The success of your email deliverability and marketing campaigns is based on a range of factors such as subject lines, offers, copy, etc.
But there’s one key thing everyone MUST PAY ATTENTION to before you even think about about hitting send on your next email campaign.
That thing is the hygiene or cleanliness of your email list.
Even if you built your list the right way (you didn't purchase a list, scrape the internet, get a list from a JV partner etc) if you are not practicing proper list hygiene, there is an extremely high chance that you could be considered a spammer in the eyes of the ISP's.
Here is why:
1) Expired emails = Inactive subscribers - ISPs base complaint rates on active subscribers, not total subscribers.
If your list is loaded with emails that are inactive, you will never have a clear picture of what your true complaint rate is. While many marketers just look at total complaints over total list size ( you sent 25,000 emails and had 25 complaints), ISPs (internet service providers) are actually looking at total complaints over number of active email users.
Let's show an example. You have a email sending out to 5,000 contacts. Suppose your email to 5,000 addresses only makes it to 2000 inboxes and then generates 40 complaints. A marketer might think their complaint rate is only 1% (40 / 5,000). Unfortunately the ISP's will calculate a rate of 2.5% (40 / 2000) -- a rate that is will likely get you blocked by certain ISPs. The ISP's base it on emails delivered not the total sent!
ISPs started caring about active users when they caught on to a loophole that spammers with poor email sending habits were exploiting. That then carried over to those with poor email hygiene practices and had dirty lists. In an attempt to work the system, spammers started to stuff their lists with inactive email addresses. They did this because inactive accounts don't click spam buttons, and therefore, the total spam complaints would stay artificially low. Pretty Sneaky!
2) Expired email addresses turn into unknown accounts.
When an ISP sees that you’re sending to a large number of unknown accounts (accounts that cannot be verified), once again, they will suspect that you are sending spam messages. If you hit unknown accounts at a rate higher that 5%, it is very likely they will send your emails directly to the spam folder or could just block you completely.
3) Expired email addresses turn into spam traps.
Since spammers tend to buy and steal lists, ISPs resort to yet another method to track them down: ISPs mark abandoned or dormant email addresses as spam traps. A dormant email is an account that was once real and used, but is no longer active. It hasn't been logged into or is full and cannot receive emails anymore. This means that, even if you acquired emails in a legitimate manner, the dormant addresses may have been converted into spam traps. Hitting even just one spam trap in an email send can cause deliverability problems with the ISP's.
The Solution: Email List Hygiene
The solution to all three problems listed above is to regularly clean up your email list by removing those addresses that are no longer engaged and run regular hygiene scrubs to ensure you are keeping bad contacts out of your list. Monthly list scrubs is best, but at a minimum you should clean your list once a quarter.
You can also identify unengaged contacts with metrics such as opens, clicks or engagement reports. Aside from all of the money you will save from sending less email, you will achieve higher deliverability, a good email reputation with the ISP gods, and increase your ROI from your marketing campaigns!
If you would like to schedule a free consultation to discuss your email deliverability, go to my calendar and select a time to talk.