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What is Email List Hygiene and How it Impacts your Lead Generation Processes

As a business, we sometimes do not realize how hard it is and how much effort it takes to be able to collect a list of the right prospects. It is not enough that your company gathers just any list; to successfully create lead generation, as well as avoid unfortunate consequences from getting many spam reports and red flags, it is also just as important to ensure the hygiene of your email list.

What is Email Hygiene?

Of course, the reason for your company’s email campaigns is to garner the most customer engagement. Delivering email successfully is just the first step in the process. Engagement is vastly improved and ensured by regularly ensuring email hygiene. But what is email hygiene?

It is a process by which email addresses are verified, and where invalid ones are removed from your email list. Email hygiene is also known as email scrubbing. Studies found that from 1,000 random email contacts, 4.5% will have become invalid in only less than a month. In addition, other researches on email deliverability showed a 20% failure in emails reaching their intended prospects’ inbox, which instead gets blocked or dumped into the spam folder. You should therefore always strive to keep your email list up to date, accurate, clean, and target consumers you actually want to deliver your message to. 

Maintaining email hygiene may mean removing cold or inactive subscribers from the roster. A warm list contains the addresses of people who are actually interested in your products and messages. In addition, regular email hygiene maintenance will help ensure that your messages avoid being marked by users and email service providers as spam. 

Email hygiene is thus considered to be among the most critical and important components of a successful email marketing campaign. Endeavoring to have a clean and fresh email list should be the first step to ensure that your emails go to your target audience.

The Consequences of a Poor Email List

Maintaining a hygienic email list helps your business personalize your relationships with your target audience, and engages them better because your message resonates with the right people. Today’s email service providers have evolved to regularly introduce tricky and complicated algorithms that are always changing. These security measures determine how email is delivered to the inbox – they screen out spammy messages and determine the fate of your emails. Many times these algorithms even prevent your audience from getting to read your emails at all. They calculate click rates, opening rates, spam reports, unsubscribing emails, inactive addresses, and the like. 

It is incumbent upon you to regularly track your prospective audience’s email activity along with your data hygiene efforts. If you fail to have a clean email list, your reputation and KPIs can be seriously affected, and audience engagement severely hampered or halted.

Some Reasons Why Interest Drops 

Loss of interest from subscribers is not uncommon. As a business, it is crucial for you to make sure you keep up interest and not let your audience slowly decrease and disappear. Some common causes of a decrease in engagement are the following:

  • Inactivity – you lost your audience’s interest because you have been silent and not kept them satiated with regular content
  • Selling without value – you are full of promotions in your emails but did not give your audience any substantial meat to chew on; there should be value in what you put out. Content is King.
  • Missing your mark – not only should there be content, but the content should resonate with your target audience
  • Too many, too mundane – you swamped your audience with too many emails, thus invalidating any positive impact your message could have brought

Improving your Email List Hygiene

To make it easier to maintain a hygienic email list, it may be smart to acquire the services of a lead generation professional. One of the first steps you can take is to hire the services of a reliable email verification and validation service. Such a service ensures the verification and validation of emails and helps keep your list warm. 

An email validation system reduces bounce rates, subscriber complaints from inaccurate or invalid data, and spam trap hits. Proper validation gives you an assurance that you are only sending to deliverable email addresses.  With such a system, you can remove bots as well.

Make sure you clean up your list prior to sending in order to avoid getting blocked and improve your inbox rates and sender reputation. You should also avoid inconsistently formatted data. Such a validation system ensures a consistent format for addresses.

Once you get your intended audience to subscribe to you and join your email list, you need to make sure to track and monitor their online behavior with time. It is well to remember that the permission they gave you to send your emails is not a one-time thing or is considered valid indefinitely; even those subscribers who are most active and engaged can and do lose interest eventually. This makes them a liability instead of an asset.

Regarding cold and inactive subscribers, you can send a re-engagement message through these approaches:

  • Ask those subscribers who opened your emails within the last 6 months to take a moment to click a link that confirms that they are still onboard with you
  • Give them different options for their subscription. An example of this would be an option to receive each email separately or as a digest containing several emails
  • Have them confirm that their address is active and current and that their email preferences will not be updated 

Also, keep in mind the following best practices for maintaining email list hygiene:

  • Make sure you have credible and highly reputable email sources
  • You may opt to remove inactive or cold subscribers
  • Take steps to avoid spam folders
  • Segment your lists in order to prevent complaints and irrelevant messaging
  • Create suppression lists in order to maintain a good sender reputation

Engaging and Re-engaging Your Audience

A simple way to make sure you do not miss your mark is to ask your audience what they want. Ask what content they are interested in, what insights they want that you may be able to offer, and other reasons why they signed up. You can also conduct surveys to get such information. It is also a good idea to offer personal, one-on-one consultations to selected subscribers while also asking them about the content they would most want from you. Use research to find out about what your target market wants and what your competitors do not have, in order to customize your content and make sure you capture your audience.

If you want to reconnect with your cold emails, it is a good idea to give before taking. Create an event that is laden with useful content with massive value, in order to reactivate your dormant audience. A Facebook live event or a free webinar that delivers material that is of good use to them will make you relevant again. Use all resources at your disposal such as multimedia in the form of videos, charts, short ebooks, and even exclusive content. You may also make your webinar a series so that your audience goes back again and again for more content. Each episode can focus on a specific element or expertise that your audience needs.

Always remind your audience why they should keep on going back. Personalize your content. Make sure it is packed with value. Using videos catches more subscribers and retains the old. And don’t forget to include that call to action. Employ sound marketing programs in terms of discounts, special offers, and other deals. Don’t sell yourself short. Give it everything you’ve got; use social media and other platforms, and make your offer so enticing that your audience cannot help but subscribe and stay. This is an important aspect of keeping your email list warm and clean.

Ensuring a clean email list involves many factors, but these are easy to follow and understand. Aside from making your list hygienic, also make sure the emails in your list do not become cold again. Make sure you maintain their attention by under-committing and over-delivering. Make sure your content is continuously updated for value. Having the best content you can give in your field of expertise, as well as being a consistent provider of content, will ensure that you will retain your captive audience.

About the author


Nelly M

As a writer for EmailOversight, Nelly has contributed so much to the company’s success. Nelly is dedicated to being a professional digital content creator and handler. Being a graduate of the University of California, Los Angeles, her talent for managing digital content is impeccable.