Don’t Ignore Your Email Marketing Database

Do you have a list maintenance plan for your email marketing database?  There is a temptation that once an email marketing list is built to forget about it.  The only attention it receives is sporadic additions. Don’t neglect database maintenance as a clean list makes campaigns more effective and can save money

I was recently shocked by an example of blatant list maintenance disregard.  A client being onboarded supplied a list of roughly a thousand email addresses that they had been emailing to for a couple years.  When reviewing the reports, we found that the bounces were over 450, a 45% bounce rate!  That means that half the people they thought were on their list, were not.

Ideally, you’d like to see bounce rates at zero, but realistically, if you try to keep them to a minimum (1-2%), you should be OK. If you are 5% or more, and your list is in the thousands and/or you send emails frequently, you may be digging a hole for your email campaigns. 45% is massively high and likely getting the emails labeled as a spam.  This happens because large ISPs register the high percentage of repeatedly trying to send emails to non-existing (expired, mistyped, etc.) addresses.

So naturally the first step was cleaning up the list.  It turns out that just over 400 of the addresses were bad.  The email platform that the client was using charged by the amount of emails in the database.  Removing the bad addresses took them to a lower tier which saved a bit of money on the monthly payment.  More importantly it set the client up with a clean list to see how effective their campaign was with their true audience.
Make a database maintenance schedule. It’s more than just scrubbing bounces.  Have a regular routine for gathering and adding addresses, review opt-outs for trends, monitor automatic replies for address changes, and obviously manage your bounces so you’re not sending emails to bad addresses. Keeping your list lean and clean makes for more productive and efficient email campaigns.