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Delete contacts who no longer receive your marketing emails

Last updated: February 4, 2022

Applies to:

All products and plans

To manage unengaged contacts, create a list of contacts who have hard bounced on your past marketing emails. Any contacts who have been unbounced in your account won't be included in the hard bounced list.

As another step to tidy up outdated contacts, you can also create a list of contacts who've marked one of your marketing emails as spam. HubSpot will automatically omit sending marketing emails to these contacts, but as the number of contacts in your CRM increases, it can be helpful to remove them.

Once you've created these lists, you can review them to ensure you're deleting the correct contacts, then permanently remove them from your account. Alternatively, you can keep these contacts in your account for reporting purposes. Learn more about how to keep your contact lists up to date.

Delete contacts who hard bounced on a marketing email

You can create a static list of hard bounced contacts directly from the email tool, or you can create an active list of bounced contacts using the lists tool. After you've created the list of bounced contacts, you can review the associated contacts then permanently delete them.

Create a static list of bounced contacts

To create a static list of bounced contacts:

  • In your HubSpot account, navigate to Marketing > Email.
  • In the left sidebar menu, click the Email bounce tools dropdown menu:
    • To create a new list of hard bounced contacts, select Create list of hard bounced contacts.
    • If you have an existing list of contacts you also want to delete, select Add hard bounced contacts to existing list. To create a static list of contacts who opted out of all marketing emails, create a new static list where the contact property Unsubscribed from all email is equal to True.

export-hard-bounced-contacts

  • In the dialog box, customize your hard bounced contact list:
    • List name: enter a name for your new list.
    • Hard bounce reasons: click the dropdown menu to modify the bounce types included in this list. By default, all hard bounce types are selected.
    • Time period: select the time frame for the sent marketing emails included in your list. Only contacts who hard bounced on emails sent during the selected timeframe will be included. 
    • Click Create list. It may take a few moments for your list to process.
  • Once your list has finished processing, select the checkbox in the header row to select all contacts on the first page of your list. Click Select all [number of contacts] to select all contacts in the list.

select-all-contacts-list-refresh

  • Click the More dropdown menu, then select Delete to delete these contacts. 
  • Enter the number of contacts you're deleting, then click Delete.

Create an active list of bounced contacts

To create an active list of bounced contacts:

  • In your HubSpot account, navigate to Contacts > Lists.
  • In the upper right, click Create list.
  • In the top left, click the pencil icon edit and enter a name for the list.
  • In the upper left, click the dropdown menu and select Active list.
  • In the left panel, select the criteria for bounced contacts:
    • Select Contact properties.
    • Search and select Email hard bounce reason.
    • Select is known, if you want to include bounced contacts of all types. If you want to view only bounced contacts of a specific reason, select is any of and in the dropdown menu, select the reasons you want to view.

Please note: when you unbounce a contact who previously hard bounced, the contact will still have a value for the Email hard bounce reason property. If you want to guarantee that contacts in your active list aren't mistakenly deleted after they've been unbounced, you should follow the instructions above to create a static list instead.

Learn more about using lists and other list criteria.

Delete contacts who marked one of your marketing emails as spam

To remove contacts who marked one of your emails as spam, you must first export the associated contacts, then reimport them as a static list to delete.

Export contacts who reported a marketing email as spam

First, export a list of the contacts who marked one of your marketing emails as spam:

  • In your HubSpot account, navigate to Marketing > Email.
  • In the left sidebar menu, under Email tools, click the Email bounce tools dropdown menu, then select Export unsubscribes and bounces.
  • Review the email address set to receive the export file.
  • In the dialog box, click the X next to Unsubscribed contacts and the X next to Bounced contacts to exclude them from the contacts to export.
  • Click Export.

export-contacts-who-reported-spam

Review the exported file

You'll receive an email with a download link to the export file, which will include a single column labelled Portal Spam Report. This column indicates whether a contact marked a marketing email from your account as spam, or they moved the email from their inbox into their junk folder. You should see a value of TRUE in this column for every contact.

Import the file and delete the associated contacts who reported spam

  • After reviewing the exported file, import it back into your HubSpot account and create a new list of these imported contacts.
  • Once you've created the new list, select the checkbox in the header row to select all of the contacts on the first page of your list.
  • Click Select all [number of contacts] to select all contacts in the list.

select-all-contacts-to-delete

  • Click the More dropdown menu, then select Delete.

Please note: contacts who mark your emails as spam will hurt your email sending reputation, and could lead to a suspension of your ability to send email. Make sure you're following the best practices of HubSpot's email deliverability guidelines.

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