Making It In the Inbox: Maintenance List and Hygiene

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This article is one of a series of blog posts Webolutions is publishing each month about increasing email deiverability for the new year. Want to learn more inbox tips? Download a copy of our latest ebook, Making It in the Inbox in 2019: A Complete Guide to Better Email Deliverability.

Just like with a car or a computer, routine maintenance sets you up for having a well-oiled machine you can count on for years to come. And since email marketing is an investment, regular maintenance should be part of your deliverability strategy.

Consider your email list is comprised of two types of subscribers: Active and inactive recipients. While you’re doing all you can to keep engaging with active email addresses, it’s important to pay some attention to the inactives or lapsed customers on your list, too. You might try sending the inactive segment a targeted re-engagement campaign to get them to interact, such as ‘win-back’ or ‘we miss you’ campaigns. Another option is to send an email allowing them to update their preferences for content and/or frequency.

So, what if someone never engages? While it’s inevitable that some portion of your list will never interact with your email campaigns, it’s important to keep in mind that this is normal. There’s no need to be overly worried unless the majority of your list is not engaging. What you should be asking yourself is: What good is it sending email to someone if they haven’t opened or clicked in, say, the last six months? Subscribers who do not engage – especially open – are only watering down campaign performance. As a result, the likelihood of being marked as spam by these inactives — or hitting a spam trap (more on this below) — increases the potential to be blacklisted.

Meanwhile, invalid email addresses should be addressed separately from inactive subscribers. Invalid emails are email accounts that don’t exist. These email addresses should never be included in any segment you send email to because they will never become engaged. Some email service providers (ESPs) automatically filter out invalids from segments. However, each ESP takes a different approach to list management so make sure to check how your ESP handles invalids. Any emails with bad formatting, bad domains and bad accounts should be removed in your list verification process to help ensure the list’s data quality.

In addition to bad email addresses, role accounts such as or should be removed from lists whenever possible. Ideally, these role accounts can be replaced with an actual person’s direct email account (it can’t hurt to ask the person monitoring the inbox). Believe it or not, these types of email addresses can negatively impact sender reputation if there are too many of them on your list.

We’re here to help. If you’re looking to partner with someone when it comes to your email marketing, that’s where we come in. Give Webolutions a call today at 303-300-2640 or email and let’s get your emails in those inboxes!

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