Email Scrubbing Guide: All You Need To Know

August 8, 2021

How often are you scrubbing your email list?

If the answer is never, in that case, it is highly likely that you are wasting your time, energy, and money in marketing to people who don't have any interest in your company.

email scrubbing
Image from Unsplash by Brett Jordan

Assume that your email list is filled with expired addresses or subscribers that no longer care about you or what you offer. Your deliverability of emails will be severely impacted if this happens. Hence, by scrubbing your email list periodically, you can maintain the efficiency of your mailing list.

Email scrubbing is a process that enables you to remove inactive contacts from your mailing list to keep it healthy. It lets marketers maintain high email deliverability, increase campaign engagement, and decrease bounce rates.

This article will introduce you to basic email scrubbing techniques, including the purpose and its benefits.

Table of Contents

What is Email Scrubbing?

Scrubbing your email list means removing or deleting the addresses on it that you have not opened, read, or interacted with.

According to surveys, a decline of 20–30% is observed in email lists each year. Do you think it’s worth interacting with one-third of your subscribers who never open your email, let alone click on your CTA button? It’s definitely not.

What is the Purpose of Email Scrubbing?

The purpose of email scrubbing is to cut down the size of your email list so to ensure that you are not sending emails to inactive subscribers.

While your email distribution list may shrink, you are ensuring that anyone who receives your communications is interested in receiving them and is more likely to engage with them.

It's much better to build a high-quality email list rather than a large one with disinterested and unresponsive subscribers.

A clean email list leads to:

  • improved open and click-through rates.
  • reduces the number of emails marked as spam.
  • budget allocations that are more effective.
  • a better return on investment and improved metrics.
  • better lead quality and conversion rates in the long run.

How to Scrub Your Email List: Step-By-Step

This step-by-step guide will help you to clean your email list so that your marketing results will be more accurate.

Step 1: Segment Your Email List

The first step of email list cleaning is to identify and segment the active subscribers and the inactive ones.

Consider selecting one list to segment your subscribers if your business has multiple mailing lists. Select the one you believe needs the most work or that has the greatest engagement potential.

Organizing your list by active versus inactive subscribers reduces your work and allows you to focus on subscribers that need re-engagement or removal.

A subscriber who has not opened one of your emails for 90 days has a very slim chance of doing so during the following 90 days. So, you can begin by segmenting your list based on subscribers who have opened your emails in the past 90 days.

By doing so, you have enough time to thoroughly verify that those inactive subscribers are indeed not responding or opening your emails.

Step 2: Clear Inactive Subscribers

After you have gone through the process of finding your inactive subscribers, you can then use scrubbing software to organize your inactive list further and narrow it down into those that can be salvaged.

Email scrubbing tools do not just eliminate misspelled and fake addresses; they also identify bounces, duplicates, expired addresses, nonexistent domains, etc. This process is way more thorough and faster than you could ever hope for.

You can run your inactive email list through software such as VerifyBee to remove the inactive emails automatically. To ensure accuracy, VerifyBee actually pings servers to verify every single email on your list.

Step 3: Re-Engage Your Inactive Subscribers

The next step after sorting out your inactive subscriber list is to send targeted offers or campaigns to people who are not engaging enough with your emails.

Re-engagement campaigns for inactive email subscribers can be structured in a variety of ways. Sending "we miss you" emails with a small promotional offer or discount is the first option to gain their attention.

email marketing
Source: Pixabay

As an alternative, you can also send the recipient a special gift or a Discount Coupon, or give them exclusive access to your website for a limited period of time.

If you don’t want to emphasize a discount code only, you can use informative campaigns and provide value to your inactive subscribers within your re-engagement campaign.

Step 4: Reorganise Your List

Review your re-engagement campaign and identify those subscribers who have not clicked through. Those subscribers who responded favorably to your re-engagement emails can be moved back to your active list.

You should then get rid of inactive subscribers once your re-engagement campaign has had time to sink in.

Step 5: Remove Inactive Subscribers

The last step is to remove the inactive subscribers from your email list once you pass through the first four steps.

Keep in mind that you are trying to work towards getting the most out of your email list and the emails you put so much effort into, so don't waste your time talking to subscribers who don't care.

Inactive subscribers are known as "Cold Subscribers". These prospects can be scrubbed away or sorted into a new email list intended specifically to reengage cold contacts. This list can also be a great resource when you're launching a product or service or breaking into a new market, and you need to target ads on other platforms.

Benefits of Email Scrubbing

Email Scrubbing Leads to a Decrease in Spam Complaints

By managing your email list properly, you can decrease the number of complaints about spam.

In any business, there will always be at least one person who subscribed to your list thinking they would be interested in it, regardless of how valuable it is. Over time, they may realize they don't really want to read your emails anymore.

It will be a bad decision if you are keeping them on your list despite the fact that they are not opening your emails or engaging with them.

Here’s the solution - Get rid of the unengaged users from your email list, and you will experience fewer spam complaints.

Increased Click-through and Open Rates

The open rate indicates how many emails were opened by the recipient. Click-through rates are statistics that indicate the number of clicks from a campaign that has been successfully delivered.

You will see a dramatic increase in open rates and click-through rates the minute you remove all inactive email addresses from your list. The reason is that you will only email people who are interested in your business. You will, in turn, see an improvement in your metrics.

Email Scrubbing is Cost-Effective

If you optimize your email list, you'll be sending high-quality email messages to only the most engaged subscribers.

If the subscribers who don't contribute directly or indirectly to your business are removed, access to more high-quality subscribers will be made available along with a reduction of your email marketing expenses.

A Decrease in Bounce Rates

There is a possibility that you will fail to reach a recipient because their email server bounces back those emails.

Occasionally, a soft bounce occurs when there is a temporary error in the email address of the recipient. In the case of hard bounced emails, it means the mail was not delivered to the recipient's address due to a non-existent email address. In such cases, the address should be removed from your list completely.

email bounce comparison
Source: mailerlite

To reduce bounce rates and improve email deliverability, take out all bounced emails. A high bounce rate adversely affects your sender’s cost-effective reputation, so you need to be careful.

Bounced emails mean the address to which you sent them can no longer receive them. It may be because the account has been closed or it's just undeliverable.

Reliable Reporting

Reporting is mainly based on a percentage of how many emails you send and how often you send them. Inactive subscribers will give you negatively skewed results which can make the performance of your campaigns look much worse than they actually are.

If you only send emails to your active subscribers, your response rates might be higher, and your performance reports will be more accurate.

Boosts Deliverability

If the majority of emails get blocked or filtered to spam, you lose access to the customer inbox. Email verification allows you to identify emails that are being blocked or routed to the spam folder, which negatively impacts your ability to reach customers.

You can then decide what to do with them and take action accordingly.

Getting rid of them can boost your deliverability and sender reputation because you can prove to an ISP that you're a reliable sender.

When Should You Scrub Your Email Lists?

Reduced Click-through and Open Rates

Email metrics should be the first thing you monitor. A decline in your open rate below the average of 15-25% might indicate that it's time to consider email scrubbing. You should also keep an eye on your click-through rate, which includes subscribers who clicked on a link in your email.

Low rates suggest that you should consider the quality of your mailing list. Keeping an eye on these rates is crucial because a decline could be detrimental to your reputation.

Spam Complaints are on the Rise

Keeping track of your campaign statistics will help you find spam complaints. In addition to an increased number of complaints, you may be sending irrelevant emails and spam content. Scrubbing your mailing list periodically can help deal with all this.

A Rise in Unsubscribed Users

If you notice an increase in unsubscribes, your content may be irrelevant or contain spam, or you may send too many emails as your emails are not tailored to readers' preferences. They affect your email metrics and your sender’s reputation.

A Rise in Bounce Rate

The average email bounce rate in all industries is between 0.40% and 0.58%, according to MailChimp. Having your bounce rate exceed the industry standard of 2% is problematic. When your email deliverability exceeds this threshold, your sending reputation is at risk.

How Often Should You Perform Email Scrubbing?

It's a good idea to clean lists every six months. There will be a good number of subscribers changing addresses, or their mailboxes may be deactivated automatically by providers due to inactivity.

Major brands routinely validate marketing emails to ensure that their messages reach their clients.

Make sure your mailing list is clean every six months as an increase in spam complaints and unsubscribes, or a drop in open rates and click rates will negatively impact deliverability and reputation.

The Bottom Line

Keeping your email list clean protects you from being reported by ensuring you only send emails to the people who are interested. Additionally, a good sending reputation will result in increased engagement and click-through rates. Clean email lists are less costly and result in lower bounce rates, as well as more sales and improved brand awareness.

Email scrubbing can be a very time-consuming task. By using an email list cleaning service such as VerifyBee, your marketing team can focus more time building and growing your list of subscribers rather than spending time filtering messages.

So what are you waiting for? Get started for free - Clean up your email list today to enhance high deliverability, lower spending, better reputation, and much more.

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