How to Clean Up Your Email List without Deleting Potential Leads

Looking to clean up your email marketing list but concerned about deleting legitimate leads in the process? You’re not alone. Many business owners are concerned that through the process of email lead scrubbing they may inadvertently remove quality leads.

While this is a valid concern, if done correctly, email list scrubbing will actually improve your business development and lead generation. That’s because such efforts help to ensure that you aren’t wasting your time and money on uninterested, outdated, or bad leads. Email list scrubbing also will:

  • Lower the number of individuals and companies that mark your emails as SPAM.
  • Improve your deliverability and email open rates.
  • Keep you legally compliant by taking unsubscribes off your list.
  • Allow you to better segment your emails.
  • Increase email content relevancy.
  • Save money if you are being charged per email sent.

Marketing experts agree that approximately 25 percent of an email list becomes irrelevant each year. Unfortunately, it isn’t always easy to tell which 25 percent have gone bad. If you are wondering what emails you need to remove from your list, here is a quick guide for which addresses to remove:

Unsubscribes: If an address unsubscribes from your list, you are required by law to remove it.

Duplicate or invalid addresses: Every email address needs to be checked to confirm that it is a working address and that it is not being duplicated.

Addresses that didn’t opt in: Removing these emails is the best way to improve email deliverability, as well as open and click through rates.

Alias addresses: When you see an address like, you should know that most ESPs won’t deliver the email because one or more of the email addresses associated with the alias did not opt in to receive your emails.

Disengaged recipients: Don’t delete these emails immediately, but if a person or company has stopped opening or clicking through your emails, you need to try to reengage them. If reengagement fails, it’s better to remove them from your list before they mark you as SPAM.

Bouncing addresses: While some emails that bounce back do so because of a temporary problem, others bounce back because the address is invalid or blocked. In those cases, you need to remove the address from your list.

Finally, many businesses have trouble deciding how long to keep an email address on their active list. While no one would delete the email address of an active customer, it’s harder to know what to do with email addresses that appear to be abandoned. A good rule of thumb is to get rid of any address that is consistently bouncing or marking you as SPAM, and try to reengage the others. If the other addresses still bring no response after reengagement efforts, it’s time to delete them, as well.

You’re in Front of the Decision Maker, Now What?

Much attention is paid to the very important task of making sure that salespeople are able to get in front of – or on the phone with – decision makers. Equally important, however, is knowing what to say to a decision maker once a salesperson gets the chance.

Speaking with decision makers can be intimidating. After all, lead generation efforts are in most cases only seen as a success when they culminate in a meeting with a decision maker. No matter how experienced a salesperson or telemarketing professional is, presenting to a decision maker is not always easy.

Thankfully, there are ways to interact with decision makers so that the conversation goes as smoothly, and as successfully, as possible. The first way to do this is to recognize that time is money. Important people don’t have a moment to waste. While it is natural to want to launch into your sales pitch as soon as possible, make sure you always let the decision maker know that you understand that he or she is very busy and that you don’t plan on spending too much of their time.

An opening such as, “I understand you are busy so I will only take a few minutes of your time,” will go a long way. Such an opening allows the decision maker to concentrate on what you have to say instead of how quickly he or she can get you to wrap it up.

It also is important that a salesperson acknowledges the elephant in the room – or on the line. For example, if it is likely that a decision maker will turn you down because there is no money in the budget for what you are proposing, lead with that fact. “I know you might not think you can afford this service, but I’d like to tell you why you will actually make money by using it.” Stating this fact keeps the focus on your service, or product, instead of why there is no money to pay for it.

Finally, once you have made it clear that you understand how busy the decision maker is, and that you have a product or service that they really need, it’s time to do what you said you would do. This means explaining in a clear, concise, and well-researched manner how you can help improve business. And when it comes down to it, there is nothing more important to a decision maker than knowing you value his or her time and that you want to help grow their business.

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