How Often Should You Scrub Your Email List?

Alexa Engelhart
By Alexa Engelhart

In today’s email marketing space, clean and accurate email lists are the only way to ensure your content will reach the inboxes of your subscribers. If you’re unfamiliar about email list hygiene, it is simply the upkeep of our email subscription list.  Email hygiene is a best practice in which marketing professionals parse through their email subscription list to remove any dead weight from the list. If done well, email list scrubbing can be a powerful contributor to your business’s email marketing success.

Why Should You Scrub Your Email List?

What happens, however, if your “dirty” list holds you back? You could literally be losing one third of your list each year due to email bounces, unsubscribes from your list, and email address changes due to change in workplace or email provider. If that isn’t enough to convince you, here are a few more detailed reasons why you need to be scrubbing your email subscription list:

You’re losing money from emailing old or inactive addresses

If you’re emailing 3,000 addresses, about 1,000 of them may not even be receiving your materials due to closed accounts, changes in employment, etc. Depending on the size of your list and the email management system you use, your bounce rate could increase due to these inactive accounts.

Related: 5 Effective Ways to Build Your Email List

Do yourself a favor and purge the inactive percentage of accounts from your list. This will help decrease your bounce rate and keep you out of spam folders.

You’ve been flagged as spam, and it’s causing you problems

If your subscribers are not opening your emails, and you continue to email them on a recurring basis, there’s a good chance many spam filters will flag you as spam. How to avoid this? As much as it may pain you, you should remove email addresses of those who are not engaging with your emails. In the long run, it will only help the reputation of your domain.

You can’t tell if your email marketing campaign is working

When so many of your subscribers either aren’t receiving your emails, or aren’t opening your emails, it is difficult to know what content works and what doesn’t. Clear those users from your list to get a more accurate sense of whether your content strategy needs to be tweaked to fit your audience. Remember that is it also important to email your list consistently. There is not a set rule for how often you should email your list, but, it’s important to set a memorable schedule so your followers remember who you are.

How To Scrub Your Email Marketing List

List cleaning can be a very tedious task. Some marketing professionals opt-in to using an online list cleaning tool. With the help of an email list cleaning service, you and your marketing team can spend less time filtering your lists and spend more time building and growing your list. Obviously, choosing to use a cleaning service will come at a cost, and is totally up to each individual business to decide what is financially most appropriate.

Related: How to QA Your Email Marketing Campaigns

One way to self-clean your email list is to try a re-opt-in campaign. This many seem tedious; however, you’ll get to know who are your active subscribers, which subscribers are inactive, and which subscribers want to unsubscribe altogether. It’s difficult to part with followers, understandably, but focus should be placed on reaching new customers to optimize your campaign’s reach.

So… How Often Should I Clean My List?

Okay, so you’ve figured it out. You need to clean your list. But, how often should you be? This question lingers on the minds of many marketing teams. With timeframes ranging from one month to one year, professional opinions vary on how often is “too often” and how infrequently is not enough.

Checking your list every three months may be a good plan for those campaigns reaching out on a monthly basis. If you are sending out emails every week, say as an e-commerce site, cleaning your list once a month would ensure that you have the most accurate and up-to-date data to keep your list clean and your reputation managed.

Take these tips to your next marketing meeting, and make sure you and your team are taking the most cost-effective approaches to keeping your email marketing list squeaky clean.

 


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Alexa is a Content Marketing Strategist at Power Digital Marketing who works with a wide range of clients on web copy creation, landing page strategy, email marketing, and blogging efforts. She loves working hand-in-hand with other digital marketing channels and departments to get the best results for her clients!