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Maintaining a Clean Marketing List

For an email marketer, few things are as frustrating as when a carefully designed email returns a high number of bounces and spam complaints. One of the most important steps you can take toward achieving and maintaining low bounce and spam rates is to keep clean marketing lists. Here are some tips and suggestions for growing and keeping clean marketing lists:

Build your list up from scratch
Include only email addresses that have been freely given for the purpose of receiving marketing communications. If someone has taken the initiative to give you an email address because they are interested in what your business has to offer, it is unlikely that they will provide an invalid address or view your messages as spam. However, if you use an email list that was compiled for another purpose, it is likely that a significant portion of the members of that list will have no interest in your messages, resulting in higher numbers of spam complaints and bounces. Purchased lists are even worse; nobody on such a list is expecting to receive your messages. In fact, purchased marketing lists are in violation of the ClickDimensions Terms of Use.

Monitor your Excluded Emails and Email Events
Every time you do an Email Send, be sure to take a look at the related Excluded Emails and Email Events, particularly the Bounce events. Excluded Emails are email addresses that were not sent to due to excessive past bounces. You should seriously consider removing these email addresses from your marketing list. Invalid Recipient and Bounce type Email Events will contain a specific bounce code in the record's Message field. This bounce code provides additional information on the exact cause of the bounce that will be useful in deciding between removal and remediation. Read more about ClickDimensions Bounce Codes. If the email address has been excluded they did not get that email and therefore it could not count as a bounce or a spam complaint again. However, it is good to remove these people from your marketing list so that the number of people you think will receive the email will be much closer to the number of people that actually receive the email. 

Remove fake, invalid, and "spamtrap" email addresses
Keeping up with the Excluded Emails and Email Events is a good way to catch fake or misspelled email addresses; particularly Invalid Recipient type Email Events. "Spamtrap" email addresses are valid email addresses that are created for the sole purpose of luring spam. While most often hidden from view so as to only wind up on marketing lists compiled with an automated e-mail address harvester (thus ensuring that all of the emails received are unsolicited), it is not unheard of for someone to submit a spamtrap email address maliciously. Some examples of spamtrap addresses include nospam@somewhere.com, abuse@antispam.net, postmaster@somedomain.com, etc. While there is no catch-all for identifying these kinds of addresses, it is always good to keep an eye out any time you look through your marketing lists.

Remove role accounts
While it may not seem like it, role accounts such as sales@somecompany.com often have a negative impact on email campaigns. These email addresses are often checked by multiple people and may change hands frequently. Even if it was collected legitimately, it is likely that this email address will become a source of spam complaints.

Prompt customers to update information and give subscription options
It is a good idea to prompt your customers to update their personal information and subscription preferences as often as possible. If customers are aware that they have the option to stop receiving your messages and are consistently presented with the opportunity to provide a new email address, it is likely that each person on your marketing list has given you a current email address and is on that list because they have chosen to be. This can be as simple as including a link to a Form or Subscription Management Page in your marketing emails and receipts.

Maintaining a clean marketing list is an ongoing process, but with the above steps you should be able to increase your delivery rate by weeding out harmful and unnecessary list members.

Written by Weston Packard, ClickDimensions Marketing Success Manager

About the Author:

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Weston Packard is the Lead Product Specialist at ClickDimensions.

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