email cleaningThere’s plenty of information out there on email marketing, but how valuable is it if your list is full of outdated email addresses?

Not very. An accurate, updated email list is the foundation for successful email campaigns, but it’s not always easy to devote the necessary resources to email list cleaning. Here are five pragmatic tips that will boost the accuracy of your email campaigns.

1. Segment your list

It doesn’t matter how small your database is: the better you define it, the more accurate and effective your marketing correspondence will be. Product companies often differentiate between channel resellers and end users. Even if your customer base isn’t so neatly divided, you can still segment your email list based on customer attributes: industry, location, company size, etc.

2. Create a real plan for cleaning

You can clean your email list in several ways, but one thing that won’t clean it is putting it off as an item you’ll get to eventually. You need an actionable set of ideas and standards that will govern your data cleaning policies. Don’t be afraid to adjust the plan either, if you find it’s not providing the accuracy you need.

3. Don’t delete names from your list when messages bounce

Instead, suppress the record. This is especially true if it’s a soft bounce, but you should suppress email addresses for every kind of email bounce, instead of deleting them. You never know when the issue that caused the bounce will be restored – it could be a minor problem with their email server.

4. Email your database regularly

One of the best ways to improve the accuracy of your email list is to mail to it regularly. The more you send, the more information you will have about which records are accurate and which are outdated. You should view each email sent in your campaign as an opportunity to remove dead addresses from your primary mailing list.

5. Use multiple email automation providers

The various providers of email marketing tools online all have different standards for email accuracy. If you’re concerned about the accuracy of a questionable list – one that’s old or was purchased from a new vendor – you can get started with it by using an automation tool with a higher tolerance for email bounces and spam flagging, and then take it to a different provider with a lower tolerance.

Maintaining healthy data is always necessary, but it doesn’t have to be difficult. If you create a solid plan, execute it properly and consistently devote time to email list cleaning, your accuracy rates will go up.

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