If you are running a business today – whether small, medium or large – you most likely have an online presence. And if you have an online presence, you are likely engaged in some form of digital marketing for your business. One of the most common forms of digital marketing is email marketing.
With email marketing, you can leverage the power of email to send promotional content to thousands of existing and prospective clients in bulk.
However, every email marketing campaign starts with an email list. In fact, the quality of your email marketing campaign will largely depend on the quality and accuracy of your email list. This is why it is essential to keep your email list clean at all times.
But what exactly is email list cleaning, and why is it important? Read on to find out everything you need to know.
What Does It Mean to Clean Your Email List?
Email list cleaning remains one of the best ways of keeping your email database fresh and healthy. Basically, you want to get rid of all unwanted and unqualified email addresses to ensure your promotional emails reach the right people.
Email list cleaning is the process of identifying and removing all invalid, outdated or undeliverable email addresses from your database.
Invalid email addresses are those that do not exist or are no longer active. Outdated email addresses are those that have not been used for a long time. Undeliverable email addresses return hard bounces when you try to send emails to them.
It is essential to clean your email list regularly because it can profoundly impact the quality and effectiveness of your email marketing campaign.
For example, if you send promotional emails to invalid or undeliverable email addresses, your emails will bounce back. This will not only damage your sender reputation but can also get your IP address blacklisted.
On the other hand, if you are sending emails to outdated email addresses, your emails will either go unread or will be marked as spam.
This is why it is imperative to keep your email list clean at all times. By regularly cleaning your email list, you can ensure that your promotional emails reach the right people and are not getting caught in spam filters.
How Often Should You Clean Your Email List?
Ideally, you should clean your email list every three or four months. This will help you keep your email database fresh and free of any invalid, outdated or undeliverable email addresses.
However, if you regularly add new contacts to your email list, you may need to clean your email list more frequently.
For example, if you add hundreds or even thousands of new contacts to your email list every month, you may need to clean your email list every month or more frequently.
The best way to determine how often you should clean your email list is to keep an eye on your email deliverability rate. If you notice a significant drop in your email deliverability rate, it is likely that your email list is no longer clean and needs to be cleaned as soon as possible.
Why Should You Clean Your Email List?
Now that you know what email list cleaning is and how often you should do it, let’s look at some of the reasons it is so important.
1. It Boosts Your Email Deliverability
Deliverability is one of the most critical metrics in email marketing. If you have a high deliverability rate, it means you are doing the right things. Typically, as your email deliverability increases, so will your reputation in the industry.
But what exactly is email deliverability?
Email deliverability is the percentage of emails that are successfully delivered to the intended recipient’s inbox.
Several factors can affect your email deliverability rate, but one of the most important is the quality of your email list. Your deliverability rate will suffer if your email list is full of invalid, outdated or undeliverable email addresses.
On the other hand, your deliverability rate will be much higher if you have a clean email list with only valid and up-to-date email addresses. This is because there will be fewer bounced emails and fewer spam complaints.
2. It Improves Email Engagement
Another reason why email list cleaning is so important is that it can help to improve email engagement.
Engagement is a measure of how interested your subscribers are in your emails. The more engaged they are, the more likely they will open, click and even convert.
Several factors affect engagement, but one of the most important is relevance. If your emails are relevant to your subscribers, they are more likely to engage with them.
However, if you send irrelevant or untargeted emails, your engagement will suffer. This is why it is so important to keep your email list clean and up-to-date.
By regularly cleaning your email list and removing any invalid or outdated email addresses, you can be sure that your emails are relevant to your remaining subscribers.
3. Cuts Down on Your Bounce Rate
You can use bounce rate to measure your email list’s health. A high bounce rate is an indication that your email list is no longer clean.
Bounces happen when an email cannot be delivered to the intended recipient. There are two types of bounces – soft and hard bounces.
A soft bounce is when an email is temporarily undeliverable. This can happen for many reasons, such as a full mailbox or a problem with the recipient’s email server.
A hard bounce is when an email is permanently undeliverable. This can happen when the email address is invalid, or the domain is non-existent.
Emails that soft bounce will eventually be delivered, but emails that hard bounce will never be delivered. This is why it is crucial to remove any email addresses that hard bounce from your email list.
If you don’t, your bounce rate will continue to increase, which will hurt your deliverability rate.
Typically, when your bounce rate is beyond 5%, you will start to see drops in email deliverability. Some email providers, such as Mailchimp, will automatically suspend your account if it exceeds the standard bounce rate metrics. Therefore, frequent email list cleaning can keep you on the right track.
4. It Reduces the Risk of Spam Complaints
Another reason to keep your email list clean is to reduce the risk of spam complaints. When someone marks your email as spam, it is called a complaint.
Spam complaints are bad for business because they can damage your reputation and lower your deliverability rate. In fact, having too many complaints can get you blacklisted by some email providers.
A clean email list is less likely to generate complaints because it is full of engaged subscribers who want to receive your emails.
On the other hand, an email list full of invalid or inactive email addresses is more likely to generate complaints. This is because people who don’t want to receive your emails are more likely to mark them as spam.
So, if you want to reduce the risk of complaints, you need to keep your email list clean.
5. A Clean Email List Protects Your Data
An email list is not just your list of email addresses. Keep in mind that this is customer data. And, under GDPR and other data privacy laws, you have a responsibility to protect your customer data.
It means that you need to take steps to ensure your email list is accurate and up-to-date. Otherwise, you could be fined for violating data privacy laws.
Furthermore, email lists are increasingly becoming the most trusted source of identifying prospective clients across multiple platforms. Therefore, it is essential to keep your list clean at all times.
Email list cleaning is a necessary and serious marketing priority. It’s essential to keep your email list updated and clean to ensure high deliverability rates, improved engagement, reduced bounce rates, and fewer spam complaints.
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