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Optimize and clean your contact list to improve email deliverability [Classic design]

Regularly maintaining your contact list is a best practice and highly recommended. Over time, opt-in contact lists can become stale or ineffective if contacts abandon their email addresses or grow disinterested in your content.

The purpose of “cleaning” your contact list is to identify and remove contacts that are inactive or not engaged by your recent emails. When you send campaigns only to active and engaged contacts, your engagement metrics such as open and click rates improve. This signals to inbox providers (like Gmail, Microsoft, etc.) that your emails are welcomed by recipients. In turn, your deliverability improves and your campaigns will be even more successful.

Recognizing unengaged and low-quality contacts

Each contact list is unique and a contact’s value is relative to your business. However, there are several common characteristics which can help you easily identify your contacts based on quality: engagement, recency, and address type.

If you have used Sendinblue for a period of time to collect and send email campaigns, your usage data can help you easily filter contacts based on these characteristics - both to identify your lowest and highest quality contacts.

If you have not yet emailed your contacts with Sendinblue, you may also filter contacts in another application using similar data available from a previous ESP or your own records.

Finding unengaged subscribers

Got subscribers who haven’t opened emails in six months? Or even a year? Get rid.

Unengaged contacts hurt deliverability. They lower your campaign engagement rates, which ties back to your sender reputation with email providers.

There are a number of reasons a subscriber might become unengaged:

  • Your emails don’t reach their inbox (they’re filtered into spam)
  • The person is no longer interested in your business
  • They receive too many emails and yours are lost in the mix

To find these unengaged contacts in your contact list, just open the Advanced search & Segmentation in Contacts and select Unengaged contacts from the drop-down.2020-10-08_10-39-00.png

How to easily exclude unengaged contacts from your email campaigns

Sendinblue users can easily improve engagement rates by simply excluding unengaged contacts when sending an email. These are identified by a pre-defined segment. You’ll find the option in the campaign editor when selecting your contact list in Step 3 Recipients.


How to edit the pre-defined unengaged segment

The pre-defined unengaged segment is perfect for beginners but you can always customize it according to your preferences. 

To edit the segment:

  1. Click Contacts on the dashboard
  2. Click Settings.
  3. Hit Configure in the box Unengaged contacts


From there, you can define your own conditions for the segment.


Finding old contacts

Contacts added to your list more than two years ago are least likely to engage with your emails. For a more broad cleaning technique, filter out contacts who are older than two years. Or, if they are older than two years and have not made a purchase.

Pair the “Added date” condition with the “between” condition to identify contacts added during a certain timeframe. In the example below, we have searched for contacts who were added to a list more than two years (730 days) ago. 


Finding unmonitored email addresses

Generic email addresses such as, admin@, sales@, noreply@, etc. are often unmonitored and are typically shared by teams. This means they do not correlate to individual people and messages received by them will likely have very low engagement rates.  

To search for contacts whose email addresses contain specific words, such as contact, sales, or noreply, close the Search Conditions box and type the keyword into the simple search box. In the example below, we have searched for contacts containing the generic word contact


Removing email addresses from your Sendinblue contact list(s)  

The steps for removing contacts from your Sendinblue list vary based on the method used for filtering your contacts.

Removing contacts filtered within Sendinblue

While your preferred filter is applied, check the box in the top row of your search results to select all contacts that match your criteria. Next, click Action and select Add to Blocklist. This action will blocklist these contacts to ensure they are not emailed again.


Removing contacts contained in a CSV file

If you have curated a list of low-quality contacts outside Sendinblue, it’s important to upload it to your Sendinblue account as a blocklist. Follow the steps in this guide to upload a blocklist file


Advanced users: automate your list maintenance

Advanced users may wish to automate the list maintenance process. Sendinblue Automation make it easy!

  1. Create and save a filter based on your preferred criteria. Check out this guide to learn more.
  2. Launch a marketing automation workflow to blocklist contacts that match your saved filter. When creating your automation workflow, choose the action to blocklist the contact. This guide shows a step-by-step example.

⏩ What's next?

🤔 Have a question?

If you have a question, feel free to contact our support team by creating a ticket from your account. If you don't have an account yet, you can contact us here.