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Unlocking Email Deliverability: 5 Strategies for Good Email List Hygiene

A recent report by Statista found that spam emails as a percentage of total email traffic increased from 45% to 49% from 2021 to 2022. As a result of this email service providers have increased their spam filters and strengthened their security measures to put a stop to this upsurge in spam emails. So what does this mean for us email marketers and the email marketing sector. 


In this blog we look into strategies for good email list hygiene and how email marketers can maximise their deliverability:


Why is Email Deliverability So Important?

Put simply, you want to maintain good email deliverability and a healthy domain so that your emails actually reach your audience’s inbox. Afterall what’s the point in crafting perfect emails, writing catchy subject lines and specifically targeting emails if they end up in the spam folder? Click here for our full guide on why Domain Health is important in email marketing

Maintaining a hygienic email list is the only way to consistently reach your audiences inbox and keep them up to date with your email marketing efforts. By doing so you will have a modest list of subscribers who are consistently engaged as opposed to a huge list of people who don’t care about your business or your message. 


What Does a Healthy List Do?

Maintaining a healthy list means that your deliverability will remain high, high deliverability means your emails will end up in the inbox of your audience. 


Once you have sent an email there are 3 possible outcomes:

  • The email bounces from the recipient’s email server (hard or soft bounce)
  • The email provider blocks the email or marks it as spam.
  • The email arrives successfully in the recipient’s inbox.


Whether your emails get blocked, end up in spam or reach the inbox is down to your sender reputation also known as domain health. Poor domain health or a bad sender reputation means that email providers have recognised you as someone who is untrustworthy or someone who sends spam emails. 


Your sender reputation is determined by:

  • Emails that bounced
  • Number of Spam complaints
  • Previous unsubscribers

So how does sender reputation relate to deliverability and email list hygiene?


If you don’t keep up to date with your list hygiene then you will end up sending marketing  emails to uninterested inactive and invalid email addresses. This will result in high bounce rates from the inactive/ invalid addresses and high unsubscribe and spam complaints from those who aren’t interested in your business thus ruining your sender reputation.


A healthy, hygienic list means stronger relationships with your subscribers. While not every customer is going to turn out to be a loyal brand ambassador when you keep your email list clean it allows you to filter out inactive customers and people who have lost interest or purchased elsewhere. 


Permission-based Opt-ins:

Building your email list with permission-based opt-ins is the foundation of good email list hygiene. Always ensure that you obtain explicit consent from individuals before adding them to your mailing list. Not only is this good practice, it is now a legal requirement to obtain permission before contact people via email, failing to do so is in breach of GDPR and can lead to hefty fines and charges. 

It isn’t uncommon to see businesses implement double opt in processes as an extra layer of hygiene for their email list. A double opt-in process would usually come in the form of a verification link within the sign up email, meaning that you not only have to input your email address, you also have to open your inbox, click a link and return to the website to confirm your interest. This ensures that the email address provided is valid and owned by the subscriber. Double opt-in not only helps maintain a clean email list but also reduces the chances of fake or spam email addresses being added to your list.


Identify Inactive and Unengaged Addresses and Regularly Cleanse Your List:

Over time, email addresses can become invalid, inactive or simply uninterested, leading to bounced emails, decreased deliverability and unsubscribes. By Implementing regular email list cleansing and removing email addresses that consistently bounce or show inactivity you can ensure your sender reputation isn’t damaged. Your chosen email marketing software will most likely have tools to identify and eliminate invalid and unengaged email addresses, reducing the chances of hard bounces and spam complaints.


Re-Engagement Campaigns:

Before you remove any seemingly inactive uninterested subscribers from your email list, try winning them back with a re-engagement campaign. These campaigns target subscribers who have shown little interest in recent campaigns and communications. By sending a re-engagement campaign you can potentially bring back those people who have lost interest with some complimentary deals or offers or you will be able to identify those who are no longer interested in your business/ services. 


Closely Monitor Engagement Metrics:

Monitoring key engagement metrics, such as open rates, click-through rates, and unsubscribe rates, provides valuable insights into the health of your email list. Low engagement rates can indicate inactive subscribers, recipients who are not interested in your content or simply poorly generated content. Regularly track and evaluate these metrics and while removing non-engaged subscribers to maintain list hygiene and improve your businesses overall deliverability.

Wrap Up

Maintaining a clean and hygienic email list is vital for successful email marketing campaigns. By implementing the strategies we mentioned above, you can improve your email list hygiene, enhance deliverability rates, and maximise the impact of your email marketing efforts.

Regularly cleansing and segmenting your list, along with monitoring engagement metrics and complying with anti-spam laws, will ensure that your messages reach the right audience, resulting in higher open rates, click-through rates, and conversions.

If you would rather leave this to the professionals then let us cover all this for you. At Inboxx we provide bespoke direct email marketing solutions for businesses, getting you noticed by the people that matter and boosting your revenue.