list and email cleaning.
- Blacklisted addresses
- Fake emails
- Spam Traps
- Bounced Mail
- Catch-All Addresses
- Bad domains
When was the last time you cleaned your email list?
If the answer is never, then you’re likely wasting time, effort, and money on marketing to people who aren’t interested in your business.
On average, email lists decline by around 22% every year. Up to one third of your subscribers will never open your emails, much less click on your call to action. So, what’s the point in talking to them?
That’s where email scrubbing comes in.
What is email scrubbing?
Email scrubbing is removing unengaged subscribers from your email list so that you can market only to people who want to receive your emails.
This email list hygiene is an essential part of targeting your marketing, so you should do email list cleanup at least a couple of times a year.
In this article, we’ll look at why email scrubbing is essential, and give you a step by step guide to doing it.
We’re going to use MailChimp in our examples, but the process is similar for most popular email marketing services.
email Scrubbing: Warning Signs
How do you know when it’s time to clean your email list? You can usually see the first warning signs in your email marketing statistics.
When you login into your email marketing app, you’ll be able to see the open and click rate for your campaigns.
Take a look at what’s been happening over the last few email campaigns. If there’s a pattern of declining open and click rates, you’ve got a problem.
We specialise in inboxing
- We DO NOT send spam
- All outgoing emails are cleaned of spam words
- All outgoing mail uses spintax to increase delverability
- ALL lists are cleaned before we send
- We own our own IP’s – You are sharing with US
- We send our own offers using our system
- We protect the reputation of our IPs fiercely
- We do not send adult, crypto etc.
- All work is done manually by the owners to the highest standard
- Your email list receives the same attention our lists do
- We specialise in inboxing genuine offers.
We have the highest inboxing rate per $
You may also want to look at email marketing benchmarks for your industry. While every list is different, if your open and click rates are way below average, then maybe you need to improve your email marketing practices. Use our beginner’s guide to email marketing as a resource to help with that.
So, let’s recap quickly. Here’s how you know you need to clean your email list:
- Reduced open rate
- Reduced click through rate
- More unsubscribes
- More spam complaints
All of this adds up to one big red flag. If people aren’t opening and clicking, they aren’t converting. That means you’re missing out on leads, sales and revenue.
Benefits of Email Scrubbing
Better Open and Click Rates
Open and click rates are calculated as a percentage of the total number of emails sent.
Cleaning your email list means you’re sending emails only to those who are interested. Even if the same people as before are opening your emails, they’ll now be a bigger percentage of the total emails sent. And that improves your open and click rate percentages.
But if the same people are opening and clicking your emails, why does that percentage matter?
Here are a few good reasons…
Fewer Spam Complaints
Cleaning your email list also reduces the number of spam complaints. Some subscribers mark your emails as spam because they don’t remember signing up, even if they actually did.
The problem is that mailbox providers like Gmail, Yahoo, and others log spam complaints. If there are too many, they’ll start sending your emails straight to the spam folder, skipping the inbox.
And they’ll do that for everyone you send email to, not just the people that reported you. Again, that significantly reduces the opportunity to get conversions, leads and sales from your email list.
This is a huge problem for all email marketers. In fact, the number of successfully delivered emails is on the decline globally.
Email scrubbing helps by cutting down on the number of subscribers who are annoyed enough to mark your emails as spam. Fewer spam complaints equals a better sender reputation. That means more of your emails will reach subscribers’ inboxes.
Sometimes emails bounce, which means they never reach the intended recipient. Sometimes that’s because of full inboxes, changed email addresses, or a technical error.
Too many bounces have the same effect as spam complaints: they hurt your reputation which affects email deliverability.
If you remove bounced email addresses when you clean your email list, the number and percentage of bounces will go down the next time you send.
Email marketing services often charge according to the number of emails you send or the number of subscribers you have, or both.
That means there’s a real financial incentive to keep your email list clean. Every unengaged subscriber who stays on your list is costing you money.
Use email scrubbing to remove them and you can improve email marketing ROI.
There’s one last benefit of email scrubbing.
When your email list is bloated with unengaged subscribers, it can be hard to tell how your email marketing strategy is working. Subscriber inactivity and spam complaints will skew your stats.
But if you have a smaller list that’s truly interested in and acting on your messages, your email marketing statistics will be more accurate. That means you can safely use that data to guide your future marketing efforts.
Which Email Lists Should You Scrub?
One question people ask about email scrubbing is which email lists they should scrub. Here are a couple of tips:
- Start with the most active email lists because those are the ones driving conversions, leads and sales.
- Pay attention to older lists, too, because unengaged subscribers who are on the list may still count as part of the total.
- Even if your email list is relatively new, there’s no point in emailing people who aren’t interested.
That’s why the short answer to which email lists to scrub is: All lists. If you’re marketing regularly, you should also clean your list regularly, at least a couple of times a year.
What to Do Before You Clean Your Email List
We’ll get to our email scrubbing guide soon, but before you start cleaning your email list, there are a couple more things to try.
Work Out Why Emails Bounced
As we said, there are plenty of reasons why emails bounce. Email service providers will let you know whether bounces are “hard” (which means there’s a permanent error and your emails will never reach that recipient), or “soft”, which means there’s a temporary issue.
It’s worth noting that if soft bounces happen regularly, then they’ll become hard bounces.
Some bounces happen because of a typo in the email address. That can happen when you or subscribers edit their email information.
Check for typos. Some of these are easy to spot. Common typos include:
- Misspelling the name of the mailbox provider, such as writing Gmial instead of Gmail.
- Adding or omitting a letter in a name-based or company email address. For example, if someone works at IBM but their email ends in imb.com, you’re safe to assume it’s a typo.
In both those cases, it’s easy to correct.