Why You Should Delete Unsubscribed and Bounced Contacts from an Email List

Jan 24, 2023

Think back to the last time you cleaned up your email list. If it’s been that long, you can’t remember when you did it, or you don’t recall ever doing it, then chances are you will need to do it soon.

Even if you just delete contacts that continuously soft bounce, have hard bounced, or have unsubscribed from your list, you’re on the right track. Even better, get rid of contacts that are unengaged and unlikely to open your emails.

Most mailing lists will decline yearly by between twenty and thirty percent. With up to a third of your subscribers unlikely to ever actually open your emails, let alone engage with the message and click on your call to action, there’s not much point in trying to communicate with them. This is where email list scrubbing comes in.

What is email list scrubbing? It refers to the process of removing subscribers from your email list when they are no longer engaged with your campaigns. While reducing email list subscribers might seem counterproductive, it is beneficial as it allows you to be sure that you’re only marketing to people who want to receive emails from you.

Email list hygiene is a crucial part of targeted marketing, so it should be done regularly – at the very least, a couple of times a year, or more often, for extensive email lists.

When is it Time to Delete Unsubscribed and Bounced Contacts?

When’s the right time to clean your email list and delete all those unengaged, unsubscribed or bounced contacts from it? Chances are that your email marketing statistics will bring up some of the first warning signs to look out for. When you log into your email marketing platform, you will be met with various statistics, including your campaigns’ open and click rates, unsubscribe rates, and more. Spend some time looking at what has been happening over the last few email campaigns. If you see a pattern of unsubscribes or declining open rates, it might be time to clean up your mailing list.

Another sign that you will likely need to clean up your email list in the near future is if more people than usual are reporting your emails as spam. In Mailchimp, you can click on the View Report button, which is situated next to each campaign, to find out more about the number of spam reports and unsubscribes that it got.

Email marketing benchmarks for your industry can also help you determine whether or not an email list clean-up is due. Although each mailing list is different, if you have noticed that you are getting well below average open and click rates for your campaigns, then it might be due to the fact that you are simply sending many emails to people who aren’t interested, or you’ve not removed unsubscribed emails from your list. Hence, the messages are just not getting through.

Delete Contact from Mailchimp – What are the Benefits of Cleaning Your Email List?

Scrubbing your email list and sticking to good email list hygiene can help you turn things around if you’ve noticed poor open and click rates. Whether you’re just removing unsubscribed addresses or going through your list to remove anybody who hasn’t opened or clicked on your emails in a while, there are many advantages to doing so.

Improve Customer Relations

You should always remove unsubscribed email addresses from your list as soon as the request to unsubscribe has been received. Customers today need to be able to opt out of any marketing messages they don’t want to receive. Allowing them to do so will benefit your business more than failing to give them the option. While most email marketing platforms today will allow you to set up any unsubscribed email addresses to be automatically removed from the list, it’s always good practice to check that they’ve been deleted, too. Sending emails to people who have requested to unsubscribe is a huge no-go area, and it could sully your business reputation.

Improve Open and Click Rates

Open and click rates are calculated as a percentage of all the email numbers sent. When you clean your email list, this means that you are only going to be sending emails to people who are interested in getting them. Removing anybody who hasn’t been engaging with your emails for a long time will automatically improve your open rate, even if the same number of people as before are opening them due to the reduced total number of messages sent.

Reduce Bounces

Another reason to regularly clean up your email list is to reduce bounces. Emails sometimes bounce, meaning they just don’t reach the intended recipient. This might be because the email address has been changed, the inbox is full, or there is a technical error. In some cases, it might be because you’ve not got the email address spelt correctly.

While one bounce, or even two, might not mean that you’re never going to be able to contact a certain recipient again, the truth is that if it’s happening repeatedly, then chances are that you probably haven’t got the correct email address. Either they have changed their email address, or you’ve never had the right one for them.

It’s best to delete these emails from your list, as chances are you’re not going to be able to deliver mail to them at any point soon, and consistent bouncing will only hurt your sender score over time and make it harder for your emails to reach the people who do want to hear from you.

Reduce Spam Complaints

Cleaning up bounces and unsubscribes from your email list will also help you avoid getting spam complaints. By keeping your email list clean and only including people you know are interested in hearing from your brand, you can reduce the risk of emails being marked as spam. Some people will mark emails as spam simply because they are not interested in hearing from the sender, so it’s worth getting ahead of this.

How to Delete Contacts in Mailchimp

If you are using MailChimp for your email marketing, you might have seen ‘cleaned’ contacts in the Audience section of the program. If you’re wondering how to delete these, the good news is that it is easy. Cleaned contacts in MailChimp are any email addresses from your mailing list that either have a hard bounce or several soft bounces and are automatically removed and considered invalid by the software.

Unlike unsubscribed contacts, cleaned contacts in MailChimp do not require you to continue paying for them. However, you cannot archive them, and if you want to get rid of them, you will need to delete them permanently. To do this, access the data management tool and create a new segment. Set the conditions to Email Marketing Status > is > cleaned and preview the segment. Check the boxes next to the cleaned contacts that you want to delete. Then, click on ‘permanently delete’, type ‘permanently delete’ to confirm in the popup window that will appear, and click on confirm.

Mailchimp Delete Contacts That Have Unsubscribed

In MailChimp, recent changes mean that even if a subscriber decides to unsubscribe from your mailing list, you might end up continuing to pay for them. The good news is that there are steps that you can take to avoid this.

You might be wondering why you need to continue paying for contacts that have unsubscribed from your emails. MailChimp, however, sees the unsubscribed contacts as potentially valuable assets to your business. While they may not want you to email them any longer, you may still be able to target them in other ways. While this may be helpful for some companies, if you’re not interested in retargeting contacts that have unsubscribed, or are unable to for legal reasons, then you probably have no interest in continuing to pay for them.

The good news is that you can delete your unsubscribed contacts and avoid paying for them while ensuring their wish of not being contacted by you via email again is granted. All you need to do is head to your MailChimp account and click on Audience. From there, head to View Contacts, and click on the Email Marketing column twice. All your unsubscribed contacts will be listed at the top of the page. Then, go to the checkbox located next to the unsubscribed contacts, and click on Actions. A drop-down menu will appear. From this, click on ‘remove contacts’.

A box will then appear, allowing you to either archive or permanently delete the contacts. You can permanently delete them or archive them if you want to access them again in the future. Either way, once you’ve done this, you know that unsubscribed contacts have been removed, and you no longer have to pay for them.

Cleaning up your email list regularly will ensure that you’re not sending messages to people who aren’t interested or aren’t getting your emails.

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