Cleansing your email list now and again will not only help make it easier to measure the success of email marketing campaigns, it will also reduce marketing spend and save your business money in the longterm.

So, with it being the start of new year, now would be the perfect time to go through your mailing list and make sure it’s in tip top shape for the rest of 2016. Here’s how:

Re-engage longstanding inactive contacts first

If you haven’t been through your mailing list in a while, there’s a good chance a fair number of contacts will have gone dormant over time. It’s likely that the majority of these contacts have simply tuned out to your regular send-outs, either because you weren’t offering relevant content, or because they’ve simply forgotten about you.

Your first job is sorting these contacts from those who are permanently inactive by re-engaging them with a targeted campaign. This will allow you to identify which contacts are still valuable to your business and which ones are not.

It’s important to know that any old, unused email addresses currently sitting on your list are potential spam traps; addresses that are used to identify organisations guilty of indiscriminately sending out emails for marketing purposes.

Stagger your re-engagement campaign send-outs to avoid triggering any multiple spam-traps in one go, other wise you risk damaging the reputation of your brand through spam association. You could also get blacklisted altogether.

Hard bounce vs soft bounce

Evaluate the different bounces you receive upon sending out your first few campaigns and note the differences between ‘hard bounces’ and ‘soft bounces’ – your email platform should be able to tell you which is which.

Create a suppression list

When you’ve identified email addresses you no longer want to include in future campaigns, place them in a suppression list instead of deleting them. This will prevent them from somehow reappearing in your master list, as can often be the case.

Consider double opt-in for future email signups, asking them to confirm their subscription to your communications, as customers often will sometimes agree to relieving emails without realising. This will likely reduce the number of contacts obtained, but the quality of leads captured will be significantly increased.