Email Marketing List Hygiene: A Quick Intro

Cleaning Woman Maid with Duster on White

Time to spring clean your data?

Key findings of the seventh edition of the Email Marketing Industry Census, published by Econsultancy last week, have shown that marketers cite the ‘quality of the email database’ as a major barrier to effective email marketing.

Despite the respondents identifying this barrier to performance, the report also found that ‘only 49% carry out any regular list cleansing’. This is a worrying statistic because in-depth and methodical list-management practices can actually make or break an email-marketing campaign.

To run successful email marketing campaigns, email marketers not only need to know how to build a list, but they need to master the art of maintaining a clean one.

Want a squeaky clean list of your own? Here are our top tips:

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Tame the Typos

The first step in list cleansing should be to remove misspellings and typos. When opting in to your emails, some subscribers may have made simple errors which have resulted in them never actually receiving a single email from you.

Look for missing dots in the ‘.com &’ and misspelt domains like ‘yaoo’ (yahoo) and ‘gmal’ (gmail).

Delete Duplicates

There’s no point in having duplicates on your list. If you do, you may be inadvertently bombarding your subscribers with second, third and fourth messages all containing identical content. This can be very annoying for subscribers who will often eventually unsubscribe entirely.

Encourage Engagement

Although it may appear counterproductive to actively reduce the length of your email marketing list, there’s little or no point in continually sending newsletters or promotions to those who simply delete every message that you send them without so much as glancing at it first.


Before you start hacking away at your list and binning unengaged subscribers, try to see if they can be re-engaged by:

  • Offering them a special/one off deal
  • Allowing them to opt back in only to the messages they’d like to engage with going forward
  • By offering them an exclusive download or report

When was the last time you cleaned your email marketing list? I’d love to read your thoughts, tips and questions on this post. Please don’t hesitate to speak your mind below, or tweet @dotMailer – we always respond.

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