Tidy up your database

No one wants a messy database. You might find that a year down the line, your targeting methods have improved and you no longer need all of the lists you started with. That's not to mention that you might have a lot of suspended data since it was first imported, as a few bounces are inevitable. So why not have a spring clean and delete some lists?

If you've ever spoken to our Support team, you'll know that their advice is almost always don't delete your lists. There are some other important factors to keep in mind when you delete lists:

  1. Analysis information - some sends in your Analyse page will appear as "Limited stats available" if you delete the target lists.
  2. Bounce information - if a subscriber hard-bounces a campaign and becomes suspended, they'll still be held on their original lists, and if you delete that list, you'll wipe all the record of the bounces. That means if you import their data again, the system won't remember that they were suspended, meaning they'll carry on bouncing.
  3. Subscriber information - you might have names, birthdays, postal addresses and other preferences saved for your subscribers, and if you delete their addresses then all of this will also go.

This isn't to say that all of your lists should always be permanent. If you're considering having a spring clean, it's always worth dropping the Support team a line so they can advise. But here are some other steps to consider for cleaning up.

Tidying up your list management

Sometimes you don't want to remove any actual data, but just rearrange how it's stored or how many lists you have. The key rule here is just to always *import* before you *export* - add before you delete. Let's say you have three lists called "London data", "Birmingham data" and "Guildford data", and you want to collaborate them into one list called "UK data".

DON'T: delete all three lists, then import the individual CSV files back into one list.

DO: collate the lists into one CSV file, and import that into your "UK data" list. The billing system will filter out duplicates, so you won't be charged extra for having them twice. Now the system will register that the new data is present elsewhere in the account, and it will copy over all the other records it has - bounces, analysis, extra subscriber profile fields and so on. Then, once the import is finished, you can safely delete your original lists. 

Removing suspended subscribers

Keep in mind that there's almost never a need to do this. Suspended subscirbers a) cannot be sent to, b) are not charged for, and c) can be filtered out of your exports, so they shouldn't ever trouble you. You can always safely leave suspended subscribers on your account - in fact, it's better to do this, as this safeguards you from accidentally sending to them or being charged for them if the system doesn't know they were suspended. If you're really keen to take them off your lists, here's the best way.

DON'T: go to the Suspended subscribers list and delete everything - ever!

DO: go to the Send page, select "All lists", and go to "Export data". On the next page, give your export a recognisable name, select "email" from the list, and on the far right-hand side, select "Suspended only". When the import is finished, you can download it from the Send tab, or from the Home page. Open the new file in Excel and copy all of the email addresses to your clipboard. Then, back in your account, go to "Do Not Contact list" under the Collect tab, and paste all of the data into the box. 

Doing this strips all of the subscribers off your lists, but it holds them permanently on the Do Not Contact list, preventing them being accidentally re-imported, charged for or sent to. 

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