Spring Email List Cleaning Tips for E-Commerce Merchants | ShippingEasy
email list cleaning tips

Spring Email List Cleaning Tips

By Rob Zaleski, Apr 5, 2019

Spring isn’t just the perfect time to clean your house after a long winter—it’s also a great time for a thorough email list cleaning. If you use email marketing to sell your product or service (and you should be), your list will need an occasional refresh. There’s no better time than spring to get started!

So how should you approach this task? Here are some easy-to-implement, yet highly effective email list cleaning ideas to consider.

Start with a purge


It may seem counterintuitive to remove addresses from your list, but scrubbing unresponsive users will provide more accurate open and click rate statistics. Additionally, if you use an email service provider, you may be paying to send emails that have no chance of being opened. If you’re paying based on the size of your list, then you’re simply throwing money away on email addresses providing zero value. Removing inactive accounts may save some money on your monthly marketing costs.

Many email marketing service providers remove duplicates and hard bounces automatically. If not, you’ll have to carry out this process manually.

Regardless of how you choose to purge your list, it’s important to remove addresses that will never lead to a sale. These might include:

  • Hard bounces, which are addresses that cannot be delivered either because the address is no longer valid
  • Unresponsive users who haven’t opened an email in the past six, nine or 12 months. You can determine the threshold that works for your strategy
  • Misspelled domain names or inaccuracies that make the address bounce back
  • Duplicate addresses
  • Fraudulent data

A soft bounce occurs when an email can’t be delivered due to a problem with the server or the mailbox being full. These will happen occasionally, but if you get a soft bounce for the same address five or more times, remove the address during your email list cleaning process.

Win-back engagement


Don’t just let contacts slip away without trying to get them to re-engage with your brand. Email inboxes are usually quite crowded, and it’s possible your emails are simply getting overlooked. Give your customers a reason to open the message and take further action by testing out subject line copy (possibly including emojis to catch someone’s eye) and calls-to-action in the email body.

One way to entice at-risk customers back is with a contest or giveaway. Everyone enjoys a chance to win something for free, so these are highly effective marketing campaigns!

If that tactic doesn’t feel right, just tell customers what they’ve been missing by not engaging with your brand. Send an email campaign to inactive customers, include some messaging about how much you’ve missed them, and feature some recently added products they may have missed. Encourage them to re-engage by offering a special offer or promo code good towards a purchase on your site.

win-back email campaigns

This can easily be done in ShippingEasy’s Customer Marketing solution. Simply check the box in the left column labeled ‘Inactive’ to see a list of customers who haven’t purchased in the past 120 days. Use this list to send a custom email campaign inviting them back to your store with one of the tactics mentioned above.

email list cleaning tips inactives win-back

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If those tactics don’t win back engagement, send a final email that very directly asks the contact “Would you still like to receive our emails?” Include a very simple “unsubscribe” button in the text. If they don’t answer, you have your answer and you can proceed with removing the contact from your list. If they open the message and click unsubscribe, it can be helpful to have a form asking for the reason they are unsubscribing. This information will help you plan future campaigns.

Organize and segment your list

Cleaning your email list shouldn’t just focus on removing inactive accounts. You should also attempt to get to know a little more about your customer base. Once you know more info, you can segment your list better. This allows you to approach future e-commerce email marketing in a more specific, strategic way.

For example, you might choose to segment your list using very basic parameters like gender, age, or location. But segmenting it further can pay big dividends. In fact, segmented email marketing campaigns see 39 percent better open rates than unsegmented campaigns, and 77 percent of email campaign ROI resulted from segmented, targeted campaigns.

To get the most specific list possible, consider adding segments that tell you a lot more about your customers. A few you might include:

  • Repeat customers
  • High-spenders/VIP customers
  • Customers who’ve purchased specific products (down to the SKU)

Using this information, you can target your future campaigns so the right message reaches the right customers.

If you don’t have all the information you need to segment a list, just ask your subscribers. Send an email asking the subscriber to submit a few more details “so you can tailor content and offers specific to their interests.” While not everyone will comply with your request, you will garner some useful information from many of your contacts. To encourage participation, you might consider offering an incentive like a coupon code or free shipping on their next purchase.

Create Category Tags for customers

The more you start to know about your customers, the easier it becomes to create personalized automation in your email marketing solution. For example in ShippingEasy, you could create a list of your top spenders or longest tenured customers and create a VIP customers list. Then when it comes time to create rules to base your emails on, you can use Category as part of the rule logic.

Email list cleaning tips customer tags

Follow these tips and your email list will be squeaky clean and ready to shine. Chances are good you’ll see an improvement in open and click rates, with more sales to follow. Plus, your customers will feel like you’re catering more to their particular interests, which always leads to higher conversion rates.

Learn more about what you can do with ShippingEasy’s Customer Marketing solution and start growing your e-commerce business the right way.

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Rob Zaleski

Content Marketing Manager at ShippingEasy
I'm a digital content and social media nerd with a passion for telling stories, helping connect people, and finding joy in the details.

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