Clean your email list before the holidays

Did you take a breather after Black Friday/Cyber Monday to check your email numbers, as we recommended in a recent blog post?

If your results were not what you hoped for, one reason could be serious problems with your email database. How long since you had it checked for undeliverable and harmful email addresses?

This is the worst time of year to send campaigns using a list that’s choked with bad addresses. Email volume is up. Subscriber tolerance is waning. ISPs that guard the inbox are getting tougher.

As a marketer, you can’t afford to waste time and money on messages that won’t reach the inbox. That’s why you should put that major campaign on ice for a few days until you know for sure that your list is as clean as possible.

Why a clean email list is crucial…

Your email database is your most valuable marketing asset. A dirty list can damage your email program in many ways, but here are the top hazards:

  • ISPs can blacklist your sending IP and refuse to accept any messages you send, even to “good” addresses.
  • Sending to spamtrap addresses can get you blacklisted, too.
  • Messages that make it through increasingly complicated sets of ISP email filters still might not make it to the inbox, landing instead in the junk folder.
  • Your ESP could refuse to send your messages until you clean up your list.
  • Blocks and blacklistings also can stop transactional messages like welcome emails and purchase confirmations.

By the way – removing bouncing emails every time you send a campaign is not enough to protect your database and your sender reputation.

It’s a start, but it won’t replace the kind of email list hygiene that updates and protects your email database and helps more messages get delivered past ISP and spam filters, right to the inboxes of the customers who are most likely to engage with them.

A word about spamtraps

Let’s say you know your list is about 40% inactive. That’s conservative because industry benchmarks peg email inactivity at 50% to 75%. But you don’t generate enough spam complaints to trip an ISP spam filter.

So, you’re doing okay, right? Maybe not. Many ISPs factor email activity into their filtering decisions. Also, a significant number of those inactive addresses could have been converted into spamtraps – email addresses that ISPs or blacklists use to track down and block spammers – without your knowing it.

You might not think it’s a problem on your list – you use opt-in, after all! – but a FreshAddress client, also using opt-in, found 30,000 spamtraps lurking in its database.

Your next campaign could hit a spamtrap and trigger a blacklisting, which would effectively shut down part or all of your email channel.

First step: See how bad the problem is

Sorry to sound like your dentist here, but if you haven’t done a thorough list cleaning in more than six months, you’re way overdue. And, if most of the addresses on your list are old enough to drive, you can’t wait much longer.

Take the first step today for free.

FreshAddress’ Free List Check will conduct a high-level health check scan of your email list. Within minutes, we’ll tell you whether it’s safe to send or hiding significant threats.

Next step: Clean your email list

A good email list hygiene solution does more than just remove bad addresses. SafetoSend provides suggested corrections for a portion of your undeliverable file. This enables you to connect with contacts that you wouldn’t otherwise be able to reach via email.

SafetoSend uses a three-step protocol to review each address in your database:

  1. Check: It checks each address to confirm the account exists and is accepting email.
  2. Correct: It fixes typos and misspellings as well as syntax, format, and top-level domain errors.
  3. Protect: It removes damaging (but deliverable) addresses. These include:

    • Spamtraps and honeypots;
    • Frequent spam complainers;
    • Role accounts; and 
    • Disposable domains, malicious entries and bogus addresses.

How long does it take?

It depends on the size of your email list and the extent of the work required. Our managed service offering has a typical turn-around time of 1-2 business days. Our real-time processing option is lighting fast, providing results in milliseconds.

Better safe than sorry

Yes, doing a complete email list hygiene cleanse means you would have to put your campaign on hold briefly. That’s better than being down for weeks or months as you work with ISPs or blacklisting agents to get those blockages lifted.

SafeToSend