How to Clean Your Email List – 4 Helpful Tips

How to Clean Your Email List - 4 Helpful TipsWith all of the instant resources available now through social media, it’s easy to feel like email outreach is a waning form of marketing. Why bother with emails when you can send someone a message on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn? But email is still one of the most useful ways to reach your clients and prospective clients.

It’s nearly impossible to guarantee that all of your contacts will be on the same social media platform, but it’s almost certain that all of them have email. Email marketing is more instant and less irksome than direct mail, but more widely accessible than social media marketing. If done correctly, email marketing is a great way to form lasting connections and keep your business at the forefront of the customer’s mind.

So, what do you do when your email marketing isn’t producing any results?

When you send your newsletter out every month, and the only responses you receive are a series of “undeliverable” messages?

You know that you have a good product and a brand that people can relate to, but for some reason, you’re not reaching people. Chances are, your email list has built up email rot and needs a good cleaning to root it out. Some of your contacts may have changed their email or may have lost interest. Others might be spelled incorrectly on your list. It’s important to clean your email once or twice every year to make sure that it’s up to date. Here are 4 helpful tips to keeping your email list squeaky clean to yield the best results.

1.     Check for Typos

It may be possible that the contact is a useful one, but the email address was entered incorrectly. One letter off could mean the difference between a “message could not be delivered” response and a meaningful business relationship.  Run a data check to correct any easy domain misspellings. Delete any distribution emails, such as or Those are usually “do not reply” email addresses and, unless your newsletter has a specific request relevant to their company, your email probably won’t be read by an actual person.

If you want to be really thorough, look through the returned messages you’ve received stating that the email is invalid. Check that against your original contact information (if you still have it). If you notice a typo, correct it. Otherwise, it may be that email no longer exists or you were given the wrong email in the first place. Either way, a non-contact won’t do you any good, so just delete those from your list.

2.     Delete Your Inactive Contacts (Unless You Can Win them Back)

Change is an inescapable fact of life. Sometimes, you might have email contacts that you no longer work with, influencers that left the industry, or customers that are simply no longer interested. It happens, and your business will continue to thrive, but there’s no use sending those contacts regular emails that they’ll just delete, anyway. Better to delete them from your list and make room for new contacts that are actually useful to you.

Of course, sometimes an inactive contact isn’t irrevocably gone. If it’s just a customer who has gone quiet, you can try to win them back. Send them an email with a special offer to try one of your products at a huge discount. Maybe that will incentivize them to look into your brand again. If not, just remove them from your list. It’s better to use your energy on people who are interested in your product than trying to change the minds of people who aren’t.

3.     Segment Your Email List

One way to save yourself some trouble for the next time you have to clean your email list is to segment your contacts. To segment, your email list is to break it down into smaller groups for more targeted emails. This is a great way to keep your list organized as well as to reach your customers in a more personal, specific way. It’s also a solution to separating inactive contacts from the rest of your list if you’re not ready to give up on them yet.

If you work with different events all over the country, you can segment your emails by location. You can also separate new subscribers so that you can send them a warm welcome without spamming your long-time customers. One of the most useful ways to segment your emails is to simply ask your customers. How often do they want to receive emails? What kind of content would they like to receive? That way you can tailor your emails to their interests and help them feel like their input is valued.

4.     Get Help from a Professional

For most businesses, cleaning out their email list can be a lengthy and tedious process. If you have an email list of 5,000 contacts, you don’t have time to search through the whole list. You have a business to run. There are apps that can prune the list automatically and even help you to segment your contacts, but automated apps can often misread or missort something.

Your best option is to hire an expert company that specializes in optimizing email lists, someone with years of experience and a track record for excellence. Of course, I am thinking of Bethesda List Center and Bethesda Emedia Marketing, both long-time practitioners in eMarketing.

Bethesda List Center has been managing business-to-business lists, direct mail, and email, for 25 years. We can not only help you clean your email list with extensive performance analysis and real-time tracking, but they can also segment your email list. They can even design and publish a top-notch newsletter that will best fit your brand. Moreover, it will relate to the customers you want to reach. Bethesda List Center can take away the hassle of managing your email list so you can watch the results flood in while you focus on running your business.  Contact us today for a free, no-obligation quote.

David James

President, Bethesda List Center, Inc + Bethesda Emedia Marketing.