10 Effective Email List Cleaning Tactics For Email Marketing

Email marketing is evolving continually as preferences shift towards becoming more personalized experiences.

On average, there are more than 99% of people check their email on an everyday basis, and the average rate on average is 17.61%.

However,  this doesn’t mean that it gives the guarantee to make it cut off from your emails. There are factors that impact it, it needs the KPI strong, and you also need the email list clean.

Why Should You Clean The Email List?

Cleaning email lists is crucial for your email marketing and overall performance.

However, to know the reasons behind why it plays such an important role. Here are the pointers that might help you.

Limiting The Unsubscribes

The more people on the list, the higher likelihood that some subscribers might have been losing interest, and it can happen to anyone.

That’s why you should do the review about engagement and remove the subscribers who are no longer interested, and before they subscribe on their own, you can remove those and get the list of people who are actually into your content.

Improving The Deliverability

It’s important that you need to clean the list, the cleaner it gets, the number of subscribers who want to open the emails in greater numbers.

A list of full people who are not into it, having their email address changed, or even worse, they don’t want to op as it will result in spam filters and bounces, which affects deliverability.

Improving Your Reduce Open Rate

Here is the goal you need to follow it should be quality over quantity. If you see the open rate decline, you need to look in the list and check if you have inactive subscribers.

You can also do the re-engagement campaign, so you can give an option and opportunity to get those inactive subscribers you engage again to the brand.

If not, then you should proceed to remove and again on active subscribers.

Keep The Cost Down

Many ESP tier the pricing by the number of emails you are sending, and in order to keep the cost down and remove the subscribers who are receiving emails but never opening them.

All of these are the big red flag, the email subscribers are not into the brand or maybe not getting emails.

So when they arrive at the email, they are deciding to opt-out of receiving the emails.

If they mark your email as spam, it will make your deliverability rates suffer.

Decreasing Complaints Related To Spam

Spam compliments not just ruin the reputation, but also can end up wasting your efforts, as they don’t even get the emails.

This also happens to affect the deliverability rate and it can suffer your whole campaign.

What You Should Know About Cleaning Email List?

Email list cleaning is a process where you remove the contact data which is inactive and inaccurate in the email database.

If you purchase it, it is important to ensure that it won’t jeopardize your IP reputation by sending emails in mass that end up going to spam or bounce rate.

If you are cleaning the opted-in database, it involves responding and contact preferences as well as eliminating the engagement of the email no longer.

That means you need to clean the inaccurate information, including :

  • Fake emails
  • Typos
  • Outdated email address

It’s an important part of your email list management, which is the overall workflow of keeping the email list standardized and compressible along with being trustworthy as well as usable.

Keeping regular hygiene means that you are practicing the care of email data and it will reward the campaign

You can do it in two ways, it can be done manually and automatically.

How Often Do You Need To Clean?

The next point is to know when cleaning your email list is needed and how often you should do it.

  • To clean the email list, you should at least do it once a year. Email cleaning depends on the company as well as the size of your list.
  • When looking at how often to clean a list, review the open rates and click-through rates along with spam and subscribers.
  • This gives you a clear picture of how to engage with the campaign and whether they are interested or not.
  • You also need to consider the subscriber number, and it comes in every quarter. If it’s high, you need to check it often.
  • If you see a high number in bounce as it’s an indicator for cleaning the email list.
  • A lot of companies also do the cleaning depending on the month, quarterly, bi-annually, and annually. but at least you should do it once a year.

When You Need To Do Cleaning?

Generally, more than one-third of your contact will be obsolete within a year. Also if you are seeing the warning signs, it can make your email list less effective and straightforward.

It includes different reasons and signs to know where you need to look for :

There Is a High Amount Of Subscribers

When you notice that there are a lot of users who opt out of the email list, it either means your content is not enough to engage them.

Also, there are high chances that your contact list is just not interested in the services you offer.

You can rule out the possibility of the amount of engagement for a  long time and high numbers of subscribers who are not interested.

Receiving Too Much Of Spam Report

If you are not removing the subscribers from the list on time, it might lead to marking emails as spam.

Spam reports also affect the sender’s reputation as well, this could also stop you from reaching the people who are actually interested in the services you offer.

When they report your email, ISPs or Internet Service Providers mean that they are losing confidence in email as it is not providing any value.

So when you have a high amount of spam, it’s an indicator that your email list needs cleaning.

Reducing The Open And Click-Through Rates

One of the signs that you can finally see is having an outdated email list, it reduces the open and click-through rate.

This means it has a clear indication that shows that your spam and unsubscribe report is looming.

If the users are in a list that is not interested in the content, they are likely due to the metrics and removing it.

What Happens If You Don’t Clean the Email List?

If you are not keeping the email clean, and you are having an unclean email list, it can be a risky business.

A few email bounces might not seem extremely concerning, but they can reduce the deliverability and contributes to a whole different level of problems.

The goal of email marketing should be getting information to the audience.

Here are some of the issues that you might face.

It Damages The IP Reputation

Using the unclean email list when you are sending the marketing campaign can also end up damaging the IP’s reputation.

So if you are sending an email unknown to spam traps, it will be bad for the IP address.

Other than that, your damage to the IP reputation includes:

  • Low open rates
  • High bounce rates
  • Recipient flagging emails as spam

Affecting Deliverability Rates

If there is some bad data in the list, it can also email deliverability rate too and it can suffer.

If you have fake emails, it can hit a hard bounce along with a small problem.

Deliverability issues also lead to click-through and low open rates or reduce the overall conversions too.

Increasing The Cost Of Your Email Marketing

Most of the email market platforms will charge you depending on the contact numbers you are sending the emails to.

While there are some invalid emails that won’t cost you the sum, high volumes of email bounce can add up quickly.

Missing Connection And Leads

Someone who might be interested in the product and showing their interest in using the online form.

But if you made any typo mistakes, you might find it hard to connect with them.

There are chances that someone misplaced @, instead of .com. There can be some simple errors and mistakes while you do the data cleaning process.

So If you are not cleaning it on a daily basis, but it might be chased you are losing the potential leads, and they might end up getting the cold too.

Why Does Your Email List Get Dirty So Much?

It’s important that you need to understand what contributes to and leads to bad data in the email database.

But also to unsend what makes the email list so dirty in the first place.

Data Decaying

The data in the email list might be clean, but as time passes, it can lead to data decaying.

Data decay leads to the data quality of your email database due to changing the details of the contact.

  • There are high chances that your subscribers might have changed their email address, phone number, job titles, postal address, etc.
  • Such information always changes, and not all people are going to inform the change.
  • So over time, your list might naturally turn out outdated.
  • Here you need to make sure that the data is updated and cleaned on a daily basis.
  • You also need to implement the verification process of email in order to ensure which contact emails are valid or not.

Having The Loose Formatting

If you are not having the right format and rules for the email database, this can make your data turn dirty much faster.

As for different fields, it can have a variety of different ways where you might end up with the wrong information.

If you don’t have the right rules around the format, staff, and contact entering details.

Human Error

Human error is the number one issue that leads to inaccurate data ending up in the email list.

This Is inevitable, and regardless of how you are inputting the data manually or inputting through an online form, there will be an error.

This can be related to

  • Typos
  • Missed field
  • Information in the wrong field
  • Inconsistent formatting

Having the process can help in reducing the bad data and the amount of it that ends up in the email list due to human error.

This can also include the problems such as struct data entry guidelines and how the information was added.

Well, the CMS platform allows the customizing fields to the contact form, it also detects the emails or data which are invalid or in the wrong fields.


There are different ways that lead to duplicate emails in your email list.

Contacts also might enter the details which are more than once when they are opting in for an email list or downloading the lead magnet.

Staff might also enter the data manually without checking if they are on the list already or not.

How Should You Clean The Email List?

So when you are all set, here is what you need to know about cleaning the email list.

 Here are some of the steps that you should start with if you are going for the first time.

Identify Those Who Are Disengaged, Subscribers

Before you scrub the list, you need to know about the subscribers and if they are truly inactive or simply disengaged.

  • The former might have to move, but you still have a chance to get them again.
  • When your subscribers are disengaged, they might use more targeted marketing so you can refresh their interest in emails, you need to give them some points to show their engagement.
  • For this, you need to understand what leads their assigned means.
  • Once you know why subscribers haven’t been disengaged and identify it, you want to place them in a different list, filtering for common themes and identifying what strategy can pique their interest.
  • This means offering them the discount code, personalized subject line, and offering engagement strategy.
  • The point is, before you remove them from subscribers, give them the best shot for engagement.
  • If it doesn’t work, you can mark the subscribers as inactive and disengaged.

Remove The Duplicate And Spam Addresses

Frequently check if your email list has a potential spam address or not; this will help in saving the headache and bouncing emails.

  • Email addresses that end up with random characters or those who are unfamiliar with @ domain this is the best place where you can start the search.
  • On the other hand, you can consider the duplicate email addresses in the list. This might be cooler when users have opted in with email addresses that are more than one.
  • So remove those emails from the same person who will help in improving the metrics, and it will save the double messaging cost.

Allowing The Subscribers To Control Their Preferences

To engage with the audience one more time, you also need to send the email blast, and it should let the audience adjust the content they are looking for.

  • This means that you allow the subscribers to control their preferences.
  • Perhaps your audience wants to receive emails regarding the updates and promotions and everything else they are not interested in.
  • So whatever you send, they might not show their interest and this can make them unsubscribe.

Identify The Reason Behind The For Bounces

Bounce rates are considered terrible for your email deliverability,  but it’s important that not all of the bounces are for the same reasons.

  • You need to find differences, as there are two different kinds: hard bounce and soft bounce.
  • The former are permanent issues, it can be the inactive email, and the latter is temporary; it can be a full inbox.
  • You need to remove the emails if they have a hard bounce. You need to keep your notice on soft bounces, and it can solve the problem over time.

Check For The Filters And Spam

You will want to remove the subscribers and mark the email as spam.

Spam filters can also hurt deliverability and reputation. If subscribers are no longer in the field and helpful, or worse, it can be seen as spam.

The best way is to remove all those on the list.

Clearing The Subscribers Who Are Inactive

The final step that you need to take is cleaning out the email list to all the categories and removing the list which is no longer showing interest and has been inactive for a long time.

However, it might be hard to part ways but is important as it will be a huge favor for the delivery and engagement.

Have a look at 55+ Proven Methods To Build And Grow Your Email List

List Of Practices For Efficient Email List Cleaning?

Cleaning your email list is not the easiest job; there are a lot of things you need to see, especially when you don’t want to end up losing actual potential subscribers.

And for this, here are some of the best practices for cleaning your email list.

Make Sure The List Got Good Hygienes

To make your list look squeaky clean, the key here is to follow the great routine and stick with this.

  • So the first step here should be creating the schedule for cleaning the list by looking at quantity and quality.
  • This will help in knowing when and how often you should clean the list.
  • Regardless of how big the list you have, if you are not getting most of the subscribers interacting with email, you should start knowing the reason.
  • When you are looking through the email list, you should also look for the duplicates, email addresses, and typos that might have the spam and led to the bounce rate.

Add The Double Opt-Ins For Your Emails

A double opt-in is a way that can help in ensuring the subscribers are really interested in getting emails from you.

Well, here, once the user submits the information in the form you have added on-site, you send the email for confirmation.

This does help in getting a few things. First, they get used to opening the emails and signals to the email provider so your email won’t get spam automatically.

It gives the opportunity to ask to save the contact info so your emails don’t get lost.

Managing Your Bounce Rate

Bounce email happens when your mail contains a typo if the email no longer exists or for other different reasons.

  • That’s why you need to look for the bounce emails, and it can help in boosting the email ROI and believability.
  • Email bounces are divided into two categories, including hard bounces and soft.
  • A soft bounce means their problems are temporary, such as server and full inbox, which makes the server down.
  • Here you can resend the email to the address and that will go eventually.
  • Whereas hard bounce happens, it is because of the deliverability problem, which is permanent such as email addresses being invalid.
  • When you have hard bounces, it’s because of the imperative to remove such addresses from the list, and it will keep the Email service providers or ESP happy.
  • ESP tracks the number of bounces you can generate by sending the emails and use it to determine the email’s credibility.
  • When you have too many hard bounces, it means that other users are putting the email in a spam folder.

Provide The opt Down To Subscribers

It’s important that you have the opt-down option in addition to the opt-out option.

  • Well, opt-down lets the subscribers as to how often they want and which emails they prefer to receive from you. 
  • But the subscribers might end up forgetting what they survive and it increases the risk of getting deleted, unsubscribed, or marked for spam folders.
  • These are not something you want for your email campaign.
  • That’s why you should offer the opt-down option, this provides the chance to stay on the list without getting overwhelmed by receiving the correspondence if they don’t want it.

Use The Automation

Marketing automation is an important part of emails; here, you need a CRM automatically send the subscribers to create a list or tag them depending on the actions.

They also need to move your inactive subscribers to a different list. However, instead of doing it manually, you can set up automation. As it does the work on your behalf, it triggers the re-engagement.

You need to get into automation so it can help in improving the work and the whole process. 

Another way that you can use this is to remove the subscribers from the campaign or email workflow, especially those who are no longer applicable.

Understand What Your Email Advice Want

Well, before you clean them in your mail list, it’s important that your current designs align with the ideal audience you are looking for.

With this, look for ways that can help in getting the inactive audience to get their interest back. You can offer content that helps in boosting interest.

That’s why you need to list based on their demographics and interest; for example, you can also send welcome emails to subscribers who are new to this.

Here you can create multiple campaigns; this can drive the rates of conversions too.

Removing The Subscribers Who Are No Longer Active

Inactive subscribers are those audiences who are not clicking the emails or opening and ending the emails in any form. They are no longer in your emails due to any reason.

  • Having subscribers who are engaged will always help in adding the benefit of raising conversion rates.
  • This needs you to remove the inactive subscribers; this will drive your open and click-through rates.
  • Before you do that, make sure you are sending the last email campaign. This could be a feedback campaign to see if you can re-engage with them or not.

Have a look at 10 Reasons Why You Should Never Buy An Email List

What To Do When You Clean Your Email List?

After you have done the cleaning of the email list and apple, you also need to know what to do after this.

Allow some time when you are planning the scrub and know the experience and consistency.

Here are some of the ways that you need to know about it.

Improve The Content You Have

Check what kind of content you have and if it provides value for the subscribers.

If you are only sending sales, discounts, and content regarding the business, then you might be tiring the subscribers.

So you should know what to do in order to entertain them and want to read.

You can even just simply ask or run the survey and ask for the right information.

Send Regularly And As Readers Want

In the survey, you also need to look after what your reader wants.

It means the weekly or biweekly email; you can ask for what you need to know.

You can do the daily updates and know about what your readers want.

You start applying it to your email and know if resources are not enough to make it happen on a daily basis, and it can help in improving the result.

Plan To Clean The List On Daily Basis

Once you know the scrubbing is working for you, it means now you have the knowledge of the benefits of cleaning.

You need to look out for the scrub and time.

So once you know the cleaning, look for the signs and run scheduled on a daily basis.

You can even do it every three months and continue with regular maintenance.

Similar Posts:

Was this article helpful?