Clean email list: Email Hygiene Best Practices

The success of your email marketing campaign is based on one thing, and one thing only; your list. You can create the world’s most beautiful email, but it will have no impact if it isn’t sent to the correct people.

If you have gathered subscribers through the usual channels, such as sign up forms on your website, through transactions or through social media, your list may be generally clean. By clean, we mean free from email addresses that may damage your reputation. Spam complaints, bounces and unsubscribes will lead to account warnings or may even lead to your account becoming suspended, which will prevent you from sending. And you don’t want that.

Here are our best practices for a successful clean email list and hygiene program:

1. Scrub your lists regularly

You should remove unsubscribes and bounced emails immediately, but you should also take a look at the rest of your list at least once a month. This will ensure your list is kept as clean as possible. Run your lists against a list of known bad domain and role accounts. This should go beyond simply removing duplicate addresses.

2. Remove bad domains

Look closely at your reports and identify bad addresses. Analyse whether the addresses are bad because of a data capture problem, or if it is a non-existent domain. Use common sense, misspelled domains (like, can be rectified and will not need to be removed.

3. Remove distribution accounts

ISPs will be on the lookout for a large amount of mail being sent to these types of addresses. These are addresses like admin@, info@ or sales@. These addresses are usually found on websites, so are usually targeted by spammers. And on a personal level, you can’t connect with your customer through a sales@ email address.

4. Remove spam email addresses

Remove all email addresses that contain the word ‘spam’. These are associated with spam traps, which can lead to being blacklisted by ISPs.

5. Remove inactive addresses

Compare the frequency of your email sends, with how often a person engages with a message. If you’ve sent a newsletter every two weeks, and someone hasn’t opened your email for 6 months, it’s time to take them off the list. You could always move these contacts to a new list/address book for future reengagement tactics.

6. Use data checkers

You can avoid future headaches by installing a data checker on your website, or wherever you collect addresses. The checker will determine whether the address entered is valid or not, for example, the spelling errors listed above, or the wrong symbol in the place of an @. Nipping the problem in the bud will save you time and effort in the future.

7. Feedback loops

If possible set up feedback loops with ISPs and other receivers. Feedback loops will keep you from sending emails to those who have indicated that they no longer want any form of communication. It’s important to do this for two reasons: to protect your sender reputation, and to provide a good customer service.

teeth   Conclusion

The importance of email lists hygiene should not be over looked, and those companies with a large list should take time every month to use the best practices listed above. Of course, using a clean email list is only one part of deliverability but it should not be overlooked.

Keep your lists squeaky clean, and you might even get a sticker for being well behaved.

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