Managing an Email Subscriber List

Most email marketing efforts are all about the numbers, which is why plenty of marketers avoid removing any email addresses from their subscriber lists. However, before a company even gets to the point of removing emails from an email list, it should have an established list of email subscribers in the first place. People can sign up for an email subscription in exchange for a lead magnet. That lead magnet can be a discount or something else that is beneficial for them, such as a resource. Once people start signing up for an email subscription, it’s time to manage that list and eventually, to remove some of those emails.

When it comes to cleaning up an email list, the business will have to remove any inaccurate or inactive emails from the database. For example, the business can remove anyone that hasn’t engaged with an email in the past 3 months. This also allows the business to remove all of the people that have decided to unsubscribe from the newsletter.

If a business doesn’t maintain an email list regularly, that list is going to become bloated and ineffective. The goal of any email marketing campaign is to get emails into the inbox of the target audience. Additionally, cleaning up an email list can reduce a company’s marketing cost while increasing its ROI. Most of the time, email service providers tend to charge businesses based on the size of their database. If a company has 10,000 people in its email list but only 4000 of them actually interact with those emails, cutting down the list makes sense from a cost-benefit perspective.

Low Open Rates

One of the signs that a company should be managing its email list better is if the open rates of its emails are very low. That means the first step in figuring out if it’s time to remove some email addresses is to track the email open rates. If the rates are low, it means the subscribers don’t want to read the emails. This could be because they’ve chosen a competitor, already made a purchase, or simply because they no longer need the product or service the company is offering. 


Another sign to clean an email list is if the company’s email click-through rates (CTR) are also low. The click-through rate is  the percentage of recipients who click on the call to action (CTA) inside of the email after they open it. Generally, the CTR is going to be lower than the email open rate. However, if it’s significantly lower , it’s time to work on improving engagement with the readers and cleaning up the list.

Bounce Rates

Finally, if many people are complaining about constantly receiving irrelevant emails from a business, they’ll end up marking those emails as spam. That’s one of the worst things that can happen for a company’s email newsletter. Similar things can happen when an email comes back as undelivered because of a problem with the email address. Both of these cases are  signs that the email list needs to be cleaned up.

Ronn Torossian is CEO of 5WPR, a leading PR agency.

Ronn Torossian

Ronn Torossian is the Founder and Chairman of 5WPR, one of the largest independently-owned PR firms in the United States. With over 25 years of experience crafting and executing powerful narratives, Torossian is one of America’s most prolific and well-respected Public Relations professionals. Since founding 5WPR in 2003, he has led the company’s growth, overseeing more than 275 professionals. With clients spanning corporate, technology, consumer and crisis, in addition to digital marketing and public affairs capabilities, 5WPR is regularly recognized as an industry leader and has been named “PR Agency of the Year” by the American Business Awards on multiple occasions. Throughout his career, Torossian has worked with some of the world’s most visible companies, brands and organizations. His strategic, resourceful approach has been recognized with numerous awards including being named the Stevie American Business Awards 2020 Entrepreneur of the Year, the American Business Awards PR Executive of the Year, twice over, an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year semi-finalist, Metropolitan Magazine’s Most Influential New Yorker, a 2020 Top Crisis Communications Professional by Business Insider, and a recipient of Crain’s New York 2021 Most Notable in Marketing & PR. Torossian is known as one of the country’s foremost experts on crisis communications, and is called on to counsel blue chip companies, top business executives and entrepreneurs both in the United States and worldwide. Torossian has lectured on crisis PR at Harvard Business School, appears regularly on CNN & CNBC, is a contributing columnist for Forbes and the New York Observer, and has authored two editions of his book, “For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results With Game-Changing Public Relations,” which is an industry best-seller. A NYC native, Torossian is a member of Young Presidents Organization (YPO), and active in numerous charities.

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