Back in the day, a sales manager rested their laurels on the size and value of their address book. Direct to home mail brought in lists of people who could then be sent letters asking them to buy. Now, companies judge themselves by the size of their email database—but how do you put a value on that list of emails? What’s the benefit of doing so?
Well, not validating your email list can lose you money. Plain and simple. According to Econsultancy, 74 percent of marketers believe email will be the highest return on investment, still, in five years. Staying on top of having a clean, validated email list is one of the most important things you can do to get the most money out of your highest return on investment.
But, every month, roughly two percent of the email addresses in your list starts to decay. It’s time to verify your emails straight away—and here’s how: With Email Oversight’s top tips to clean your list!
- 1 WHAT IS EMAIL VERIFICATION?
- 2 WHY YOU SHOULD CLEAN YOUR EMAIL LIST
- 3 HOW SEGMENTATION HELPS YOU REVIVE YOUR DEAD LIST
- 4 DATA HYGIENE BEST PRACTICES
WHAT IS EMAIL VERIFICATION?
Before we get into how to verify your emails, let’s discuss what exactly it means to do that.
Sooner or later, every business will need to verify their email addresses. They will need to do this to decrease bounce rate, purge old or unresponsive email addresses, or prevent their domain from appearing on spam reports due to bounce rate or unresponsiveness.
Email verification can be done in several ways—which way will depend on the type of your business.
Checking an email address for syntax accuracy is probably the most basic form of email validation. For instance, mike@example is easily identified as invalid because it’s missing its extension (.com, .org, etc.).
Again, doing this manually would be a large burden, which is why most email validation services will include syntax verification. There is also a multitude of open-source libraries purposed for email verification in many languages.
SMTP, Simple Mail Transfer Protocol, is something that’s done on every single email “transaction.”
You can, using a telnet command prompt, use SMTP to check if a user for a given email address exists or not without ever sending an email. The following image shows you how to do that:
Simply run that command for every email in your list.
Oh, wait, that would take forever. That’s why most businesses worth their salt choose to use an email verification service, like Email Oversight.
SMTP, while effective, is far from comprehensive—for example, some mail servers will accept any message despite if it exists or not, which is why you should combine SMTP with another form of email validation like confirmation email verification.
Confirmation Email Verification
While considered to be a bit invasive, confirmation email verification is the most accurate way to tell whether or not an actual human eyeball will view your email.
This can be odd for an existing email list since it will send an actual email asking the user to click a link to confirm. So, this method can be labeled as 100 percent effective, if and only if, the user clicks the link.
Therefore it’s much more beneficial to use real-time email validation, which we’ll get into later.
WHY YOU SHOULD CLEAN YOUR EMAIL LIST
Now that we know what email verification is and how to do it, let’s now discuss why you should clean your email list.
It’s widely accepted that up to 15 percent of all email addresses are invalid. That means that your email is not reaching one out of every seven people if your list has not been cleaned up.
If you’re smart, you should validate your email list before each and every campaign, and here’s why:
Lower Bounce Rates
Wouldn’t it be great to get rid of bounced emails? For you, it would rid yourself of another marketing metric, but there’s something far more important about bounce rates.
Email service providers (ESPs), email blacklisters, and anti-spam services love bounce rates. The higher that bounce rate, the more likely your domain is to appear on blacklists and spam filters. ESPs, additionally, prioritize lower bounce rates which can raise your email sender reputation.
As mentioned, a higher bounce rate places you at more risk of getting blacklisted or marked as spam. This lowers your sender reputation, which can eventually get your kicked from your ESP. Cleaning your email list before each campaign greatly protects your sender reputation and can increase your interaction and response rate.
More Return on Investment
If your email is reaching more inboxes and is sent from a domain with a positive sender reputation, the more likely you are to receive interaction or response. This clearly translates into a higher ROI on your email campaigns.
If you’re the one in charge of your company’s email campaigns, positive metrics can get you that promotion. With a cleaned list, you get all the aforementioned benefits as well as more accurate open, click-through, and conversion rates.
HOW SEGMENTATION HELPS YOU REVIVE YOUR DEAD LIST
Now that you’ve taken the time to discover precisely why your dead list subscribers stopped engaging with you, it’s time to take the steps necessary to get them back. We believe that starts with segmentation.
If you don’t know, segmentation means dividing your list into different groups, or segments.
The reason segmentation is so important is because just like people you meet in real life, not every email is perfect for every subscriber.
If you have a group of people who still actively engage with your emails, they shouldn’t be included in the process.
Instead, try sending your dead list subscribers a list of questions like how often they want to be contacted, or what kind of content they want to see in an email from you.
Know this information is a crucial step in getting them back into your grasp.
The time has come. Let’s discover how correctly to re-engage your customers.
DATA HYGIENE BEST PRACTICES
Human error is the main cause of most data hygiene problems. To fix this problem, we recommend these steps:
- Train your staff to look for these errors
- Identify your data entry points
- Utilize data appending processes (like us!)
- Automate your data appending process
But let’s dig a little deeper into solving some of these data hygiene issues.
Get Rid of Duplication
As we mentioned above, having duplicate addresses is one of the biggest dirty data culprits. If you mail someone multiple times, it’s much more likely you’ll lose their business than gain it.
To fix this, duplicate records for each individual must be identified, and the mismatched data resolved to achieve a single correct record.
Duplicates must be purged and measures are taken to keep the problem from recurring, including limiting and controlling the points of entry.
By standardizing the way you acquire data, you can decrease the number of duplicates. For instance, two-factor authentication is a great way to ensure that the subscriber actually wants to receive mail from you, but it gives your system a chance to make sure they’re already not in your database.
This way the subscriber now knows they’re going to be receiving emails from you, they can choose what kind of emails to receive, and you know that they are going to be more receptive and that they’re not already in your system.
Append Your Data
If you don’t know, appending means to add to something. Therefore, data appending means to add to data.
In a business environment, it’s imperative to know just about everything about your customers. From what they bought, to when they bought it, to what time they bought it—every single piece of information is crucial to effectively market your brand.
Businesses that have many customers or have been in business a long time have troves of customer information—but is it all correct?
The accuracy of your data is just as important as the size of your data.
And that’s where data appending comes into the fold.
Data appending fills the gaps in your database and reverse data appending gets rid of incomplete and inaccurate information.
For instance, some customers might be missing a home or work phone number, an outdated email address, gender, job title, etc.
Pairing Email Verification and Data Appending
Data appending is great, but sometimes your data just needs a bath—especially your emails.
Emailing is one of the most effective marketing campaigns a business can run.
Even with all your information being correct, customers can still fatigue from your emails or ISPs can start to blacklist your company and your emails may never reach your customers in the first place.
It’s therefore prudent to make sure your appending service includes email verification.
You don’t want your emails to be a soft or hard bounce, and you don’t want to send an email that your customers don’t interact with.
Your email sender reputation can make or break your email campaign. But with proper and verified customer data and a verified email list there never should be an issue, to begin with!
Contact Email Oversight’s data append and email verification experts to find out how to implement real-time appending and verification services to your client list today!
There you have it. If you take the proper steps to ensure your data is accurate, your email marketing efforts will be more successful.
On top of that, the bond you have with your subscribers will grow even stronger. Knowing your audience builds trust and trust hopefully leads to affinity.
You’re always more effective when you’re more accurate.