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Blog post By Paula Chiocchi on 2022-10-19

In a perfect world, every marketing email sent would be received by the email service provider, opened by the prospect, then read and responded to exactly as intended. But a marketer’s job is not that easy.

When it comes to email, having accurate data is critical. In my experience, here are some of the top reasons email hygiene is so important and the steps you can take to make sure your email list is valid, free from errors and set for success.

What is email hygiene?

Email hygiene is the process of purging your email list of invalid email addresses, data entry errors, Spam traps and mismatched customer profile information. It’s estimated that B2B contact data decays 30% per year, so if you’re not actively ensuring your email data is correct, it’s not as accurate as you think it is. Email hygiene ensures you aren’t personalizing your emails with incorrect information or sending emails to invalid email addresses.

Why is it important?

Marketers want to send the right message to the right person, at the right time, and ISPs (Internet Service Providers) want to give customers the best possible experience, which includes guarding users from unwanted emails (spam).

As ISPs get more serious about spam, they are adopting more sophisticated privacy regulations and safeguards. For marketers, this has led to an increase in invalid or unengaged email addresses being categorized as spam and has caused more domains to land on an “email deny list.” What this all amounts to is that it’s better to have a narrower audience of relevant prospects, than a larger audience with invalid or unengaged email recipients.

In addition to lowering email send reputation risks and improving delivery rates, proper email hygiene can improve ROI, lower bounce rates, improve accuracy of email campaign reports and optimize conversion rates.

Here are four easy ways to improve email hygiene and maintain a clean email database:

  1. Remove unengaged users: Rejection is hard, but if your emails keep going unopened, maybe it’s time to let them go. Reach out to contacts that aren’t opening your emails with the opportunity to update their preferences. Try using a clever subject line or preheader (the text that follows the subject line in an email preview) that indicates you know they haven’t opened your emails. Give them options for content that it is personalized for their interests, and for email frequency, so that you’re communicating with them on their terms. You never know if you’ve been spinning your wheels sending them information about X when they want to hear about Y, or if daily or weekly emails are overcrowding their inbox.


  1. Remove bounced and invalid emails: There’s no point in keeping invalid records, so make it a point to regularly remove these email addresses from your database. It’s recommended to keep your email bounce rate under 0.5%, as anything higher could hurt your sender reputation.


  1. Remove “group” email addresses: One of the benefits of email is that it is personal and typically only linked to an individual. To improve email hygiene, remove email addresses from your database that are used by a group. An easy way to identify these is generic email usernames such as Info@, Sales@, Support@, or


  1. Use a third-party email data cleansing service. A reputable third-party email data cleansing service can strengthen the accuracy of your database including the full record and, depending on the vendor, the associated email contacts as well. While every cleansing service has its own process, it's important to choose a provider backed by professional-grade tools, data, and expertise. They should be able to improve your email sender score, remove issues that threaten your marketing reputation, and enable you to elevate your email marketing ROI. 

There are many challenges and variables in developing a successful marketing campaign, but there are also simple steps to better ensure your message reaches the correct audience. Email hygiene improves your ability to reach the right contacts by removing the wrong ones.

Don't let bad data infect your email marketing. Contact my team today if you’re ready to learn more about improving your email hygiene.

Did you know? Over 75 million of OMI’s 80 million manager- and professional-level and above contacts are matched to the LiveRamp RampID graph, including 65 million records from our SMB and medical market databases. Contact us today to learn more about building a custom audience.



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At OMI, we believe good things happen when you share your knowledge. That's why we're proud to educate marketers at every level - in every size and type of organization - about the basics of email marketing and the contact data that powers it.

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