Tips to Keep Your Email Marketing Database Clean

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4 Tips to Keep Your Database Healthy

DespiteĀ  constant reports on the death of email marketing, it's still alive and very effective. There will be over 3 billion email users by 2020. Email marketing still delivers $40+ for every $1 spent in ROI.

To continue to see returns like this, it's imperative to keep a clean database of email addresses. Why? Because a faulty database can harm your sender reputation when it comes to the email clients that your potential customers are using.

Poor open rates, unsubscribes, and reports of spam are bad news. Those are "red flags" to email providers and could lead to your messages being sent to the junk folders or outright blacklisting/bans for all email sends.

You need to be able to reach the people who are genuinely interested in hearing from your company.

How To Keep a Clean Email Marketing Database

According to Hubspot, your database decays by about 22% every year. People change jobs, Internet service providers (ISPs), and email security settings. They may also provide false or temporary email addresses or accidentally provide ones with a typo (.comm, .con, .can, etc.)

Here are some tips to cleaning up your database:

  1. Review your last 4-5 email sends - Look for any misspellings, inaccurate company/email names, and duplicates. Your email software platform hopefully has a way to search for duplicate email addresses or the same Contact name with multiple email addresses associated with it. Take out email addresses that are distribution emails (they are the ones like or Edit or remove as needed. Many email software platforms have tools to help you do this.
  2. Take out the Hard Bounces - From previous sends, track down the emails that had a hard bounce and were never delivered. Soft bounces are the ones where emails were temporarily stopped (inbox was full or their server was down) but hard bounces are the ones with permanent deliverability problems. That person may no longer be at that company or it's an incorrect email address. If you keep trying to send to it, you could get blocked.
  3. Remove the inactive contacts - It might seem counter-intuitive to eliminate perfectly good email addresses from your database but it will help your email marketing campaigns in the long run. Someone might have ordered a product from you for a friend or family member but they really don't want your emails. Or they were curious about your services but are no longer interested. Many will unsubscribe but others simply delete every email you send to them. If they're not interacting with you then don't bother to send to them. You're looking for quality, not quantity, when it comes to leads from your marketing.
  4. Look for trends in your email sends - If you have one email campaign with a high number of unsubscribes but all the others were much lower, then it might have been that email (or subject line or content) and not your campaigns as a whole. But if you're regularly getting more and more people opting out or reporting you as spam, you might have an issue that you need to correct. Perhaps there are too many spammy words (like Free or Discount) in your subject line. Or maybe you're sending far too often. It could also be that you're sending too many sales pitches and not enough quality, helpful and useful content to your subscribers. The trends will tell the tale.

Keep your database as clean as possible. It may seem like a daunting task if you've got thousands or even hundreds of thousands of contacts in your database. But you need to make sure that its healthy if you want to see a good return continually from email marketing efforts. Take the time to review your email trends, update your email addresses, and take out anything that's not generating quality leads for you. As stated above, you want quality and not quantity. Utilize any tools at your disposal that your email software platform gives you to streamline the clean-up process - that's what you're paying for. And if they don't have database cleansing tools, find a better email provider.

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