If you can’t remember the last time you cleaned your email list, I have bad news for you.

You’re likely wasting time, effort, and money from your email marketing campaign sending emails to people who aren’t interested in your business.

Email lists decline by 20–30% every year. Up to one-third of your subscribers will never open your emails, much less click on your call to action. So, what’s the point in sending them emails?

That’s why you need to clean your email addresses list regularly.

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No wonder your emails are stuck in the spam complaints and you’re two steps away from being blacklisted by email service providers.

Email list cleaning is removing invalid email addresses from your email list, that’s why doing a routine clean-up can be beneficial to your company’s data reports and conversion rates.

This way, you make sure that your sent emails will be delivered and opened.

You also protect your sender’s reputation.

This email list hygiene is an essential part of targeting your email marketing campaigns, so you should do email list cleanups on a regular basis.

In this article, we will cover why email list hygiene is important and the email list cleaning best practices.

Keep on reading!

Why Is Email List Hygiene Important?

Email list hygiene is important because it impacts your email marketing campaign’s engagement, email deliverability and increases open rates.

If the number of emails that make their way into your contacts’ inboxes is less than the ones in the spam folder, you should be concerned.

The way ISPs (Internet Service Providers) learn is from your statistics.

ISPs take a look at your open rates and try to gauge from there how interested your contacts are in the content you’re sending them. If your open rates are low, this tells the ISP that your contacts aren’t interested.

You need to clean your email list to ensure that the ISP doesn’t take a look at your low open rates and send your emails straight to the spam complaints.

If this happens, your open rates will decrease, even more, fewer people will be reading your emails, and the ISP will continue to mark it as spam.

By cleaning your email list, you’re ensuring your open rates, which is the ratio between emails sent and emails opened, are better.

Now, this won’t affect the total number of contacts that read your email; if 4 out of 100 open your email, the number will remain the same if 4 out of 50 contacts read it.

The potential ROI from this email marketing campaign might remain the same, but email list cleaning will affect your reputation with the ISP. And this is key.

You don’t want a bad sender reputation. The worse your reputation is with an ISP, the more often your mail will end up in spam.

Then, because your emails are ending up in spam traps instead of the inbox, the number of contacts reading your email will be reduced, along with your ROI and engagement.

Email list cleaning is what’s going to help you avoid this.

If you put your time and focus on the email addresses that never interact, you can build better relationships with your active customers.

Focusing on the email addresses that open your emails lets you create content that suits their needs and interests, which can lead to better conversion rates.

5 Best Email List Cleaning Practices

A clean list improves your overall email marketing campaign performance. Here are 5 best email list cleaning practices:

1. Plan Your List Cleaning Process

Cleaning up your email lists is mandatory. No matter how big your list, cleaning your email addresses list is an ongoing process that requires time and effort.

As your email addresses list grows, you need to perform frequent checks to ensure that it is free of every invalid email address. But how frequently should you do it?

It depends on your email marketing campaign’s metrics like growth rate, open rates, and bounces to determine whether you need to run an email list cleaning.

Planning your process is the best way to start. So here’s what you need to do to plan an effective list cleaning process:

  • Set up a consistent list cleaning schedule
  • Assign dedicated people to perform the tasks
  • Have the tools and resources you need to do it

When looking through your email lists, check for duplicates, typos, and email addresses that have the word “spam” in them so that your emails are getting sent to the right person and are not bouncing.

Keep in mind, a successful email list cleaning process isn’t a single-time thing but an ongoing clean-up task.

No more emails stuck in the spam complaints.

2. Set Up A Confirmation Message

Identifying and removing invalid email addresses from your email list manually can take so much time.

You can minimize the number of invalid or duplicate email lists right from the start by setting up a confirmation email.

Setting up a confirmation message is the easiest way to nail email validation without using additional tools.

All you have to do is to adopt the double opt-in method and prompt your new subscribers to confirm their email addresses.

This extra step is essential to avoid adding unconfirmed or spam email addresses to your email addresses list.

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While double opt-in d adds an extra step to the process, you should use it to minimize the number of invalid emails lurking in your list.

So setting up the confirmation message is the first step to creating an effective list-building process.

3. Use the Unsubscribe Button

Hiding your unsubscribe link from your subscribers is never a good idea.

Or worse, making the process of unsubscribing difficult, time-consuming or confusing.

If they can’t find your unsubscribe link or don’t want to take the time, your subscriber will mark you as spam.

And just like that, you’re throwing yourself to the lion’s den.

By making your unsubscribing process difficult, you are hurting yourself and yourself only.

To offer your clients an easy way for them to leave might feel backward. But, if you’re sending your subscribers quality content, then they won’t even look at that unsubscribe button.

The key here is to send emails with quality content that your subscribers will find worth their time to open and read.

4. Use a Dedicated Email List Cleaning Tool

Cleaning manually your email list is a task that can take days. You need a helping hand.

You can use a list cleaning tool to make the process easier, especially if you have many email lists.

Email validation services like Emailinspector have developed a set of tools to help you improve your deliverability, avoid spam traps, and keep your email address lists healthy and tidy.

If you choose Emailinspector as an email list cleaning tool, you’ll benefit from:

  • Real-time email verification
  • Bulk email list verifiers
  • Disposable email checkers
  • Integrations with popular ESPs

Using an email verifier is not a magic potion to your email list but as an ally to simplify the scrubbing process.

At the end of the day, an email list cleaning service is there to equip you with tools to do the job, not tell you the cause of your subscriber’s disengagement.

5. Target Your Audience with Re-Engagement Campaigns

Low engagement in your content doesn’t necessarily mean that your subscribers aren’t interested in your emails, it could just mean they aren’t too interested in the content you’re providing.

So before you deep clean the list completely, see if you can pique their interest a bit. Here are a few ideas for you:

  • Offer a free gift, or maybe a discount. But be careful with this one. It has potential, but what you really want is for your contacts to be interested in the content you’re providing, rather than just re-engaging for the freebie.
  • Give them a special perk, or maybe access to special content. Everyone loves to feel special every now and then.

Another tip is to be considerate around the holiday season. Sometimes, your subscribers don’t open your emails because they are just being bombarded by holidays emails. Just make a note to re-engage with these contacts later on.

Routine email list cleanups will also increase the overall engagement rates of marketing emails. This will make sure to have more meaningful relationships with email subscribers.

It’s important to give your email list a deep clean every now and then to create a more targeted list of engaged email addresses. This lets you focus on the subscribers or customers who really have an interest in your product. You’ll be able to create content that satisfies their needs and interests.

And most importantly, you’ll have higher email deliverability, email open rates, conversion rates, and a more engaged community.

Especially in eCommerce, this means higher revenue and overall customer satisfaction.

Just make a note to re-engage with these contacts later on.

How To Clean Your Email List With Email Inspector

Cleaning your lists manually, i.e., without the help of external tools, can be really time-consuming.

With Emailinspector, you can create workflows based on user engagement and actions to unsubscribe inactive email addresses automatically.

The first thing you’re going to want to do is to click on the title of the last email marketing campaign you sent out. Scroll down until you see ‘Show me the reports’ and click on that, too.

Then select the ‘Status’ drop-down menu, and take your pick. You’ll mostly want to focus on the Unsub, Spam, and Bounced options.

Once you’ve selected one of those options, click on the button ‘Export to a list’ at the bottom of the page. When that new box opens up, in the left drop-down menu, you’ll want to select the contact list that you want to clean up. In the right drop-down menu, select ‘Remove contacts’. Now take a deep breath, and press the ‘Export’ button.

That’s all there is to it. You are now rotten email addresses lighter.

To identify inactive subscribers using Emailinspector, the first two steps were:

Step 1: Choose Your List

Step 2: Set Your Conditions

When you’re ready to clean your list, here’s what you do next:

Step 3: Remove Inactive Subscribers Preview the segment.

If it’s small, tick the checkbox next to each name you want to remove.

Click on the Actions menu, and select Unsubscribe. Confirm your action when the confirmation message appears.

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