Email List Hygiene — Part 5: Keeping Your Lists Clean

This is the final part in our five part email list hygiene series. Part one covered the difference between a spam filter and a spam trap and how they’re used together while part two detailed five points on how to keep your text clean and formatted to avoid being labelled as junk. Part three went further, touching on how to use images appropriately, keeping your code clean, and other message best practices. Part four dived into some best practices and habits you will want to adopt outside of just content to keep your audience warm.

Part five of this series is all about the regular upkeep you’ll need to do to make sure your list is clean with a higher open and click-through rate.

Don’t Buy Email Lists

Purchasing or renting email lists is probably the worst thing you can do. These lists are riddled spam traps and recycled spam traps as well as are a violation of an ISP’s Terms of Service. It is also illegal and is a violation of a user’s privacy.

Remove Bounced Email Addresses

We previously touched on how bounced emails from recycled email address spam traps will eventually mark your messages as spam. This one is very easy to deal with since all you have to do is remove hard bounced addresses from your list so pay attention when this happens.

Remove Inactive Subscribers

Subscribers who aren’t opening your emails can damage your deliverability rates. ISPs keep track of who are and aren’t opening your emails so if you send a lot of messages but only a few people open them, that could flag your emails by the spam filter.

The best way to deal with this is to launch a re-engagement campaign every six months from these inactive users. If you don’t receive any feedback and they still don’t open, read, or click your messages you should unsubscribe them. This list hygiene will get you higher open rates and a more active list.

Test Your Emails

There are online services you can use to check the quality of your messages. You can test your email with something like Is Not Spam where you send your message to an email provided on the page. This service will simulate spam filters and let you know where you need improvements to increase deliverability.

Spam filters are not perfect and despite your best efforts, some users may still mark your messages as spam. But by following these guidelines you can minimize the risk of your marketing messages being relegated to the junk folder.

This brings our five-part email hygiene series to a close. We hope that it was an informative series for you and that you’ve learned a thing or two that will improve your deliverability.

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