The Importance of Cleaning Your Email List

The Importance of Cleaning Your Email List

Maintaining a clean email list is often overlooked but important.  After you’ve setup your email marketing with a list of addresses and a smooth unsubscribe and opt-out process, make sure you’re maintaining your email marketing. One of the most important steps to keep your email marketing strong is keeping your email list clean. You don’t need to waste your resources or injure your email reputation by sending to addresses that aren’t giving you an ROI!

Let’s take a closer look at the importance of cleaning your email list.

Managing Bounces

Even the best email lists will lose some quality over time, no matter how much you monitor them. Bad addresses can end up on your list because users close their email accounts, or they switch jobs. Sometimes email accounts are abandoned or fill up so they can’t accept messages.

Emails sent to these addresses register as “bounces.” Bounces have a negative impact on your sender reputation. The more bounces you get, the more likely your emails will be filtered out as spam. Spammers don’t usually clean their email lists, which is why email service providers monitor bounces as part of determining what spam is. This is one of the most important reasons to keep your email list clean. You don’t want your emails to be marked as spam!

The best practice for determining which addresses are bad is to set a threshold for the number of bounces each email address registers. You shouldn’t remove an address after just one bounce. The user might have been away on vacation, and his email filled up, or maybe his server was experiencing technical difficulties. A good threshold number for bounces is three to five.  Beyond that many bounces to one address, it’s best to clean your list of that address to maintain a good email reputation.

Inactive Users

There isn’t any extra cost for sending emails to users who don’t open them, but there is a good reason to clean the inactive users on your list. Many email service providers also monitor email activity. If emails aren’t opened over a long period of time, future emails might end up in the spam folder.

It takes a judgment call to determine who your “inactive users” might be. Because there isn’t any way of knowing what email providers consider “low activity.”

A good way to test the waters is to email the inactive email accounts and ask them if they’re interested in getting emails from you. If the user remains inactive, hang on to their address and put it on a secondary list. Email this list occasionally.
Remind your subscribers that the best way to make sure your emails land in their inboxes is to add your email address to their contacts.

Quality Counts

Maintaining a clean email list is important for keeping a good sender reputation with email providers. It takes a bit of an effort to keep an email list clean, but it’s a good way to boost the ROI of your email marketing.

How about yours?  When was the last time you cleaned your email list?