List Hygiene

This article applies to:

Customers engage with your business in many ways and email is just one of them! Your full contact list is used for many things inside your application...tracking customers projects, sales pipeline, email lists, and content engagement. The full contact record of your customers is important to your business, it tracks your history with your customers. But, what if some of your contacts just don't engage with you via email? They call, they text, they view your website, they buy services...but they don't prefer email? That's ok! Tailoring how you communicate to your customers is an important part of running a small business and helps you focus your emails on customers who regularly engage with your content.

Deliverability is affected by many things but here are the two you need to look at first:  List Hygiene and Sender Reputation.

List Hygiene

List hygiene is the practice of continuously cleaning or maintaining a contact list to ensure all email addresses are actively engaging with your content and are receiving your content without issues. Regular maintenance removes disengaged addresses from your marketing list and decreases your risk for spam traps, spam complaints, and invalid hard bounces. 

Best practices for growing and maintaining your email list include: 

  • Collect good data - Email addresses are notoriously cryptic so confirm whether that email address is "" or "" and enter carefully!
  • Use double opt-in, not single opt-in - When a customer completes a webform, they are immediately sent an email to confirm their email address.  They are required to click on a link in the email to verify their email address.  By verifying their address you know you have a valid address and they want to receive your content!
  • Avoid buying an email list - They are usually riddled with invalid email addresses that can ruin your sender reputation!
  • Maintain your email marketing lists
    • Send a re-engagement campaign -  for any customers who haven't engaged with your content in 3-6 months, send a campaign asking them if they are still interested in your content and confirm they still want to receive it! 
    • Opt-out any unengaged contacts - any contacts that haven't engaged with your emails in over 6 months likely won't.  Mark them as opt-out in your lists so your deliverability rate increases to the customers who actually want to receive your content!
    • Watch for any emails that bounce.
      • Opt-out any hard bounces on your list - some part of the email address doesn't exist or is not functioning so remove it!
      • Monitor soft bounces and mark them opt-out after 3-5 bounces - they are currently unreachable so no point in sending!
    • Use Keap's Automated List Management tool - this tool automatically manages your unengaged contacts marking them "unengaged, marketable" at 3-months and "non-marketable" at 6-months!
  • Segment your contacts and send emails based on your customers interests - using tags you can mark each contact with a tag that indicates their interests, then you can tailor email sequences and campaigns directly to your customer's interests and avoid spamming them with everything you send!

Sender reputation

Sender reputation is the reputation that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) associate with your email domain, but in reality, it includes your content, your server or email service provider (ESP), and your sender domain.  

  • Your content: What you put in the body of your email impacts your reputation and your deliverability. This includes:
    • Spam-like content, headlines, or images
    • Your image-to-text ratio (industry standard is 80:20)
    • Your links. If you link to other domains that have low reputations, their reputation will reflect poorly on you.
  • Your server/ESP
    • An ESP is the engine behind the marketing emails you send... like Keap, Emma, or MailChimp.  An ESP is not Gmail, Yahoo, or Outlook: Gmail and Yahoo are web mail providers, and Outlook is an email client.
    • ESPs have reputations and their reputation directly impacts your email deliverability. 
      • Keap works hard to keep deliverability rates up. Including:
        • Monitoring and vetting customers' lists
        • Authenticating emails
        • Handling bounces
        • Monitoring IP reputation
        • Throttling email delivery of large batch and new email lists to maintain IP reputation
        • Having an active compliance and review team 
  • Your sender domain: The reputation of your sender domain follows you everywhere - no matter which ESP you use or whether you switch ESPs.

List hygiene is the practice of continuously cleaning an email list to ensure all addresses are active and deliverable. Regularly implementing this process every few months removes disengaged addresses from your marketing list, which decreases your risk for spam traps, complaints, and invalid hard bounces. 

If you have been doing regular email clean up as outlined below, continue to implement the actions below every few months. If you haven’t cleaned your email list in a long time, then we do not recommend trying to engage disengaged contacts. Instead, remove them with this process: Find & tag unengaged contacts, and Remove unengaged contacts from email marketing.

Deliverability Video Series

Opt-out contacts that have been unengaged more than 6 months

  1. Click over the Keap logo in the top left, select Marketing, and click Reports.

  2. Click on Email Status Search to open the report.

    If your app brings you to a list of search results, click the Edit Criteria/Columns button.

  3. In the Email Status drop-down, select Unengaged Marketable.

  4. In the Last Engagement Date drop-down, select More Than 6 Months and click Search. Notice that you may choose other dates. We recommend 6 months.

  5. In the results list, check the Select All checkbox at the top.

  6.  Click the Actions drop-down, then choose Update Opt-In/Out Status.

  7. In the Email Fields to Update list, select Primary Email, Email 2, or Email 3. The most common selection is the Primary Email field as it is the email field that is most used for marketing communications.  

  8. In the Opt In or Out? drop-down, select Opt-Out.

  9. Enter the Reason for Opt Update and click Process Action.
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