Our company has been providing email list cleaning services since 1998. Over this time, we’ve cleaned thousands of lists and trillions of email addresses. We’ve discovered that there are 7 key things you should be aware of when it comes to cleaning your email lists.
1. If you don’t clean your lists, you may spend more money
If you’ve collected your data offline, have not mailed to it for a while or have not gotten your recipients to confirm their emails, you’ll likely find yourself paying more for email sending than you need to. Most email delivery services base their fees on either the number of emails you send or how many subscribers are in your database. Either way, if you keep bad emails in your active mailing database, you’ll find yourself paying more than you need to.
Depending on how a database was compiled, we find that up to 20% of emails are bad at the point of data collection. In addition, people change jobs, ISPs and ESPs resulting in invalid emails. These can account for anywhere between 10 and 30% of your database emails becoming invalid each year.
2. If you don’t clean your lists, your profits will be lowered
In order for your subscribers to take action on your emails, they need to actually see your emails to begin with. Many ESPs and organizations filter emails based on a sender’s reputation. Filtering can result in emails sent to valid emails going into spam folders or not being delivered at all. Your reputation as a mailer has more impact on your emails getting seen than the content of your emails. One of the primary ways to improve your reputation is to make sure you aren’t mailing to dead emails.
If your active subscribers aren’t seeing your emails, the ultimate impact is lowered profits.
3. It’s impossible to get 100% accuracy with mailing or cleaning
We’re often asked at EmailListCleaning.com about our accuracy rates and whether we can guarantee 100% accuracy. The reality is that it’s impossible to get 100% accuracy with any method of cleaning or even mailing for that matter.
The reason 100% accuracy is not possible is that there are no across-the-board standards in how recipient ESPs and organizations will return results. Bounces may not be returned. False bounces may be returned.
When it comes to cleaning, the age of a list combined with how the data was compiled will impact the reliability of results. When it comes to mailing, additional factors are the sender’s reputation, the method used for mailing, whitelisting by recipients and the email content. On top of this, whitelisting of the cleaning company and the mailing company will impact results. Finally, neither mailing nor cleaning will be able to properly handle cases where someone has left a company and their email is now forwarded to someone new since bounces are not returned.
At EmailListCleaning.com, we are whitelisted with several thousand ISPs, ESPs and organizations. We also strive for 90% accuracy.
4. Automated cleaning services and software often decrease accuracy
We often hear prospective clients say that some competitors are cheaper or faster or that they may as well get software to handle cleaning themselves.
There are many inexpensive software options if you want to do it yourself, but ultimately you’ll pay a high price by losing more valid emails than you need to. Part of the issue is that to get accurate results, you can’t just run software from a desktop computer. Each ISP and organization has different thresholds and requirements for being able to get reliable acknowledgements. With some, you may not get any valid results if you aren’t whitelisted. With others, if you try to check too many invalid emails at one time, all emails will be reported as bad – even those that are good.
Many of our competitors run the same type of software you can install on your desktop computer and as a result, they have low levels of accuracy as if you were trying to do it yourself. They may even have a higher failure rate if they have been permanently blocked by ISPs and organizations.
At EmailListCleaning.com, we don’t simply run lists through software. We go through a series of various steps including a manual review of all lists. In addition, we run at least three checks on all emails before we report them as being undeliverable. We never return a report back to a client with one day turnaround since anywhere between 3-10% of emails with issues on the first checks are due to temporary problems that can be resolved with future checks.
We often have clients come to us who have used another email cleaning service who received reports of an entire ISP’s emails being listed as invalid because that service was either blocked or had other issues.
5. Be concerned with the confidentiality of your list
The data business is a very dirty one. Almost weekly we’re approached by a list broker who is willing to buy our clients’ lists. A number of companies who offer email list cleaning services are essentially shill services who turn around and sell or rent lists that they clean. Be especially cautious when dealing with vendors who say they are in the list brokering business. It’s not just companies you need to be concerned with but also the people who work for them who may be approached by third parties to resell client data.
To protect yourself, investigate the company behind the service. Ask about security precautions they take to safeguard your data. Ask if they buy, sell or rent lists. Seed your list so you can see if your data is resold.
We’re proud to say at EmailListCleaning.com that since 1998, we’ve never once had client data compromised.
6. Understand why email address correction is not a good thing
If you’ve been capturing email addresses without confirming them, you will have some email addresses on your list that have typos in them. On the surface, it seems like address correction would be something good for you to consider since it could mean recapturing emails you’d have otherwise lost. Unfortunately, it today’s email marketing environment, address correction is not a good thing.
We used to offer this as a supplemental service to client using our email list cleaning service but we stopped almost a decade ago. The reason why was that clients reported back to us that they were receiving sometimes as many as 10x the number of spam complaints on these emails as they were on other emails. This, in turn, impacted their reputation as a mailer negatively and sometimes resulted in them being blacklisted.
7. When all is said and done, you need to weigh out the ultimate cost
Whether you decide to use a service such as our EmailListCleaning.com, use a competitor, purchase software to do it yourself or decide to forgo cleaning entirely, you need to weigh out the ultimate cost to your organization. Consider the value of your list and how it could negatively impact you if it were to fall into the wrong hands. Do you want to maximize the probability of your emails getting delivered and hitting inboxes? Do you want to minimize loss of valid emails?
If you’d like to receive a quotation for our service or have questions about how we can assist you, please fill out our contact form or give us a call toll-free at +1.800.856.4525 x503 or worldwide at +1.858.240.2770 x503.