How to keep your email list healthy and boost email deliverability

This is a guest post by Corina Leslie, PR Manager at ZeroBounce.

If you think your email list is your most important marketing asset, you’re right. Email has impressive revenue-generating powers, and there’s nothing like connecting with your prospects in the inbox. However, reaching the inbox isn’t a given. Emails land in spam every day. To avoid that and boost your email deliverability, you need a healthy email list.

Why keeping a healthy email list is key to your marketing success

As a business sending marketing emails, your reputation is what determines whether your emails go to the inbox or the spam folder. Your sender reputation is a score that internet service providers (ISPs) use to measure your legitimacy as a sender. When you fail to follow the rules and become a nuisance to recipients, your email score declines, causing your campaigns to land in the junk folder.

Here are some of the factors that influence your sender score or reputation:

  • The number of emails you send and how frequently you send them.
  • Your overall engagement metrics, such as open rates, click rates, unsubscribes, replies, and forwards.
  • Your bounce rate and spam complaint rate.

    ProTip: Keep in mind that the accepted bounce rate is under 2% (a maximum of 2 per 100 emails), while your spam complaint rate should stay under 0.1% (1 per 100 emails).

    With your bounce rate having such a dramatic impact on your sender reputation, you see why keeping a healthy email list is so important to your email deliverability. When your emails bounce, not only are those bounces missed opportunities; they also affect your ability to reach your prospects with future campaigns.

    Maintaining a healthy email database isn’t that hard. Here are the best ways to ensure your list is always fresh so you can avoid bounce-backs and get your emails into the inbox.

    Verify your email contacts at least quarterly

    Here’s the harsh truth: while you’re working on growing your email list, your email contacts degrade every day. Within a year, almost 23% of your database deteriorates, the ZeroBounce Email List Decay Report shows. You must stay on top of your email hygiene if you care about your deliverability.

    The easiest way to keep a clean, healthy email list is to run it through an email verification service at least quarterly. An email verifier not only helps you eliminate bounces, but also detects other types of risky email addresses. What’s more, if you’re a Zoho CRM user, you can use the ZeroBounce extension to validate every contact directly in your CRM.

    The effects of cleaning your list are immediate. When you operate with a valid list of contacts, you’ll enjoy a boost in your reputation and higher click rates. Your customers will be able to see your emails consistently, which will allow you to build stronger relationships with them.

    Manage your unengaged subscribers

    You work hard to create your emails, and it’s discouraging to see subscribers on your list who rarely or never interact with them. However, remember that everyone who sends mass emails will have a segment of unengaged subscribers. The more proactively you handle this segment, the healthier your email list will be—and the higher your email deliverability.

    Here’s a two-step approach to dealing with passive subscribers:

    • Target them with a win-back campaign offering a coupon, discount, or another valuable perk. To maximize your chances to engage these prospects, send at least two follow-up emails after the initial one.
    • Remove all subscribers who have still not engaged. Those email addresses could be abandoned and may bounce. Aside from that, even if they’re still in use, chances are you’ll never win those customers back.

    As you know by now, your overall engagement rates build—or break—your sender reputation. Avoid letting passive subscribers skew your rates and affect your ability to reach inboxes. Keep an eye on their behavior and reassess their presence on your list every six months. 

    Prevent spam complaints 

    Bounces tarnish your sender reputation, but spam complaints have an even more dramatic effect on your email deliverability. Inbox providers hold user feedback in high regard, which means the algorithms automatically filter illegitimate senders out of the inbox. When someone reports your email as spam, it’s a loud and clear expression of discontent: your content bothers them.

    Getting one spam complaint for every 100 emails you send is understandable. Sometimes, people hit the “Report as spam” button instead of unsubscribing. However, if your spam complaint rate is higher, you must address the issue to avoid landing in the junk folder.

    Here is how to handle—and prevent—spam complaints:

    • Avoid renting or purchasing an email database. You may think you’re reaching out to solid prospects, but those people have never heard of you, so many may report your emails as spam.
    • Build your email list correctly. Do not add people to it without getting their permission first. Also, use the double opt-in method to filter out fake subscriptions.
    • Honor unsubscribes promptly. If someone has unsubscribed from your emails, make sure that contact is suppressed and you don’t reach out to that person again.
    • Remove complainers immediately. You cannot blame someone for reporting you as spam if you email them again—after they just did.

      If you want to take a step further in preventing spam reports, use an email verifier that can detect known spam complainers. These subscribers have a history of reporting many email messages as spam. Removing them also removes the risk of your own emails being reported.

      Final tip to boost email deliverability

      Keeping a healthy email list can only benefit your email marketing. Aside from boosting your sender reputation and email deliverability, removing obsolete data also cuts costs. You won’t pay to store poor-quality data in your CRM or email provider—and can direct those resources to other goals.

      But reaching the inbox entails more than using a valid email list. To help your emails avoid the spam folder, focus on the quality of your content. Instead of writing one email and sending it to your entire audience, segment your list into smaller groups and create relevant content for each.

      Also, following a sending schedule helps your email deliverability. It keeps subscribers engaged and your IP warm, and allows you to increase brand awareness. Avoid long breaks between your emails. Instead, show up for your audience regularly, and you’ll enjoy higher engagement and conversions.

      Try ZeroBounce Email Validator for Zoho CRM

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