Email hygiene

Email hygiene is all about keeping your email lists healthy and efficient.

The idea is to clean out all of the inactive and bad addresses that drag down your statistics and affect your deliverability.

Why do you need clean email lists?

Any good marketer knows that they can’t sell anybody their product via email if their emails aren’t reaching the recipient. No matter how much love and effort you put into your marketing campaigns, if your emails don’t land in an inbox, it was all for nothing.

Who decides which emails get delivered and where?

It’s all down to the email service providers (ESP). They receive all the same information as you do when you send out an email campaign: open and click rate, bounce rates, spam complaints, unsubscribes and the rest.

They use all of this information to consider whether your messages are genuine and of interest to their customers, or if you’re another spammer heading for the junk folder—or worse still—blocked.

The data they collect determines your email deliverability. If your previous email campaign was full of bounced email addresses, was rarely opened or read by others, or dumped into spam, those are the email addresses you need to clear out of your system.

What’s included in a good email hygiene process?

Scrubbing your lists for the best possible email hygiene is something you should carry out periodically. Ideally, every six months, but it’s a good idea to perform the same actions before every campaign you send.

  • Check your email deliverability – Online email checkers will let you know the areas of your email where the ESPs mark you down. It could be the format, bad code, or too much spammy text in the body or subject line.
  • Remove inactive subscribers – ESPs look for subscribers on your list that haven’t engaged with your messages for over 120 days. If you can get spot those in advance, and remove them, you’ll stay one step ahead of the ESPs and keep your data in prime shape.
  • Remove bounced addresses – Bounced emails are those that never make it to their associated inbox. That could be for any number of reasons: the email address no longer exists, it isn’t connected to a server, it’s mistyped, fake, disposable or a spam address.
  • Remove any duplicates – A subscriber won’t thank you for sending them multiple copies of the same email, even if it’s their fault for adding their address to your list several times.

Email list validation software for ultimate hygiene

Keeping a clean and healthy list is relatively straightforward for those with only a handful of addresses in their databases, but what happens if you’ve got thousands to check?

Don’t worry—there are plenty of software services that carry out all the checks we’ve mentioned and clean your data for you. Whether you choose their apps or APIs, they’ll keep you clean and healthy, with the most hygienic lists you could hope for.