How to clean a list
This post was sparked by our new Deliverability Protection feature, where HubSpot initially sends to a small percentage of the total intended recipients in order to gauge hard bounce rate. If the hard bounce rate is above our threshold, the email send is stopped to prevent damage to the customer's sending reputation.
This feature is a great defense for Hubspotters about to shoot themselves in the foot. Bounce rates higher than 5% are a sign that something is wrong. Usually it's due to one or more of the following issues:
1. The email list is too old. (Too old = Older than 1 year)
2. Forgot to add an unsubscribe list, or suppression lists.
3. Customer is emailing a shared, purchased, or otherwise third-party list.
In general, you can use these minimum requirements to filter contacts from the list, and then try resending to the list after it's cleaned. But how do you clean it? Here's how...
Two major types of contacts to remove:
1. Remove any email addresses that were scraped from publicly available sources, purchased, or guessed email addresses.
2. Identify and remove stale email addresses. Stale addresses can be described as those that are older than 1 year, or who you have not heard from in a year or longer.
How to identify stale addresses
If the contacts come from another system check that system for this type of data. If all of these dates are older than a year they should be removed:
* create date
* recent conversion / recent conversion date
* last email opened date
* last email click date
If the source of the contacts is unknown, here are some ways to get more information
If the contacts are from a specific individual / team, simply ask that individual / team where these contacts signed up, how long ago, etc... Make sure the source is in line with our minimum requirements.
There will most likely be a mixture of different sources for the entire list. However, do not be overwhelmed! Start by identifying the source of just one contact. It is likely there will be a similar source for the majority of the list. If you don't know which contact to start with, pick out one of the hard bounced addresses and find the source of that one contact. Repeat this process until you start to see tendencies, all the while on the lookout for easier ways to segment removeable contacts.