No matter how engaging your content is, some Subscribers will always lose interest over time. 

That's okay! It's not about having the biggest list, but instead the most engaged list. You can prune cold subscribers from your list after they haven't engaged for a while.

We define cold subscribers as any subscriber who hasn’t opened or clicked an email in the last 90 days. For subscribers who have been active for fewer than 90 days, we define cold subscribers as anyone who hasn't opened or clicked an email in 30 days.

For example: if someone signs up, confirms, and never engages in a single email (opens or clicks) in the first 30 days after being confirmed, they will be classified as a cold subscriber. If they do engage with even at least one email at all, the minimum requirement of being listed as a cold subscriber now bumps to 90 days since the last engagement.

Currently, the cold subscriber criteria cannot be adjusted.

Keep in mind that, because of how open rates are calculated (based on displaying images or clicking a link), someone could have read your email without triggering an open. We'll account for that later.

Please note, at the bottom of this article is a Cold Subscriber Automation you can copy to your account. You can jump to that section if you'd like! But it's also very beneficial to read this whole article.

Let's jump in.

1. Select all your cold subscribers

Go to your Subscribers page and use the Subscribers dropdown to select only Cold Subscribers.

Then use the checkbox at the top to select all of them. Then click the "Select all Subscribers" text link.

2. Tag all your Subscribers

You could delete all of these Subscribers, but chances are there are people in here that are falsely tagged as being cold. That's because all email marketing providers determine opens based on whether or not a 1px transparent image was loaded in an email. 

If someone has been reading all of your emails, but has images disabled, they will show up as cold—even though they aren't.

It's fine, we're fine. 

Add them to a new Tag that you create called "Cold subscribers" (you do have to create this Tag before selecting it). You can do that by selecting "Tag" from the actions bar at the top of the Subscriber page.

Once everyone is Tagged, (this can take a little while to finish), move on to the next step.

3. Create an Automation Rule

Go to the Automations tab, click into Rules in the upper-right, then Create a New Rule. The Trigger should be 'clicks a link', and the Action should be to remove the Cold Subscribers Tag. Here's an example:

You'll need to create a page on your site that people will go to after they click the link. It could just say "Cool! You're still on the list." This just solidifies that their click worked, and they're done! 

4. Send a breakup Broadcast to the Cold Subscribers

Next you want to send a Broadcast to all of your Cold Subscribers to give them a final chance to stay on the list before you delete them. The Broadcast can be simple. Just say something like:

Hey there,

I want to make sure that I'm only sending emails to my readers who are getting a lot of value from them. So I'm removing everyone who isn't engaged from my list. My stats show that you fall into that category... Is that true?

If so, no action is required. You'll get removed sometime next week. 

But if you're freaking out right now thinking, "Wait! I love your emails!",  then just click the link below to stay on my list.

[ Link ]


(Make sure that you make that link use the Link Trigger automation that you setup in the previous step.)

Select your Cold Subscribers as the group to send to, and hit Send!

5. Delete everyone who doesn't click

Plenty of people will click that link to say that they're engaged! Now that you've set up the Automation, they'll automatically be removed from the Cold Subscribers Tag. (Wait about a week, to give people time to do this.) 

Once you've waited, bulk select all the Subscribers in your Cold Subscribers Tag and delete them all.

NOTE: You can now unsubscribe subscribers from directly within your automations, if you prefer! For more information, check out our actions tutorials here.

Now your open rates will be higher!

NOTE: This is an advanced feature, so if you don't feel comfortable with the process, then don't do it. We wouldn't want you to do something you regret!

6. Contact us if you qualify for a plan downgrade

If the amount of subscribers you deleted is enough to downgrade your plan, reach out to us and let us know so we can take care of that for you! (Plan downgrades are not automatic at this time.)

NOTE: If you're not sure whether you qualify for a downgrade, you can review our plan tiers on our pricing page.

SHORTCUT: Copy our Cold Subscriber Re-engagement Workflow

You can even copy our cold subscriber automation workflow to your account with just a click!

A few notes if you copy the workflow...

  1. There are a few notes of help text in the Sequences. DELETE THEM. 😬

  2. Add in your own topic, goals, and name to the Sequence emails.

  3. Replace the links with your own Link Triggers. You can use the Tags that will be added to your account from the workflow. Here's how to create a Link Trigger.

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