In love and in marketing, you have to learn to admit when a relationship isn't working—especially when the email subscribers you're attempting to woo are hurting your performance numbers.

Email is a great medium for connecting with leads and customers. But when your list becomes bloated with bad addresses and inactive subscribers, it's time to clean house.

Otherwise, you're merely sending messages to bots and people who don't want to hear from you, and you're also damaging your engagement rates and deliverability rates, making it harder for you to reach the subscribers who do want to hear from you.

You're even risking getting blocked and blacklisted.

So let's look at the four types of offending addresses and how to deal with each of them effectively.

1. Invalid Email Addresses

Invalid addresses are unmailable: They don't match any existing email accounts. You end up with them because sometimes people submit their contact information with typos. Others purposefully enter fake email addresses because they're annoyed that they have to provide one to access a site, and they'll give addresses such as "" or "" to avoid unwanted emails.

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image of Chad White

Chad White is the research director at Litmus, a Web-based email creation, testing, and analytics platform.

LinkedIn: Chad White

Twitter: @chadswhite