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Email Verification and List Hygiene

Email Verification and List Hygiene: Why is it so Important?

Email is a remarkably powerful platform that enables one-on-one communication with the subscribers. It is undergoing constant transformation and the modus operandi that worked a year ago might not be effective today. Internet Service Providers (ISPs) strive to keep out unsolicited emails and spam and have set up alerts on which marketing emails should be delivered to the subscribers. On the other hand, marketers have to be doubly sure that their emails do not land in the spam folder. Hence, marketers have  to maintain a clean email list to ensure there is no deliverability issue. If you want your email campaigns to be effective and bring you greater ROI, you must verify your email addresses and establish a good email hygiene.

First of all, let’s understand what email verification is.

Email Verification

It is the process by which you make sure the emails on your list are connected to a user’s inbox. This implies that your messages have a valid destination to reach.

Why is Email Verification and List Hygiene so Crucial?

Having a poor-quality email list can hamper your email reputation. Unless the subscribers receive your email in their inbox, your email strategy will be futile. A bad reputation can deter your engagement with subscribers and affect the conversion rate as well.

As the size of your email list grows, it considerably increases the cost of email marketing. Removal of inactive or invalid email addresses and maintaining email list hygiene can help you cut down on the marketing expenses. Obviously, it makes no sense to pay for emails that are not getting delivered.

What do you mean by a clean email list?

A clean email list refers to a list that has only valid email addresses and subscribers who have engaged with one of your emails within the last six months.

How can a dirty list affect your reputation?

ISPs keep a close eye on email senders who use spam traps to reach the subscribers. These spam traps are, in fact, email addresses owned by ISPs and the blacklist providers in order to check that the email marketers are abiding by the best practices.

Numerous spam traps exist on the Internet like Pristine, Typo Domain Traps, and Recycled to name a few.

  1. Pristine spam traps include email addresses that did not opt for receiving any email communications. Most likely, the sender acquired the email addresses from a third party or other questionable methods.
  2. Typo domain traps are email accounts that match the conventional domain names with a minor difference. Gmail becomes gnail, Hotmail becomes hotnail or hotmale. Although this seems quite amusing at first look, it can be a huge setback for your email reputation.
  3. Recycled spam traps consist of email addresses that were used by an individual in the past, but not used any more. If you are unable to access your email address from your teen life, it is quite likely that it has become a spam trap.

It is important to note that ISPs are continuously monitoring whether the email deserves to land in the subscriber’s inbox. Sending emails that do not get opened indicates that people are not interested in receiving them, as a result of which your emails might get land in the spam folder. Consequently, your email bounce rate will increase and your delivery rate will fall drastically.

Do you know ISPs, spam monitors, and email security services have set thresholds for undelivered messages, unsubscribes, and spam complaints?

In case you cross this number by sending emails to stale lists, your account might get suspended. You could be basking in the glory of sending emails to hundreds of subscribers, but if the email addresses are invalid, it will not only burn a hole in your pocket but also will not lead anywhere. This, ultimately, hinders your email marketing performance as a whole.

How to Maintain a Clean Email List?

  1. The most obvious tactic to maintaining a healthy email list is implementing email validation during the sign up. Sometimes, subscribers make a mistake in providing their email address. You can prompt them regarding the error in the sign up form.
  2. With the implementation of anti-spam laws like GDPR, it has become all the more important that you have explicit permission to send marketing emails. We strongly recommend you ask the users whether they want to receive marketing communications. Additionally, you can send a verification email and ask the subscribers to confirm their email address by clicking on the email link.
  3. If you have users who have not opened an email in the past six months, send a re-engagement email series as a part of the ‘email marketing ritual’. However, if they still do not respond or engage with you, bid a goodbye by removing the email address from your list. This process is known as sunsetting the disengaged users. While this can be quite difficult for marketers, it is in their best interest.
  4. Use different tools like BriteVerify, DataValidation, eHygienics, FreshAddress, Impressionwise, LeadSpend, StrikeIron, etc. that will mitigate the risk of getting blocked by the ISPs or ESPs. It is worth using these list hygiene services to ensure a good email deliverability rate.

Wrapping Up

The biggest temptation for any email marketing professional is a H U G E email list. However, please understand that quality matters more than quantity. Keep your email list free from invalid addresses and validate the subscribers at regular intervals – That’s the key to a healthy email list and a successful email marketing strategy.

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Kevin is the Head of Marketing at Uplers, one of the fastest-growing email design and coding companies. He loves gadgets, bikes, jazz, and breathes ‘email marketing’. He is a brand magician who loves to engage, share insights with fellow marketers, and enjoys sharing his thoughts on the latest email marketing best practices.

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