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Fifty million people changed their email address last year. How many of those old addresses are on your email list right now?

You already know the importance of a permission-based email list. You even practice list segmentation to improve the relevance of the emails you send to your customers and prospects.

But how much time do you devote to cleaning your email list? If your email hygiene is lax, you're greatly limiting the success of your campaigns.

An up-to-date, clean email list can have a big impact on your delivery, open, and click-through rates, not to mention your ongoing compliance with CAN-SPAM laws.

Permission is perishable. Just because you received permission to send emails to a prospect three or six months ago doesn't mean they're still interested—especially if you're an infrequent emailer.

Act quickly when you receive permission to ensure that your email recipients remember you and your service. The older your list, the more likely it needs a checkup.

Has it been a while since your last cleaning? Follow these six steps to polish up your email list:

1. Analyze bounce-backs

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Eric Groves is senior vice-president, worldwide strategy & market development, at Constant Contact (www.constantcontact.com).