Proactively Remove Unengaged Email Addresses


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Avoiding the spam folder is about more than the content of your email and responding to unsubscribes. While those are still important, a growing factor in whether your email gets to the inbox is how much the people you send to want to receive your email. In other words, if you remove the recipients who don’t want your email, those ones who do want it are more likely to see it.

SendGrid provides click and open tracking. The Event Webhook sends along events when triggered by a recipient’s engagement–an open or a click. If you proactively remove those who haven’t engaged, you may save yourself a future spam report. Plus, it looks bad to email providers if recipients don’t even want to read your email.

Remove the Unengaged

If someone has not opened or clicked an email in several months, stop sending. How often you send will determine your threshold for removing addresses. If you send daily (or more), you might want to remove the unengaged after two or three months.

You’ll need to track the date that each recipient last engaged and periodically remove those beyond your threshold. Alternatively, you can store all event data and query it for the unengaged.

Other than removing a recipient, there are a couple other things you can try to win them back.

Scale Back Your Frequency

Before removing a recipient who appears unengaged, try sending email less often to that recipient. For example, if you’re sending an email for specific actions within your app (such as new followers or comments), you may be barraging the recipient with multiple emails per day. Try stepping down to a daily digest. If that doesn’t work, only send a couple times a week, then weekly and so on.

Pay close attention to the engagement metrics for these accounts receiving email less frequently. If you see them engaging again, beware increasing the frequency. They have told you, via cold, hard data, how often they want to receive emails. Are you listening?

Re-engagement Campaigns

As a last appeal to the unengaged, send a special email attempting to re-engage them with your application. It’s possible they care, but have been too busy to click. Or maybe they read your emails from top to bottom, but never turn on images. This win-back campaign will be your last shot before you remove them completely.

The type of application you have will determine how you try to get someone to re-engage. If you are an ecommerce site, you can offer a deal in an effort to get their business again. Get creative, but remember the idea here is to get them to click because they find what you normally send interesting. You’re just changing things up a bit to get their attention.

Finally, for those that you don’t win back, you’ll need to remove them from future mailings. Just remember that a higher level of average engagement will help email deliverability and it also saves you money. So, ignore the desire for a bigger list and aim to send good email to people who look forward to its arrival.

For more on how the Event Webhook can help you reach the next level of email sophistication, download the Event Webhook Guide.


Adam DuVander speaks fluent "developer" while serving as Developer Communications Director. He helps SendGrid connect to coders of all stripes. Previously Adam wrote for Wired, Webmonkey and edited ProgrammableWeb, the leading resource for APIs.

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