For email marketers, deliverability is always going to be a central concern—and keeping your email list clean is one of the most effective ways to maintain deliverability.
Why? Because email marketing relies on a strong relationship between the brands sending email and the internet service providers (ISPs)/inbox providers who make the call on what actually gets delivered to the people they serve. These providers care a great deal about preventing spammers out of their users’ inboxes and that means they’re always on the lookout for bad email behaviors—from poor acquisition tactics like list-buying to inadequate sunset policies that can lead disinterested consumers to keep getting outreach.
If the provider finds that your team is sending emails to all sorts of invalid email addresses, your reputation could take a hit and eventually get your messaging exiled to the spam folder. To avoid that fate, you need to make sure you have a plan for cleansing your email list and maintaining good list hygiene over the long haul.
Smart Email List Maintenance: How To Make It Happen
List hygiene doesn’t have to be complicated. If you really care about ensuring that your email lists are clean, there are a few simple things you can do to make that vision a reality.
First off, say no to renting or buying lists. If you’re emailing people who have no idea who you are or why you’re messaging them, you’re basically asking for a bad email reputation. And in circumstances where you’re collecting addresses using a co-registration approach (e.g. partnering with another brand to get sign-ups from both your collective audiences), make sure that it’s crystal clear when they sign up that your brand will be emailing them; otherwise, you may find your outreach in the spam folder.
Validating new email addresses at sign-up is a proven best practice that ensures you’re dealing with a legitimate recipient before opening up communication. This is also important if you’re migrating users over from a previous marketing technology. An email list cleaning service can run a script over the list and verify that the email addresses have correct syntax and spelling. They also make sure the email addresses, actually, you know, exist.
Having new users complete a double opt-in process at sign-up is another smart way to keep your list clean. As an added bonus, it also helps ensure that the people who receive your brand’s emails actually have an interest in your email marketing content. For most customers, if they feel like they were added to your email list in a tricky way, they aren’t going to have a positive experience of the emails you send them. But with a double opt-in approach, you can be confident that the people on your list want to be there and get down to the work involved in delivering engaging, personalized messaging to them.
Of course, once you have email list subscribers, you want to make sure you keep them. So a user opting in doesn’t give you permission to send them as many emails as you want at any time of day. Instead, take steps to make sure you’re sending the right amount of emails at the right times.
Ultimately, what ISPs and inbox providers care about is ensuring that only safe, relevant messages are delivered to their users. If you’re thoughtless and end up sending messages to a significant number of invalid emails, odds are that they’ll see you as a potential spammer—and that’s a quick way to end up on an ISP’s bad side. Be smart about who you’re sending to and what you’re sending, and you’ll see much stronger results.
That said, list hygiene is just one of several ways to promote strong deliverability. To learn more about how Braze can support smart, relevant email messaging experiences, check out our Email Product Page.