Imagine you going to visit someone and searching for the house in the area. When you think address search is done and you ring the bell, a door opens and you are greeted with a person with a questioning look, asking “Do we know you?” or a scenario when after searching every lane in the locality to find out you are possessing an address that does not exist. These scenarios suck right? This happens when you send emails to invalidated addresses. Wrong addresses lead to the disappointed visitor and wrong emailing lead to digital marketing disasters.
Whether you are a newbie in marketing or a seasoned marketer, you know that emails are an integral part of digital marketing. Emails are cost-effective and offer high ROI. The lead conversion rate of emails is 6.05 per cent, which is greater than other digital marketing techniques. The email marketing has better lead generation and leads nurturing than other digital marketing techniques. The emails have high customer engagement.
What gives an edge to email in comparison with other marketing tools is that it directly hit the potential client, whereas other tools such as social media marketing or SEO marketing are hit or miss. The evolution of emails has been significant over the past decade. The emails are not just a digital letter with words, now you can integrate images, newsletters, quick links, videos, discount coupons, social media feeds and many other functions.
To tap the potential benefits of email marketing we must have a valid list of an email address. To collect the email address for target marketing many sites offer registration benefits, email verification benefits, discount and lightening deals to lure the customer. Some site makes it necessary to register to view premium contents and offers. There is another way to collect email addresses which is covert and morally in a grey area that is email appending. Email appending means matching customer data with a third party database to obtain corresponding email addresses.
The difference between the practice of getting emails through registration and email appending is that with registration you have taken the appointment and with email appending you are knocking doors unsolicited. When a customer subscribes to receive your promotional content then your email will appear in customer inbox but when you send unsolicited emails then the emails are classified as spam and moved to a spam folder. When your email consistently moved to spam folder then the email service provider can blacklist you thus barring from any future email marketing.
When you can get the email address one way or another then what is the use of email validation? You might ask. Next question that arises is that even if some email addresses turn out to be invalid; it is not the end of the world. Doubts are valid even if some emails addresses aren’t. The answer lies in our understanding of email data validation, what it does, what it doesn’t and the differences between email validation and email verification.
What is email validation?
Email validation is the process of verifying that email address is valid or not by checking it real-time with reliable email domains such as Google, Yahoo or Hotmail. The email address entered is first checked for syntax. When that is validated, a requested query is sent to the domain server. Domain server responds to query and provide the status for an email address search. Sometimes in a hurry of getting registered, a customer does typo and sometimes it is done purposefully to mislead. Email data validation with prompt checking prevents this.
What is the difference between email validation and email verification?
Often these are used interchangeably by email marketers but there is a significant difference between the two. Email validation is simple whereas email verification is complex. Email verification verifies that there is an actual recipient on the end and email address is in use. Email verification assures you that your emails are reaching the valid inbox. It uses SMTP (simple mail transfer protocol). It does not send mail to address holder, just check with an email server that given email address exists. The process completes when email server returns with confirmation that user does exist.
How does email validation work?
The email validation can be done in two ways
1 Real time-When customer is entering the email address thorough validation service provided by email service provides we can validate the emails at real-time. Sometimes suggestion list of valid email addresses matching with a customer entered data is also shown.
2 List validations- When you have a list of address in your hand and want to create a verifiable list then email list verification tools help. There are paid and free tools available for list verification. There are paid tools such as emaillistverify.com, or zerobounce.net and free tools such as www.validateemailaddress.org, wahdata.com or www.verifalia.com.
What are the results of email validation?
Email validation categorized email addresses in three categories.
- Valid – Receiving mail server accepts the email address, it will be categorised as a valid email address. Some email addresses are marked as “Accept All” or “Disposable” although they are valid but sending an email is not recommended. The email address is provided by a well-known disposable e-mail address provider (DEA) is highly risky. It is also called dark email. In this, a new email address is used for every contact. It is highly recommended to remove DEA from your email addresses list.
- Invalid – An email address will be marked invalid if it is incorrect or an email account does not exist on receiving mail server.
- Unknown –When receiving mail server takes too long to respond or its services are temporarily unavailable then in that case, the email address will be marked Unknown and email verification won’t be counted. A repeat attempt can be made for verification which will take a few minutes and the results will show whether the email address is valid or invalid.
Besides these, few exceptions result such as Unhandled Exception, Mailbox connection failure, Dnsquery Timeout etc.
Why email validation is important?
Reading the above information hopefully, makes you understand what the email validation is? Now we have to understand that if the email validation is not done properly where this heads your email marketing to.
- Lowering sender score- Sender score is the numerical representation of your sending reputation. Many key metrics determine your sender score such as sending volume, sender rejected rate, spam trap hits, unknown user rate etc. The scores range from 0 to 100. If key parameters area affected by your email sending lists then your sender score fluctuate. The return path providers’ network generates sender score.
- Spam traps- These are honey pots created by internet service providers to identify and monitor spam email. These lure spammers. You should remove spam traps from your email lists or you will end up getting blacklisted. These spam traps can land in your list when you use email scraping to increase your address list. Sometimes its just pure bad luck with typos.
- Increase marketing cost- You have contacted bulk email service provider for email sending but when your list is laden with the dead weight of invalid email addresses, you are paying emails that will go nowhere.
- Sales inefficiencies- You have identified the target customer segment and moving forward with your promoting strategy. But you are working with a defective database. The figures that your marketing strategy is showing are false, thus creating a gap between what progress you think you have made and what it is.
- Increase bounce rate- Invalid address can increase your email bounce rate thus decreasing your sender score.
- Poor customer experience- When a customer has done effort to subscribe to your content and if not receive due to wrong email address then he will leave with a bad impression about your services.
- The decrease in revenue- Invalid email address can create a hole in your revenue money bag. It reduces the number of potential leads and sending marketing content to ghost addresses.
Email appending and email validation
Email validation is also used when we are dealing with email appending or skip tracing services for address search. The email appending matches customer data to get email address but that email address list may have invalid data. The list of email addresses needs to be validated to create a verified email address list that will be void to invalid email addresses, spam traps and blacklisted email addresses. This validated list also needs to be updated periodically. Just as people move and change their address, they also start to use other email address.
The email validation will help in getting genuine insights into the reception of your email marketing programme. It improves in getting more focused marketing direction. The invalid email address will not only leaks money you spend on marketing but can also jeopardise your reputation The message sends to someone only matters when they receive it. Next time make sure that when you put the message in a bottle that bottle is not lost.