7 Practices to Better Email List Cleaning

Would you like to lower your bounce rate, increase engagement and open rate, and reduce the costs of your marketing campaigns?

I bet, you would!

How do you achieve that?

By cleaning your email list.

But before we dive into list cleaning practices, let’s talk about the importance of having a clean mailing list and consequences of sending emails to a “dirty” list.

Why Clean Your Email List

Needless to say, purchasing or harvesting email addresses is a big “no-no.”

But even if you’re collecting emails by a confirmed opt-in method, your email list still needs to be cleaned.

Even opt-in email lists can become outdated over time and contain abandoned email addresses, addresses of people who are no longer interested in your content, and fake email addresses that people submitted only to get your lead magnet.

It’s important to remove all these from your list for several reasons:

Firstly, if subscribers do not wish to receive your mailings anymore, they may report your emails as spam instead of simply unsubscribing from the list. One study showed that about 40% of recipients do it because they can’t find the unsubscribe link or don’t trust it.

If enough subscribers are sending complaints, your future campaigns will be automatically sent to the junk folders of other recipients who still care of your messages.

But that’s not the only reason your emails land in the spam folder. There are other signals of spam such as low open rates and high bounce rates. It means that if a lot of people do not interact with your messages, email providers will consider your campaigns as “spam” and the users who really love what you send won’t get your emails.

So, cleaning your email list is the first step to eliminating filtering and blocking problems and reducing your campaigns costs.


If you are really worried about your email list hygiene or noticed a drop in your open rate over the past time, check the list cleaning practices below that you can apply right now.

7 tips for cleaning your email list:

1. Remove People Who Didn’t Explicitly Opt-In

There are several ways to get people on your list, but the only legal way is to allow users to personally subscribe to your list. It is also the best way to come up with a valid and quality list.

Purchased or scrapped email lists are known to contain invalid addresses and spam traps, which will increase bounce rates and risk of blacklisting problems. Even if the email addresses are valid, those people did not opt-in to your list and are likely to report your emails as spam.

With this said, ask the user’s permission through a sign-up form on your website or social media before adding them to your list. And remove addresses you did not collect using a permission-based method.

2. Remove Misspelled Email Addresses

Misspelled email addresses can dramatically increase your bounce rates. That’s why it’important that you check and correct obvious misspellings like jonh@gmailcom, mary@outlook.coom, or glenn!yahoo.com.

To protect yourself from misspelled addresses and reduce manual work, set up a confirmed opt-in process on your website which means that users must confirm their subscription by clicking the link in the confirmation email.

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