How can I clean my email list?
Jan. 3, 2019, 3:14 p.m.
On average, email lists decline by around 22% every year. If those subscribers won't open your emails (not to mention click on your offer), what's the point in sending emails to them? That’s when you need to start thinking about email scrubbing. Email cleaning or scrubbing is removing inactive or invalid subscribers from your email list so that you can send your messages only to people who want to receive your emails. Cleaning your email list is an essential part of keeping your deliverability and your domain reputation intact so you should do email list cleaning at least a couple of times a year.
If in the last few months you had any of the problems below, it means it’s time for email list scrubbing:
- Much lower open rates than used to be
- Much lower click-through rate
- A sudden wave of unsubscribe messages
- An unusual number of spam complaints
- Bigger than usual bounce rate
- If some of those sound familiar, here are five good ways to start cleaning your list.
#1 Look for obviously invalid email addresses.
Start your email list cleaning with checking for misspellings and typos. When people type their email addresses in a hurry (or by using a mobile device), all kinds of typos and spelling mistakes can happen. Look for obvious mistakes such as missing the @ sign, missing commas or misspelled domain names (email@example.com). If you have any addresses like firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com, remove them too.
#2 Check the activity of your customers
Thanks to GDPR law, after May 23 you surely got plenty of emails asking you whether you wish to continue receiving emails from various companies or do you want them to remove your address from their database.
This is one of the best ways to recognize which of your customers are interested in your offer and which forgot about you already. You can ask your recipients to vote in a poll, for feedback on something you’ve done or are planning to do (new features, new service, new product) or simply ask your contacts to confirm do they want to continue getting emails from your company.
#3 Segment your list
After you finished gathering data, consider segmenting your email list into active customers (those who responded to your email) and inactive ones (the ones who didn’t reply). With a segmented list, it’s easier to give your customers the content and offers they want to receive and keep them happy. Happy customers = less unsubscribes = less cleaning!
#4 Try to win back disengaged customers
Before removing inactive customers from your list for good, try to re-engage them first - maybe there’s a reason why they lost interest in your product. Do they have a problem you can help them with, they think you stopped caring about your customers, or maybe they got a better deal from your competition? Sending them a personalized “We miss you” email or asking for feedback can work wonders! If your customer doesn't answer to this email, remove them out of the list for good.
#5 Use cleaning software.
If your email list grew up to such sizes manually cleaning it would take ages, there’s plenty of email list cleaning tools available on the market. Those tools are designed for detecting invalid, undeliverable or inactive email addresses and also help with identifying spam traps. However, be careful while using those tools as they are not 100% reliable. It might happen that in the cleaning process you will lose valuable addresses along with the inactive ones (always make a copy of the valuable email addresses before using a cleaning tool) and you will have to check the email list manually later on anyway, to make sure there are no misspelled or unsubscribed addresses left.