Email deliverability ought to be a top priority for each email marketer (here’s why). After all, you cannot be successful at email marketing unless your emails are achieving your subscribers’ inboxes.
The best method to improve & maintain your email deliverability is by keeping a clean & healthy email list. List hygiene (we like to call it) needs to be a frequent & consistent habit for every email marketer.
To help you get started, here are 4 “problem areas” to watch out for, as well as actions you could take to keep your email list squeaky clean:
Problem Area #1: Typos in the Email Address
Among the most common reasons why emails bounce is due to typos in the email addresses. It happens when a subscriber misspells the email domain name (e.g., @hatmail.com vs @hotmail.com), reproduces the domain (e.g., @firstname.lastname@example.org vs @gmail.com), or makes a typo in their own name.
The easiest way to stop email addresses with typos from showing up on your list is to use confirmed opt-in, which requires people to confirm their subscription before getting added to your list. If anyone enters the wrong email address, there is no way they will ever receive that confirmation email. This helps keep the list clean of undeliverable messages because no email addresses with typos can pass through to your list.
Let’s discuss you prefer not to use confirmed opt-in. Another option is to use an email validation service such as BriteVerify, FreshAddress, DataValidation, QuickEmailVerification or Kickbox to verify which email addresses are legitimate & which ones are not. Simply import your email list, begin the validation process, and remove the email addresses that are not valid.
You could also comb through the validation report to identify any misspelled email addresses, fix misspellings& add correct email addresses to your list. To ensure that you are 100% confident that your subscribers want to receive emails, you could use confirmed opt-in when importing those new email addresses.
Problem Area #2: Dead Email Domains
Another frequent reason for bounces? Dead email domains. Unless you use a reliable email marketing provider (such asAWeber) that monitors dead and blocked domains & prevents them from being added to your list, you may have some in your subscriber list.
I sound like a broken record, but using confirmed opt-in will make sure that only valid email addresses are being added. If you would prefer not to use confirmed opt-in, email validation services (like the ones mentioned earlier) would be the next best thing to identify dead email domains. Once you seek them, you could delete them from your list.
Problem Area #3: Email Address Changes
Did you know 30% of your subscribers will change their email address every year? That means nearly a third of the subscribers will “go cold” on you.
It is pretty difficult to predict when someone is no longer using an email address. So, what could you do to prevent this from happening to your email list?
Your email analytics could be a good indicator of this. If you are noticing that someone has not opened your email is several months, it might mean they have changed email addresses. If that is the case, you can either attempt to re-engage them/remove them from your list.
Some email validation services such asFreshAddress are able to handle changes in email addresses. With a tool such as FreshAddress, they will be able to identify bouncing & inactive email addresses and update them with active, engaged ones.
And of course, ensure you use confirmed opt-in when adding these new addresses to your list. You cannot assume they still want to receive your emails, so asking them to ensure will help them and you in the long run.
Problem Area #4: Transfers of Email Address Ownership
Have you ever moved into a new place & continued to receive mail for the old tenants? Well, that could happen with email addresses too.
Yahoo, for instance, recycles old email addresses after 12 months of no activity, which means someone else could begin using that email address once that year is up. If you have those email address on your list, the new owner will begin receiving your emails, though they never opted in to get your emails in the first place. When that happens, that person might flag your emails like spam, which could hurt your deliverability overall.
If someone has not opened your emails within the last three to six months, there is a good chance they are either no longer interested in your emails or they have abandoned that email address. That means it is a good time to a) send a re-engagement email or b) say goodbye.
Cleaning Up Your Email List
Normal list hygiene is essential to maintaining a healthy email list & good deliverability. As you ensure you are emailing the right people & removing inactive or incorrect addresses, you could expect to see better results from your email marketing.