Email marketing can be a powerful tool for businesses to reach their target audience, but it’s only effective if the right people are receiving the right messages. 

Sending irrelevant information to people is going to turn them off your emails. The more people don’t open, the more your deliverability is hit.  If you send to email addresses that are invalid (perhaps they no longer exist, have a typo or mailbox is full), then this will also have a negative impact on deliverability. 

When your unsubscribe or bounce rate is high, it may even trigger an account suspension by your Email Service Provider.

That’s why effective email list management is essential. In this blog post, let’s look at the best practices for managing your email marketing list.


Obtain Consent

First and foremost, you should only add people to your email list if you have their permission to do so. This means that they have explicitly opted in to receive your communications. Obtaining consent can be done in a number of ways, such as through a sign-up form on your website, a paper form at an event, or a verbal agreement over the phone. Just make sure that you are clear about what they are signing up for and that they can easily opt-out at any time.

A word on ‘soft opt-in’

In some regions you may be able to use legitimate interest as legal basis for adding people to your list.  For example, in the UK ‘soft opt-in’ allows for marketing messages to be sent to those who have ‘bought or negotiated to buy’ from you in the past, as long as the content of those messages is the same or similar to the original product they bought.  Contacts must be able to opt-out at every stage.  Be sure to check local regulations.  

I recommend using explicit consent as much as possible. It’s much simpler and transparent.


Keep Your List Clean

No soap and water needed here. Clean means valid email addresses and it’s important to keep your email list clean and up-to-date. 

Remove any email addresses that bounce or are no longer active, as well as those who have requested to be removed from your list. 

You can use email marketing software to automate this process, so you don’t have to manually keep track of all these changes.  I use Mailercheck. I recommend validating your contacts every 6 months.


Migrate Clean Addresses

When you move your lists to a new ESP, ensure you move only cleaned addresses.  Ahead of migrating your contacts, remove unsubscribed contacts, run a check for bounced addresses and remove them too.  That way you will only add valid and active addresses to your new account.


Monitor Your Metrics

Keeping track of your email marketing metrics is important to understanding how your list is performing. 

Look at your open and click-through rates to see which messages are resonating with your subscribers, and use that information to improve your future emails.

Keep an eye on unsubscribe rate (ideally less than 1% per email) and bounce rate (definitely no more then 2%). If unsubscribe rate is high, then review your segments and content.  Where bounce rate is high then run your list through a validation app as mentioned above.


Comply with Regulations

Finally, it’s important to comply with regulations such as the CAN-SPAM Act in the US, GDPR in Europe, and CASL in Canada. These regulations require you to obtain consent, provide a clear and easy opt-out process, and avoid spammy tactics.  They are there to protect you as sender as much as they protect the public from spam emails.

In conclusion, email list management is essential for effective email marketing. By keeping all the above points in mind, you can create a targeted and effective email marketing strategy that drives engagement and revenue.


Need any help with cleaning your list?  Let me help you get it sparkling and shiny. Contact me to get started.



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