How to Effectively Manage Your Email List

The number one rule of marketing best practices? Grow that email list.

It’s on every “how-to” marketing list, along with long guides on how to best grow your email subscriber list and develop great content.

And all that is awesome. You need a solid email list for marketing campaigns and you need to make sure those campaigns are full of amazing content.

Unfortunately, effectively handling your email database doesn’t stop with a long list of subscribers and A+ content. To be truly effective, you have to be managing your email lists for maximum ROI.

Let’s take a look at how to effectively manage your email database.

Times Are Changing

Once upon a time, you could just send out marketing campaigns to a purchased list of potential clients and count on sheer numbers to bring in the customers. The hardest part of email marketing was just getting the campaign put together. Once it was sent out, you really didn’t have to think much more about it.

Now, though, consumers are on the lookout for such tactics, and they are quick with that “delete” button. Or worse, the “spam” button.

If you aren’t keeping tabs on your list and performing regular maintenance, you may actually be harming your marketing attempts more than helping them. Modern email campaigns have to be targeted and specific, with a ready knowledge of your client base and what they are looking for.

Sender Reputation Matters

Before we jump into the ways to improve your email database management, you need to be familiar with the term sender reputation.

Sender reputation is what decides whether your email ends up in a client’s inbox or in their spam folder, and it’s determined by several different factors.

ISPs use various indicators, from the number of hard bounces on your email list (more on that later) to the number of times clients have marked your emails as spam.

The farther down on their scale, the less trustworthy ISPs will see your emails and the more likely that your emails will be flagged and sent straight to spam before your customers can even lay eyes on it.

So why does this matter?

Your sender reputation is affected by every item on this list and is the main endgame for any email management effort.

A well-managed email database means a good sender reputation, while poor management may have your emails buried in a spam folder with winning notifications from the Latvian lottery.

So in the interests of keeping that sender reputation high, let’s take a look at the four best ways to effectively manage your email list.

Segment Wisely

If you aren’t segmenting your email database, you are potentially causing huge damage to your potential ROI.

Email campaigns have to be targeted. They have to apply directly to the client looking at them.

This isn’t as applicable if your product or service has a very niche target audience. But if you are working with a broader client base, segmenting can help you build much more effective campaigns. So go through your lists and start breaking them down.

You can do this with any number of qualifiers.


If your client base spans several generations, it may be helpful to split your email list so that you are speaking directly to each. Now, we don’t recommend being condescending. Just because you know that the young people are saying “on fleek” doesn’t mean you should be using it in your email campaigns.

That said, knowing what various age groups are purchasing or how they are using your product can help you craft a better marketing campaign.


In your normal marketing, you should already have an idea of customer personas. These ideal hypothetical customers can help you target your email lists by addressing the specific needs of your various types of customer.

Purchase Habits

You can use your clients buying history and frequency to help target what they may be more willing to purchase in the future. This knowledge can help you tailor killer marketing campaigns toward specific groups

You can also sort by gender, organization type, job function, and any number of other qualifiers. Simply dividing up your lists this way will help ensure that your emails get read and that they have maximum impact.

As a qualifier here, segmenting a list can get tricky if you aren’t willing to market authentically to your target groups. With age and gender especially, this can be a problem. You should always come across as authentic, rather than pandering.

So segment your lists, but maintain authenticity in your campaigns.

Clean up Your Email Database

Your email database is not something you can just set and forget. You have to be taking inventory and making sure that invalid emails and constant non-openers are being purged from the list.

Again, be thinking sender reputation here. The common list invaders below are the reasons behind hard and soft email bounces, and each one has the potential to significantly lower your sender score.

When you are purging your email lists, there are a few specific things you should be on the lookout for.

Distribution Addresses 

This is anything that looks like “” These addresses sneak in sometimes but aren’t doing you any good since they aren’t clients.

System Addresses 

A company’s IT tech probably isn’t opening your emails, so anything addressed to the postmaster or webmaster, ax it.

Automated Addresses

If there’s no one at the other end, what’s the point?

Confimration@, info@, etc. Often, these are unmonitored addresses that generate only a canned response. Make sure they aren’t on your list.


Mistakes happen, but you don’t want them on your email list.

If anything on your list is “person@$” or “bestcustomer@yahoo.cpn”, you need to catch it and fix it. Those emails aren’t going anywhere and can result in hard bounces that hurt your sender reputation.

While you’re purging addresses that shouldn’t be on your lists in the first place, you’ll need to do some client purging. There are three troublesome ones.

Invalid Addresses

These are your hard bounces, the ones that are simply undeliverable, either because the address is incorrect (see above) or because the address has been deleted. Check for obvious typos first, but if everything seems to be fine on your end and the emails still aren’t getting through, delete it.


It’s a lot easier to mark your emails as spam than it is to unsubscribe (even though it shouldn’t be. More on that in a bit), so if people are sick of hearing from you, they can just relegate your emails to the spam folder. Too much of that and your emails to other clients may end up routing to Spam folders as well


You can track who is opening your emails, and that information can help you purge your list of subscribers who are simply leaving your emails unread. Although you may want to give this last group the benefit of the doubt.

Making sure your email database is clean not only helps control your bounce rate, but it ensures a higher ROI.

Keep Them Engaged

It’s important as you are going through your email lists, that you take note of who is not clicking through. This hurts your sender reputation and can end up putting your emails into the spam folders of your email database.

First, take a look at your campaigns and make sure you are generating eye-catching subject lines that entice people to open your emails. Your content should also be on-point so that clients know they are getting great information every time they click.

Flex your creativity and web design knowledge to craft attractive emails.

By compiling a list of unengaged email list members, you can send targeted emails to help re-engage them.

It’s perfectly legitimate here to acknowledge that the client hasn’t been clicking through and to offer an incentive to re-engage.

You can offer them the chance to opt-in again, and if they decide against it, remove them from your list.

Make Opting Out Simple

There is nothing more annoying than getting emails you don’t want with no easy way to unsubscribe.

Making unsubscribing difficult isn’t going to help keep clients. Instead, it is going to associate your business with a hassle, which you don’t want.

Instead, make sure that unsubscribing is an easy, one-step process.

It can be helpful to offer one last chance to stay subscribed, but after that, let them go. You would rather they didn’t subscribe at all than that they simply leave your emails unread.

Proper email database maintenance is key for a quality email marketing campaign. It may take a little extra time, but the return for that invested time is invaluable.

For more on how we can help you jumpstart your internet marketing campaigns, contact us today!


Sign up for tip and ticks to help your business.