Member Resource: List Hygiene - How to Deep Clean Your Supporter List

September 10, 2015

How many of you have HUGE lists? Fifty, sixty, one hundred thousand supporters? Good for you!

Now, how is that list performing? You probably track opens, actions, and donations to help you write the most effective emails to engage your members. But as the years pass and these stats pile up, we don’t always use them to help us eliminate deadweight.

Salsa and other advocacy/CRM platforms usually automatically stop your emails from going to bad addresses, effectively flossing your list every time you send an email. However, email service providers will typically grade highly performing messages (those with lots of opens) higher than messages that hit inboxes but are never opened. The more active your list is, the higher deliverability you'll end up having.

In addition, many advocacy/CRMs charge by list size or emails sent, so your list could be costing you money that you could spend in a more impactful way.

That’s why we recommend that you give your list a deep cleaning once a year. Here’s how to do it, in four easy steps.

  1. Purge inactive email addresses. Hard bounces, multiple soft bounces, never opened an email -- these are the biggest waste of your time so get rid of them!
  2. Delete anyone without an email. (If you regularly mail or call your list then this may not apply to you.)
  3. Deduplicate your list. Duplicates sometimes get created during an import that wasn't conducted properly, and just add extra dead weight to your list.
  4. Delete anyone who has not take action or donated in a given time period. This one is hard, but is important. If someone has not opened your emails in over a year, they are likely pulling down the performance of your list. Let them go.

Let us know how this goes! Contact me, Andy Garcia, with any questions. Salsa users, keep reading for specific tutorials on the above steps.

Resources for Salsa Users

Salsa list hygiene webinar

How to use the query tool

How to identify and delete inactive emails

Query for supporters who have opened an email in a specific date range

How to deduplicate

Email Salsa with list hygiene questions at

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