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What is email list hygiene? Definition, importance & best practices [infographic]

Email list hygiene is one of the most important aspects of email marketing. When done correctly, email list hygiene can improve your deliverability rates and ensure that your marketing emails reach the inboxes of your subscribers.

Did you know that in terms of global email deliverability, one out of five emails doesn’t end up in the receiver’s inbox?

Yes, your email marketing practice such as sending frequency, email content, sender reputation, etc can have a great impact on your email deliverability.

What is email list hygiene?

Email list hygiene is a process of maintaining a healthy email list by removing inactive subscribers and keeping your email sending habits healthy.

This is important because if you have a large email but majority of the it contains inactive subscribers, then your email marketing campaign won’t be that effective. Such inactive subscribers can also cause your email deliverability to suffer.

Email service providers (ESPs) have gotten more attentive to what recipients want to receive in their inboxes. Therefore, when it comes to getting your emails delivered to subscribers’ inboxes, a clean list is required.

Email service providers are digging into the messages you’re sending as well as the engagement consumers are having with them.

So, if your email receives spam complaints, it’s going to impact the overall deliverability and hence, hamper your email marketing efforts.

Importance of email list hygiene

If you’re still wondering whether implementing email list hygiene is effective or not, then you need to take a look at these points:

  1. Helps increase your ROI: When you have a bad email list, it becomes impossible to improve your conversion rate. If you send emails to the wrong addresses or spam traps, your campaign may backfire badly and have an impact on the sender reputation as well. You can only make your return on investment by first cleaning your data of inactive subscribers.
  2. Avoid negative effects on your sending efforts: You are at risk of spam traps, invalid email addresses, leads that sign up with non-deliverable domains or typos, and other problems if you don’t maintain your email lists. Email list maintenance helps you avoid all of these issues without any hassle.
  3. Speed up delivery: A blacklist might slow down the delivery of your message to the end receiver, since they may throttle it or entirely block you. By cleaning up the list of your email subscribers, you speed up your email delivery as well.
  4. Improves deliverability:  When you’re executing your email marketing campaigns to the right audience, it can positively impact your email deliverability as well. Email list maintenance aids in the removal of undesirable records from your list before sending to decrease email bounces and maintain data hygiene.
  5. Enhance your online reputation: You can expect to receive a high number of spam complaints, get emails from people who aren’t on your list, or unverified email addresses. This is eliminated when you maintain a healthy email list and enhances your online sending reputation.

Email list hygiene best practices

When it comes to maintaining a healthy email list, you need to implement a certain framework into your email marketing practice. By following these below-mentioned best practices, you will be able to keep your email list clean as well as improve your email deliverability.

So, let’s take a look at the email hygiene list best practices!

1. Have a professional email address

A professional email address ( would leave a higher impact than just using personal accounts like or

By using this approach, your emails appear more professional and reduce the possibility of spam complaints.

Second, it follows the DMRAC guidelines. The Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance (DMRAC) is a domain-specific message authentication protocol. It aids email senders in ensuring that no one else uses their business name to mislead people.

Assume that Google and other ESPs believe that marketing messages delivered through personal email accounts are from scammers based on the DMRAC. As a result, you’ll have a lot of trouble getting your emails into the spam folders of your receivers.

2. Create targeted emails

To maintain good email hygiene, you need to create highly targeted emails. Only then will they have a real cause to open your email. Here are a few tips for creating engaging and relevant emails:

  • Have eye-catching subject lines.
  • Create content based on the preferences of your active subscribers.
  • Find out the best time to send out your marketing emails.
  • Personalize the email and address the specific email subscriber.

According to statistics, emails with personalized subject lines are 50% more likely to be opened.

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3. Define email list hygiene frequency

It’s important to think about how often you’ll clean your email list, depending on your campaign. For most email services, it’s suggested to perform email list cleaning every six months.

The size of your email list may impact whether or not more rigorous email list cleaning is required; however, larger email lists may require more frequent list maintenance.

As you go through your engagement metrics after each send, you’ll get a clearer picture of your email health and find out how frequently email list cleaning is required.

Regardless of the frequency you pick, keep to your cadence. However, examine your email list cleaning schedule each year to see whether you need to clean your list more or less frequently.

4. Get rid of role accounts

Individual accounts are linked to email addresses that represent a group or alias, such as support, information, and so on. These emails do not represent people, therefore they are not checked or read often.

When someone new takes over the responsibility of monitoring that email alias, they will not be opted in to receive these emails and may opt to mark your email as spam.

5. Don’t let it land in the spam folder

You should do everything you can to avoid being caught in spam filters. If your subject line contains all caps, has too many exclamation points, includes spelling and grammar mistakes, or is otherwise unprofessional, there’s a good chance that your engaged subscribers will dismiss your email as unimportant, hence landing you into a spam trap.

The way you are addressed is also a good indication of spam, so personalize the email body and address your subscribers by their names instead of using a generic beginning like ‘Hey there!’.

6. Rightly define your target audience

Another thing to keep in mind when segmenting your email list is that you must send the appropriate emails to the correct target audience.

Whether you’re segmenting your subscribers based on location, purchase history, or hobbies, be cautious about sending the appropriate emails to each group. This can be executed using marketing automation software, where you can create automation journeys and connect with prospects based on their behavior and preferences.

You leverage the marketing automation feature to not only automate your email marketing campaigns but also measure the performance. Hence, it also helps in defining your target audience.

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7. Clear out your inactive users

If you have a large number of subscribers who aren’t using your list – perhaps because they haven’t opened any of your emails in a long time or haven’t clicked any of your links in the email, resulting in decreased email engagement. Then, it’s probably time to get rid of them.

Do this step cautiously, and don’t do it too often. People may be busy, and although they want to hear from you, they just aren’t able to find the time. If you keep removing these clients from the list without any notice, they will become bored.

8. Remove duplicate entries

Duplicate email addresses can create a lot of clutter and confusion.

For instance, you may have added one person to three different email lists just because they have the same name. This can irritate the receiver and they may end up clicking on the unsubscribe link. Or worst, consider your email spam!

It’s important to remove them from your email list so that all of the subscribers on your list have unique email addresses.

9. Use email list cleaning service

To make email list hygiene easier, consider using an email list cleaning service. This will help you to clean your email list more efficiently and keep track of all of your subscribers.

A good email list cleaning platform will also help you to improve your contact database, re-engage inactive subscribers, eliminate invalid emails to reduce the bounce rate, and improve your email list health.

How you can revive dead email list?

There are a few ways to revive an email list that has become inactive. One way is to offer a contest or giveaway to your subscribers. This will intrigue them and prompt them to open your email to see what it’s about.

Another way is to send out an email blast with interesting content, such as industry news, tips, or even writing bottom of funnel content. The key is to get creative and make sure that your subscribers will be interested in the content you’re sending.

Here are some of the best ways to revive your email list health:

  • Plan and execute re-engagement campaigns.
  • Improve engagement by adding surveys and feedback.
  • You can ask your subscribers to mark their preferences by including web forms in your email.
  • Send a re-opt in email to your inactive subscribers and if they don’t respond, automatically remove them.
  • Make it easy to unsubscribe, it will work in your favor!

The main aim is to learn about your subscribers’ email habits and find ways to improve your email marketing strategy and connect with past and new subscribers.

Below we’ve created a comprehensive infographic for email list hygiene best practices. So, whenever you are cleaning your email list, you can simply refer to this infographic and follow the steps.

email list hygiene

Want to use this infographic in your content, research, and presentation? Use this code to embed this infographic on your website:

<p><strong>Please include attribution to with this graphic.</strong><br /><br /><a href=''><img src='' alt='Email List Hygiene Infographics' width='776' border='0' /></a></p>


Email list hygiene is important to keep your email performance high and avoid any negative effects on your email campaigns. Luckily, it’s not difficult to do if you follow some best practices.

We’ve outlined a few of the most important ones for you here that can help you maintain a healthy email list. So, implement these best practices and create a solid email list for your business.

Dhara Thakkar

Dhara Thakkar is a seasoned marketer at Salesmate. She thrives on trying new organic strategies to improve traffic & conversions, and has in-depth knowledge on how search works. When she's not working, you will find her travelling or binge watching F.R.I.E.N.D.S

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