How to prune your list: 3 simple steps to help you send a re-engagement campaign

When it comes to list building efforts the more people you get, the better – so long as they’re within your target market.

But after a while as those people get exposed to you, one of two things will happen.

  1. They’ll continue to engage at a greater rate

  2. Their engagement will drop off consistently until nothing.

With a larger list this means that your conversion rates are going to steadily drop lower, and with a smaller list, this plateau of engagement can be devastating.

So what’s there to do?

The answer is simple, List Prune.

“But purposely DELETING people off your list, that’s crazy!”

Actually, this is where a lot of people get held up, but the benefits will WELL outweigh the pain and heartache you’ll feel while hitting delete.

With a well executed List Pruning Campaign you’re giving your subscribers another opportunity to decide to stay on your list, or to mark themselves as uninterested.

In the process, you get more engagement by narrowing in on just the people who are eager to hear from you. And your conversion rates grow, because there is less ‘dead weight’ dragging down your numbers.

If it’s time for you to do a List Prune Campaign, here are 3 simple steps:

Step #1 - Separate the engaged from the not so engaged

When you’re looking through your list to decide who is engaged and who is not, you’ll want to consider a few different factors, like:

  • How long have the been on your list? Is this their normal behavior because they don’t know you yet or is this them honestly being done with what you have to send out?

  • How often do you mail to your subscribers? Is it once a month, where they maybe have missed a few months in a row, but that’s not really saying anything. Or is it a few times a week, and they haven’t opened anything?

  • How long have they been missing emails? A good rule of thumb is if people haven’t opened your email in 3 months (keeping in mind how often you send...) they’re uninterested.

Tag all your less-than-interested subscribers accordingly.

Step #2: "Baby, Come Back”

The next step is to create a short email or sequence to help re-engage your subscribers. I like to call these emails the "Baby, Come Back” campaigns, and they can be anywhere from 1-3 emails.

Here are a few examples of  "Baby, Come Back” emails:

Natalie Ledwell, Mind Movies Email #1


Natalie Ledwell, Mind Movies Email # 2


Natalie Ledwell, Mind Movies Email #3

Nikki Elledge Brown


Social Fresh

Step #3: Hit DELETE

Depending on how you write your email, you can tag people who raise their hand to show their lack of interest, or who simply don’t open or take an action. Whichever you choose, the next step is to tag them as “to be deleted.”

After that, there’s nothing left but the crying, getting brave, and hitting that button to remove people off your list once and for all.


Removing anyone who is no longer interested in receiving what you’re sending is scary, but given enough time the rewards will be well worth it as you watch your open rates, send rates, and click rates get a heck of a lot stronger. Promise.