I thought it might be useful to others to know how I'm doing this.
Sidenote: For those that sent me valuable free bonuses to give away to my subscribers if they stick with me, can I just say a big THANK YOU! I'm going to use them all, but not as one big bonus pack... ... read on.
So, I had a list of 15,730 subscribers from an old ecourse that I used to run. The subscribers on that list are single opt-in and are between 2 years and 2 months old.
I imported the list to a holding autoresponder in, er, AutoResponse Plus. That autoresponder is set to require subscription confirmation (double opt-in). It has one message in it - an immediate message that will be sent out when the subscriber confirms their subscription (read on to find out how I do that).
Before contacting the list, the first thing I did was to de-duplicate the list. That brought the number down to 13,122. It's amazing the number of people that subscribe more than once. I always allow this, even though I could prevent it if I wanted.
I then sent a broadcast to the (unconfirmed) list telling them about my new newsletter called "Internet Marketer". The broadcast contains an confirmation link. It explains that they need to click the confirmation link or paste it into their browser to be subscribed to the newsletter and that they would receive a free bonus every day for the next couple of weeks simply for subscribing. I felt that was better than offering a one-off bonus pack because I can do so much more with those 15 or so emails that I'll be sending them with the bonus links.
This broadcast is being set out at around 900 per hour and with a 1 second delay between emails. I chose to do this, so that I could manage bounces and "please verify" requests in an orderly fashion. I can also pause the broadcast if I need to.
Anyone who clicks the "confirmation" link in the broadcast is flagged as having done so. My autoresponder then sends them an immediate "thank you" message from the "holding" autoresponder before automatically moving them into the main autoresponder for my newsletter. This autoresponder is the one that sends the daily bonuses and the one I'll use to email out my newsletter issues as broadcasts.
So, it remains to be seen how many people out there want to receive my words of wisdom.
I hope this helps others who are wondering how to clean up an old list or two.