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Email List Cleaning: Why Bother?

Spam complaints, Undeliverables, and Unsubscribes

Taking the time and effort necessary to keep your email list clean can seem like a waste.  After all, if people aren’t interested in your emails they can just ignore them, right?  Alas, there is a lot more to it than that, as a few bad apples that spammed their email messages to consumers unrelentingly have made both email platforms and consumers more sensitive than ever to unwanted emails.

As a result, sending emails to uninterested consumers can cause your emails to be marked as spam, hurting your sender reputation and potentially causing your email platform to penalize you or even ban you from sending emails.  Some things to keep in mind when it comes to making valid email addresses the main component of your list by keeping it clean of bad addresses are as follows.

Spam complaints, Undeliverables, and Unsubscribes

Email platforms will typically devise their threshold ratios for determining sender reputation around formulas relating to spam complaints, undelivered emails (typically caused by bad or nonexistent addresses), and unsubscribes.  If your score in these metrics breaches the threshold, you may be fined or have your ability to send emails blocked.  As a result, keeping your lists as clean as possible makes good business sense, both from the perspective of ROI and of avoiding the penalties that can come with a bad sender reputation.

Cleaning Up Your List

While your email platform will generally provide you with reports allowing you to monitor your bounceback rates and identify bad domains and undeliverable addresses, its up to you to scrub these bad addresses from your list.  You can also use software programs that allow you to check email address by domain to make sure they are valid, as well as helping to identify duplicate addresses on your list.

Lead Acquisition Policies

Be cautious when purchasing email lists, as these may be full of bad addresses that will reflect poorly on your sender reputation.  If at all possible, try to generate leads through methods you control, such as contests, visits to your website, or the like.  If you do purchase lists, you should check them for bad domains prior to using them to reduce the potential for bouncebacks.

Monitor Inactives

Inactive leads can turn into bad addresses or result in spam complaints if not attended to.  To deal with leads that have not responded to your emails for set amount of time, say, 6 months or a year, you may want to attempt to re-engage these leads with a targeted campaign, perhaps by asking that they verify email address to remain on your list.  If you don’t hear back from them you can remove them from the list.

How to Manage an Email Marketing List

How to Manage an Email Marketing List

Email marketing is about more than just acquiring email addresses, including an opt-out and unsubscribe process and sending email campaigns to your subscribers. In order for an email marketing list to become and remain successful, and produce results, it must be properly maintained. If you are new to email marketing you are probably wondering how one can effectively clean up an email list. Rest assured that maintaining a clean email list isn’t difficult. In fact, email hygiene is probably far easier than you imagine.  

Get Rid of Bad Email Addresses and Manage Bounces

Sure all marketers do their best to ensure that their email list doesn’t contain any bad email addresses; however, that doesn’t prevent their list from getting them. Bad email addresses creep into email lists because eventually some email addresses will go “bad” over time. This happens for a number of reasons:

·         Subscribers may change jobs thereby no longer using their initial company email address

·         An email account becomes abandoned

·         Subscribers closing their email accounts

·         There email inbox becomes full and is no longer accepting new messages

Of course the marketer has no control of the afore-mentioned.

Sending messages to these email accounts will only result in the email being registered as a bounced email which in turn negatively affects your sender reputation. Avoid this by periodically going through your email list and deleting “bad” email addresses. A good way to do this is to set a “bounce threshold” where once an email bounces a certain number of times, it gets deleted. Bad email addresses can be identified for removal by using email address validation software.

Get Rid of Inactive or Non-Engaged Subscribers

If your email list contains people who are inactive or non-engaged then remove them. Some marketers like to keep these people on their list because the cost of sending them marketing campaign after marketing campaign is zero; however, the benefit of having them on your mailing list is also zero. They do not add to your bottom line. There is literally no benefit in saying that you have a list of 10,000 people if less than 50% of them are engaged.

If you do not wish to remove them as yet you can put them in a category called “low activity” users and send them a special email in order to see what would get them to become engaged. However, merely treating them the same as your other users will not add value to your operations.

Remember that as a marketer one of your most valuable tools is your email list and no marketer needs an email list that is non-engaging and one that could ruin their reputation. Make every effort to practice email list cleaning.