Email Verifier – The Inevitable Tool for the Success of your Email Programs
Every email marketer will agree to the fact email deliverability or inbox placement is the heart of their email programs! If your emails do not reach the inbox of the intended recipients, all the efforts around email design, content or product strategy or audience segmentation, turns out to be a futile exercise. If your email campaigns fail to reach the inboxes, the largest impact will be on sales and marketing functions with soaked up lead and sales pipelines and ultimately lower revenue
Email Deliverability & Sender Reputation EL
Email Sender Reputation is a widely followed yardstick to assess email deliverability. Better the sender reputation, we all believe more the inbox placements. If your sender reputation is at stake, there is a higher probability that a major of your promotional emails get routed to the spam folder.
The 2 key factors deciding the sender reputation are campaign engagement & customer complaints which in turn decide the reputation of the Domain and IP Addresses used for campaign deployment. More the recipients click on the Report Spam Button provided by the mailbox providers (ISPs like Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, AOL), greater the chances of your domain and IP reputation taking a toll! If you want to get the optimum results from your email programs, the marketer needs to ensure email hygiene and email address validation plays an important role to ensure your list remains clean. Email List Hygiene should be maintained right from email data acquisition through the entire stages of the customer life cycle. Let’s start with the easy to manage piece first; on-going email list hygiene management.
Email Deliverability & On-Going List Hygiene Management
On-going Email List hygiene management primarily involves quarantining the inactive customers and removing the abandoned mailboxes, which keeps hard bounces at the check and maintains your email list ‘clean’. An up-to-date email list means lesser risks of spam trap hits and email bounces, helping your domain and IP addresses safeguarded against blacklisting and ISPs labelling you as an Illegitimate sender. Regular email list hygiene monitoring keeps a check on hard bounced emails as well as soft bounces or temporary failures. (reasons could be recipient’s mailbox exceeding the quota, mail server timeouts etc). Another important aspect to be taken into consideration is the shelf-life of your email-based and the last date when you reached out to them. If your answer is a double- or triple-digit value, ensure you have deployed the right tools for on-going email validation. Now let’s look at the daunting challenge before many email marketers; How to verify and maintain your email list clean when you have email data acquired over multiple online and offline sources
Email Deliverability & Email Acquisition practises
Many a time, marketers are saddled between the choice whether to aggressively build their email list from as many sources as possible or to strictly adhere to the quality first against quantity advocacy. We at cmercury, support the school which advocates aggressive email list building, but with a caveat; Ensure you have proper tools and processes in place to ensure email data hygiene is fool proofed in the acquisition phase.
Let’s have a quick review of how invalids and non-existing emails getting added to your email list
- The customer fills a form or signs up for a newsletter and often invalids creep in mainly due to omission and typo-errors
- You follow a single opt-in approach as against the recommended verified opt-in and confirmed opt-in approaches
- You don’t have an email validation tool which can keep a check on ‘bad emails’ getting added to your email list
- You have certain email verification processes and email validation tools but have the surety that it’s not effectively working and is proved by the on-going high rates of hard bounces you suffer on your promotional campaigns targeted across freshly acquired subscribers.
- Your bet heavily on offline including events, conferences and humans manually key-in the emails directly to your campaign list.
- A systemic analysis of your campaign data shows a gradual performance drop, additional hard and soft bounces, increasing customer spam complaints, and domain and IP reputation dropping from High to medium to low to Bad as reported by tools like Google Postmaster
If any of the above resonates with a challenge you are facing in your email marketing, you should immediately consider deploying an email verifier irrespective of the acquisition source
Email Validation and Email Verification
Many a time, email marketers get confused between email validation and email verification. For those who are still confused between both, let’s have a quick run-through. Email validation as its name goes validates an email address. A bad email can creep into a mailing list, due to typo errors (honest mistakes) or someone intentionally adding an invalid email address. (purposeful misdirects). An email validation tool checks and validates whether an email exists with the said domain ( example – email@example.com)
Email Verification goes one step ahead and verifies if an actual inbox is in use or not. Email verification keeps a check on hard bounces, reduces the risk of getting penalized by spam monitoring agencies and ISPs, removes temporary, disposable emails and role email addresses. A competent email address verifier should also check for invalid email address formats and authenticate domain extensions
Majority of the Email Services Providers (ESPs) provide email validation and email verification as a natural extension and back-ward integration to their product suite. Normally email list cleaning remains in silos or can be integrated to the website using APIs which empowers real-time validations. cmercury has been relying on 3rd party email verification tools for a decade or so, and now we are super excited to announce the launch of our own indigenous email verification tool labelled cmercury-verify.
Currently available in Beta, what gives cmercury-verify an edge is its ‘8 point verification protocol’ which supports email marketers with a best-in-class list verification tool. cmercury-verify seamlessly works with cmercury, email marketing automation and customer engagement solution and is available as a stand-alone application too.
cmercury-verify Validation protocols
cmercury-verify follows an 8 point based email verification and validation protocol which makes it a best-in-class email hygiene building tool for email marketers globally. Let’s have a review of these protocols followed by cmercury-verify.
1. RFC Syntax check
As you are aware, any email address follows a specific syntax or a specific set of rules originally standardized by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) in the 1980s.
An email address, such as firstname.lastname@example.org, is made up from a local-part, the symbol @, and a domain name. RFC Syntax checks make sure that the email address is of the correct RFC format.
2. Domain Syntax check
The domain also follows a universally accepted standard syntax
The right-most label conveys the top-level domain (.biz or .com or .org)
The hierarchy of domains descends from the right to the left label in the name; each label to the left specifies a subdivision or subdomain of the domain to the right. (email@example.com )
Domain syntax checks whether the domain syntax is correct or not and also qualifies the top-level domain extensions.
3. Domain check
A domain-level check validates whether the domain name exists or not, by checking the global DNS servers.
4. Mail Server check
Mail server check checks and validates the domain specified in the email address has a Mail server to receive emails.
5. Mailbox check
cmercury-verify additionally checks if there is a live mailbox existing for each of the email contacts scanned through.
6. Role Email Address check
A built-in powerful feature of cmercury-verify, it flags if an email address is a role address ( firstname.lastname@example.org)
Role email addresses typically define a responsibility rather than a person. Therefore, there is a greater unlikeliness for a role email to give consent to receive marketing emails. A subcategory of role addresses is called “Broadcast” addresses. Any emails sent to these addresses go to many people attached to the broadcast list and increases multi-fold the risk of spam complaints and invalids impacting your email deliverability.
7. Disposable Address check
Disposable email is a service that allows a registered user to receive an email at a temporary address that expires after a certain time period elapses. They are basically used by customers who do not want their email address to be used for spamming.
Many online discussion forums, blogs and websites ask visitors to register before they can post comments, view premium content or download white papers. A disposable email account will allow the visitor to sign up and verify his registration without exposing his primary email account to spam.
8. Spam Reporter Score Check
cmercury-verify maintains a global repository of email users who flagged a proportionately higher volume of email campaigns as spam, across multiple email clients and email programs. Users are ranked and assigned a score based on this propensity. Marketers get an intimation of those users who breach the preset threshold value and accordingly they could fine-tune their campaign audience.
Email validation is an inevitable part of your email campaigns. Many email marketers pay less attention to email hygiene management. The direct implications (higher spend, diminishing returns from your emails etc) and indirect implications (eroding sender reputation, dropping inbox placements etc) of a bad list on your email programs, turns out to be more damaging than you anticipate. As experienced email marketers, we need to ensure email database hygiene checks, right from acquisition to the later stages of the email marketing life cycle remains a top priority.