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How To Sanitize And Scrub Your Email Marketing List, Improve Engagement Rates

How To Sanitize And Scrub Your Email Marketing List, Improve Engagement Rates

email marketing

How To Sanitize And Scrub Your Email Marketing List, Improve Engagement Rates. Image: Blogtrepreneur / Flickr / CC https://www.flickr.com/photos/143601516@N03/ https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Email list hygiene is an important part of targeting your marketing, so it’s important to clean up your email list at least a couple of times a year.

Email scrubbing is a process that works to keep your email mailing list healthy by removing inactive contacts. Marketers use it to raise their email deliverability and sender reputation, decrease the bounce rate of campaigns, and improve customer engagement rates.

There is no point of sending emails to recipients who are not interested in your business. It is a waste of time, money, and effort. Up to a third of your subscribers will never open your emails, much less click on your call to action.

It is all about metrics and how they affect results.

Internet service provider (ISPs) monitor how your email campaigns are received. They use that data to determine whether you are a great, good, or unwanted source of information for their users.

Your ISP will know if you send out an email and it gets deleted without being read or is sent straight to the spam folder. If many of your recipients are doing the same thing, then the ISP may decide you are not a valuable source of information and send you to the spam folder itself, or worse, block your domain.

You will know it’s time to clean your email by observing your email marketing statistics. When you log into your email marketing app, will see the open and click rate for your campaigns.


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If there is a pattern of failing to open and click rates over the last few email campaigns, you have touched a dilemma. Watching out for the unsubscribe and spam complaint rate is key to a successful email campaign.

If your open- and click-through rates are way below average, then you need to advance the email marketing practices at your disposal.

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Here’s more on why you need to clean your email.

Decrease email marketing costs

You are paying for each subscriber to stay on your list. Removing the ones that don’t contribute to your business’s bottom line will automatically make room for more high-quality subscribers and reduce email marketing expenses. The return on investment will improve if you take out unnecessary emails.

Reduce bounce rate

Bounces happen because the emails never reach the intended recipient, or because of full inboxes, changed email addresses or a technical error. A high bounce rate will affect your sender reputation. Take out all the bounced emails to reduce bounce rates the next time you send email and improve your email deliverability.

Fewer spam complaints

Some users may mark your emails as spam because they do not remember signing up, therefore cleaning your email will decrease the number of spam complaints. Email service providers are designed to receive spam complaints and can decide to send all future emails from the sender into the spam folder. They might also blacklist your email address, which will hurt your sender reputation.

Email list cleaning helps you by slicing down on the number of subscribers who are annoyed enough to mark your emails as spam, and this means more of your emails will reach subscribers inboxes.

Your open rates and click-through rates increase

Open and click rates are calculated as a percentage of the total number of emails sent. The moment you clean up all the unengaged email addresses from your subscriber list, your open rates and click-through rates will jump.

This is because your unengaged subscribers are hurting these metrics, and if you take them off your list your stats will instantly improve. You should find out why your emails are bouncing and proceed to email cleaning only if you can’t address the issue.

Here is a step-by-step guide to start scrubbing your email list for more accurate marketing returns

Step 1: Segment your current subscriber list into active and inactive

The first thing to do is to create segments and move subscribers who do not engage anymore into a list of their own. Find the “create a segment” option in your list management, and there is an option for inactive or cold subscribers.

Inactive or cold subscribers are the subscribers on your list who have not opened any of your emails for 90 days. It is assumed that it is unlikely that they are going to in the next 90 days.

Download them into a new spreadsheet containing the addresses and move to Step 2.

Step 2: Clean your inactive addresses segment

You can use a scrubbing software to dig deeper into your inactive list and narrow it down to salvageable subscribers. It allows you to run your inactive email list and automatically have inactive email addresses removed.

Also, it separates low-quality subscribers from high-value contacts you may want to focus on re-engaging.

Scrubbing software ranges in price. Some offer free features to give you a taste of their value. You can use Kickbox, Listwise, Quick Email Verification, Mailbox Validator or EmailList Verify.

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Step 3: Re-engage your inactive subscribers

Think about why your subscribers are not reading your emails. Whatever the reason, there is a possibility you could win them back if you offer the right information.

Send a re-engagement email with an offer. You could send special perks for the recipient like a discount on their next purchase, a gift with their next order or access to premium services for some time.

Or you could possibly ask them if they want to unsubscribe by sending them emails such as we miss you! Where have you gone? Was it something we said? Remove them from the list if they say they do not want to receive your emails anymore.

You will lose a few numbers from your list, but your metrics and your list quality list will soar.

Step 4: Say goodbye

Once you have given your re-engagement campaign time to take hold with inactive subscribers, it is time to clean your list of inactive subscribers who do not re-engage.

But save those addresses in another spreadsheet in case you want to use them somewhere else.

Step 5: Check for automated email responses

Automated emails uncover several truths such as the address is no longer valid, the employee no longer works there, the recipient has changed departments, or they are out of the office.

Whatever the reason, you will be able to determine if the address is valid for your needs. If they have moved, been fired, or disappeared into thin air, it is time for them to go.

You are now sanitized and ready for your new streamlined results.