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Foundational Marketing Must-Do's, #2: Email Database Clean & Sort

January 19, 2023

Over the year, an email contact database expands, contracts, and is exercised repeatedly as we send email news, announcements, personal communication and more. To insure the ongoing effectiveness of your email marketing efforts, we recommend an annual sort, clean and organize of your professional contact email database. Read on for five and simple steps to set up your business for email marketing success in the coming year...


A healthy, growing database of subscribed, relevant, engaged email contacts can be one of the most powerful tools in your marketing efforts. Email outreach via newsletters, offers and targeted messaging, if done thoughtfully and with a successful call to action, can make a big impact on email conversion and drive client engagement and revenue. Valid email addresses are the first step in the pursuit of successful email conversion rates*.

Below are five simple steps to organize, declutter and refresh your email contact list to insure each email you send hits the mark.

Step 1: Archive all Unsubscribes & Hard Bounces: Sort your contacts within your database by unsubscribes and hard bounces and insure those contacts are archived and safely removed from your active list.

Step 2: De-Dup your Contact List: Many CRM and email marketing platforms offer functionality within the program to "de-dup" your contact database. If they do, execute this action as your first step. If this functionality isn't offered, export and download your full list, then perform a sort by email address. See any duplicates?Delete and combine dup's and then re-save the list.

Step 3: Run Emails through a Verification/Validation Process: Email verification and validation providers help you quickly and affordably check the validity of email addresses in your list and produce a report of results detailing valid and invalid addresses. Most service providers charge less than $.01 per address. These services are very efficient, but not always 100% accurate, so before you quickly delete invalid email addresses, we advise visually checking your list or running it through a second tool to insure accuracy. Sort and segment this twice-cleaned list into valid and invalid addresses. Decide if you will call your contacts with invalid addresses to update.

Step 4: Re-upload your Cleaned, Validated List & Archive Invalid Email Addresses: Most CRM and email marketing platforms offer the opportunity to import and "update" contacts. First, use the valid list and return those emails to your working database. Then sort the entire list by last name or email address and work side-by-side with the list of invalid addresses to click and archive.

Step 5: Segment & Tag: If time allows, and if you didn't perform this action when contacts were originally imported, create efficiency and expansion opportunities within your email list by tagging contacts and creating segments. Segments and tags allow you to not only sort your list, but also to send targeted communication to relevant contacts when that action is desired throughout the year.

Engaging in an annual email spruce up decreases bounce rates and protects sender reputation, while concurrently working to increase email conversion. The business engages with qualified, interested clients and customers, messages are read and clicked, and ideally the business realizes greater return.

*What is an ideal email conversion rate? Depending on the source, you will encounter suggested "successful" email conversion rates from 4-5% up to 25%. A successful conversion rate can vary drastically based on industry, audience and type of campaign. So, how best to tell? Start with a baseline conversion target that you believe fits your industry and audience, monitor your conversion rates with each email sent, and then shoot to always achieve a higher rate. Make your emails so interesting and engaging that a higher rate of conversion is achieved with each email.


Don't have time to clean, purge & sort your email contact list? We can help! Email or call 916.827.1599 today.

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