A recent change to Mailchimp means that even when someone unsubscribes from your list, you can still end up paying for them. Here’s how to avoid paying for unsubscribed contacts in Mailchimp…
Mailchimp is one of the most popular email marketing platforms and it’s easy to see why – they offer the opportunity to build a list of up to 2000 subscribers for free.
However, Mailchimp* has been growing as a business and adapting to be much more than just an email marketing platform. Mailchimp now sees itself as a one-stop marketing platform offering ad retargeting, social posting and multi-channel campaigns, as well as offering email marketing.
For many larger businesses, this is a good thing – Mailchimp are now offering more services and opportunities to market their business.
However, for most bloggers (not to mention all sorts of small community groups who use Mailchimp to contact their members), this is not a good change for two key reasons. Firstly, for those with a list bigger than 2000 subscribers, Mailchimp have put up their prices and reduced the services available at lower price points. But secondly, Mailchimp have started to count unsubscribers as well as subscribers in the total number of contacts (or ‘audience’ as Mailchimp calls it). This means if you have over 2000 contacts, but fewer than 2000 current subscribers (because some of those contacts have unsubscribed), you still have to pay!
Why are MailChimp charging for unsubscribed contacts?
It sounds completely crazy, doesn’t it? Why would Mailchimp charge you for contacts who have unsubscribed? Well, the thing is, as I mentioned above, Mailchimp now sees itself as much more than an email marketing platform. And, whilst people may have unsubscribed from your mailing list, Mailchimp (and quite probably many large businesses) still see these unsubscribed contacts as valuable assets. You may not be able to email them any more, but you could still target them in an advert for example.
This may be of great use to certain businesses, but it is of very little use if you are not interested in retargeting unsubscribed contacts with ads (and in fact, given GDPR rules, I’m not 100% sure on the legality of this in Europe, but that’s a conversation for another day…)
So, assuming you are not interested in collecting a list of unsubscribers for retargeting by other means, how do you avoid paying for unsubscribed contacts in Mailchimp?
How to avoid paying for unsubscribed contacts in Mailchimp
Actually, it’s very easy! All you need to do is go into your Mailchimp account and click on AUDIENCE. From there go to VIEW CONTACTS and you will see a page that looks a bit like this one.
Click the column heading EMAIL MARKETING twice and all the unsubscribed contacts will be listed at the top.
Now click the check box next to the unsubscribed contacts and click the ACTIONS drop-down menu that will appear. Select REMOVE CONTACTS.
You will get a box appear which asks you to select ARCHIVE or PERMANENTLY DELETE. Select ARCHIVE and then cick CONFIRM.
And that’s it. Now go back to your main audience page (click AUDIENCE at the top of the page) and you should now see that your total contacts matches the total number of subscribers.
This means if you pay for your Mailchimp subscription, you will not be paying for unsubscribed contacts. And, if you still have fewer than 2000 subscribers, you will not have to pay anything at all!
Go one better – avoid paying for inactive subscribers in Mailchimp
Of course, not all subscribers are equal. You may have people on your list who are still technically subscribers, but who never actually open your emails (or may never even see them as your emails always land in their junk folder). So, although Mailchimp technically sees these contacts as subscribers, they are of no more value than an unsubscribed contact.
So how do you get rid of these inactive subscribers and avoid paying for them? The simple answer is to clean your email list. This involves identifying subscribers who have been on your list for a while now (perhaps 3 months), but haven’t opened an email from you in a long time (say, 6 months).
You can do this very easily by creating a segment in Mailchimp, setting parameters for how long a subscriber has been on your list and how long it has been since they opened an email from you. Once you have created this segment, you can simply delete all the contacts on it.
Not only will this mean you will now no longer be paying for inactive subscribers, it also means your open rates and click rates will be better, which in turn will improve your deliverability rates.
For a full tutorial on how to clean out your inactive Mailchimp subscribers, read >>> Why you should clean your email list (and how to do it!)
Go one better – change email marketing provider
Of course, you may decide that you really don’t want to continue using Mailchimp as its focus is clearly not on bloggers… (and who knows what kind of other negative changes there might be down the road!)
My best advice would be to go for an email marketing provider whose focus is very much on bloggers. The only email marketing service I have come across, where they truly focus on bloggers is ConvertKit*.
ConvertKit is good, not only because they focus on providing what bloggers need, but also because it is easier to use, easier to automate, will help you grow your list faster, will help you earn more money from your list and a whole host of other reasons.
Admittedly, Convertkit is not free for the first 2000 subscribers, like Mailchimp is, but what they offer is a much better service – much more focused on the needs of bloggers, not large businesses. And best of all, they offer a free trial. So you can take them for a test drive and see what you think!
Sign up here for your free ConvertKit Trial*
Want to know more about Convertkit? Check out these posts:
- A beginner’s guide to ConvertKit
- How to set up and automated email with ConvertKit
- ConvertKit vs MailChimp – which is best for your blog?
Want to know more about email marketing?
If you’ve enjoyed this post you may like to read more about email marketing. Here are some of my most popular posts on this topic…
- How to get started with email marketing and get your first subscribers
- How to grow your email list with a free opt-in offer
- What to put in your email newsletter – 11 ideas to really connect with your subscribers
Don’t miss a thing!
Pin this post to read later
*This blog post contains affiliate links, this means if you click on a link and go on to buy the product I recommend, I will get a small commission, but you will not be charged a penny more – thanks in advance!