Email lists are one of, if not the most important and common communication channels in business today. It’s the most personal way to reach your followers, fans and customers and is much cheaper than advertising and bulk postal mailings. Also, it’s got the highest ROI with an average of $42 for every $1 you spend. With 99 percent of people checking their email one (or more!) times per day, it’s a great way to keep your brand in the public’s mind.

Now, no matter how good your list started, without following best practices, it will decay over time. Everything needs maintenance–from our car getting a tune-up to the dentist checking up on our teeth. Your email database needs attention, too. This article will show you how to remove invalid email addresses from your email list.

What is email validation? Do you need it?

Email validation is when you remove undesirable email addresses from your list and retain the good ones. If you have an email list, the answer to Do I need email validation? is: undoubtedly.

Fairly quickly, email addresses that were once good become invalid. Some were never good. The variety of bad email addresses includes, but is not limited to: invalid, catch-all, abuse, spam traps, and role-based. All of them are problematic for various reasons. However, the result of emailing them is the same – a decrease in your email sender reputation, the score Internet Service Providers (ISPs) use to rate your credibility as an emailer.

A poor sender reputation can cause your email campaigns to land in people’s spam folders. If you don’t take any measures to improve your reputation, things can get worse and your emails may not make it to any mailbox at all. So that means the people who are looking forward or counting on receiving your emails never see them because they’re in the spam folder. Your emails could also get blocked on the way to their mailbox, meaning your messages go nowhere.

Easy ways to remove invalid email addresses

Now that you’re committed to having a healthy email list, let’s get this puppy clean. There are two ways to remove invalid email addresses.

Bulk email validation

Let’s say you’ve already got a list of 250, or even 2,500 subscribers. You can upload it on the platform of a trustworthy email validation service. A good email checker will be able to quickly identify the bad addresses and remove them.

Real-time email validation

If you haven’t started your email newsletter yet and you want to make sure you start off the right way, consider using a real-time email validator. You can set up an API application to instantly verify the new addresses you’re gathering. It’s easy to install the API on your signup forms on your website and that way, bad or fake emails don’t end up infecting your list.

When you combine verifying in bulk with using an API email checker, you’ll be lightyears ahead of your competition.

Why you should remove inactive subscribers

Now that you know how much invalid emails hurt your email marketing, it’s time to move on to another type of risky subscriber you may have on your list.

Some people will open every single email you send. Others will open some of them. On top of that, every email list has a few subscribers who never engage with the content they receive. So, how do you handle them? Do you send them a re-engagement campaign, hoping they’ll start opening your emails? Or do you remove them and focus on the people who actively engage with your content? The answer is: both of these approaches are beneficial.

As an email marketer, you care about the size of your list, so you may want to keep as many subscribers as you can. That’s why it’s worth considering a re-engagement campaign.

For instance, you can create a special offer and target these inactive subscribers to get them to click. In three or four days after sending your campaign, your reports will tell you who stays and who goes. Those who didn’t click are probably subscribers that are never going to engage with your brand again. It’s best to remove them without regret.

Why is it important to remove inactive subscribers? There are several reasons, but here are the two most important ones:

  • They skew your email marketing metrics. If you have a list of 10,000 people and 3,000 of them never open your emails, your metrics are going to be inaccurate. Removing these subscribers will help you get a more accurate perspective of how your emails perform.
  • They’re going to affect your engagement and sender reputation. Emailing lots of people who don’t care for your messages, tells ISPs your content isn’t interesting. As a result, they may start delivering your emails to spam.

So, evaluate your overall engagement periodically and reengage or remove people who haven’t opened your emails in more than 6 months.

Talk to those who want to listen

Just as you don’t want lukewarm friendships, the people on your email list should want to receive your communications. The more engaged your audience, the more successful your email campaigns will be. Obviously, you don’t want invalid emails on your list. So remove them and you’ll be on to better things.