Why & How to Cleanse your Email List

Are you noticing a drop in the deliverability rate or a spike in the bounce rate of your emails? An unhealthy email list could cause these problems. Regularly cleansing your email list can dramatically improve your email marketing efforts and significantly increase your data accuracy. Keep reading to know exactly why and how to cleanse your email list!

So, What is a “Healthy Email List”?

To understand the significance of an email list cleanse, we must first know precisely what it means to have a healthy email list. A robust email list will consist of active contacts. These contacts receiving your campaigns should know exactly who you are and have opened and/or even interacted with your emails. Healthy contacts have subscribed to your list and have valid email addresses. If the “cleaned contacts” or contacts with invalid email addresses on your email list are not corrected or removed, they could create issues for your list.

The “Why”

Now that we understand what it means to have a healthy list, we can address why consistent list cleanses are so important. At TwoSix Digital, we recommend that our clients conduct a list cleanse every six months. Here are four reasons why you should start regularly cleaning out your email list:

1. Increase Email Deliverability – The most crucial element of email statistics is email deliverability. It’s a query that receives plenty of Google searches as marketers always wonder if their open rate is optimal.  A high deliverability rate indicates that you are doing many crucial things correctly. When you have inactive or invalid contacts, this can significantly reduce your email deliverability, sometimes causing your emails to end up in spam folders, so clean out those pesky contacts before they become an issue for your future campaigns!

2. Reduce Your Bounce Rate – The bounce rate is a clear indicator of the health of your mail list in its entirety. This is where those “cleaned”, or invalid contacts come into play. By deleting or fixing invalid emails and preserving genuine contacts, you can maintain the balance of your bounce rate. Deliverability and mailing rates will be severely impacted if your bounce rate reaches 3-5%. Additionally, some email service providers can even suspend your account if you exceed the standard bounce rate for your industry. It’s best to keep that list healthy to avoid these issues!

3. Lower Sending Costs – This one may seem obvious, but many people don’t realize how much clean email lists can save you money! People’s email information deteriorates at a rate of roughly 22% every year, as they change jobs, move, or leave the online world. You would likely change email providers if it meant a 22% annual cost reduction, so why not just clean out those old contacts?

4. Protect Your Email Reputation – Spam traps and undeliverable emails can quickly damage your reputation as an email marketer. With a bad reputation, you’ll find yourself trapped in the inboxes you’re trying to access. It’s also crucial to consider the reputation of your domain. Your brand could always be affected by the reputation of your email domain, even if you transfer email service providers. Be sure to maintain regular email list cleaning to prevent unnecessary damage to your reputation!

Regularly cleaning out users who haven’t opened a message in more than six months will keep things consistent throughout the year, increase email deliverability, reduce your bounce rate, protect your reputation, and can even save you money! Always remember, quality over quantity. It’s not the list size that matters; it’s the health of that list!

Learn how to maintain a robust and large email list by reading on.

The “How”

As you can see, the reasons why you should cleanse your list are quite clear. As for how to clean your email list, this is sometimes a more complicated question to answer. The key is to not delete inactive contacts, but to archive them away from your core distribution lists. Those inactive email addresses are still useful when it comes to creating retargeting audiences for online campaigns. Don’t delete them! Archive them.

There are many email service providers out there, and depending on which one you have chosen, this can affect the complexity of this task. To give you a head start on this process, we will provide you with some great tools so you can learn more about how to conduct a list cleanse with your specific email service provider:


Learn how to archive inactive Mailchimp contacts HERE.

Constant Contact

Learn how to clean your Constant Contact email list HERE.


Watch a video on how to clean your MyEmma email list HERE.

If you don’t see your provider here, don’t panic, we can still help you!  TwoSix Digital specializes in developing effective email marketing strategies and can assist you in determining how to maximize your email marketing efforts. We encourage you to contact us with any questions about list purges to complete strategy overhauls – we’re always here to help!