8 Brilliant Tips for Email List Cleaning

Email has proven to be one of the most effective marketing channels for marketers, and according to research, the marketing channel is 40 times better in acquiring customers. With so much at stake, as a marketer, you need to take every step carefully. One overlooked aspect of email marketing is list cleaning, which plays a crucial role in deliverability and decides whether the messages will reach the inbox or not. Email list cleaning software has become important because according to a survey,

  • 81% of the permissioned emails reach the inbox of the customer
  • 20% of the emails never reach the inbox of the readers
  • 7% of the total emails land in the spam folder.
  • To add fuel, 25% of your email list decays every year.


Not cleaning the email list on a regular basis results in high bounce rate, low sender’s reputation and spam complaints. Focus on addressing the list quality issues from day 1 to stay alive in the business. Even though the famous proverb says old is gold, when it comes to the mailing list, old gets cold.

1. Sharpen the list, instead of deleting the customers

Segregating the customers based on their activity level (active and inactive) is a better resolution than deleting the un-subscribers. Send separate emails offering irresistible promotional offers and discounts to win back the trust of the customers. However, remember to send these emails once a month to comply with the CAN-SPAM laws. Wait for six months, before permanently deleting recipients who fail to make an interaction. There is no point crying over the spilt milk. Focus on the subscribers who love to hear from your brand.

2. Create re-engagement campaigns

Identify subscribers who interact once in a while and send them the re-engagement campaign offering incentives and promotional discounts. Take every step to rejuvenate the interest of the customer because acquiring new customers in the competitive world is a tough task. Furthermore, create interesting and appealing re-engagement campaigns. Simply sending ‘we miss you’ message will not help you achieve your goal.

3. Check the feedback loop

One of the biggest factors deciding the domain reputation is the number of spam complaints your business receives. Monitor and screen the email addresses that have filtered your messages as spam. Immediately remove them from the email list because such customers can stagnate the growth of your business. Even your ESP will remove such customers, but it’s always advisable to check again to avoid any problems in the future.

4. Consider email verification service

If your email list is old and you have used it many times, consider getting it verified by hiring a professional email address verification service. These companies will clean the list based on the activity level and remove wrong or invalid email addresses. Getting rid of such email addresses is essential, otherwise, it will result in hard bounce and spam complaint. Weigh your options, before making a final call because your email list is the costliest asset you possess.

5. Send manual emails to bounce-backs

One of the leading ways to clean the mailing list is by sending manual emails to bounced email addresses, asking them whether they’re receiving your messages or not. Once you send the messages to remember to cross-verify and understand whether the emails are dead or not. It will help you identify fake and malicious email addresses. However, send manual messages only to soft bounced email addresses. There is no point sending messages to a hard bounced address because deliverability has permanently failed.

6. Choose Tier 2 ESPs

Tier ESPs usually have high list cleaning standards, which is difficult for small businesses, especially startups. Therefore, instead of choosing a tier 1 ESP, go for a tier 2 ESP. You can use the services of this ESP to maintain list hygiene and once you’re confident about the email list, switch back to tier 1 ESP. It helps in reducing cost and increasing the deliverability rate by using email list cleaning software.

7. Segment based on subscribers score

You probably have segmented the list based on the age, demographics, purchase history or gender. Try segmenting the customers based on their subscriber score. Every ESP provides a score to a subscriber based on their engagement level with your brand. Some ESPs give 2 stars to inactive subscribers and 4 stars to active subscribers. Therefore, segment the readers based on their star rating and craft email marketing campaigns accordingly.

Engaging the subscribers is in your hand, use informative and meaningful content to win the hearts of your recipients.

8. Handle the spam traps

Spam traps look like a normal email address, but can thoroughly erode your reputation along with your business. Focus on using different tools to identify the spam traps and validate the database using email address validation to locate possible spam traps. Ensure that spam traps never make way into your email list, otherwise, your business will never taste success. Apart from these 8 brilliant tips for cleaning the email list, ensure that your permission from the customers to send messages is up-to-date. Also, craft interesting and meaningful marketing campaigns to gain new subscribers and engage the existing ones.

You can keep an eye on email metrics to know the right time of cleaning the email list. Never let the quality of your list degrade because a clean list uplifts your domain reputation, widens revenue opportunity, protects your brand against possible blacklisting, maintains a healthy relationship with the customers and helps in reaching the target audience.

It creates a seamless experience for both the customers and the marketers.