How to Clean Up a List

Feb 22, 2022
When was the last time you cleaned up your email list? If it’s been so long that you can’t remember, or even worse, you’ve never scrubbed it, then chances are that you are wasting a lot of money, time, and effort on sending marketing messages to people who aren’t interested in hearing from you.
It is fairly normal for email lists to decline by around 20-30% yearly. Around a third of your subscribers are never actually going to open any of the emails that you send them, let alone click on the calls to action within them.
So, what’s the point of sending messages to them? That’s why it’s so important to clean your email list or remove any unengaged subscribers so that you can be sure that you are only marketing to people who want to hear from your brand.

When Is It Time to Use a Clean Email App?

How can you know when it’s time to scrub your email list? Your email marketing statistics will usually show you the first warning signs. Check the analytics to see the open and click rates for your email campaigns.

If you can see that there is a declining pattern when it comes to these rates, then it might be time to think about cleaning up your list. Check individual campaigns to take a look at the spam complaint and unsubscribe list.

If you are getting more people than usual reporting your messages as spam or unsubscribing from receiving emails from you, this is another sign that you might be due an email list clean-up.

Why Use an Email Cleaner App or Clean Email List Software?

Email list cleaning can help you turn around a lot of problems and help you avoid missing out on leads, sales, and revenue. When you have good email list hygiene, you will have better open and click rates.

This is because once you have cleaned your email list, you will only be sending emails to people who are actually interested in hearing from you. Even if the same people as before are the only ones opening your emails, they will now make up a larger percentage of the total emails that you send, which will improve your open rate percentage.

How to Use Email List Cleaning Software to Reduce Spam Complaints

Putting your email list through a cleaning app or software tool will also help you reduce the number of spam complaints that you get. Some subscribers might mark the emails that you send them as spam if they do not remember signing up to receive them – even if they actually did give permission.

The issue with this is that spam complaints are logged by big email providers like Gmail and Outlook. If you get too many, then these email providers will likely start sending emails from your address straight to the spam folder, meaning that they will never appear in the recipient’s inbox and are likely to be missed.

This will be done for anybody that you send emails to, rather than just the recipients that have reported your emails as spam. Cleaning your email list allows you to get a handle on this problem as early as possible by figuring out which subscribers are reporting your emails as spam and removing them from your list.

With fewer spam complaints when you are only sending emails to people who are actually interested in hearing from your business, more of your emails will reach subscribers’ inboxes.

Clean Email List Online for Lower Bounce Rate

Emails will sometimes bounce, meaning that they never reach the recipient that they were intended for. This could be due to technical errors, a full inbox, or the email not being spelt correctly.

Too many emails bouncing will have the same effect on your sender’s reputation as spam complaints; they will damage your reputation which ultimately can impact your email deliverability in a negative way.

When you clean your email list, this gives you a chance to remove any bounced email addresses, which will result in your bounce rate being lower for your next email campaign.

What to Clean Using an Email Cleaning App

When cleaning up an email list, one of the most common questions is which email list to scrub. It is a good idea to start out by cleaning up your most active email list as this is the one that will be driving leads, conversions and sales.

However, it is also important to pay attention to older lists since there may be unengaged subscribers on these lists that will need to be removed. Finally, don’t ignore relatively new email lists as these may still include people who are not interested in hearing from your business, and there is no point in sending to them.

If you are sending out regular email marketing messages, you should clean your email lists regularly – at least a couple of times per year or more.

Before you start cleaning up your email list, there are a few things to consider.

Determine Why Emails Bounced

There are many different reasons why an email will bounce. Email service providers will provide you with more information on whether a bounce is ‘hard’ or ‘soft’. With a soft bounce, there is usually a temporary issue such as a full inbox, and your emails are likely to be sent and delivered in the future.

However, in the case of a hard bounce, there is a permanent error, and no further emails will reach the recipient. It is worth bearing in mind that if soft bounces happen regularly, they may become hard bounces.

Try to Re-engage Your Subscribers

Before cleaning your email list, it is a good idea to try and re-engage any inactive subscribers with an email campaign designed to win them back. Since they have already signed up to receive emails from you, taking a fresh approach could be just what is needed to reignite their interests and get them opening and reading your emails again.

What to Remove Using Email Cleaning Software

Once you have removed any hard bounces, there are other email addresses that should be removed from your list. These include:

Duplicate Email Addresses

Look out for any email addresses that are duplicates or duplicate names with different email addresses that are likely to be the same person.

Spam email addresses

You will usually be able to spot there due to a strange combination of numbers or letters. Some email list cleaning tools will also provide further information on email addresses on your list that are likely to be spam trap addresses.


You don’t want anybody who has unsubscribed to continue receiving emails from you, so make sure that they are completely removed from the list.

If you have ever purchased an email list, it’s also a good idea to remove any subscribers from this list. This is because while purchasing email lists can be a quick and easy way to get new subscribers, these are not exclusive subscribers to you and are unlikely to have given you permission to send emails to them.

Ultimately, sending emails to subscribers that you have purchased will only increase your spam complaint rate and reduce your open and click rates, harming rather than increasing the success of your campaigns and your bottom line.

Find an Email Cleaner – Choosing the Best Email List Cleaning Service

If you want to use email marketing to promote and grow your business, it is often essential to use an email list cleaning tool or service to make sure that you are maximising your outreach and minimising spam complaints and bounces.

There are several different email list cleaning tools, apps, and software programs on the market that you can use to keep up with good email list hygiene. One main benefit of using an email cleaner tool is that you can use it to make sure that your email list is clean before you get started with using a new email marketing platform or start a new email marketing campaign.

Along with this, using a separate email list cleaning tool to your email marketing service provider can also provide you with additional features and capabilities like greylisting verification.

Reputation and features are two of the most important things to look out for when choosing the right email list cleaning software or app for your business. Look out for features such as domain confirmation, duplicate address removal, spam trap address checking, and anti-greylisting.

Some services also offer features where a verification email that is not traced back to you is sent to emails to check if they work so that if they bounce, this will not impact your sender’s reputation. While budget is important, most email list clean-up services charge per email on the list, so how much you pay will depend on how large your email list is.

If you want to use email marketing to grow your business, good email list hygiene is essential.

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