Spring Cleaning Your Email Lists

Spring has sprung, and spring-cleaning is not just something that applies to your personal life. It also is important to your business – and keeping your email lists and customer database in top shape is important. It will not only help you with deliverability, but also very likely increase your response rates on top of preventing email algorithms from labeling you as a spammer.

When you send emails to your prospects and clients, you may – hopefully not too often – receive a bounce back message. That’s when one of your emails is not deliverable as addressed, for any of several reasons:


Incorrect email address

Making sure your contacts’ information is entered correctly into your data sheet is imperative. If there are typos, incorrect email addresses, or even false ones, your emails will not reach your intended recipients.


Undeliverable email

If your recipient’s email server is unavailable, your email will bounce back. The best thing to do in this case is to get in touch with them by phone or social media, and try to get an alternative email address at which they can receive your emails.


Full mailbox

This could be a true ”overload” issue or the recipient may no longer be using the email as his or her primary email address, so it’s no longer accepting emails.


Blocked email

The recipient could have blocked your email or the server could have identified you as a possible spammer, which is one of the reasons why you shouldn’t send emails to lists you buy online. Doing so can harm your sender reputation and decrease the deliverability of your messages. For lists you buy online, maybe try calling first to see if the prospect is interested in your services; after that, you can ask them if they want to sign up for your emails.


Spam traps

Emails with generic aliases like sales@domain.com or info@domain.com are often listed on websites and get added to email lists that are sold. They might not have anyone checking them on a regular basis, so if you have addresses like these in your list, confirm they are monitored; otherwise, service providers may label them as spam traps, which could hurt your sender reputation.



Getting rid of stale email addresses can be an arduous task, especially if you have many contacts in your list. There are several email cleaners available online that can help you scrub your email list and will also detect spam traps, and correct syntax errors in your list (such as those addresses using a comma or a misspell of a domain name (e.g., person@domain,con).

Some of the cleaners you might consider are NeverBounce, DataValidation, and Experian.



If you use an email program manager (like Constant Contact, MailChimp, MailSpring, or others) or a CRM system that has an email program, you can usually run a report after each of your mailings to see what your bounce back experience may be.


Save a copy

It’s always a good idea to keep a copy of your email database (or your list in whatever program you use – e.g., Access, Excel, etc.), separate from the rest of your electronic records. That way, if your laptop, desktop, or online program fails you, you still have an electronic record available as a backup. Portable or cloud storage is very affordable and well worth the expense (and a time-saver) if you lose access to your records elsewhere.

Email list quality is as important – if not more important – than quantity. Cleaning up your email list improves your email deliverability – and your response rate. Your email marketing will be more successful with a clean (or cleaner) list, which helps improve your online reputation. That, in turn, helps you reach more customers and prospects, which gives more sales opportunities.


Helpful Links: For additional reading on the importance of having a clean email list, check out these articles:




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