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Email List Hygiene

Email Marketing for Accountants

Email list hygiene is cleaning up your email marketing list. It refers to cleansing your email list by clearing inactive (or "cold") subscribers and email addresses no longer in use. Perhaps you have email addresses in your list that are no longer active. Alternatively, the email address owner may no longer be interested in your campaigns but failed to unsubscribe. Cleaning out invalid or disinterested emails leads to sending high-quality, valuable messages to subscribers interested in your accounting services. This is important because it ensures a good sender reputation, improves email deliverability, and increases customer engagement.

How to Practice Good Email List Hygiene

Delete inactive subscribers.

Individuals who do not open your emails should be purged. However, before doing so, consider sending a re-engagement email. Let inactive subscribers know you'd like to keep them; however, if they aren't interested in the emails you're sending, they will be unsubscribed from your list.

Send regular emails.

Keep interested and active subscribers engaged (or "warm") by sending emails regularly. That doesn't necessarily mean you have to send one email per week. It means you should be consistent. If you want to send an email newsletter once per month, let subscribers know that is what they can expect.

Focus your efforts.

Each email you send should have a single focus. Too many points or topics in a single email confuses your audience. It also reduces your conversion rate (the number of people following through with what your email asks them to do, such as clicking a link).

Track key performance indicators (KPIs)

Keep up with indicators of email campaign performance. You can do this by monitoring KPIs such as:

  • Open rate - The percentage of emails you sent out that were opened by the recipient.
  • Click through rate - The percentage of recipients that click on a link in your email.
  • Bounce rate - The percentage of emails not accepted by the recipients' email server. There are different types of bounces. For example, a hard bounce is delivery fails due to a fixed reason, such as a blocked or invalid email address. A soft bounce occurs because a recipient mailbox is full, the email is too large, or the email address is inactive.
  • Opt-out – When subscribers unsubscribe from your email list.

Segment your list.

Segmenting, or separating, a contact list into specific groups allows you to send more targeted and relevant content. For example, customers who have only used your tax accounting services can be segmented. You can send them a special offer to try additional services at a discounted rate. You can also segment by location, accounting niche, or any other parameter you desire if you have the data.

Personalize your emails.

The more personalized emails are, the better chance your subscribers will open, click through, and act. Personalizing your emails includes actions like adding the customer's name to the subject line and sending relevant recommendations and content. This fosters trust and lets your clients know they can rely on you for all their accounting needs.

Avoid spam filters.

You can avoid certain practices to keep your emails out of the spam folder. For example, do not use all caps in the subject, avoid generic subject lines, and target your audience carefully. With a structured digital marketing service for accounting firms, you can steer clear of the filter and end up in the inbox more often.

Never buy a list.

Purchasing an email list is never a good idea. These lists are guaranteed to have poor hygiene because they are not your target audience. Subscribers didn't come to you via an opt-in. For that reason, the email addresses you purchased could lower your sender score, lead to your emails being filtered as spam, and cause your metrics to suffer. It is much better to cultivate a list organically so that the list you build is a high-quality one with excellent hygiene. That turns prospects into clients and leads to growth in your accounting firm.


Aim to clean your email list once every six months. This practice means emails stand out, open rate increases, and metrics are an accurate snapshot of what is happening with your digital marketing efforts.

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Email List Hygiene
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Hugh Duffy, BYF CEO and Co-Founder

Hugh is the consummate marketing coach for accountants and takes pride in the impact that it has on their practice, and lives. Hugh has more than thirty years of marketing experience. Since 2003, he has been teaching accountants on how to improve their marketing and make more money from their accounting practice.