All About Email Verification

Email is consumers’ preferred channel for receiving marketing communications, and the basis of any email marketing program is the quality of the mailing list. Having a database of accurate email addresses is an asset for any business, but just like a home or a car, these databases require regular maintenance. So, what does it take for businesses to avoid problems and keep their mailing lists healthy? The answer is email verification.

What is email verification and why is it important?

Email verification ensures the email addresses on your mailing list are real before you send to them, preventing you from wasting time, money, and resources targeting bad email addresses. Email verification reduces the risk of high bounce rates, spam trap hits, and blocklistings – all of which can negatively impact IP reputation and deliverability. These factors can also cost money, as wasted cost per acquisition and reduced customer lifetime value mean diluted return on investment (ROI). You can check your IP Reputation score on our website, or get a more detailed report within our Everest solution.

Some common approaches to validating new email addresses include double opt-in (DOI) and coding manual rules. However, each of these approaches comes with potential downsides:

  • DOI creates a longer sign-up process for subscribers, who may not click the confirmation link. On average, 25% of new subscribers drop out of a DOI process, resulting in a loss of potential revenue.
  • Coding manual rules is time-consuming and risks human error. Plus, the rules can quickly go out of date.

A simpler, more effective, and more cost-efficient option for email verification is BriteVerify.

What is BriteVerify?

BriteVerify is the industry’s longest standing and most complete email and contact verification solution. BriteVerify checks for:

  • Whether address elements are in the correct order, there are no spaces or commas, and the @, dots, and domain extension are in the right places; and
  • Whether the email domain exists by pinging the mailbox provider to confirm the email address is active.

The solution can also identify role accounts (support@, info@, etc.), which I would recommend removing from your lists. These kinds of addresses do not belong to individuals, and high levels of these addresses may be a sign of list harvesting by mailbox providers (MBPs).

Where should email verification be implemented?

Based on my experience, stopping bad addresses from entering your database at the time of sign-up using webforms or point of sale (POS) systems is most impactful. When given verbally or handwritten, addresses are more likely to be inaccurate.

Often, if forced to provide their email while making a purchase, people will deliberately provide disposable addresses. Such email addresses will self-destruct and are only valid temporarily. Inline verification will immediately prompt the user to correct the address.

With BriteVerify, senders can also bulk cleanse their full email databases using a simple drag and drop process, validating all addresses in a single pass.

When should email verification be implemented?

If you are unable to implement real-time email verification, you should clean your lists at least once every six months, or more frequently if you have large volumes of daily sign-ups. Remember, email addresses do not stay valid forever as people change jobs or get married, and email databases decay naturally by about 22.5% per year. MBPs will typically generate bounce notifications for dormant email addresses for at least six months, after which they may be repurposed as spam traps.

Conclusion

The average email customer lifetime value (CLV) is £35, which is around AUD$60. Therefore, every bad email address has a significant financial impact because of wasted acquisition costs and future revenue that will no longer be earned. With millions of customers entering and leaving CRMs daily, email verification plays a crucial role in boosting your marketing efforts. Click here to learn more about how BriteVerify can help you improve the quality of your mailing list.

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Don’t Wait Until Spring to Clean Up: Two Must-Do Tips for Email Marketers

Here’s the cold truth: Every day you neglect to clean your email marketing program data is one more day of damage you could be doing to your email sender reputation.

I said it was cold!

Your email sender reputation is dependent on your following of best practices. Are you only emailing people who consent to receiving your email? Are you removing bad data, like addresses that bounce? Are you sunsetting addresses showing no engagement within a reasonable period?

Email and data are inextricably linked, and if you’re going to start 2021 on the right foot, your email marketing data needs to be pristine. Why? Because competition for attention in the inbox is greater than ever, email volume is at record highs, and you simply can’t afford to be subject to the consequences of a poor sender reputation.

I mean, do you want to be blocklisted and have zero email reach your recipients? Didn’t think so.

Here are the two major things you need to take care of before we escape the winter doldrums, because if you don’t, you’ll be racing to catch up with your competitors.

Dump your bad addresses

Are you noticing lots of rejected email? Those are bounces. They can be hard bounces (permanent, no mail is getting through) or soft bounces (try again later when you feel lucky, punk), or have a bunch of different reasons out of your control. You can look at the error codes reported back to you via your email service provider (ESP) data, and other things like Google Postmaster Tools, to get an idea of the reasons the mail is bouncing. But the bottom line is, if lots of your mail is bouncing, you likely have a data issue. You should run your addresses through a list validation tool, like BriteVerify, to identify bad addresses. To be sure, this won’t keep you from other kinds of bounces, but it’s a great place to start repairing and protecting your email sender reputation.

Sunset your low-activity subscribers

You have consent to mail. Good, very good. But…when did you get it? Are these recipients still opening your mail? Your journey to being a good sender doesn’t stop at getting consent to email your subscribers. Instead, keeping an active eye on your email deliverability metrics is key to your reputation. Look through your lists and identify which addresses haven’t engaged with your email in any given amount of time. The timeframe you use is entirely up to your business goals, but let’s say someone has not opened an email from you in six months. It’s time to either do a re-engagement campaign (in which you send an email specifically asking them to re-confirm their consent), or simply remove them from your lists. If you continue to send to recipients who take no action on your mail, or worse, complain about your mail, mailbox providers (MBPs) will take notice and take action. Even WORSE is if you keep emailing, and those addresses turn into spam traps and send clear negative signals to MBPs. It’s a game you don’t want to play, just in case.

It can be scary to remove email addresses. They can be hard-won and it’s obvious they’re a direct line to customers and prospects. But remember…the risk can also NOT be worth the reward. Even small choices like continuing to mail unengaged addresses can slowly chip away at your deliverability and put you in a bad place (psst: BLOCKLIST). Start as fresh as you can and enjoy the fruits of your labor—more engaged subscribers, less negative (non)interaction, and the peace of knowing you’re in control of your own email destiny.

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