Why You Should Clean Your Email List | Want to make sure you reach your audience consistently? Clean your email list! Find out how this process can lower costs and improve conversions.

How’s your email list looking? We’ve talked about how important it is to build an email list, but it’s just as crucial to clean that list regularly. 

Email marketing isn’t about engaging with as many people as possible. It’s better to communicate with your target audience — people who know your brand and are likely to buy from you.

That’s why it’s essential to clean your email list. It’s a relatively simple process that can have a big impact on vital metrics, including deliverability (percentage of people on your list that receive your emails), bounce rate (percentage of email addresses that are not valid or deliverable), and conversions (who clicks and buys from your emails).

Why It’s Important to Clean Your Email List

1 | Improve Essential Metrics

If you never clean your email list, it builds up a high number of unengaged subscribers. And if you have lots of people who never click on your emails, your open rate takes a huge hit. 

By removing the people who never open your emails, you get a more accurate look at how well your email marketing campaign is performing.

Cleaning your email list can also improve deliverability numbers and reduce your bounce rate — both of which are critical statistics to optimize. 

An outdated email list with lots of invalid, fake, or discontinued emails will have a high bounce rate. And that can significantly impact your deliverability rates. 

Some email service providers will even suspend an account that exceeds the industry-standard  bounce rate. You don’t want that to happen to you!

In general, it’s best if your bounce rate is less than 3%. If your rate starts creeping higher than that, it’s probably a good time to clean your email list. A bounce rate of 8% or more is usually a sign that something’s wrong.

Related post: How to Grow Your Email List With a Free Challenge

2 | Reduce Costs

Having a clean email list also reduces your costs. Why? Because most email marketing providers charge based on the number of subscribers on your email list.

You don’t want to be paying extra to send emails to bots, invalid addresses, or people who no longer engage with your brand.

One study shows that the average decay rate for email data is 22% per year. That means that if you go more than a year in between email list cleanings, you could be paying over 20% more than necessary to your email marketing provider! 

And cleaning your list won’t just save you money — it can grow your revenue too. An accurate and up-to-date email list ensures that your messages go to real people who like your brand. In other words, the people who are most likely to buy from you!

Related post: How to Create Revenue-Boosting Offers in 2023

3 | Protect Your Customers’ Data and Your Reputation

Regularly cleaning your email list helps protect your data — and your customers’ data! Your audience trusted you with their email addresses, and it’s vital to repay that trust by doing what you can to protect that sensitive information.

And because cleaning your email list reduces bounce rates and undelivered emails, it helps you protect your brand’s reputation as well. No one wants to work with a company that looks like a spammer.

How can you optimize your email marketing campaign and reduce costs? Clean your email list regularly! Find out how to keep your email list clean and relevant.Click To Tweet

4 | Do an Initial Sweep for Duplicates and Syntax Errors

All right, you’ve decided it’s time to clean your email list. What’s the first step?

Think about it like cleaning your house — do an initial sweep for all the obvious issues. Start by looking for duplicate subscribers who might have accidentally signed up multiple times. 

And don’t forget to go through and look for typos and syntax errors. Of course, you can’t necessarily know if someone misspelled the first part of their email address, but you can find and remove obvious mistakes:

  • Misspelled domains, like “mgail”
  • Unsupported characters
  • Missing endings, like “.com”
  • Extra spaces

It’s also a good idea to look for any generic addresses, like “[email protected],” and remove them.

5 | Segment and Scrub Your Email List

Now that you’ve taken care of the big issues, you can deep-clean your email list. This is the perfect time to go in and segment your email list — especially if you’ve never done it before.

When you’re segmenting your list during the cleaning process, one option is to separate your subscribers into three groups:

  • Engaged recipients
  • Semi-engaged recipients
  • Disengaged recipients

Take a quick look through your engaged recipient list. You probably won’t need to change much, but you can see if there are any glaring issues or areas for improvement.

Next, spend time on that middle group. Take a look at your metrics and see if you can determine what makes this group tick. If you can figure that out, you can make changes to your marketing strategy to get more of these recipients to move to the “engaged recipients” segment. 

For example, one option is to email this group and ask them to add you to their contacts list to keep your emails from going to spam.

Finally, take a look at your disengaged recipients …

6 | Re-engage or Determine Why Subscribers Left

This group may contain several types of people. Some of them may have changed to a new email address and stopped checking the old one.

Others may legitimately not align with your brand or content anymore.

And there may be others who are still interested but have just been really busy.

Before you write off the recipients in this group altogether, try to re-engage them. One option is to send a follow-up email asking them to confirm that they still want to receive your emails.

You can also incorporate a quick feedback option for clients who choose to unsubscribe instead of confirming. Don’t ask them to write an essay about why they’re leaving — just give them a few easy options to choose from:

  • Too many emails
  • Not enough emails
  • Irrelevant content
  • No longer interested

Any information you can get about why subscribers leave can help you update your email marketing strategy going forward.

Related post: How to Get People to Engage With Your Email Newsletter

Final Thoughts 

Email marketing can be a powerful tool to grow your audience and increase your revenue. But you can’t just focus on growing your email list — you need to clean it too.

How do you know when it’s time to clean? Your metrics will show you. When you start to see high bounce rates or lots of undeliverable emails, it’s probably time to clean your list.

You can also create a regular cleaning schedule, like every few months or during the slow times for your industry. 

When you consistently clean your email list, you protect your reputation, lower costs, and ensure that your communications are going to the right people.

Want to learn how to build an email list and use it effectively? Join us over in Beautiful Biz Lounge! 

We’ve got a brand-new marketing guide that walks you through each step of creating a list of people who want to buy from you! With this comprehensive guide, you’ll get all the critical information you need to develop a successful email marketing strategy:

  • Deciding which platform to use
  • Creating lead magnets and sign-up incentives
  • Crafting an attractive and effective landing page
  • Integrating lead magnets with social media
  • Deciding how to communicate with your audience
  • Figuring out what to do when people unsubscribe

A strong, up-to-date email list is a powerful marketing tool. And this guide makes it easy to build your list, even if you’re starting from scratch.

And remember, joining Beautiful Biz Lounge gives you access to all of our previous marketing guides. 

PLUS, you’ll enjoy monthly membership perks including stock photos, customizable Canva templates, and training materials from guest experts!

Ready to get your email marketing strategy in gear? Join Beautiful Biz Lounge for just $29 per month or $197 for the whole year — that’s like getting 5 months free!