Email List Hygiene: 5 Tips to Help You Keep Your Lists Clean


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spongeGood list hygiene is a key best practice for any email program. You must get rid of invalid, non-responsive and duplicate email addresses every chance you get. We recommend reviewing and cleaning your list every 6 months—just be sure to pick an interval and stick to it. Here are 5 helpful tips on how to properly scrub your list:

1. Don’t purchase lists from third party vendors

How you get them is how you’ll lose them. While you may reap some immediate benefits, the majority of the file won’t earn you much. Because of the nature of these lists, these users are more likely to hit the spam button first and ask questions later.

2. Remove role accounts

Only mail to actual people. That means automatically remove abuse@; support@; info@, etc. email addresses. More than likely these emails have not opted into your list so it’s best to get them off your list fast.

3. Remove bounces and invalids

Most systems automatically remove hard bounces after two tries, and that is a good thing. You don’t want to continuously mail to invalid email addresses as this can have a negative impact on your metrics, especially your delivery rates.

4. Remove inactives

We may sound like a broken record, but we urge you to remove non-responders from your list on a regular basis. If people aren’t engaging with your messages, you should stop sending them email, especially since ISPs are looking at engagement metrics to determine delivery.

5. Confirm subscriptions

Double opt-in is a great way to ensure that the subscriber truly wants your email. It also automatically helps purge bad email addresses from you list immediately.

Given that traditionally 20% of email goes undelivered, you want to make sure you follow the best practices–including email list hygiene–that will get you to the inbox.

If you need a refresher, download our free Email Deliverability Guide. It contains everything you need to know about delivering email through your web application.


Carly Brantz is a veteran in the email deliverability space working to make email simple and easy for developers by regularly writing whitepapers, research briefs and blog posts about email, technology and industry trends.

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