When Should You Remove Email Contacts From Your Mailing List?

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An active email list is very important

Every business is under the impression they need to be continuously adding to their email contact list. This may be true; a good strong list with numerous active contacts is a necessary business tool.

However, there is an important part of the criteria of an email contact list many business owners ignore: active.

Having an active email list is more important than having a long list of names. Why? Because if someone is not reading the messages you are sending them, it is taking up valuable time and sometimes money.

It doesn’t necessarily mean the consumer has no interest in your products. Email accounts become inactive for a number of reasons:

  • They no longer have an interest in your products.
  • They have bought your product already and have no further need for more information from you.
  • That email address is no longer used.

In the first example you have failed to convince them for the need of your solution. In the second scenario your contact should have been moved to another list of previous customers. In the third example, there is nothing which can be done. Hopefully they have re-subscribed to your list.

Inactive accounts can mean your business is spending money it doesn’t need to. Some email marketing providers charge per email sent. For instance Mail Chimp charge $0.03 per email on one of their pricing plans. If you had 10,000 subscribers and 20% were inactive, you would therefore be spending $60 more than you needed.

On one email this doesn’t seem a lot, but over the course of a year this could equal $3,120. This could be re-invested in other areas of your business.

Therefore going through your email contacts on a weekly basis is an important part of your email marketing maintenance schedule. To make it effective you are looking at several key metrics.

1. When was the last time they opened an email

This is not an exact science as an open is not recorded unless images in your email are also downloaded. Sometimes subscribers will not download these images so while they are looking like they have never opened, they might be your main reader.

2. When they last clicked on a link

This is an important metric. If someone is not clicking through they might not be receiving the right content or your call to action is not specific enough. Therefore, you might need to try and engage with them to see where they are at.

3. The email bounces

Bounces are inevitable in email marketing. A soft bounce is okay as long as too many don’t occur. Any hard bouncing emails need to be removed straight away as it shows that there is either no email address there or they have blocked your server from sending emails. Either way they are a useless contact and should be removed instantly.


Proper email maintenance is a must if you want to maximise results from your campaigns. A properly engaged audience can provide you with a long lasting revenue source and a prosperous business.

“Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net”