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Why You Need to Scrub Your Email List (and How to Do It)

By September 5, 2019No Comments

The money is in the list, right? It certainly can be. The problem? A lot of newer marketers start off by building great email lists and then ignore them.

What happens if you ignore a growing list? Believe it or not, it becomes less effective. The good news is you can keep your list in tip-top shape by giving it a good scrub from time to time.

Why You Need to Scrub Your List

One of the things you start to look for as you grow your list is your click-to-open (CTO) ratio. The CTO represents a combination of people who are engaging with the email as well as with the content (by clicking through to your website or ads).

Here’s the thing, though. People lose interest in the email lists they’ve subscribed to for any number of reasons. You may inadvertently offend someone, they may find a product they like better, or they might just end up bored or busy. At some point, those people will stop opening your emails. Even worse? Instead of taking a few seconds to unsubscribe, they’ll eventually hit the SPAM button, which is not at all good for your statistics and reputation.

There’s another problem. Despite the fact you may have a list of thousands, a lot of the major email platforms will deliver a partial batch, wait to see how a portion of your list responds, and then send the rest. If you end up with a shitty open rate, have people delete without opening, or get too many immediate spam flags, your email platform will send the rest to spam right away.

That seriously sucks.

Even worse? (Yeah, it can get worse.) If you’re using a marketing service to buy your list (which we really, really hope you’re not doing), you’re going to end up paying to send those emails to spam.

Whooosh! That’s the sound of your money going down the toilet.

How to Scrub Your List

Don’t panic. There’s a solution.

How you go about scrubbing your list will depend on the sending platform you’re using. You should, at a minimum, be able to review some daily, weekly, and monthly reports.

  • See email addresses bouncing? Purge them.
  • See emails going to spam? Purge those addresses.
  • See people who haven’t opened any of your emails in the past 30, 60, or 90 days (this will depend on your niche and goals)? Delete. Delete. Delete.

Some marketers will send a last-call email to people who simply haven’t been opening the emails, letting them know that if they don’t open they’ll be deleted. Believe it or not, this does sometimes motivate people to open their emails — especially those who are always looking for a good deal and don’t want to be left out in the future.

Some email platforms, like our favorite — Campaigner — will allow you to set up segmented lists that will automatically ensure you are only sending to people who have opened their emails in a certain timeframe. Your list will stay fresh and your CTO numbers will stay steady.

At the end of the day, your email list is only as valuable as you make it. Let it get saturated with irrelevant lurkers and your success rate will suffer. Keep it fresh and shiny and you’ll be pleased with the results.