Is Your B2B Email List Healthy? The COVID-19 Pandemic May Be Making It Sick

One of the biggest questions for B2B marketers these days is: How do keep your email list up to date with over 36 million unemployed?

Email lists degrade at a rate of 2.1% per month even during good times, writes Corina Leslie of ZeroBounce, quoting stats from Marketing Sherpa. 

That means “22.5% of your B2B email list becomes obsolete every year,” Leslie continues in a blog post. 

Here are some of the normal problems that can erode your list, according to Leslie (we quote):

  • Employees leaving jobs
  • People abandoning their email addresses when switching to providers
  • Dormant email addresses that turn into spam traps
  • Invalid and dead domains
  • Lax subscription methods — i.e., the lack of double opt-in, reCAPTHA verification, or an email verification API to tell humans and bots apart

The pandemic crisis has made things even worse, leading to widespread list decay.  



“Every non-personal email you have in your database has the potential to be invalid,” says Christopher Penn, co-founder and chief data scientist at, according to Leslie.

Penn adds: “Personal emails – the hotmails, gmails, etc. of the world – should continue to be fine, but corporate emails likely will not be.” 

So what do you do? Leslie and ZeroBounce urge brands to: 

Prune out bouncing email addresses—Your bounce rate shouldn’t exceed 2%. If it does, your ESP may warn you or even suspend your account. Use an email checker to help you isolate “abuse emails, spam traps, role-based, catch-all, and temporary accounts from your B2B email list,” Leslie writes.

Score catch-all email addresses—These emails are likely to bounce when email validators will tell you they’re good to mail. The solution is to use a scorer to prevent these issues from causing real trouble:

  • The mailbox gets full, causing a soft bounce. Most ESPs will retry it a few times before deciding it is it undeliverable.
  • The company has reconfigured its server to not accept all emails sent to it. This will cause an even worse hard bounce.

Finally, are people happy to receive your email newsletter? Nothing will drive unsubscribes and tepid engagement metrics like irrelevant or boring content.



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