Email marketing is the cornerstone of any modern inbound marketing strategy, but the design and content of the messages are not the only things you should be considering. Investing in email quality verification is a vital part of a smartly designed campaign and will ensure that those emails actually end up where they need to go. After all, the flashiest and highest-converting campaigns are worthless if they can't reach potential customers.
What is Email Quality Verification?
Email quality verification is the process of determining which of the email addresses on your subscribers list are actually receiving your messages. Since today's marketing typically involves subscriber or lead lists with thousands of entries, this process is usually done with the help of automated tools. Email quality verification will help you cut out:
- Dead Ends
Many people who are confronted with a request for their email address that they can't easily ignore or dismiss will simply give a fake one instead of their real one. It may be convenient for them, but the practice can have a negative impact on marketing endeavours. It can leave you sending emails to accounts that are no longer active, or even worse, an account that doesn't exist at all. The first case is unlikely, but the second is very common (it even has its own name, the 'hard bounce'). Email quality verification will find these false leads and trim them from your list.
- Recipients Who Have You Blacklisted
Some people may not give you a false email address, but that doesn't necessarily mean that they will receive your emails. Many ISPs maintain databases of senders who routinely send out generic, low-value messages that their customers are unlikely to want to receive. The ISP will then reroute any message sent by one of those senders before it can reach the intended recipient. These lists (called blacklists) are intended to protect consumers and promote quality campaigns. Unfortunately, legitimate marketers who put a lot of time and effort into their campaigns are sometimes blacklisted as well.
Neither you nor your subscriber can do anything about this - you'll be blacklisted until their ISP removes you from that list. This is why it's extremely important to keep up a positive reputation as a sender and stay off those lists to begin with. Email quality verification allows you to keep track of which subscribers are using an ISP that has blacklisted you and removes them from your own lists for the time being.
- Spam Markers
Spam complaints are a common problem for all digital marketers. They can happen when someone gives a random email address and just happens to have chosen one with an uninterested active owner, when someone thinks your messages are too light on content or sent too frequently, or when a subscriber just decides they are no longer interested in your brand. You can't avoid many of these things. However, some email users are habitual spam reporters with rates of reporting that rise far higher than the typical population. Keeping these users as subscribers is rarely worth the ongoing risk that they will damage your spam statistics, so email quality verification will remove them as well.
What Impact Can It Have?
The most obvious effect of email quality verification is that it will clear up the clutter in your lists and reveal to you how many subscribers you really have. A list of 10,000 e-mail addresses looks impressive on the surface, but if 2,000 of them don't have real people behind them, it isn't nearly as useful as it appears. Conversely, if you have a small subscriber base but very few of them are flagged by the software, you know you have a golden lead generation strategy and just need to increase your reach in order to amplify its effects. You'll be able to tailor your goals and expectations to the reality of your subscriber situation and have the chance to tweak your lead generation strategy, so it produces the lead generation results you can actually use.
Just as important, though, is your sender reputation as quantified in scores by external sources like Return Path and Cisco's Talos. These scores are determined by algorithms that weigh things like how many spam complaints you receive, how many blacklists you appear on and how many of the aforementioned hard bounces your messages receive. The higher they are, the better-known you are as a producer of high-quality campaigns that are worth people's time - and commensurately, the more likely you are to have your emails delivered straight to subscribers' inboxes with no unpleasant holdups in between. You should obviously be aiming for as high a score as you can achieve, and email quality verification works to hone all the relevant metrics you need to do this.
Marketing is all about growth, and you can't grow your brand to your full potential without the necessary data and tools. Email quality verification is one more way you can ensure that you know as much as possible about how your lead generation strategies are functioning, and it prunes the clutter from your subscriber lists as an added bonus. Going back to the first question, do you need to verify your emails frequently? The practice is to run quarterly checks. Give it a try before your next campaign, see for yourself what a difference it can make, and decide how frequently you want to verify your emails to achieve great marketing results.
Check how much potential revenue you can generate with data quality management