0814_Email-List-Hygiene (1)Your email list is one of the most valuable marketing assets your small business owns. As such, it’s important to give your list the care it deserves by keeping it clean.

Why should you regularly clean your email list? Here are two big reasons:

  • Sending your email campaign to an old or stale list can result in a high number of spam complaints, undeliverable mail (bounces), and unsubscribes. This raises a red flag with internet service providers, spam monitors, and email service providers. If you get in trouble with these groups, your email account could be suspended. You could also face fines.
  • Your “dirty” email list can cost you beyond penalty fines. Sending an email campaign to an uninterested audience wastes your marketing time and money.

Once you are on board with the “why” it’s time to start planning the “how”.


3 Ways to Maintain a Clean Email List

1. Opt for an Opt-In List: The best way to build an email list is to have folks opt-in to receive emails. Gaining permission first goes a long way to establishing an eager email audience. Just because someone is a customer or patient, it doesn’t mean that they want you to email them.

2. Remove Recipients Who Bounce: A bounced email is an email message that was rejected for delivery by the recipient’s email server. Whether it’s a hard or soft bounce, it means the recipient didn’t get your message. And if your total bounce rate creeps higher than 2%, you’ll start facing other deliverability issues. Be proactive and remove these folks from your list.

3. Make Unsubscribing Easy. What?! Making it easy for someone to leave your list sounds counterintuitive. But if you make it difficult to unsubscribe, people who want off your list have an easy alternative: mark your message as spam.

Spam complaints are a serious matter. Rack up enough and not only will internet service providers start blocking your emails, your email marketing service account may get shut down. It’s a much smarter strategy to make it easy to unsubscribe.


Maintaining a clean email list may result in a smaller list overall, which can be a good thing. A smaller, targeted audience is more likely to be a responsive audience. Keep your email list clean, regularly send interesting content, and watch your email marketing efforts pay off.


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