This might surprise you, but in Email Marketing (as with many other things), "more" is not always "better".

The size of your contacts database is a so-called "vanity metric" – it's nice to have a big number, but it has no substance by itself. What really matters is what percentage of that database is actually being engaged by your messages.

For example, let's say Company A has a database of 100.000 contacts with a 5% Open Rate, while Company B has a database of 25.000 contacts with a 20% Open Rate. Both companies have the same number of people reading their messages, but Company B's communications are much more effective since they aren't wasting time, effort, and money trying to engage clients who are simply ignoring their messages – or worse, who aren't even seeing them because these messages go straight to the Spam folder.

It's worth mentioning that Open Rates are an important factor in your deliverability rates, so if you want to avoid your subscribers' Spam folders, keep your contacts database clean.

But what does "contacts database hygienization" mean? Well, it means removing from your subscribers list all contacts who, for whatever reason, aren't engaging with your messages. We highly encourage doing this regularly, e. g. every six months.

This might sound like a hassle, but don't worry – we make it easy for you.

So let's see how you can keep your contacts database nice and clean!

How to clean up a contacts database

There are two ways to do it: the "quick and easy" way (which we recommend for most cases), or the "advanced" way (recommended for very specific needs).

Let's go over each one.

Contacts database hygienization quick and easy process

To begin, log into your edrone Workspace and go to SETTINGS > EXPORT.

From the drop-down menu at the top, select HYGIENIZATION OF CUSTOMERS and click EXPORT.

A CSV file will be automatically downloaded. This spreadsheet will contain all customers who have been subscribed to your email newsletter (no SMS or Push subscribers) continuously for at least 6 months AND have not opened at least one of your emails over the past 6 months.

This is the list of customers you want to remove from your active subscribers list. How do you do that?

It's very simple: just upload that same CSV file into the edrone system (SETTINGS > IMPORT) and choose the following options:

  • Email subscription status = Unknown

  • Overwrite email subscription status = YES (checkmark)

NOTE: If you'd like, you can also assign a tag (e. g. "CLEANED") to these contacts, which will help you find them later on if needed.

Complete the import process, and voilà! Your contacts database is now clean. Just make sure you send your Newsletters and Email Automations only to customers with "Subscribed" status.

Contacts database hygienization advanced process

If you'd like to have more control over the parameters of which contacts will be removed from your active subscribers list – for example, you might want to filter out subscribers who haven't opened your messages over the past 3 months instead of 6 –, you can do this manually.

You will also start from the SETTINGS > EXPORT section, but now you should choose ALL CUSTOMERS from the drop-down menu. Click EXPORT to download the CSV file.

Open the CSV file using your favorite spreadsheet editor, making sure that you choose the following settings:

  • Character set = Unicode (UTF-8)

  • Separated by = semicolon + comma

  • Text delimiter = ' (apostrophe)

This is how it looks like in OpenOffice:

After opening the document, you will need to filter your database. This filter will combine values from two columns: LastEmailEventOpenDate (column T) and SubscriptionStatus (column Q).

Below is a step by step using Open Office – you might use a different software, but the general process is the same: we want to get contacts with SubscriptionStatus = Subscribed and LastEmailEventOpenDate < [chosen date].

In Open Office:

  1. Select the entire spreadsheet by clicking on the top left corner;

  2. Go to Data > Filter > Standard filter;

  3. On the first filter criteria, select:

    1. Field name: Column T

    2. Condition: =

    3. Value: Subscribed

  4. On the second filter criteria, select:

    1. Operator: AND

    2. Field name: Column Q

    3. Condition: < (less than)

    4. Value: Select a date from the drop-down menu. Your selection will show all clients that haven't opened one of your emails since this date.

NOTE: If you want, you can filter even further and add another filter criteria based on the last time your contacts clicked on one of your emails. To do this, repeat step 4 above, but instead of column Q, select column R (LastEmailEventClickDate).

You will now have a complete list of all contacts that meet your customized criteria. Now comes a very important step: make sure to copy all of this into a new spreadsheet and save it as a CSV file. This will make sure you don't lose any of your work and upload only the right contacts into your edrone system.

Now you can just upload that CSV file into the edrone system (SETTINGS > IMPORT), selecting the following options:

  • Email subscription status = Unknown

  • Overwrite email subscription status = YES (checkmark)

NOTE: If you'd like, you can also assign a tag (e. g. "CLEANED") to these contacts, which will help you find them later on if needed.

And you're done! Good job for keeping your contacts database clean.

Need more help?

If you have any further questions about contacts database hygienization, please do not hesitate to contact us at

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