Cleaning An Email List For Campaigns: Best Practices And Tips

Know how to keep your email list clean and updated with our visual tips and tricks to maximize your campaign’s ROI.
cleaning an email list best practices and tips
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Cleaning an email list means shortening it by removing inactive contacts. A shorter email list may look discouraging. But, the quality of the email addresses is more important than quantity. So, how can you use email list cleaning as a way to keep your list healthy and email marketing KPIs strong?

What is a clean email list?

A healthy email list only contains useful and active email addresses that have opted-in and does not have inactive, spammy, or invalid email addresses. It means that the email addresses on your list are correct, free of typos and formatting errors, and belong to individuals who have permitted you to send them emails.
Cleaning an email list is crucial for anyone who wants to maintain a high-quality and effective email marketing campaign. An email list full of outdated, incorrect, or unengaged contacts can result in a low open rate, a high bounce rate, and, ultimately, lead to the lack of success for your email marketing efforts.

Why is it important to clean email lists?

Maintaining the hygiene of an email list is a vital part of every email marketer’s life. A healthy email list helps you generate better results, and don’t let your marketing money go to waste.
The dormant email addresses that are not doing you anything good drain your budget. So, email list cleaning is a tonic that boosts your email deliverability and improves your sender’s reputation.
benefits of cleaning email list

How to Clean an Email List?

Email list cleaning is a step-by-step process that needs to be done at least once every six months, if not more. Following are some key steps you can follow.
steps of cleaning an email list
Go through the details to help you get started with email list cleaning:

01. Start by removing inactive or unengaged subscribers.

These are the ones who have not opened or clicked on your emails in a while. So, the chances of them opening your emails in the near future are less. Removing these subscribers will reduce the risk of your emails being marked as spam. You can also use an email marketing tool available on internet to identify these inactive subscribers and remove them from your list.
Start by removing inactive or unengaged subscribers.

02. Remove any invalid or outdated email addresses.

Invalid email addresses are either no longer in use or are misspelled. Outdated email addresses belong to people who have changed their email address after subscribing to your list. Removing these email addresses will improve the deliverability of your emails and reduce the chances of them bouncing.
Remove any invalid or outdated email addresses.

03. Remove any duplicate email addresses.

Duplicate email addresses occur when the same person is subscribed to your list multiple times. Removing these duplicates will ensure that each person only receives one email from you and avoid overloading their inbox. For example, a subscriber may download your freebie eBook twice (either on purpose, or by mistake) and thus, get added to your list twice as well.
Remove any duplicate email addresses.

04. Remove any hard bounces.

Hard bounces are emails that cannot be delivered due to a permanent reason, such as an invalid email address. These bounces can harm your sender’s reputation, so removing them from your list is essential to remove them from your list. We have created an expert guide on how to reduce your email campaign’s bounce rate. Read 21 Effective Ways To Reduce Email Bounce Rate with Examples

Remove any hard bounces.

05. Remove any spam trap addresses.

Spam trap addresses are ones that are created specifically to catch spam emails. If your emails end up in a spam trap, it can harm your sender reputation and reduce the deliverability of your emails. To avoid this, you can use a tool available on internet to identify and remove any spam trap addresses from your list.
Remove any spam trap addresses.

06. Review your opt-in and opt-out policies.

It is essential to comply with the law and ensure that you are sending emails to only those people who have given you their explicit consent. Review your opt-in and opt-out policies to ensure that you are following the law and protecting your sender reputation.
Review your opt-in and opt-out policies.

07. Use an email verification tool.

An email verification tool can help you identify and remove any invalid or outdated email addresses, hard bounces, and spam trap addresses. It can also help you improve the deliverability of your emails and protect your sender reputation.
Use an email verification tool.

How often should I clean my email list?

It’s a good practice to clean your email list regularly, at least once every six months. This will help to ensure that your email list is up-to-date and accurate, and will improve the overall effectiveness of your email marketing campaigns.
However, the frequency with which you clean your email list may depend on a number of factors, such as size of your list, the rate at which addresses become inactive or bounce, etc.
If you have a large email list that is constantly changing, you may want to clean it more frequently, such as every three to four months. If you have a small, stable email list, you may opt to clean it less frequently, such as once a year.
It’s important to keep in mind that cleaning your email list is an ongoing process, and you should continuously monitor and update your list to ensure that it’s accurate and up-to-date.

How do I keep my email list healthy?

A healthy email list means a low bounce rate, high deliverability, better CTR, and a profitable conversion. Here are a few tips for keeping an email list healthy:

01. Obtain email addresses through opt-in forms:

Make sure you are only adding email addresses to your list that have been obtained through opt-in forms. You can use other methods but they should indicate that the recipient has explicitly given their permission to receive email from you.

02. Use double opt-in:

Double opt-in is a process in which a recipient must confirm their subscription to your email list by clicking a link in a confirmation email. This helps to ensure that you only add valid, active, and human email addresses to your list.

03. Regularly clean your email list:

As mentioned above, it’s important to regularly clean your email list to remove invalid, duplicate, or bounced email addresses.

04. Use an email verification service:

An email verification service can help to identify and remove invalid or inactive email addresses from your list.

05. Monitor your email deliverability:

Keep an eye on your email deliverability rate, which is the percentage of emails successfully delivered to the intended recipient. If your deliverability rate is low, it could be a sign that your email list is unhealthy.


By following the steps above, you can remove duplicates, outdated or incorrect emails, and unengaged contacts from your email list, segment it into smaller, more targeted groups, and use an email scrubbing service to automate the process. By doing so, you can improve the effectiveness of your email marketing efforts and achieve better results.
If you have any queries regarding email list cleaning or email campaigns in general, feel free to contact our team. We will be happy to help you navigate the process.


1. What are the benefits of cleaning an email list?

Here are the benefits of cleaning your email list:

  1. Improved Deliverability
  2. Enhanced Engagement rates
  3. Improved Sender Reputation
  4. Targeted Segmentation

2. How often should I clean my email list?

Conduct a basic list cleaning once a month. This can involve removing hard bounces, unsubscribes, and any obvious spam email addresses.

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