Marketers Guide to Maintaining Your Email List

    Topics: Email Marketing


So, you’ve got an email list.

Now comes the hard part, maintaining your email list.

You didn’t think your list just took care of itself as you built it, did you?

Because it doesn’t.

Once you have a steady stream of subscribers opting into your list, you work isn’t done. In fact, it’s just getting started.

Remember, when it comes to email lists, bigger doesn’t always mean better. There’s no point in having a list that has low open and click rates, lots of spam notifications and is generally unresponsive.

You’re never going to make any money selling to a list like that.

So, you need to focus not only on constantly building your list, but also maintaining it. And maintaining it means making sure that everyone on your list is active and engaged. If they aren’t then you need to work on either trying to reengage them, or remove them from your list for good and move on.

If you haven’t already been working on maintaining a healthy email list the good news is you can start right now. I’m going to give you a couple of my best tips on how to do it.

Ready to start?

Here are 6 ways to maintain your email list like a professional marketer:

Follow Ups

#1. Clear Out Inactive Subscribers

It can be painful removing people from the list you worked so hard to build.

But, guess what?

You’ve got to do it.

Removing inactive subscribers is an important part of maintaining a healthy email list.

Here is where you have to start getting a little bit comfortable with your data, even if you aren’t a “numbers guy,” the numbers matter. You want to constantly be checking out the reports on your email list to see how healthy it actually is.

Every email service provider will have reports where you can see the basics of who is clicking and who isn’t. You need to schedule a time (at the minimum every six months), to go through this list and remove the people who haven’t taken any action.

If after six months they haven’t even opened a single email, you’ve got to either let them go or try working on a reengagement campaign (we’ll cover that more in depth below).

Remember, it doesn’t matter how big your list is, if no one is actually opening or clicking your emails! Keep your list as active and healthy as possible to help pad your bottom line.

Btw, if you haven’t even started building your list yet, I invite you to get started today!

#2. Remove Fake or Spam Accounts

We know the biggest thing that matters when it comes any email list is the not so much the number of people on the list, but more that they are the right people.

The right people are going to read your emails, click on those links, and yes buy your products or services. When you have an entire list of those people, you’re on the right track.

The reality? Most brands and marketers aren’t seeing those types of actions on their email lists.

Chances are you probably have (slightly) more than a handful of subscribers on your list that are phantom or spam accounts. How can you tell?

Look for email addresses that look like “[email protected]” or “[email protected]” These are commonly referred to as email distribution addresses, and 99.9% of the time you’ll never hear back from them.

Another common issue is misspellings.

Your list probably has some emails spelled incorrectly. It’s not uncommon to see things like “gmial,” “yhaoo” and “htmail” addresses (you catch my drift), rather than the correct spellings.

Sometimes someone may have great intentions of joining your brand’s email list but simply messed up along the way.

No matter their intentions, if their email address is wrong they will never actually get your messages. So, they’ve got to go!

#3. Monitor Bounces

Another common issue that often plagues email lists are bounce rates. Every email service provider will give you a basic report that highlights email bounces.

You want to check out these bounced emails and investigate a bit further. After all, having a high bounce back rate can easily blow up the return on investment (not to mention the sender reputation) of your email list.

And no one wants that to happen.

Instead, see why the emails are bouncing. More often than not, it will be because of one of the issues above, a messed up email address, or a spam account.

Occasionally, it could just be a server issue, if that’s the case, you don’t want to be so quick to delete the email, try to resend it later.

If the problem still happens, then you can clear them off the list.

The last thing you want is to have a high bounce rate. When that happens, you get labeled as spam, which can kill your reputation inside your email service provider.

#4. Reengagement Campaigns

Before you officially remove anyone from your email list, consider running a reengagement campaign. This is a last ditch effort to see if the people who have been inactive on your list aren’t just that “into” you.

Common reengagement campaigns include a message that would say something like…

“We haven’t heard much from you lately…because of that here’s a 20% off coupon.”


“We noticed you subscribed to our email list, but haven’t read any of them in a while. So, unless you click the button below (or reply via email) we’re going to go ahead and remove you from our email list.”

Emails like this can generally grab a handful (or more) of subscribers who were on the fence about unsubscribing, but can get sucked back in.

Try creating a quick one off email that offers a discount or gives a heads up that you’re going to be moving forward with your email campaign…without them.

#5. Make it Easy to Unsubscribe


As much as you might hate the idea of losing any of the precious names on your email list, from time to time, people will want to unsubscribe.

It’s a fact of life, and happens to every brand and marketer out there. So when someone does want off your list, you need to make it easy for them.


Because you never want someone to think it’s easier to click “report as spam” over “unsubscribe.”

When someone clicks “report as spam” even if your email isn’t spam, you’re going to get dinged on your reputation. You want to avoid that at all costs.

So, make it really easy and obvious to your subscribers on how they can unsubscribe if they want to. Otherwise, if they take a quick look and can’t find a way, you may start seeing spam notifications.

#6. Always Look to Improve

No email campaign is perfect (even mine), so no matter who runs the list there are always going to be chances to make an improvement.

The key is being willing to do it.

Now, you might have a nice sized list, send off your emails and don’t worry about the rest.

But, do you ever wonder from time to time if you could sell even more than you are now? Or why you didn’t get quite the results you were hoping for on your last autoresponder series? Maybe you noticed that your last email had more subscribers than usual?

If the answer is yes, then congratulations, you have room for improvement.

Take the time on a quarterly basis to sit down and go over your email marketing strategy. Look for the areas where you know you can improve, look at the data and see what it is telling you that you didn’t know, see if you can spot anything that jumps out.

Sure, there will be times where there is nothing you can do to get a subscriber back…

…but there are also opportunities for you to be constantly improving your campaigns and strategies to keep your list growing at a robust rate and full of subscribers who are active and engaged.

That covers some of the basics of maintaining a healthy email list to help get you started.

Follow some of these tips, and incorporate a few of your own and you’ll notice your list will have a lot more active readers, less spam, and fewer bounces.

Now, who doesn’t like the idea of that?

Are you ready to start making more money with your email list?

Now, wouldn’t it be helpful if you had a template for that first crucial email in your auotresponder series to help start it off right?

Of course it would. That’s why I’m offering the readers of Income Diary something special. A deal on my “fill in the blanks” email template for the first email in your autoresponder campaign.

What this email does is take care of five of the biggest mistakes I see people making again and again in their emails. Mistakes like not setting the stage for what’s to come,  not using a proven system for creating emails, not selling from day 1…

…plus lots more. This template stops you from alienating your list right off the bat!

Normally it’s $47, but like I said, for Income Diary readers it’s only $17 (that’s $30) off. Click here to find out more.

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