The importance of list cleaning and how to properly do it

  • 10 August 2022
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The importance of list cleaning and how to properly do it
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Hello Community! 


I’m going to lead us through this conversation through the point of view of an email marketing agency, sharing how to effectively tell your clients the potential issues your account faces if you choose to dismiss this practice, however, this conversation is equally important to those managing their own email marketing strategies too! This topic is specially important as we are in BFCM prep season. Let’s get started!


Why You Should List Clean


There are several reasons why this practice is important for your account and additional benefits from this habit that I’d like to outline as well. Here are a few:

  • Improve your account stats (open and click rates)

    • By removing unengaged users and lowering the amount of subscribers you send to, your opens and clicks will increase because you’re sending more to users who actively engage with your content

  • Gain a better account health rating

    • This is the rating that inbox agencies give to your account and it greatly depends on the engagement people have with your emails.

  • More likely  to land in the Inbox

    • Related to the rating above, better account health will lead to increased chances of your emails going to your customers’ inboxes instead of Promotions or even Spam.

  • Ability to make more accurate strategies

    • When you leave only the engaged people in your List, you will see the real numbers for your account and be able to make more fine-tuned and effective strategies accordingly.

  • Avoid sending to spam emails

    • There are different spam trap subscription softwares who subscribe spam emails to your account. If you list clean regularly, you have more chances to clear them before they cause problems.
  • Reduce your costs

    • As you know many ESP’s will charge you for the number of your subscribers, and Klaviyo moved to the same pricing structure recently. You shouldn’t retain and pay for subscribers who aren’t engaging with your content.


Misconceptions about list cleaning


We realized when talking to a number of clients, that they have some misconceptions on why we are cleaning lists and what that actually means for their account and subscribers.


Below are some of the most common misconceptions about this issue:

  • The more people I send to, the more chances I have to sell
    - This will be true only at the beginning. If you do this for a long amount of time and have steadily decreasing open rates, you will hurt your account health and risk your emails appearing in Promotions or Spam folders instead. So even if it seems good in the short run, it will cause immense deliverability damage in the long run. 

  • If we suppress people they won’t be able to buy again
    - If you suppress a user, they will only stop receiving marketing emails from your brand. However, they can still buy product, navigate your website the same way as before and will receive transactional messages if they order a product.

  • They may re-engage at some point
    - Some may re-engage, but is it worth it to hurt your whole account for the few people who may re-engage?

  • People are asking why they are not receiving emails from us
    - This usually happens when people have more emails and subscribe to the one they are not using as often. So you can ask the customer to provide the email where they will engage more often and change this on their user profile.


How to properly clean your lists in Klaviyo


There are several different approaches in list cleaning and it depends on the situation. I would not recommend simply removing regular people from your account without even trying to re-engage them. So I’d recommend creating an unengaged segment from your List and sending to them one last time to try to re-engage them before suppressing them. For this purpose you can use a re-engagement campaign or a winback flow with 1-2 emails to send to this unengaged segment. In those re-engaging campaigns or flow emails, you should put your main effort in finding the right subject lines, because our goal here is to make them at least open the email. 


After your attempt to re-engage, create these two segments to capture all the truly engaged users who didn’t interact with your latest marketing attempt and suppress them. We recommend doing so once a month.

  1. The first segment is of people who are unengaged in the last 90 days and people who went through the re-engagement flow or received an engagement campaign, but still didn’t re-engage (open or click email). 
    - for example you can add a profile property to users who haven’t re-engaged in the Winback flow before they exit the flow. If you use this flow, make sure to include this property in your segment to catch these confirmed un-engaged users. 
  2. Segment of people who never opened an email in the last 60 days AND also bounced at least 4 times over all.


In order to suppress truly unengaged users, you will need to export the two segments above as a List and then upload this List to your Suppression Tab.


So how important is List cleaning?


If you or your client’s account has great results after initiating the first list clean (higher open and click rates) then regularly performing this action is important for maintaining those great results. However, even if your rates don’t dramatically improve over night, this is still a practice that will reap rewards in the long term health and success of your account. It’s well worth the time!


So the more you action this habit regularly, the better your account health will be and with it, you can have better results from your email marketing strategy.


If anyone has any questions related I would be glad to answer them. You can also read more about my approach on Klaviyo for List Cleaning: Here is How It’s Done. Have a great day and a successful clean up!


-@Bobi N. (Bobi Nikolovski)


Looking to connect further for questions or custom solutions? Check out our Partner Page!


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