Best Practices for List Compliance

Email marketing is most effective when you build and maintain a compliant and engaged subscriber list. MailChimp will manage bounces and unsubscribes for you, but there's more you can do to maintain a successful list.

In this article, you'll learn the best ways to get permission, collect subscribers, and maintain your list.

Get Permission

Permission should be in writing and archived. When a subscriber signs up for your list, it needs to be clear the person is signing up to receive email. Permission can be disputed if an email address is collected as part of another type of transaction, like a registration or purchase.

Each subscriber you add to your list must give you express permission to send to them. We strongly recommend that you use a double opt-in process, because it requires subscribers to confirm their email address and that they asked to join your list. This ensures your subscribers are interested in your emails, and keeps invalid email addresses off your list.

In addition, anti-spam laws require you to give your subscribers a method to unsubscribe from your list.

The Double Opt-in Process

General Compliance Tips

Terms of Use and Anti-Spam Requirements

Why We Require an Unsubscribe Link


Collect Subscribers

People who don't ask to receive your emails aren’t likely to engage with your content or make purchases, and they often unsubscribe or even report your campaigns as spam. If you send email to subscribers who have not given their express permission, you may encounter high unsubscribes, abuse rates, or even compliance issues. For example, it's a violation of our Terms of Use to use purchased or rented lists because people on these lists didn’t ask to receive your content.

Offline collection methods, like paper-based signups, can also cause issues if it isn’t absolutely clear that by providing their email address, the person has opted in to receive email from you.

MailChimp Terms of Use

Third Party, Purchased, or Rented Lists

Examples of Compliant and Non-Compliant Lists

Opt-in Methods for Offline Subscribers


Maintain Your List

Good list maintenance helps confirm your subscribers remain interested in your content and have valid email addresses. After you create your list and collect subscribers, keep working on your list to remove stale addresses and re-engage inactive subscribers.

Stale addresses are addresses that have become invalid over time as people change jobs or open new email accounts. If you have subscribers who haven't been sent to regularly, we recommend you reconfirm the addresses outside of MailChimp to reduce bounces and abuse complaints.

Inactive subscribers have valid email addresses, but don't open campaigns, click links, or make purchases. Although inactive subscribers don't affect the health of your list, they do count toward your total number of subscribers and Monthly Plan rate.

We strongly recommend that you periodically re-engage inactive subscribers to reconfirm their interest in your business or product. If you’re not able to re-engage inactive subscribers, it’s best to remove them from your list. Include an update profile link in every campaign as well, so subscribers can easily update their preferences and contact information.

How to Reconfirm a List

Add an Update Profile Link

About Inactive and Stale Addresses

Re-Engage Inactive Subscribers


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