How the quality of email lists affect delivery and user engagement


One basic of a quality email list that will greatly determine how successful you are is whether recipients have expressly opted to receive emails or to be paying customers. If you don’t keep to the rules and just add general contacts, you will be putting your sending reputation on the line, as well as the success of your campaign.

You may also face punitive action including having your account closed. Your sends with a particular email service provider or ESP could also be limited. Ensure that all your subscriber data is sourced with direct, express opt-in permission of those you will be emailing. The easiest way to do it is with a sign up form seeking opt-in permission.

Time could be up

It is also important that you realize that permission does lapse, which raises the question of how old your list is and how often and consistently you make contact with your subscribers. It is not allowed to use subscriber lists that are more than two years old. This applies to most ESPs. Also, lists that have not been sent consistently over the last 12 months may have problems related to engagement and deliverability.

Getting back on track

If you have fallen off track and haven’t been engaged with your email lists, you need to lay down a new foundation before sending out any emails. First, verify the older lists you have with a third party service like Briteverify or Kickbox. Do this to remove inactive or wrong addresses.

If you haven’t sent out emails for a significant period of time or you plan to switch ESPs, then send out emails to your most active subscribers first. Before sending out others, look at the results; are there a lot of spam complaints or bounces? If there are, verify the rest of your list or take precautions to avoid other negative consequences.

Segmenting email lists

Apart from being inconsistent with emailing, another common mistake is not segmenting email lists. While it is not possible to customize every email on an email list, it is possible and important to create different ones using segmentation so that recipients are more likely to be engaged, which would increase conversions.

Segmenting can be done based on different criteria. A lot of customer databases have labels of what customers like, buy often, or are often searching for. Segmenting email addresses by their needs and preferences will mean that you send highly targeted emails that will make potential customers into actual ones and existing ones into loyal ones who are also brand advocates. Something as simple as discounts on products you know customers are interested in can do the trick.

Customers can also be engaged according to their interests. A customer may love pets or sports, but which precise ones? You can find this out by looking at the products customers click on in the emails they receive, the lead magnets they subscribe through, and the items they purchase.
Segmentation can also be done according to location and how engaged a recipient is.

Keeping subscribers engaged

The following 10 steps will help to keep your recipients engaged:

  1. Define your precise goal when it comes to engagement and focus on it: if it is high open-rates, improve your copywriting; if it is more click-through rates, improve your email content and so on.
  2. Your personality is unique. Let it come through in your emails be it funny, persuasive or another unique trait you have.
  3. Aim to connect with recipients, so that they can ask a question, voice their concerns or otherwise get involved. Aim to make recipients feel like you are their trusted friend they can turn to and get honest answers and genuine solutions.
  4. Reward subscribers who remain engaged, such as with giveaways or just a shout out. You can also put them in the community spotlight.
  5. Segment your email addresses as discussed above.
  6. Don’t go overboard with promotions, announcements, and other email content. Just say your piece, put it out there, and wait for the response without making recipients feel harassed.
  7. Take it to social media platforms where most recipients will likely have accounts and tend to post and share things.
  8. Send reminders to recipients, re-introducing yourself and what you are all about. Sign off with your name to give you a real, human feel.
  9. Keep your emails short and snappy and not long-winded. People don’t spend too much time looking at their inboxes and reading every mail.
  10. Nudge your recipients towards taking action with special offers and rewards for taking action.


Email is still a very effective channel for driving leads and sales, but it has to be used to effect. You have to keep luring recipients and keep them engaged with frequent, consistent emails if you are to see the outcome you desire.


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