Email hygiene is the practice of keeping your mailing list clean and free of dirty email addresses. Some of these emails are from users who have gone inactive, become disengaged, been wrongly entered, or have used fake addresses, spambots, and spam traps.
The main benefit of email hygiene is that it helps you maintain a good IP address, business, and sender’s reputation. Because of this, your deliverability rates remain high and you can ensure that your campaigns land on your customers’ inboxes while still being able to reach out to more prospects.
How should you do email hygiene properly? There are plenty of ways you can follow. Read on and find out what they are.
1. Eliminate email addresses that have bounced
There are times when your sent campaigns bounce not because you have a poor sender’s reputation but because of email registration errors or fake addresses. Mistyped and fake email addresses simply don’t exist and you must remove them immediately.
To detect which of these addresses are causing your campaigns to hard bounce, use your email marketing platform’s customer relationship management (CRM) tool. Keeping them on your mailing list will cause your deliverability rate to perform poorly and get your IP blacklisted.
2. Do email validation using a 3rd party service
You mustn’t allow fake, wrongly-typed, or non-existent email addresses to join your list. A 3rd-party email validation service will do that filtering work for you. As a prospect enters their email address, the validation service will check if the details are correct in real-time.
If the user clicks “Register” on your mailing list sign-up page and the information they have entered such as their email address is wrong, they cannot proceed with the registration. Otherwise, they will receive a notification of their newly subscribed status.
As the saying goes, “Prevention is better than cure.” Before using a 3rd-party validation service, get your email API first from your email marketing platform. This is to make the integration process of your platform and the validation service smooth and easy.
3. Provide an option for your subscribers to unsubscribe
You can also give your customers the option to unsubscribe from your mailing list so that you’ll have less work in keeping it clean. Include a link at the bottom of your marketing campaigns saying, “If you want to opt-out, click here.”
An unsubscribe option is one of the best email hygiene strategies to follow. It’s because doing so prevents disinterested users from becoming factors for ruining your sender’s reputation through not opening your campaigns or reporting you for spam.
4. Run a re-engagement campaign for disengaged audiences
Aside from users who want to unsubscribe, there are also those who don’t open your campaigns for other more reasons. Some are disengaged because they’re waiting for the right campaign to arrive from you. Others have stopped using the email address.
Whatever their reasons are, their disengagement is detrimental to your sender’s reputation. But since gaining new subscribers is harder than losing them, send them campaigns that you think would be best to reel them back into being active again. Some email marketing software like GetResponse can automate that process. It’s a great idea to add a huge discount coupon or voucher to your activation campaign and get them engaging again!
5. Use double opt-in from the get-go
It’s not just mistyped and fake emails you have to worry about in keeping your mailing list clean. There are also spam bots and spam traps that are programmed to subscribe to mailing lists. The former’s purpose is to get your email address and other users on your mailing list for spam-sending.
Spam traps are made by spam-checker companies to monitor email marketers if they follow good campaign-sending practices. To prevent these automated email addresses from joining your mailing list, setting a double opt-in system on your mailing list’s registration page is a must.
6. Don’t buy email lists
No matter how “trusted” list sellers label their services, their lists will have spambots, spam traps, and bad email addresses. If there are no email addresses you should avoid, their lists will still have users who have not given you their consent in receiving your campaigns.
Sending your campaigns to users who have no idea about who you are and what your business is about is sure to earn you a lot of spam complaints. As much as possible, only grow your mailing list the right yet hard way through organic marketing – not buying an email list.
7. Segment users before removing
Some users appear inactive but are actually not. It’s because they only open your email based on a schedule. A certain group of customers may only engage with your campaigns on a specific day of the month because it’s their payday.
You must pay attention to these engagement patterns and other similarities by analyzing your campaign metrics. It’s because you might end up removing a loyal customer from your list. Your email marketing platform has a list segmentation tool to help you categorize and organize your different customers. Use it.
8. Delete email duplicates
On rare occasions, a user might forget that they have already subscribed to your mailing list and would register again out of a mistake. This would cause a double registration and they would also receive two emails from you every time you start an email campaign.
If you think this is good because your duplicated customer has an increased chance of receiving your campaign, think again. The 2nd email will end up being unopened which then again, would ruin your sender’s reputation. Scan your mailing list for duplicates and remove the extra customer info.
9. Remove inactive subscribers
Have you already done everything to make your inactive customers active again but they never responded? That could be a sign to sever your relationship for good. It might be a pain to let go of someone who’s a part of your mailing list, but it’s for the better.
Keeping subscribers who don’t open, click, or respond to your campaigns will only get you blacklisted. The best indicator to permanently remove a customer from your mailing list is to give them a 2 month inactivity period.
If they don’t interact with your campaign even for a little during this period, remove them and block them from registering again. There is a high chance that these inactive customers are spambots or spam traps.
10. Avail an email list cleaning service
Lastly, if you don’t have enough time to clean your list manually, you can employ the aid of an email list cleaning service or hire someone else to do it for you. It might add to your operational costs, but it’s still a worthy investment because you can focus on other important tasks such as crafting beautiful campaigns or researching your customers’ needs
Email hygiene can be a time-consuming process but it could save you from a lot of deliverability problems in the future. You must clean your mailing list at least every half of the year. Please remember that removing disinterested users isn’t enough to let your business avoid receiving spam complaints.
You still have to pay attention to how you write your subject lines by avoiding the use of words and characters that are spammy. And most importantly, you must consider the needs, wants, preferences, and interests of your customers.
Remember: They have subscribed to your mailing list because they like the content you provide. The only way to keep them loyal to your brand is to continue delivering content that they love.