber account?
Michael

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Mavis Nong July 6, 2011 at 8:24 PM

Hi Michael! Welcome to my blog! :)

That’s strange. I’d recommend calling their support desk to help you with “No opens”.

My account is over 2 years old.

I’m interested to know more about your upgraded account. What extra features does it offer?

All the best,
Mavis

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Michael Kellam July 6, 2011 at 8:59 PM

Hi Mavis,
Yes, I’m going to contact them to ask about the no opens. We’ve had our account for 5 years and a year or so ago, they asked us, “How would you like to have more analytics?” I was interested, so I called to ask about it, but the cost they quoted was extremely expensive, so we declined to upgrade.

Currently, we can send messages to specific segments of our list and see analytics about spam assassin scores, total newsletters sent, bounces, complaints, opens, clicks, subscribes, unsubscribes, etc.

If we had gotten the upgrade, my understanding is that we would be able to do more analytics about which readers clicked on which links rather than just reporting how many clicks each link received. Also, we would have gotten snazzy charts and graphs without having to cut and paste into Excel, but for the cost it didn’t seem worth it… The cost was at least 4 times our current cost and o almost choked when he told me how much!

Thanks for your post. I’ll contact them and ask about the “No Opens”. Maybe I need to upgrade for that! ;-)

Michael
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Mavis Nong July 12, 2011 at 11:50 AM

Great plan, Michael. They should be able to help you with that.

You’re right, it doesn’t seem worth it to upgrade if it’s that costly.

All the best,
Mavis

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Michael Kellam July 14, 2011 at 5:58 PM

Hi Mavis,

Ok, Aweber told me because we have a “Legacy” account we don’t have the option to see “No Opens”. They invited my to upgrade, but even if I eliminate the large number of people who don’t open the newsletters, we’d still more than double our cost (increasing the cost almost $1000 per year)… Guess we’ll stay “legacy” and live with it for now.

The difference between “Legacy” accounts and the new ones are listed here:
http://www.aweber.com/faq/questions/521

We’d love to have some of those analytics functions but not sure we’d use them as much as the cost. Our big issue with Analytics is that there is so much info to analyze already with web stats, Google Analytics, Adsense Analytics, SEO tools and the “Legacy” Aweber Analytics that we simply don’t have time to look at everything we have as it is… We’d have to hire a full time analyst to study it all, so as much as I’d like to be able to look at it, I can’t imagine paying that much, especially when I’m not convinced it would impact our income much over what we already have…

Thanks again!

Michael
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Mavis Nong July 15, 2011 at 12:09 PM

I’m with you, Michael – that’s very costly and who’s go the time to study even more analytics? Lol!

Thanks for the feedback.

All the best,
Mavis

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Yo Le July 6, 2011 at 6:07 PM

Mavis,

I just went through and kicked close to 800 or so people off my list… A little bit painful to do yet liberating at the same time! :)

Thanks for sharing this. I’m sure my opens and my CTR’s will go through the roof now.

Keep on Rockin’

- Yo
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Mavis Nong July 6, 2011 at 8:14 PM

Well done, Yo! It’s their loss :)

You’re welcome.

Mavis

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Erin Smith July 7, 2011 at 12:42 AM

Wow… I had no idea you could check the “no opens”. These are the best kinds of posts, with a practical “how to”… plus you’re saving me money!

Thanks Mavis!
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Mavis Nong July 7, 2011 at 9:28 PM

It’s my pleasure, Erin :)

All the best,
Mavis

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Steve Rice July 7, 2011 at 2:33 AM

This is a great point, Mavis. Thanks so much for sharing not only the “why” behind how you made your decisions, but the step-by-step process you followed to implement your decision.

I’m just starting to build my list, and this is really great information to have at the outset. Appreciate it a lot.
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Mavis Nong July 7, 2011 at 9:27 PM

You’re most welcome, Steve. Glad you found this helpful :)

All the best with building your list.

Mavis

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Oliver Tausend July 7, 2011 at 10:01 AM

Hi Mavis,

it’s absolutely critical to do this type of cleansing from time to time. Also for ourselves, because I don’t want to harbour the illusion that I have a huge list – without being aware that half of them doesn’t even open the emails.

Thanks for sharing your insights.

Take care

Oliver
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Mavis Nong July 7, 2011 at 9:22 PM

You make a very important point there, Oliver… A huge list means nothing if half of them couldn’t care less about what you have to say!

Thanks for stopping by and for your input.

All the best,
Mavis

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Mike Smith July 7, 2011 at 12:28 PM

Good post Mavis.

I would just like to add that although Aweber is a great product and one top systems out there, if you are just starting out you might want to look at Mailchimp, it’s free for 2000 subscribers and less than 12,000 email per month. It has a Wordpress plug-in, Facebook integration and many other features.

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Mavis Nong July 7, 2011 at 9:18 PM

Thanks for sharing that, Mike. I have no experience with using Mailchimp.

I appreciate your visit and comment.

All the best,
Mavis

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Matt Black July 7, 2011 at 8:00 PM

I completely agree that it is very important to get rid of those contacts that are of little value to you or your business. Instead of having 1000 contacts which do not contribute in any way to you business/blog, isn’t it better to have 50 contacts who bring a lot more value to your business?
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Mavis Nong July 7, 2011 at 9:16 PM

That’s how it should go, Matt. Thanks for the visit and comment.

All the best,
Mavis

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Jane | Tech Buzz Online July 10, 2011 at 3:16 AM

Ya I recently did a clean up of my list. I included my list members in the process. Since mine is a multi-niche blog, I also created category specific groups and asked which group they want to be included in. That was a nice experience and a lesson. I love my clutter-free list now :)
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Mavis Nong July 12, 2011 at 10:55 AM

Well done, Jane. It feels great, doesn’t it?

All the best,
Mavis

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Marcus Baker July 12, 2011 at 2:02 AM

Hi Mavis,

I clear my list out regularly but then I am a “clean out” minimalist fanatic at the best of times. I don’t keep clothes, books or anything that I don’t actually use so I guess extending this to my list is just a part of who I am. cam very naturally.

More than anything it’s about being real and honest with yourself. Why delude yourself into thinking you have 10 000 active subscribers when in fact you only have 5000? When you are honest with yourself you open your own personal energy lines for more good to flow to you.

Thanks for bringing this to our attention.

~Marcus
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Mavis Nong July 12, 2011 at 10:29 AM

Great to hear that you regularly clean your list, Marcus.

It does help to be a minimalist, eh? I’m not sure why I didn’t extend this approach to my list sooner.

Agreed – there’s no point boasting about having thousands on your list, when only half of that is responsive!

Thanks for stopping by and for your input, Marcus.

All the best,
Mavis

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Michael Kellam July 14, 2011 at 6:02 PM

Mavis,

What do you use to link to the commenters website– the thing that says “Michael Kellam invites you to check out… URL”? It’s pretty cool!

Michael
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Mavis Nong July 15, 2011 at 12:06 PM

Absolutely cool, Michael!

I use and recommend a very good commenting system called CommentLuv… More about it here: http://www.attractionmarketingonline.com/blog-commenting-system-use/

All the best,
Mavis

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Alex July 16, 2011 at 7:37 AM

brilliant post and well explained!

I’ve been looking for the how to’s for the culling of my list for a while now – Thanks for writing such an indepth and helpful post Mavis! And thanks Ryan B for referring me to this article :)
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Mavis Nong July 18, 2011 at 10:00 AM

Thanks very much, Alex. Glad you found this helpful. Well done, Ryan B! :)

All the best,
Mavis

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Anjana from Online Casinos July 23, 2011 at 2:55 PM

This is really useful, specially the method to remove the ‘no opens’ and the best part is that it has be explained so clearly. The reason for the effectiveness of the article must be that it explains some hand on experience. Thanks a lot

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Mavis Nong July 29, 2011 at 12:08 AM

Glad to hear that, Anjana.

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Pedro Cardoso August 2, 2011 at 4:48 PM

While trimming down on stale subscribers is a sound idea, I think it’s a good idea backing up the subscribers list before trimming it down. Who knows? maybe it’ll be worth sending a special e-mail to check up on those stray subscribers, maybe once or twice each year?
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Mavis Nong August 2, 2011 at 8:05 PM

I don’t think so, Pedro. It’s their loss!

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Lisa August 31, 2011 at 9:56 AM

So, you have found Ana Hoffman’s post on “how to keep your list clean and healthy”, I’ve just found yours. I also use Aweber and the list I have costs me so much.. And, yeah, your post really helped me to “clean up” my list :)

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Mavis Nong September 5, 2011 at 2:41 PM

I’m glad you found my post, Lisa. Great to hear you have cleaned up your list :)

All the best,
Mavis

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Michael Kincannon September 12, 2012 at 8:07 PM

Great tips as always Mavis. Never thought to do something like this. Your articles are always helpful. Thanks for always providing so much value.
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Mavis Nong September 19, 2012 at 3:28 PM

My pleasure, Michael. Glad you find my content helpful :)

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