If you are rigorous in your acquisition policies by using double opt-in procedures your email marketing lists should be relatively free of spamtraps – those emails that can get your email service provider (ESP) placed on the blacklist and your company banned for sending spam emails. However, if you don’t have a policy to clean bad/inactive emails from your lists, over time valid email addresses initially added to your list can become spamtraps even if the contacts initially opted-in to the list. Some suggestions for removing these emails follow.
Proper List Acquisition Procedures
In the first place, make sure you don’t add emails to your list that have bad domains or haven’t gone through the double opt-in procedure. Also, be cautious when purchasing lists unless you know exactly how the leads on the list were acquired. Utilize email hygiene software when possible to help with the process of verifying your list and scrubbing it of bad addresses.
To remove those spamtraps that have made it through your lead acquisition process, first segment your list by activity. For instance, note the leads which have opted-in or clicked on a link recently, say in the past month or so, and put them in one segment. Then make another segment of those leads on your list that have been active in the past 3 to 6 months or so. Once you get past a certain threshold, usually anywhere from 3 to 9 months, make another list and categorize the contacts on the list as inactive.
The inactive and less active leads can then be targeted by a re-engagement campaign, with the inactives who fail to respond being removed from your list. Performing this type of list cleaning routine will remove any spamtraps you might have acquired along the way, without the necessity of positively identifying them as spamtraps.
You can also split your list into portions, say ½ or 1/3, and then send emails to each list separately and check your bounce rates and blacklist results to see in which portion of your list the spamtrap fell, and then focus your cleaning efforts on the contacts on that portion of the list. If a positive result is achieved in more than one portion you can split those portions in turn and perform the same procedure again until your list is clean. Email list scrubbing services can be helpful in this process by searching pre-existing lists of bad email addresses as well as checking for domain misspellings and other such errors.