Email bounce rates average between 0.40% and 0.58% across all industries.

Some email addresses become invalid overnight and you get a hard bounce.

Some catch-all emails can be full and your email service provider will notify you of a soft bounce.

Although these seem unharmful, in a blink of an eye, your bounce rate can jump to 2%.

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This risks your sender reputation and affects your email deliverability.

You don’t need a new email marketing strategy, you just need a good email list scrubbing.

And to avoid all this pain, you have to clean your email address lists regularly.

But how do you know when your email list needs a scrub?

In this article, we explain the five signs you need to scrub your email list.

Keep on reading!

What is email list scrubbing?

Scrub Your Email List

                                                         Scrub Your Email List

Scrubbing your email list means running it through an email verifier to remove inactive and invalid email addresses.

These invalid, abandoned, catch-all, or inactive subscribers make you land in a spam folder rather than the inbox.

Even worse, poor email hygiene can get you blacklisted, which means your emails will not be delivered at all.

Cleaning your email addresses lists, thanks to email verification tools, can take only minutes and bring you tangible benefits: a better sending reputation, higher open rates, more traffic to your landing pages, and more conversions.

How to scrub your email list?

Scrub Your Email List

                                                      Scrub Your Email List

1. Segment Your List Into Active And Inactive subscribers:

Divide your list into two parts:

People who have opened an email from you in the last 90 days.

People who haven’t.

Anyone who hasn’t opened an email from you in the last 90 days is considered a “cold” subscriber.

Segmenting your list is usually pretty easy with most ESPs like Emailinspector.

After a few minutes, you’ll get an email with the exported list attached. Save the spreadsheet, then you are ready for the following step.


2. Put Inactive Emails Through A-List Cleaning Tool:

Run your inactive subscribers list through an email list cleaning tool like Emailinspector.

Emailinspector filters out misspelled, invalid, and spam trap emails. Once you scan your list, you’ll get a report of which emails are deliverable and which are invalid.


3. Send A Re-Engagement Campaign To “Deliverable” Inactive Subscribers:

Take your freshly scrubbed lists of valid email addresses and segment them into a separate list in your ESP.

Import the CSV file to this new group.

Send a re-engagement campaign to these people to either clean them from our list permanently or get them back as active subscribers.


4. Remove Final Inactive Subscribers From Your List (But Save Them):

Stop sending emails to anyone who didn’t respond to the re-engagement campaign.

Save your inactive subscribers in a spreadsheet or notepad file. You can use this list to send them retargeting ads for your content.

For example, you can upload your email list to Facebook or Google Ads and display your new content or new product/service offerings to try to re-engage them in a way that isn’t a direct email.


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5. Manually Remove Any Canned-Response Email Subscribers (Optional):

Remove any email subscribers who reply with canned-response emails. This step is extremely time-consuming, so it may not be worth your time.

Doing it is fairly simple. Just go to your reply-to inbox and look for any replies that sound robotic or automated.

Things like “AutoReply,” “Thanks for your message!” or anything that simply doesn’t make sense. You’ll know it when you see it. Once you do see it, remove those emails from your list and you’re done!


Scrubbing your email list in bulk

Scrub Your Email List

                                              Scrub Your Email List

1. Start by validating it entirely and get rid of bad email addresses first.

2. Once you’ve found a good email verification service, upload your list on the platform. With Emailinspector, it takes about 45 minutes to prune a list of 100,000 addresses. If our email lists are larger, they might take longer, maybe a few hours.

3. Then, download your results and you’re all set!

Cleaning your list is even easier with Emailinspector as it has an email service provider (ESP) integration.

All you have to do is import it, let the system validate it, then export it back into your ESP.

Using a real-time email scrubbing API

You can’t keep your email list clean for long.

One of the best ways to keep your email list clean is to add an API to your signup and registration forms.

The API detects inactive email addresses, like the bulk email verifier, but instead of removing them all at once, it rejects them as they’re trying to sign up.

The API is a real-time email validation method.

You can get an API from email verification services as they will provide you with an API key. API is a piece of code you’ll copy and paste onto your website.

As soon as you install it, the API will start verifying every new subscriber’s email address instantly, for accuracy and safety.

Email Scrubbing: Warning Signs

To decide when it’s time to clean your email list, trust the first warning signs in your email marketing statistics:

  • Reduced open rate
  • Reduced click-through rate
  • More unsubscribes
  • More spam complaints

These warning signs are red flags for you to deep clean your email list. If your subscribers aren’t opening and clicking, they aren’t converting. That means you’re missing out on leads, sales, and revenue.

– Open and Click Rate:

The first key warning signs are open and click rate for your email marketing campaigns. Focus on the last few email campaigns. If you notice a pattern of declining open and click rates, you’ve got a problem.

– Unsubscribe and Spam Complaints:

Dig down into individual campaigns, and look at the unsubscribe and spam complaint rate. If more subscribers than usual are unsubscribing or reporting your emails as spam, then it’s another sign that an email list cleanup is due.

– Email Marketing Practices:

Take a deep look into email marketing benchmarks for your industry and compare them to your email lists.  This will give you the chance to compare your open and click rates and improve your email marketing practices.

Benefits of Email Scrubbing

Email scrubbing can help turn your email marketing campaign around. Cleaning your email list means you will be sending emails only to those who are interested.

– Better Open and Click Rates:

The total number of emails sent is directly influencing your open and click rates. Even if the same people as before are opening your emails, they’ll now be a bigger percentage of the total emails sent. And that improves your open and click rate percentages.

– Fewer Spam Complaints:

Cleaning your email list also reduces the number of spam complaints. If some subscribers don’t remember signing up, even if they actually did, there is a huge chance they will send your emails to the spam folder.

-Better Sender Reputation:

Email service providers will automatically start to mark all your emails as spam, which will significantly reduce your conversions, leads, and sales from your email list.

Email scrubbing helps by cutting down on spam complaints. Fewer spam complaints mean a better sender reputation. This means more of your emails will reach subscribers’ inboxes.

-Fewer Bounces: Emails bounces mean they never reach the intended recipient. Sometimes that’s because of full inboxes, changed email addresses, or a technical error.

Which Email Lists Should You Scrub?

You should scrub all your email lists. No exceptions. Here are a few tips to help you.

Tip 1: Start with your most active email lists because active lists drive conversions, leads, and sales.

Tip 2: Pay attention to older lists, too, because inactive subscribers are of no use for you. It doesn’t matter if your email list is relatively new, there’s no point in emailing people who aren’t interested.

Tip 3: You should clean your list regularly, at least a couple of times a year.

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