Running an email campaign without using email verification is like playing darts in the dark. You don’t know what you’re hitting or even if you’re close to the target. Practicing good email verification gives you a fighting chance at success.
Email may seem like a quaint relic from the early days of Ecommerce, but it’s still a vital part of how we communicate and conduct business. It’s the primary means of interoffice communications, and it works especially well as a part of your overall digital marketing campaign.
But, your email subscriber list is only as good as its contents. Are you a business owner who indiscriminately collects email addresses that are irrelevant as far as marketing potential? Worse yet, do you buy email addresses in an attempt to build your contact list in a way that’s inorganic and unsustainable?
Smart marketers know that it’s important to obtain valid email addresses to broaden their networks, reach consumers who will push their business forward, and increase their chances of converting leads. Email verification helps you do this.
What is email verification, and how does it help you achieve those goals?
Email Verification Explained
Building a subscriber or contact list is essential for effective marketing and engagement. Whenever you subscribe to a website or open an online account, there’s a good chance that you’ll receive a message that contains a link asking you to verify your email address. In fact, many websites won’t complete your registration until you do.
This is the type of verification you need if you conduct email marketing campaigns, depend on subscribers to support your blog, or you’re branding your company. But, list building isn’t the only advantage of verification.
Email verification helps ensure that your contact list is accurate and error free, that the email addresses you have are active, and that they belong to the people you want to reach. It also keeps your emails from being flagged as spam, having your sender score reduced, or your IP address blocked and added to a blacklist.
But, you don’t need to go to an outside verification service or use an app. All of this can be achieved by choosing a premium email marketing service with the built-in functionality to validate and manage all of your emails.
The Benefits of Verifying Email Addresses
Spam filters can’t catch everything. There are approximately 154 million email scams launched every day. Of those, about 70 percent are phishing exploits. Email verification protects you from exploits and malicious attachments by checking out the authenticity of senders. Many domains and email addresses used by hackers or thieves are stolen from inactive accounts or were created recently.
Sender scores are rated from 0 – 100 by analyzing your reliability and reputation, in part by hard bounce rates. A bad sender score can affect how your address is evaluated by spam filters and IP blockers. One of the main reasons for a sender score being reduced is the number of hard bounces your outgoing email receives.
Hard bounces are caused by emails that are immediately returned as undeliverable because the recipient’s address doesn’t exist or the email account has been closed by the previous account holder. This can occur due to a typo or an intentional misdirection.
According to research conducted by the Content Marketing Institute, more than 80 percent of B2B marketers use email to keep their client base up to date and conduct outreach. Email verification helps refine your contact list so that you can segment leads according to where they are in the buying process. This provides you with actionable data that will weed out inactive subscribers and uninterested leads. The time saved can be spent closing rather than chasing cold leads.
How Does Verification Work?
Different apps or services have their own way of doing things, but most go through a three-step process that looks like this:
1. Syntax check: This rules out the possibility of your email being returned unopened by looking for things like spaces or invalid characters.
2. Domain check: You won’t have to wonder if the email address at the host domain exists. The domain check will also tell you if the email address is registered and working.
3. Check for email ping: Ping checks are the most technological part of verification. This test sends a ping to the email address with an EHLO message to determine its active status.
The reasons for invalid email addresses are usually benign, including a person switching to a different job within their current company or moving to another company, switching to a new email provider, or opening different account with the same provider. You can also get a negative ping response if the domain is dead or temporarily down.
Using an Email Service That Includes Domain Verification
If you engage in any sort of serious email marketing, there’s a good chance you already have an email marketing service to automate the process. Plenty of companies offer A/B testing and other client-focused marketing procedures. But, does your service include verification?
Leading email marketing services like SendInBlue do more than just manage campaign automation. There is a protocol for testing email deliverability and verification functions that include basic string validation to check syntax and a double opt-in process. Double opt-in confirms that recipients have a valid email address that’s active and that they want to receive communications from you.
Using a double opt-in process goes a step beyond just having subscribers fill in a form. You’ll benefit from a cleaner contact list and better stats. It also ensures that you’re in compliance with government regulations like the US CAN-SPAM Act and the CASL anti-spam law in Canada.
Lastly, there should be an automated process in place for weeding out bad or inactive contacts. This could include blacklisting for unsubscribers and hard bounces – something which Sendinblue does automatically.
Why Can’t My Web Host Handle Email Duties?
Yes, you absolutely can skip the preceding services and use any of a handful of popular web hosts to mount an email marketing campaign. That’s your right as a human being, but we don’t recommend it. On the surface it seems like a great deal. They offer as many domain-associated emails as a person can use for free. Why pay monthly fees for these other services?
Consider this. It’s like hiring a tree trimmer to cut your hair. Just because he has cutting tools doesn’t mean he’ll do a good job. A while back, web hosts got into the email game because they realized it was a great feature to offer to sell more hosting plans. The problem is they don’t play the email game as well as standalone email marketing and verification services.
If you’re just playing around, it’s okay to go with a web hosting company’s tacked on email services, but when you get serious and want your emails to actually be delivered at a high rate, well, you can figure out the rest. A word of caution, though, should you be incautious enough to dive down the rabbit hole of hosting providers. Avoid self-proclaimed “free” web hosts, as they often suffer from security vulnerabilities and frequent downtime.
Hanging on to dead or irrelevant email addresses clogs your contact list and does nothing to advance your causes or business interests. Using an email service with a comprehensive verification process built-in allows you to put your energy and money where they will do the most good.
It’s one more tool that you can use to make your whole marketing and outreach plan leaner and more effective. You focus on building your business, and your email service will handle the rest.
Security analyst and freelance journalist specializing in U.S. diplomacy and national security, with emphases on technology trends in cyberwarfare, cybersecurity, and cryptography.