Best Practices for Maintaining Email Address Hygiene

by Sarah Morris

Email continues to be the leading digital communication platform among banks and credit unions, which means the need for valid email addresses from your customers and members is greater than ever. With all that’s going on, it can be easy to forget why maintaining good email address hygiene is important. Here’s a solid reminder for why you should make cleaning up email addresses a regular practice and how you can make sure the email addresses you have are valid.

Why is it important to maintain good lists?

Making sure you have a good list of valid email addresses should be important to you as a marketer for many reasons. The top reason being deliverability. The more email addresses you send to invalid or non-existent email addresses, the lower your overall email deliverability will. With all of the spam filters that are set up, if your email deliverability is consistently low, a spam filter might suspect that your financial institution a spammer and will automatically block your emails from being delivered to your good email addresses. Consistently sending email marketing messages to invalid email addresses will hurt your overall engagement rate and conversion metrics, making tracking the success of your offers and content difficult and inaccurate. Don’t’ forget if you pay per email, you’re also wasting a lot of money when you continue to send promotional emails to invalid addresses.

How do you know if the email addresses you have are valid?

Bounces

The easiest way to do a health check of your email addresses is to look at your bounce rates. If you notice high bounce rates from your email sends, you aren’t maintaining good list hygiene and are not effectively reaching your customers and members. So, what exactly does it mean when an email “bounces”? There are two types of bounces, a hard bounce and a soft bounce.

Hard Bounces

A hard bounce means that there is a permanent deliverability issue with the address and the address is either non-existent or the account has blocked you from sending emails. Hard bounces should be constantly monitored and the email addresses removed immediately.

Soft Bounces

When you get a soft bounce back from an email service provider, that means there is a temporary deliverability issue with the address you’re trying to send to. This isn’t as big of a deal as a hard bounce and likely means the recipients inbox is full or there’s an issue with a server being offline. These shouldn’t necessarily be removed unless you notice you’re continuously getting a soft bounce from the same email address.

Inactivity

Lastly, you should look for non-responders. Use email open and click metrics to find any email addresses that aren’t engaging with you over time. People who don’t engage with your emails should not be receiving any, so monitor your metrics and work to remove any addresses with a history of inactivity so they don’t end up hurting your deliverability rates and metrics.

It’s important to note that you can’t just clean up your email addresses once. This must be an ongoing process that you revisit at least once a quarter to ensure that you are continuously maintaining valid email addresses for your customers and members.


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