One Painful Thing You Have to Do Regularly to Run a Successful Newsletter

Photo by Gaspar Uhas on Unsplash

Stop chasing worthless numbers

Are you regularly sending a newsletter to your biggest fans? Good.

Email marketing presents one of the most powerful marketing strategies, and its importance won’t decline anytime soon.

Hence, building a newsletter from the moment you start creating content online is a savvy step that can save you a lot of headaches later — but only if you do it correctly.

I somehow neglected the importance of having a newsletter when I started writing online in 2019, and I came up with the first one in 2020.

After creating a lead magnet and including CTAs at the end of my posts, the first people started showing up. Within six months, I gathered more than 500 subscribers.

Felt great, but I’ve noticed that my open rate started to decrease alongside my CTR (click-through rate).

Yet, I didn’t pay much attention and considered it a natural part of email marketing — until I got a question from a marketing agency owner I’ve been writing for.

During an informal conversation about e-commerce, we started talking about newsletters, and I proudly announced that I had one with over 500 subscribers. When I mentioned my concerns about the low opening rate, he asked,

“Are you regularly removing subscribers from your list?”

Back then, I thought he was crazy. Who would be willingly removing precious subscribers, the ones who signed up to hear from you anytime?

Despite my initial shock, I said, “no but Ill have a look at it.”

So I did. And I found a lot of evidence proving the power of the regular removal of inactive subscribers.

With a heavy heart, I decided to remove from my list almost 80 people who didn’t open my emails.

A bit later, I sent out a new newsletter and waited a few days to get the most relevant data. At the end of the week, I checked what happened with my refreshed list:

My open rate increased by 16%, and my CTR went from 5.69% to 14.58%.

The initial pain of reducing the number of subscribers was immediately gone. I realized that having fewer fans genuinely interested in my content is a way smarter move than mindlessly chasing big numbers that don’t reflect the real value.

You might be asking, what’s the point of having a higher CTR and open rate?

“I have 2,000 subscribers” sounds cooler than “I have 800 subscribers but a high open rate.”

In terms of numbers, yes, having tons of subscribers gives you a sense of authority. In terms of money, no.

Here’s why.

Inactive subscribers cost you a lot of money

The more subscribers you have, the more you have to pay your newsletter provider. If you can convert these subscribers into buyers, paying for them makes sense.

But if you’re keeping inactive subscribers who don’t even open your emails, you’re literally throwing money out of the window.

Inactive subscribers on your list give you irrelevant data

Data is the most precious asset for every content creator.

They’re giving you insights into what works and what doesn’t, what type of content convert better, or what people want to hear from you the most.

Inactive users are distorting your data, giving you false information about your content & newsletter performance.

Inactive subscribers send your emails to the spam folders of active subscribers

Marketer Neil Patel explains that providers like Gmail or Outlook can start sending your emails to the spam folder of people who are de facto interested in your newsletter.


Because if many people don’t open your emails, the email providers conclude your content isn’t useful for the user. Based on this, your newsletter can end up in the spam folder of those who read it regularly.


Although a high number of subscribers can give you a lot of confidence and authority in your CTAs (“Join over 5,000 subscribers already benefiting from my newsletter”), unless they’re active, it’s just a worthless figure.

Therefore, it’s crucial to overcome the initial pain of losing subscribers and clean your list regularly. While some marketers recommend scrubbing your email list of inactive members at least once in six months, you can do it more frequently. (I usually do it once a month.)

If you fail to do, you’ll end up paying for people who don’t care about you. Plus, you’ll lose an opportunity to gather relevant data.