7 Steps to List Hygiene and Email Deliverability

By now, you’ve probably heard all about list hygiene and email deliverability, but do you know what it means?

For those who don’t know, list hygiene refers to the process of keeping your email lists clean and free of spam traps in order to maintain the highest deliverability rates possible from your email campaigns.

List Hygiene

This might sound like an overwhelming task if you run an e-commerce business with thousands of contacts, but there are some simple steps you can take to keep your contacts fresh and compliant with current spam regulations so that when you send them an email they will actually read it! You can also take a look at the 30 Days Email Journey Hacks here.

1) Remember, it takes two to tango for list hygiene

There’s a reason people talk about inbox deliverability _ it’s because spammers _ often robotically _ send out millions of messages per day with little or no care for getting them delivered into your recipient’s inbox.

On that front, one great thing you can do is make sure your message isn’t likely to trip automated spam filters. So-called list hygiene involves building and keeping a high-quality list by avoiding things like bulk emailing (or spamming) lists that have been collected in ways that aren’t permissible under CAN-SPAM laws.

If you do send commercial emails, such as newsletters, consider offering an option for recipients to opt-out or unsubscribe from future mailings at any time.

2) Improve deliverability by removing subscribers who don’t open emails

List hygiene is crucial for effective email deliverability. Before you begin sending emails, make sure your subscribers are opening them and engaging with your content. Check this course out here for more information.

In order to do that, you’ll need a system for tracking open rates and engagement that sends a notification when an email fails to get opened or clicked on by a subscriber.

List Hygiene

This will tell you exactly who isn’t interested in your company or content—and give you a chance to remove those customers from your lists so they don’t damage your delivery rate.

3) Remove subscribers who are no longer interested in your content

One of your biggest goals should be keeping your subscriber list clean and free of dead weight. This isn’t always easy; some people might just not know they want off your list or their email address is getting blocked by you.

To prevent these situations, you can use a third-party data clearinghouse such as Voca to regularly remove contact information that hasn’t been checked for a certain period of time.

4) For good list hygiene, identify bad actors and remove them

The first step in email deliverability is identifying any bad actors that have been inadvertently added to your list. You can identify these addresses by checking who clicks on your emails. If you see many of them coming from email clients like Gmail or Yahoo, it’s a sure sign that something is up. Find out more here.

As much as you might want to keep sending out updates and newsletters, it’s important not to send emails to people who never want them in the first place. When you remove these bad actors from your list, you’re protecting yourself against further problems down the road—like bounces or unsubscribes—and ultimately improving your email deliverability rates.

Think of it as a cleanse for both your lists and inboxes.

5) Don’t send messages if you can’t see them in the inbox

When it comes to email deliverability, list hygiene reigns supreme. List hygiene ensures that you can see your emails in recipient inboxes; they will know how to deal with spam and effectively unsubscribe from your list if they’re not interested in future messages.

There are several measures you can take to ensure that your list is appropriately cleaned, pruned and groomed for success.

6) Pick an email client (AWeber, MailChimp, etc.) that your audience uses

Whether you’re just getting started or want a fresh pair of eyes on your lists, it’s a good idea to hire someone to go through your subscriber list and do some list hygiene.

If you don’t know how that works, here are a few steps you can take: Identify inactive subscribers – These subscribers haven’t opened or clicked anything in six months; unsubscribe them. Identify duplicate subscribers –

Compare your database against another database (perhaps one from an opt-in form) and identify matches.

7) For better list hygiene avoid spam filters by using good content

List hygiene is a big part of any successful email strategy, but why is list hygiene so important? The first part of list hygiene is avoiding spam filters.

That’s easier said than done, but it can be done. The next part of list hygiene is making sure that you deliver content that people want to receive. At first glance, it might seem strange that content and delivery go hand in hand when talking about avoiding spam filters.

List Hygiene

But, content also plays a role in your deliverability statistics for spam as well. This isn’t about just sending out high-quality articles on newsworthy topics, either—even personal emails with subject lines relevant to your contacts are often screened for having poor-quality messages or links with malicious code.


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