How to clean your list

Deliverability Podcasts

From likes to follows to subscribers, when everything feels like a numbers game, the idea of actively deleting your subscribers can feel counterintuitive and downright terrifying.

But there’s power in deleting people from your list who aren’t opening or engaging any longer.

List cleaning saves you money and saves your reputation, a gift to yourself and the subscribers who matter. Well, at least the subscribers opening your emails.

But how exactly do you clean your list? Is the best list cleaning strategy the same for everyone? What really defines an unengaged subscriber?

Depending on your niche, your followers, and your current deliverability health, the steps may differ. Nevertheless, one thing will always remain the same – list cleaning is an essential step for every creator, regardless of your audience size and regardless of your email strategy.

In this episode, Alyssa and Melissa discuss why list cleaning matters, tips for a top-notch re-engagement campaign, why less is more when it comes to opt-in confirmation emails, and knowing when to pull the plug and part ways with the people on your list.

clean email list

Key Takeaways

  • [02:12] – List cleaning is so important because unengaged senders will damage your sender reputation by sending negative signals to inbox providers. That damaged deliverability can ultimately prevent engaged subscribers from seeing your emails.
  • [04:13] – A re-engagement series ending with an opt-in confirmation email is a great list cleaning strategy for a sender who isn’t struggling with deliverability issues.
  • [05:55] – If you are struggling with deliverability issues, sending a single opt-in confirmation email or simply deleting unengaged subscribers from your list are better options.
  • [09:31] – For the best results, send 1-3 re-engagement attempts and make sure those emails contain your best high-value content.
  • [12:27] – Strong opt-in confirmation emails are straight to the point with a clear action item. Fluff is unnecessary and distracting.
  • [18:14] – Senders should run re-engagement campaigns every 3-6 months. Avoid going more than 6 months without cleaning your list.
  • [20:24] – Unengaged subscribers are defined as subscribers who haven’t opened an email in 90 days or have been on your list for 30 days and haven't opened anything. You should always consider removing subscribers who haven’t engaged in six months.


[03:23] – “This is the reason why we have this episode, why it’s so important to regularly clean your list of unengaged subscribers because if you let them sit there on your list, they’re going to start damaging your reputation and causing your messages to land in the spam folder.” ~ @alyssa_dulin

[07:43] – “A lot of senders don’t love to watch their numbers go down, especially when there’s a few thousand sometimes cold subscribers that need to be deleted, but you’re paying for those subscribers. And if there’s no interaction, if there’s no engagement, it’s probably not worth paying for those subscribers.” ~ @mel_lambert_

[08:13] – “You have to look at the big picture and recognize that, even though it’s hard to cut ties with people, they can always come back. Just because you delete them off your list because they’re not engaging, doesn’t mean that they don’t have the opportunity to come back some day if they really want to.” ~ @mel_lambert_


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Alyssa Dulin

Alyssa is a Deliverability Lead located in Nashville, TN. She loves helping senders reach the inbox of their subscribers. Outside of work, Alyssa enjoys traveling, indoor cycling, and spending time with family.

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