Why It's Important To Clean Email Lists?
Routine email cleaning is the best way to protect your email marketing against deliverability issues, blacklisting, and lower engagement rates. The average age of an email marketing list is 7 years. Some marketers even dig way back to find emails from over 10 years ago! As you can imagine, user's personal data can quickly change, especially over many years. Mail service providers will even deactivate mailboxes that haven't had login activity for 6 - 12 months.
Cleaning your email lists with a reliable email validation service is the best way to ensure older emails do not negatively impact your sender score and overall sending reputation with mail service providers (MSPs). Almost every major MSP like Gmail, Yahoo, Outlook, Hotmail, AOL will closely monitor bounce rates and the amount of low reputation email addresses that are actively being mailed. If the percentage of emails in this category are over their internal thresholds (these vary by provider), then the sending domain or IP address will become blacklisted or automatically routed to the spam folder.
How Experts Use Email List Cleaning
Maintaining good email hygiene with regular email cleaning is the same strategy that mailers for top brands follow, the same brands that you receive email from every day directly in your inbox. Mailing experts use email cleaning to remove hard bounces, spam complainers, and honeypots from their active marketing lists. Beyond just deactivated email accounts which would result in a hard bounce, list scrubbing can also detect typos, duplicate addresses, and role-based or shared accounts.List Cleaning With Expert Email Validation
Do Your Lists Need Email Scrubbing?
Here's a quick list of warning signs to look for that could indicate email list cleaning is needed due to mailbox deliverability issues. If you are using a sending platform like Mailgun, Sparkpost, Mailchimp, GetResponse, Constant Contact, or a similar email marketing platform then you should be able to view these issues easier than managing mail on your own.
- Low Open Rates - Average email open rates range between 12%-25%. If you have an established rate from your previous lists, it's good to use that at a benchmark and compare how your other lists perform. Low open rates will usually indicate reputation issues for the email addresses in your marketing lists. If you notice your open rates have decreased over time, then it's a good indicator that it's a good time for email cleaning. This metric could also indicate your messages are being sent to the spam folder. Use our free email spam checker tool to quickly determine if your messages have any spam issues related to content or sending configuration.
- Reduced Click-Through Rates - On average, click-through rates hover between 2%-4%. Any historical data you can use to measure this against previous lists can provide a good indication of your current list's performance. If your click rates are lower than usual or even below 2%, then your lists likely have too many low reputation email addresses. You may also want to improve your subject lines and message content to drive better engagement.
- Frequent Soft & Hard Bounces - This category is one of the worst warning signs that would indicate email cleaning is urgently needed. Hard bounces include "recipient email address dose not exist" and similar mail server errors that would indicate the inbox has been deactivated or simply never existed. Once your hard bounce rate has increased over a certain threshold, some mail providers like Gmail, Yahoo, AOL will blacklist your future messages. Soft bounces are a much less serious issues due to temporary email issues such as a server error, having a mailbox over quota (full), or even due to a anti virus issue. Soft bounces have a much higher tolerance without hurting your sending reputation.
- Spam Complainers - Complainers are an interesting category to measure email hygiene. A spam complainer event occurs when a recipient has marked your message as containing spam. This can quickly hurt your deliverability rates and sending IP reputation. This rate should be well below 0.5%, so if this value is higher than this or even around this range, then it could indicate serious issues for your list. Complainers are more likely to appear when a list has been purchased rather than organically collected.
- Unsubscribes - Users that unsubscribe from your lists are another metric tracked by all major mail service providers. High rates of list unsubscriptions will indicate the message could be spam or not using double opt-in compliant recipients as required by the CAN-SPAM Act. A high unsubscribe rate could also indicate that your message content and subject lines should be improved.
Can Email Cleaning Fix Sending Reputation Issues?
Absolutely. Blacklisting and deliverability issues can be quickly resolved with robust email scrubbing. After an email list CSV has been uploaded for cleaning, the invalid addresses along with spam traps and complainers can be suppressed from your current marketing campaigns. After 2-5 weeks of continuing your email drops, the mail service providers should treat your sending domains and IPs with more favorability. Be sure to keep all other values here optimized including your SPF and DKIM records, sending frequency, message content, and other factors which could affect mailbox deliverability.Upload & Clean Email Lists
How Frequently To Perform Email Cleaning?
It's a great practice to clean lists every 6 months. Many subscribers will change addresses in this time or could have their mailboxes automatically deactivated by providers for inactivity. Yahoo and AOL are especially sensitive to inactive accounts and currently disable millions of accounts each month. Here's a quick guide with expanded warning signs to determine when email scrubbing would be necessary.
Final Note on Email Cleaning
If users never see your marketing messages due to being marked as spam, then your time and money on email marketing is being wasted. Email list scrubbing is a quick and cost effective way to improve deliverability into the mailbox. Clean email lists provide better inboxing with better engagement for your customers. Reach more potential clients and drive existing customers back to your site.