young African-American man smiling and working on computer to learn how to clean your email list

3 Things You Need to Know Before Cleaning Your Email List

Cleaning your email list is vital to getting your campaigns and newsletters in your subscribers’ inboxes. Here is what you need to know before moving forward with email validation.

Do you hear a lot of marketers saying that “email is king”? That’s because it really is. According to a recent ZeroBounce survey, 88% of people check email every day, and 40% of them are specifically looking for brand discounts.

But how do you make sure your prospects receive your emails?

If your bounce rates have been giving you trouble – remember, anything above 2% is worrisome – then you’re right about rushing to clean your email list.

How cleaning your email list prevents bounces

Letting an email validation system prune out the bad data you’ve acquired is one of the best ways to boost your delivery rates.

Not sure what an email validator is supposed to do?

Let’s look at some of the most important features it should provide and see how you can maximize your gains.

#1. An email validator should remove more than just invalid contacts

As the Marketing Director at Image Source, Bruce Herwig runs email campaigns every week. He reached out to us after experiencing a very high bounce rate. “We knew that our list was questionable,” Bruce told us.

“After a 19% bounce rate on our last campaign, we needed to do something. Someone at our email marketing platform advised that we run our list through an email validation service, and they suggested ZeroBounce,” he continued.

When he came to us, all Bruce knew was that he wanted his campaigns to reach the inbox.

“Removing invalid email addresses was top of mind,” he said. But a good email validator has to do a lot more. If you’re on the market for one, make sure it also removes:

  • abuse emails, owned by people who label messages as spam
  • temporary emails, which auto-destroy in a short amount of time
  • spam traps, as their sole purpose is to block spammers
  • role-based emails, monitored by groups of people, not individuals.

Our customer Bruce Herwig saw a real difference after pruning Image Source’s list of all these bad emails.

“Our last two email campaigns had a 1.6 percent bounce rate and .85 percent bounce rate, respectively.”

Bruce Herwig

“First, we cleaned and tested 10 percent of our list, then we ran our entire database through the ZeroBounce system. The results speak for themselves. Our last two email campaigns had a 1.6 percent bounce rate and .85 percent bounce rate, respectively,” Herwig said.

2. Your email verifier should offer you a real-time API

Once you’ve cleaned your email list, you’re ready to start emailing again and give your campaigns a better chance to arrive in the inbox. But the truth is that data won’t stop decaying, and even the healthiest lists will go obsolete. Research shows this process happens at an average yearly rate of 25%.

What can you do to prevent it? Use a real-time email validation API.

API stands for Application Programming Interface. Think of it as an intermediary that helps two applications talk to each other. In this case, the API allows the email validation system to communicate with whatever platform you use to collect email addresses. Thus, it gives the system the ability to check email addresses in real time, as they register, and ensure they are genuine.

Want to see how it works?

So, once your list is accurate, you can keep it that way by installing the API on your signup forms. The API should automatically reject all the bad email addresses we talked about earlier and do a great job at maintaining your email hygiene.

3. A dependable email validator handles your data responsibly

Before you commit to any contracts, data protection is an important topic to bring up with your email validation experts. As you lend your customers’ information to a third party, how does that third party protect it?

“Go with a vendor you trust,” says ZeroBounce COO Brian Minick, “because you have to share customer data with your email validator. You want to make sure they’re handling that data responsibly and abide by strict data processing protocols.”

For starters, ask about the company’s compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). But also, “if the vendor is SOC 2 Type 2 and ISO 27001-compliant, that’s a good indication you can trust it,” Minick added.

Some extra tips before you clean your list

Knowing as much as possible about email validation helps you pick the right service easily. Here are a few other aspects to keep in mind as you start prospecting:

  • Most companies offer free trials. Make the most of them! Test several systems until you find the most accurate. For instance, ZeroBounce offers 100 free email validations every month.
  • Some companies also provide a free email validation tool. You can use that if you have a small list and only want to verify a handful of addresses.
  • Very few email validation services provide 24/7 customer support. Find one that does – it’s a nice perk and you won’t pay more.
  • Also, see what platforms the service integrates with so you can easily import and export your list and save time.
  • After you clean your database, consider scoring it. Email scoring tells you about your email list quality and how active your subscribers are. Thus, you can discover and target your best leads.

As we wrap this up, remember to prune your list often and never add anyone to it without permission. After all, your goal isn’t to collect as many email addresses as possible, but to engage with real people who want to hear from you.