Email is one of the most prolific and effective forms of marketing. However, a successful email program is more than just compelling copy and beautiful creative. It also requires a high-quality list of engaged subscribers. Keeping a clean list — one that’s free of invalid email addresses, spam traps and purchased addresses — not only ensures you’re sending exclusively to subscribers who are actively engaged with your brand and want to receive its emails, but it can also help you reach the inbox.
Mailbox providers like Yahoo and Google are already looking at your sender reputation and subscriber engagement to make spam filtering decisions. They’re also monitoring the addresses on your list. Sure, sending to just a few invalid email addresses means you’ve missed an opportunity to connect a handful of potential customers, but if you’re sending to too many invalid email addresses and experiencing high bounce and spam trap rates, you may not be able to reach anyone on your list.
Mailbox providers see this type of behavior as an indicator of poor sending practices and low engagement. If they’re seeing too many spam traps or bounces, it may prompt them to filter your messages or even block them altogether, which could be devastating to your campaign and return on investment.
Retailers are particularly susceptible to list hygiene issues since they often use collection methods that can be prone to typos — e.g., point-of-sale entries, mobile forms, etc. While these collection methods are very effective at targeting consumers who are already engaged with your brand, if they result in invalid email addresses, they run the risk of compromising your list quality and having a negative impact on deliverability.
So how do you prevent this from happening? If you aren’t already removing bounced email addresses from your list, now is the time to start. However, removing email addresses after they’ve already bounced is a reactive measure. These bounces have already counted against your sender reputation. Not to mention, removing bounces won’t help reduce spam traps.
The good news is you can quickly and easily check your entire existing list, as well as verify new addresses in real time, using a list validation service. Email list validation services are a proactive and effective way to ensure you’re sending to a clean list. They work to improve the quality of emails in your database by removing invalid emails before you send to them, ultimately improving your sender reputation and inbox placement rate.
Email list validation services also work to improve the accuracy of new email addresses as they’re added to your list, helping solve the problem of point-of-capture errors. Once you’ve validated your existing list, you can implement a process to validate every new email address before you send to it. Using an email list validation service can verify the emails you collect via this method, preventing you from adding an invalid email address to your list, and protecting your reputation and deliverability.
Point-of-capture verification not only can prevent hard bounces and spam traps, but collecting the correct address means you can establish an immediate relationship with your subscriber, reinforcing their initial interaction with your brand and improving their overall experience.
Focusing on the subscribers who want to engage with your brand and keeping your list clean of invalid addresses will help you develop a better understanding of what your subscribers want, increasing your chances of connecting with them and generating increased ROI. With all the hard work you’ve put into perfecting your email campaigns and strategy, why risk your ability to reach the inbox because of poor list hygiene? Removing invalid email addresses is a simple and effective way to improve your deliverability and protect your reputation.
This post originally appeared on Total Retail.
Email data and deliverability expert Tom Sather has worked with top-tier brands to diagnose and solve inbox placement and sender reputation issues as a strategic consultant with Return Path. As the company’s senior director of research, Tom is a frequent speaker and writer on email marketing trends and technology. His most recent analysis of new inbox applications’ effects on consumer behavior was widely cited across leading business media outlets including the Financial Times, Ad Age, and Media Post.
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