Updated: Jun 12, 2020
The Benefits of Email List Cleaning
Email Marketing is one of the most useful tools for growing e-commerce revenue without significant ad spend. You're able to communicate directly with consumers, and if you use your emails correctly, you're able to send them the information they are interested in versus spamming their inbox.
In an ideal world, you would be able to chat or email with every customer who visits your store. Point them in the direction of the perfect product for them and tell them how to use it best. Since this isn't an option in real life, the best way to mimic an in-store shopping experience is through sending great content along with updating and maintaining your email list.
Why does cleaning your email list matter?
Imagine your sending mail over and over to a neighbor who has asked you to stop. It would be rude and a huge turnoff. It's the same way with email marketing. Once someone has unsubscribed, you should immediately remove them. It's illegal to NOT include a unsubscribe button with your business address and name at the bottom of every email you send on behalf of your business.
The next step on cleaning your list allows you to segment and categorize customers based on their interests. Let's say you sell kitchen supplies, and you have customers who are interested solely in Cheeseboards. You can organize your lists so that you are sending customized emails based on a client's product interest, as opposed to sending the same mass email out to everyone. Time and again, you will hear marketing experts say, focus on one thing, appeal to one niche, don't go for the broad showing because then everyone slips through the cracks.
By showing your customers, you know they like a particular type of product, like Cheeseboards and only sending them content on that topic, you're indicating that while they are shopping online, you still can offer them a personalized, easy shopping experience.
Here are a few "need-to-knows" for email list cleaning:
1) Increase Email Deliverability
On the most basic level having good deliverability, rating indicates your emails are going to the right place. A high deliverability rating is one of the best ways to monitor the health of your email marketing campaigns.
As your deliverability rate lowers, so does your reputation with internet service providers (ISPs). A poor reputation will lower your deliverability even further. Avoid this death spiral by cleaning your email list regularly to eliminate invalid data and keep your internet presence polished and healthy. For more information on how to best manage email deliverability, check out our guide here.
2) Lower your Bounce Rate
Another excellent way to measure your email list health is by monitoring your bounce rate. List cleaning keeps your bounce rate low by removing the invalid, discontinued, and fake emails that are responsible for most hard bounces and identifying risky ones that could lead to additional hard or soft bounces.
You want your bounce rate between 3 - 5%. If it goes above that, your deliverability rating will go down immediately. Once you get to 10-15%, your delivery rate nosedives, and you will rarely, if ever, land properly in a consumer's inbox. If your bounce rate goes above 3 to 5%, you will immediately see a negative impact on your deliverability and inboxing rates. At 8 to 10%, your delivery rates will start to drop dramatically.
Additionally, some systems employed by email service providers, like Mailchimp, will suspend your account if you exceed the standard bounce rate for your industry.
3) Get in the Inbox
Email hygiene, like good dental hygiene, requires regular maintenance.
Even if your emails are sending and the deliverability looks good, there is a high possibility your emails are going to junk folders. Google, Windows, MSN, and all the major email providers are using advanced filtering systems to determine if your email goes out or in.
Just because your deliverability rate looks good, it doesn't necessarily mean you're in the clear. If your email hygiene isn't excellent, some of those emails are most likely being "delivered" to junk mail folders.
So, how do you get in the primary inbox?
We know we sound like we're beating a dead horse here, but a big part of your deliverability rating and sender reputation is based on delivering good email content. Sharing relevant, engaging, and helpful content goes a really long way to generating customer loyalty and, thus, sales. The other side of increasing your ratings and ending up in the right inbox is list cleaning.
When you send to unresponsive, inactive, discontinued, or otherwise empty email addresses, email providers see the open rate decline and will flag your account. Once you've done this kind of damage to your sender reputation, it's hard to fix and can be permanent.
The moral of the story is always to use a list of email addresses collected from people interested in your company/products. And clean out your data, so you're not sending emails to uninterested parties and damaging your sender rating.
4) Let's Save Some Money
Would you change email service providers to save 22% on your annual bill? If so, then you should be cleaning your lists.
Email data degrades at an estimated rate of around 22% per year as people switch jobs, change addresses, or otherwise disappear from the digital space. If you haven't cleaned your list in a year, then you are paying to send emails to accounts that are no longer active. We definitely don't recommend this; neither does your accountant.
5) Use Email Data to Increase Overall ROI
Bigger is not necessarily better when it comes to email list size, and it can feel really counterproductive to essentially delete 50-80% of your email list once you start looking at whose opening and who isn't. But, we have seen significant upticks in overall open and click-thru rates after every client list cleaning because the sender reputation increases, and email providers aren't directing all the sent emails straight to a junk box. You then are given a list of engaged customers and chunk of data that let's you target them in the best way possible.
The main goal of emails is to get in front of your customers and ideally bring them to purchasing on your site. When your emails are running correctly, with good content, excellent list management, and regular calls to action, you can expect that for every $1 you spend on email marketing, you will see an average return of $42 (DMA, 2019).
Email list cleaning is not a glamorous job and can often be tedious, but it is an essential step when working to grow your email marketing profits. If you're already making great content and sending regularly (at least once a week) then list cleaning is the next step in increasing your sales from email marketing.
Feel free to reach us at email@example.com for any list cleaning or email marketing questions!