A bigger email database is not always better – sometimes you need to clean house. And by “house” we mean your subscriber list.

Nintendo re-engagement email

Nintendo re-engagement email

If this is not part of your current process, the first step is identifying the criteria of an unengaged subscriber. This will depend on your send frequency, sales cycle, and type of business. The first time you do this, if there are subscribers who are so clearly gone (eg. haven’t opened an email in years), it’s worth just deleting them rather than sending a “break up” email as they will have a higher rate of spam complaints.

Here are five reasons why a clean list is a good list:

They are skewing your numbers

If your list if full of inactive subscribers, your engagement will be lower. While it may be painful to cull numbers and reduce list size, it should help to know that your open and click through rates will improve.

Your list growth graph should trend upwards, but will have dips where you clean house.

It will clean out unmonitored email addresses

Crocs re-engagement email

Crocs re-engagement email

People change jobs and email addresses all the time, so in this case, the ignoring sends is not personal – they may have even signed up again with their new address.

ESPs often repurpose inactive addresses as spam traps, so it’s in your best interest to get these addresses off your sends before legitimate addresses at these service providers also get blocked.

Avoid spam complaints

Subscribers who are not opening, but still receiving your emails are more likely to one day report them as spam to opt out. Sure they could unsubscribe, but that would involve opening one (which they’re not doing).

A high amount of spam complaints will eventually damage your sender reputation, bringing us to our next point…

It could be damaging your sender IP

Getting black listed by an ESP is a total pain and can take weeks to sort out. Sender reputation isn’t an exact science, but there are steps to take to keep your reputation clean, and list cleansing is a big one.

Piper Lime re-engagement email

Piperlime re-engagement email

Removing unmonitored addresses and uninterested subscribers will reduce your sends to spam traps and the likelihood of spam complaints, and keep your emails going through to those who still want to receive them.

It could give people a shake to start opening your emails again

To end on an optimistic note, some subscribers, when given their break up note may re-engage. It may be just the jolt they need to start paying attention again. Sure, this will be a small part of this segment, but if they were not active and engaged to begin with there is nothing lost regardless.