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Eight Ways to Clean an Email List (and Keep it Clean)

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06 Jan 2021


It is a difficult task to grow and manage your email list. That's because it decays over time as contacts change their email address or people opt out for various reasons. There's nothing you can do to prevent this natural decay, but you can focus on maintaining a clean email list. In this article, we'll be discussing how to clean your email list and keep it clean.

1. Define how often you need to clean up your list.

Deciding on how often you will clean your email list depends on the email marketing program. Generally, studies recommend you clean it every six months for most email programs. However, a larger email list requires frequent cleaning than a smaller email list. As you review your engagement rate, it gives you an idea of your email list's overall health and how often you need to clean it. Whatever frequency you choose, what's important is that you stick to it. But you need to revisit your cleaning frequency each year and determine if it needs more or less cleaning. Below are tips for maintaining a clean email list.

2. Make It Easy to Sign Up.

This is the simplest way to clean your email list. Sign up forms should be all over your website, so it is easy for subscribers to subscribe to your mailing list. You can place it at the top and bottom of your website and articles. There should also be a statement in every email you send to urge people to sign up. You can take your email campaign offline by creating paper forms for people to sign up at events, seminars, or trade shows.

3. Create Compelling Contents.

Putting valuable content on your website should be top of your priority in keeping your email list clean. The content should be relevant to your ideal customer. It attracts their attention to your social media platform and increases the rate at which they sign up on your mailing list. If you hope to grow your brand, you should create only useful content. Your content must be good that if they don't see it, they will search through your page or website. Creating useful content takes time and effort. Don't settle to create average content. Your aim should be to create phenomenal content.

4. Send Welcome Emails to Your New Subscribers.

A new subscriber on your mailing list is more eager to receive your emails than old subscribers. So, take advantage of this phase by sending welcome emails to the subscribers. It makes them feel they made a wise decision to sign up for your mailing list. Always give your new subscribers something that is valuable and can meet their needs, and they will always be eager to open your email. You can invite your new subscribers to reply to your email and connect with you on social media. Sending welcome emails can make a difference in the level of subscriber engagement in the future.

5. Remove Inactive Subscribers.

It might sound strange to remove inactive subscribers from your mailing list proactively, but it is the best practice to improve your ROI. Removing inactive subscribers ensures your mailing list contains only subscribers who are engaged. However, before outrightly removing inactive subscribers, you can carry out a re-engagement campaign to regain their interest. You can offer an incentive that will capture their attention again. If it doesn't work, you can ask them if they want to be on your mailing list, and you can include an easy way for them to unsubscribe from your mailing list. You can also send a notification reminding them that their subscription period is due, and if they remain inactive, then it's best to remove them from your mailing list.

6. Confirm email subscriptions.

Confirming email addresses upon sign up is the best way to keep your email list clean. Studies recommend that you create a double opt-in method because it ensures the subscriber genuinely wants to subscribe to your mailing list. Double opt-in ensures the subscribers enter their email address on your sign-up form, and they confirm again after a confirmation link has been sent to their email address. It may require more work for your subscribers, but it is worth it for you and your subscribers because it automatically removes invalid email addresses from your mailing list.

7. Set up a re-engagement campaign.

When you notice your subscribers repeatedly ignore your email, you need to do a re-engagement campaign. There's no need to send emails to subscribers who don't want to receive your emails. You can ask them if they still want to receive your emails or not. In the re-engagement campaign, include an unsubscribe link that is easy for them to use. If they don't reply, you can remove them from your mailing list.

8. Use software to clean your email list for you.

Many email service providers have systems that automatically clean your email list. Some come with extra features that allow you to upload your list, and they make a report for you with a clean version of your email list.


The major focus of marketers and organizations is growing and managing their email list. It is essential to add new subscribers to your mailing list; however, it is more important to maintain a clean email list. Having a large list of unengaged subscribers on your mailing can affect your email marketing technique. It means you are wasting your time, money, and effort. It can also lead to a low deliverability rate. A low email deliverability rate can lead to the suspension of your email account by internet service providers.

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