From time to time, we come across a customer that has a list they’ve been hanging on to for years. At some point the people on that list opted-in, but for some reason these people have not been contacted or sent an email in a long time. The customer, naturally, wants to revive the list and start using it again.

The truth is, there is no easy way to make an old list new again. But here are some guidelines if you absolutely must find out who’s still interested in receiving emails from you.

  1. If the email address on the list is more than a year old, ditch it. Around 1/3 of email addresses change each year so if you’re working with a list within a year, it’s kind of a gray area. But if your list is older than that, count on 2/3 or practically the entire list being unusable.
  2. Set up a free account to send re-confirmation emails from if your list is small. If you have a smaller list and can comfortably send less than 200 emails a day and get your answers within a few weeks, set up a free account with a name that sounds similar to your newsletter. For example, if you usually send from joe@joesgardeningreport, you might want to set up an account like
  3. Use your free account, if possible, to send emails asking people to re-confirm their subscription and interest. This email might say something like: “We’re updating our database and want to know if you still want to receive Joe’s Gardening Newsletter. Click on the link if you still want to receive emails from us”. Make certain that the email is plain text. Plain text emails have a far better chance of getting through spam filters than fancy ones with graphics.

The main reason you want to send from a free account is to protect your regular sender account if your re-confirmation emails get blocked. It’s quite possible you will get many spam complaints when you send the re-confirmation email. This way if you send from your free account and you get put on an email blacklist, it won’t affect the account that you normally send your email and newsletters from.