What Does Cleaning Your Email List Mean?

Cleaning Email Mean

What Does Cleaning Your Email List Mean? When was the last time you cleaned your email list? Chances are that like most marketers and businesses, you have never cleaned your email list. Email marketing is a constantly evolving form of digital marketing that requires improved targeting and approaches as your email list starts to grow.

Yet, many marketers fail to evolve with the changing demands. They simply blast out emails to as many people as possible and then hope that some of them stick. This is not the best practice and it is in no way an effective marketing strategy.

As time progresses, so does your list and you need to constantly cater to these changes for the most effective marketing results. Cleaning your email list is a huge part of changing your approach while effectively catering to changing demands.

Let’s discuss some of the benefits of cleaning your email list and how you can do it.

But first…

What Does Cleaning Your Email List Mean?

Cleaning your email list simply means removing all the unengaged, inactive, or uninterested users from the list. While it may seem like the opposite of growing your list, which is one of the primary objectives for any business, cleaning is very important in terms of efficiency.

If you have a contact who never opens your emails, let alone clicks on your call to action (CTA), they are only wasting your efforts, time, and money. You can better utilize these resources elsewhere to be more productive in other aspects of your business.

Benefits of Cleaning Your Email List

Apart from saving you resources, here are some other major benefits of cleaning your email list.

  • Improved Open & Click-Through Rates

It stands to reason that if you clean your email list, you are effectively only sending emails to those people who are interested in opening your email and clicking through them. This significantly improves your open and click-through rates.

While this does not directly affect you because these are the same people who opened your emails previously, it does help in some indirect ways including the following.

  • Decreased Spam Reports

When you clean your email list, the chances that your emails will get reported as spam decreases sharply. This is because some subscribers may mark your email as spam if they forget that they signed up for them, do not want to receive emails from you or are simply not interested anymore.

Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and email providers, like Outlook, Gmail and others, keep track of these spam reports and if you have too many of them against you, it affects your email reputation.

They will automatically start sending your emails to users’ spam folders instead of their inboxes, even those users who did not report any spam activity from you.

This is terrible for your deliverability rates and it damages your leads, conversions, sales and the overall ROI of your email campaigns. Cleaning out your email means fewer spam reports and better deliverability for optimum ROI.

  • Decreased Bounce Rate

Email bounce can occur for a number of reasons including:

  • Technical errors
  • The receiver’s inbox being full
  • Receiver changing their email address

These result in your emails bouncing and not reaching your intended target, which affects your deliverability rates and impacts your reputation, similar to how spam reports do.

  • Reduced Expenses

Many email marketing platforms will bill you depending on the number of emails you send, or the number of contacts you have, or both. This means that cleaning your email list can save you money on contacts and emails that are not bringing you returns.

  • Improved Reporting

Measuring your campaigns and using that data to shape your future marketing is crucial for any business. By cleaning your email list, you remove any unengaged users that may affect the integrity of this data and your subsequent actions in shaping future marketing.

When you have a cleaner email list, you can accurately collect data from your engaged subscribers for improved reporting to take better actions in shaping your future marketing strategy.

Cleaning Your Email List

Now that you know the benefits, you will want to implement cleaning your email list. It is much simpler than you may think. Here are some effective ways to clean your email list.

1. Check Your List for Errors

This is your first move toward a clean email list. Check your list thoroughly for any errors like typos or misspellings. Removing email addresses with errors that make them invalid will save you from sending out emails that never reach a valid destination.

Similarly, remove all email addresses which are distribution, system email addresses, like marketing@company.com or post@company.com, or email addresses that have ‘spam’ written in them. Some email marketing platforms will have built-in tools to help you remove such email addresses.

Use these tools to their full advantage.

2. Observe Subscriber Feedback

It is important to observe and pay attention to those subscribers or contacts who have complaints or are likely to report spam against your messages. Complaints will help you identify them and remove them from your email list before they damage your reputation with email providers and ISPs, who take note of spam reports.

3. Manage Email Bounce

Managing your email list to reduce bounce rates is important. You can do this by first separating hard and soft bounce emails and then removing them accordingly.

  • Hard Bounce
    Hard bounce occurs when you send emails to an invalid email address. This impacts your bounce rate for no reason because the emails sent are not being delivered anywhere. Remove all email addresses that return a hard bounce.
  • Soft Bounce
    A soft bounce occurs when you send emails to a full inbox or to servers that may temporarily be out of service. You can resend emails to these contacts because chances are you will get through after a few attempts.

Email providers and ISPs keep track of your bounce rate to assess your reputation. High bounce rates will have a negative impact on your reputation and may result in them blocking your emails or redirecting them to the spam folder.

This is why it is important to manage soft bounce and remove all hard bounce email addresses from your email list.

  • Removing Unengaged Contacts & Reengagement Campaigns

As mentioned earlier, removing unengaged contacts is important to clean your email list but before you do this, you should run a reengagement campaign first. It can help reengage users by offering some kind of incentive to grab their interest again.

If this fails, you can send emails asking them if they are still interested in your emails and offering an easy opt-out option if they do not want your emails anymore. You can also let them know that their subscription is expiring, and they need to opt-in again in order to continue receiving your emails.

If they remain unresponsive for a while, you should take action and remove their email addresses from your email list.


It is always better to have a smaller active email list than a larger inactive one. It will help you save resources; it will improve open and click-through rates, improve reporting, decrease bounce rates, and most importantly, avoid spam reports.

Do not let unengaged users destroy your reputation or ROI from email marketing and start cleaning your email list instead.


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