Secret Weapon? List Hygiene!

By AdStation | June 21st, 2012 | Categories: Email Marketing

Regular list hygiene is essential for healthy results and reputation. Without proper list hygiene, you risk losing contact with your customers, damaging your sender‘s reputation, and getting your emails blocked by ISPs. Maximizing email deliverability does require managing many factors, but once you understand the various components, the process is fairly straightforward. Ensuring your list is clean and being kept up-to-date will result in blacklist avoidance, maximization of email deliverability, and a reduction in marketing costs associated with bounced emails.

Without getting too much into the topic of blacklists – blacklists are distributed in a format that can be easily queried by internet applications, particularly email servers. If you have ever had the unfortunate circumstance of placement on a blacklist, you have discovered just how painful and time-consuming it is to get yourself off the blacklist. Of the countless infractions that add up to blacklist placement, many (if not all) can be avoided. Perhaps the easiest way to avoid blacklists is indeed listed hygiene. Most importantly for sites falling prey to blacklist pertains to your opt-in. This is a biggie. Any email you send should use confirmed opt-in to guarantee that the user who signed up is the person to whom the e-mail will be sent. One more easily avoidable yet quick way to get blacklisted is to repurpose addresses. It is unwise to collect a user’s email address for one reason such as education and then turn around and email the user about home remodeling. When users sign-up for the service, they expect messages related to education.

List hygiene most definitely affects your industry reputation. ISPs take notice of consistent sends to bad addresses or addresses in which people are not interacting with you. These problems have a direct impact on your organization's ability to deliver messages to an inbox. The importance of scrubbing your list of inactive addresses or closed addresses that will inevitably lead to bounces cannot be stressed enough. Ideally, you should always do an initial list hygiene check before you send from your database or begin working with the ISPs. Even if you don’t have any bounce data, you can still verify if you’re sending to domains that no longer exist. Coincidentally, the better your suppression of inactive email addresses leads to better industry reputation which leads to better reputation with ISPs resulting in maximized email deliverability. It’s a win-win-win!

Reputation aside, list hygiene also makes financial sense. Obviously, the increased deliverability leads to an increase in conversions. Using list hygiene software yourself or outsourcing the work to a certified list enhancement company or data checkers will allow you to reconnect with past customers and prospects as well as improve existing relationships with active users. If you use an email service provider, the removal of faulty email addresses will eradicate the associated CPM charges. Furthermore, if you currently pay a specific CPM rate and your messages are not being received, it will negatively affect your ROI. On a related note, segmenting your list in a smart manner will show a remarkable ROI in the form of more conversions, payouts, and engagement from your email list.

Simply put, the importance of list hygiene should not be ignored as an essential email marketing practice. Some quick points to remember in aiding the cleanliness of your list include:

  • Scrubbing your lists regularly
  • Don’t repurpose addresses
  • Remove inactive addresses
  • Remove and/or correct bad domains
  • Use data checkers

By employing these practices, you can make great strides in your email marketing campaign by avoiding blacklists, safeguarding industry reputation, increasing deliverability, and reducing costs while improving your ROI. This is but just one piece of the puzzle for optimal deliverability. However, it is a stride in the right direction. Until our next newsletter topic, keep your lists clean and good luck!