How to maintain the Hygiene of your Email List

Every email marketer aims to get higher engagement rates and better marketing metrics. And having an outdated database of customers who regularly ignore your emails will surely affect the overall metrics. Additionally, it will also waste valuable resources that could have been utilized elsewhere. That’s precisely why you need to maintain the hygiene of your email list. 

What is email list hygiene?

Email list hygiene involves cleaning and rearranging your email list by removing the cold subscribers to keep it warm. Before you get further sidetracked by the terminology, cold subscribers mean people that do not interact with the emails that you send them. And people on your list, who regularly interact with your email and often visit your website, are known as warm subscribers. 

Why is email list hygiene essential?

Over the period, even those subscribers who voluntarily signed up to receive your emails, will either start unsubscribing themselves from the list or ignoring your emails. Your metrics will start performing poorly and will also drag down your ROI. The email placement and open and click data are some of the most crucial metrics for your email marketing. 

If the engagement continues downhill, the ISP might blacklist your emails. Once you have been blacklisted, your email will end up directly in the spam folder. Hence, it is essential to regularly scrub your email list and prioritize the warm subscribers. 

How to start the process of scrubbing your email list?

  • Decide the interaction rate of your target audience

As explained above, warm subscribers are people who often interact with your emails and website. To maintain a list of active subscribers, you will have to decide the duration beyond which your subscribers start going cold or decrease their interaction. If you have a smaller email list, you can extend that duration beyond six months. However, for an expansive email list, you should frequently clean the list to avoid getting blacklisted. Three months should be enough to determine if a subscriber has gone cold. 

  • Diagnose the illness

The next step is to identify the reasons why people started ignoring your targeted emails. The average open rate for emails is around 21.33%, and you will need corrective measures if your engagement is below the benchmark. There might be a few reasons for the drop in the interest rate-

  • You lose the interest of your customer if you do not send them enough emails. They subscribed to your list because they wanted more, so don’t leave them hanging.
  • Likewise, if you start sending them too many emails, they will get overwhelmed and will start redirecting your emails to the trash can.
  • The targeted audience interacts more with the emails with content that resonates with their current needs and conditions. Your warm customers will instantly turn cold if they do not connect with the content of your emails. 
  • To get started, you can use salesforce templates. But ensure that you are changing it adequately, or else your email will fail to stand out in the inbox of your target audience. 
  • Edit the email list before starting your campaign

You can get a headstart with email hygiene if you clear out certain email IDs. To begin with, remove the role accounts. Role accounts are emails that represent a group, rather than an individual, for example, or

In addition to that, you can also remove complex duplicate accounts. Most people have two email accounts, one primary and another work email. So, there is a good chance that they will ignore your email in their second inbox if they have already interacted with it. By removing the duplicates, you will improve your metrics. However, this is not an easy feat to achieve manually. You will need to deploy some sort of algorithm to remove such accounts.

  • Make your emails stand out

The content of the email will be irrelevant if your targeted audience is not even opening it. Therefore, you will need a solid subject line for your email, which stokes their curiosity. It should be tempting but should not give away too much information. You will need to come up with unique and eye-catching subject lines. You can also use artificial intelligence to create crafty lines that will increase the open rates.

  • Segmentation

Segmentation works wonders when used correctly. You can segment your target audience and set up different emailing frequencies and content for them to make the emails more personalized. Personalization will attract a higher open rate without fail. 

Segmentation can also be used to separate the cold subscribers from the warm list. Such segmentation will allow you to re-engage the cold audience. You can send them enticing discount codes and other offers to catch their attention through re-engagement emails. If it is still not enough, you will have to consider them to be inactive users and remove them from the list. You can send them a reminder email as below.


Some other tips to maintain the email hygiene

  • You can remove the invalid email. Continuously emailing invalid addresses will negatively affect your engagement metrics.
  • The unsubscribing rate is between 0.2% to 0.5%. You will have to manually remove some people from your list to maintain email hygiene.
  • Use double confirmations or double opt-in to ensure that the subscriber really wants to read your emails. 
  • You can use pre-formatted salesforce templates to increase productivity. However, you should make enough changes to make it your own. 


Email hygiene will ensure that you are constantly in the good books of your Email Service Provider and the ISP. Moreover, upgrading and scrubbing your email list regularly will return hefty dividends in the form of better engagement and open rates.

Author: Kevin George is the head of marketing at Email Uplers, which specializes in crafting Professional Email Templates, PSD to Email conversion, and Mailchimp Templates. Kevin loves gadgets, bikes & jazz, and he breathes email marketing. He enjoys sharing his insights and thoughts on email marketing best practices on email marketing blogs.

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