5 Reasons to Keep Your Email Marketing Lists Clean

5 Reasons to Keep Your Email Marketing Lists Clean

A targeted, highligly engaged email list outperforms a large, stale list.

You know the drill: You create a website and immediately implement a form to collect email addresses even though you may not have an email marketing strategy in place. We’re all guilty; we’re afraid of losing an opportunity to communicate with our customers. If you don’t email your customers on a regular basis, however, your list will go stale – and a stale list will hurt your marketing efforts and cost you money.

Here are five reasons to keep your email list clean. 

1. Save money.

Many email marketing services charge clients based on their total subscribers, whether they’re engaged or not. In short: You pay monthly to keep unengaged subscribers on your list. Cleaning your list will remove stale contacts, decrease your subscriber count, and save you money.

2. Increase engagement.

It’s tempting to grow your list so you can boast to your boss – and advertisers –  that your list is large. However, you're ultimately doing yourself a disservice. When asked how well the list performs, your metrics will fall short. 

Cleaning your list ensures you communicate with people who actually want to hear from you, which means more opens, clicks, forwards, and conversions. The result: improved metrics, a more engaged customer base, and more high-fives for you and your team!

Clean your email list to remove stale contacts, decrease your subscriber count, and save money.

3. Decrease unsubscribes.

A high unsubscribe volume is a red flag for email service providers and can push your email straight to the spam and/or junk folder. By removing unengaged subscribers from your list, you ensure you’re reaching people who want to hear from you. These people are less likely to unsubscribe from your list. 

4. Decrease spam reports.

Just like unsubscribes, spam complaints can harm the delivery of your message to the inbox. People who want to hear from you are less likely to report you for spam.

A small yet engaged list results in more opens, clicks, forwards, and conversions.

5. Improve your sender reputation.

This is a biggie. Every email sender has a sender score between zero and 100. The higher the number, the better the score. Several factors impact this number, including bounces, unsubscribes, spam complaints, and email distribution volume. If you have a high sender score, your emails are more likely to sail through filters and land directly in the user’s inbox. Emails from a low sender score are often blocked by filters and sent directly to spam folders. 

Furthermore, many email marketing providers like Mailchimp send emails from a shared IP address. Mailchimp wants to ensure their IP’s sender score remains strong. That’s why they require you to send a double opt-in confirmation email each time you upload a mass list.


It’s better to have a small, targeted, highligly engaged email list over a large, stale list. If you’re hoping to improve your email marketing performance, try cleaning your subscriber list. 

Stay tuned to the Gray Loon blog for a how-to on cleaning and re-engaging your list. 

About the Author

Jason Ludwig

Jason Ludwig

Partner | Web Development Director 

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