List / Data Collection Best Practices


The following is meant to provide basic guidelines for list management and data collection best practices.  If at any point you are unsure about any of the following statements, please contact us at for further assistance.  

List management and data collection can often appear to be challenging to the novice email marketer but all the ins and outs, rules, etc. can be distilled to one simple rule: Only email recipients who have directly opted-in to your lists.

If you're porting your list data from another ESP, export your invalid contacts separately. Invalid addresses can be imported into the global opt out list in your account for permanent suppression if need be, or removed from your list file before importing.  Taking these steps can only improve your chances for landing in the inbox.  Failing to implement these steps can result in the bulking of your emails or even worse, the termination of your ReachMail account.

For the best results, begin your campaigns with the most recent year of sign-ups.  If all goes well, considering importing the older sign-ups in 6-month chunks.  In some industries 1 year is too long while in others, recipient retention can be much longer.  1 year is a good baseline measure to use, though if you feel this isn’t accurate for your industry, consider importing each year’s sign-ups as separate lists.  This will help diagnose potential problems more effectively.

Additionally, the industry sets guidelines for delivery stats on your messages. Failure to adhere to these benchmarks can result in the rejection of your message as soft bounces, delivery to the spam folder, or worse: the blacklisting of your sending domain. The latter can lead to delivery problems with your person to person emails due to problems stemming from your marketing emails. The benchmarks are as follows:

  • Hard Bounces (invalid emails) fewer than 1% of your list
  • FBLs - Spam Complaints (feed back loops) fewer than 0.1% - 1 per 1000

What to do:

  • Collect sign-ups through a form on your website

  • Stay in contact with your recipients to ensure invalid addresses are weeded out on a regular basis

  • Email business contacts with whom you already have an existing relationship

  • Use a confirmed opt-in (COI) sign-up form to ensure invalid addresses are not inadvertently added to your list

  • Remove zombie addresses from your list on a regular basis (addresses that do not consistently open your messages)

What not do:

  • Use a purchased or rented list

  • Email to indirectly opted in recipients (third party opt ins usually in the form or a purchased or rented list)

  • Scrape or harvest email address from online sources

  • Email to recipients who were added to your list more than 1 year ago

  • Email to recipients who have already opted out of your list

  • Email to recipients who have already hard bounced in your list at another ESP.

  • Do not mail to your LinkedIn contacts, Social Media connections or personal contacts unless they have directly opted in through your sign up form.

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