Corina Leslie
Reading duration
Sand via email
Save in Pocket
Save in Flipboard
Send in Messenger
Send in Messenger
Send in Whatsapp

Did you know that almost 60% of B2B marketers say email is the channel that generates the highest revenue? Although social media remains an effective marketing tool, email is now the most powerful medium to spread the word about your brand and boost sales

However, the email doesn’t keep its promise to those who use outdated lists. Sending emails to contacts you haven’t checked for accuracy is a sure way to land in the Spam folder, or nowhere at all. This is where email list scrubbing comes in to ensure you communicate with real people.

What is email list scrubbing?

As you may guess, it’s the process of removing bad data from your list, so you can focus only on your best leads. An email list scrubbing system scans your database and isolates risky email addresses, thus protecting your sender's reputation and boosting deliverability.

It all starts with your sender reputation

When you use email for marketing and sales purposes, nothing matters more than your sender's reputation. That’s because Internet Service Providers (ISPs) use it as a guide to determine where your emails should go. 

Ignore your sender reputation, and your campaigns will land in people’s spam folders, or get you blacklisted.

Take good care of it, and you’ll reach the inbox and increase conversions.

Your sender's reputation speaks for you and reflects the way you conduct email marketing. Here are some of the factors that influence your reputation:

  • your bounce rate: if it exceeds 2%, you know your list needs a good scrubbing;
  • the number of spam traps your emails hit;
  • also, the number of people who label your emails as spam;
  • your overall engagement: open rates, click-through rates, replies, and forwards are all a good indication of how much subscribers enjoy hearing from you.

How email list scrubbing improves your sender reputation

It takes time to build your reputation, and the truth is that even a few Spam complaints or bounces can affect it dramatically. That’s why savvy email marketers use email list scrubbing services every time their databases need pruning. 

Let’s take a look at what these services do and how they help you keep a healthy relationship with ISPs


Here are some of the riskiest email addresses you should remove from your list.

Invalid emails

There are so many reasons why you could have invalid email addresses in your list:

  • someone who tried to subscribe to your emails may have misspelled their address in the signup form.
  • furthermore, someone may have entered their address correctly, but in the meantime, he has switched to another provider.
  • also, especially in B2B lead generation, people use their business email address to sign up for newsletters. If they change jobs, that email address becomes invalid.

These emails will always result in bounces and affect your reputation. It’s best to stop emailing them right away. Not only is this a good email marketing practice, but it also saves money. If you use an email service provider, you’re most likely charged by the number of subscribers on your list, so why would you email invalid addresses?

Abuse emails

These are the email addresses that belong to people who could mark you as Spam. Who needs them on their list? That’s right: no one. Complainers let ISPs know your email is bothering them, so what do you think ISPs will do next? It’s easy to imagine where your next campaign is going to land. 

The good news is you don’t have to sit and wait until the next person will label you as Spam. You can let an email list scrubbing system detect these email addresses and remove them at once. The risk of emailing them is not worth it. Besides, there’s no reason you’d want to communicate with people who don’t want to hear from you.

Spam traps

They deserve special attention because they’re difficult to detect and extremely risky to your email marketing. 

Spam traps don’t belong to genuine human beings, so they have zero value to your lead generation process and overall marketing program. Their role in email fraud management is essential: as the name suggests, spam traps lure in spammers so that ISPs and blacklist providers can then easily block them. 

But if you keep them on your list, you risk ISPs thinking you’re a spam sender, as well, and that jeopardizes your deliverability. 

Even the best email list scrubbing services have a hard time detecting all spam traps. Nonetheless, the more advanced ones, like ZeroBounce, use complex algorithms to spot them in your list, so you can remove them. 

Disposable emails

Disposable napkins are wonderful: you use them once and then throw them away, and you can get a clean one the next time you need it. However, when it comes to disposable email addresses, you’re better off without them. 

Almost all email databases will have some disposable (or temporary) email addresses. Especially if you promote content offers on your website, people will use a temporary email only to download that freebie from you. While you may be happy that you’ve just added another lead to your list, all you got is, in fact, a contact that will bounce

Email list scrubbing is a great way to detect these emails. Let them go without regret, they’re worthless and risky.

Catch-all emails

When they want to make sure they don’t miss any emails, organizations set up catch-all emails – meaning email accounts that will accept every piece of email anyone sends to them, even if that particular recipient doesn’t exist. 

Catch-all emails are tricky, though. You may think you’ll eventually reach that organization as long as the domain exists. But catch-alls will often bounce due to the high amount of spam they receive, so continuing to email them can damage your reputation.

Email list scrubbing systems can detect catch-all domains, but they can’t assess their validity. A good option to further validate these emails is to use a scoring system. 

Reliable email scoring systems will analyze your catch-all emails and give you some feedback on their activity levels. As you can already guess, the more active an email address is, the higher the chances for it to be genuine. 

Email deliverability tips you should know

Now that you saw what an email list scrubbing service can do, we want to leave you with a few tips to help you even more when sending emails. Integrate these practices into your email strategy, and you’ll see your open and click rates go up.

Send only the very best content

What makes you click on an email and read it? Is it poorly-written, salesy content that doesn’t offer you any value? Of course not. So, before you send your next email, ask yourself whether its purpose is to help the person who will receive it. 

When you send great content every time, people will start seeing you as a reliable, helpful source and will tend to open your future messages, too. That not only improves your sender reputation, but also helps grow your brand. 

Be extra careful with your subject lines

All it takes is a spammy-looking subject line for someone to label you as Spam and affect your reputation. So, double-check them to be sure they don’t contain any words that may trigger Spam filters

Also, try writing several subject lines as a copywriting exercise to boost your creativity – and open rates. You can even run a split test and see which one performs better. The sooner you learn what your audience likes, the more you can adjust your emails and increase their performance. 

Send consistently

Sending a great email every three months is not going to do much to your revenue. On the other hand, focusing on at least one email a week will keep your brand top of mind and yield better results in the long run. 

So, try to have discipline in your sending behavior. In fact, schedule your emails to go out on the same day. This will let ISPs know you’re a legitimate sender who doesn’t surprise them with any out-of-the-blue bulk mailings. 

Furthermore, it’s less likely to get Spam complaints when you email regularly. As subscribers get used to receiving your messages, they are more likely to recognize you, open your emails and read your content. Show up on time and strive to not disappoint.

Ready to wrap things up?

We hope this article has been helpful and you get a chance to try our advice before you send out your next email! As long as you perform a thorough email list scrubbing every once in a while, and focus on sending awesome content, you should be well on your way to email marketing success.

Corina Leslie

PR Manager at