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Email Validation: How Email Verification Really Works

Posted by Phil Davis

October 22, 2018

email-validationEmail Validation and regular data hygiene is a key part of email marketing best practices.

That's because maintaining a healthy relationship with Internet Service Providers and Email Service Providers is challenging. Plus, it's tough to make it to the inbox and earn a high deliverability rate.  

Even if your email address acquisition practices are organic, and they follow all the standards for email marketing, they still run the risk of falling victim to spam traps. And because spam traps, bounce rates and complaint rates will determine your reputation as a sender, you can’t afford to ignore this fact.

A poor sender reputation means you won't make it to the inbox. That's money, time and customers lost. 

Today, we're pulling the curtain back on Email Validation.

Here's how email verification and data hygiene really works.

 

Spam traps

First, a quick primer. 

spam trap is an email address (usually active at one time, but now abandoned) that’s used to expose illegitimate senders who add email addresses to their lists without user permission. Though well-intentioned, these traps don’t just identify bad senders, they also expose marketers who aren’t exercising enough control over email permission and list management practices.

Spam trap emails can end up on public lists, which make their way into your CRM and can cause one of two negative things to happen:

  • Your ISP delivers a hard bounce and you are granted the opportunity to remove the email from your list before it gets marked as spam.
  • Your “from domain” is blacklisted by email providers.

Neither scenario is good for your reputation, deliverability, open rate, click rate or conversion rate. Even a mildly poor email sender reputation could cause some messages to get automatically sent to spam. This triggers a downward spiral and eventually, you’ll be blacklisted. In fact, having just 1 percent of “bad” emails on your list can reduce your deliverability by over 10 percent.

There's also the risk of capturing poor data, including misspelled emails. In fact, we found that about 8% of emails entered into web forms are invalid. Ouch.

Ready for some good news?

There is a way to significantly reduce your risk: Email Validation.

Email Verification

Email verification is a service that identifies possible spam traps and other email address discrepancies before they’re flagged by Internet Service Providers (ISPs) or Email Service Providers (ESPs) and cause permanent damage to your reputation.

In other words, Email Validation helps clean up your email lists to improve deliverability, helping you reach your customers.

An Email Validation provider uses a sophisticated email verification system to check for syntax regularity. But unlike standard email verification, their system goes above and beyond Javascript and implements artificial intelligence, multi-layer testing and intricate algorithms to identify troublesome email addresses — often in real time.

Email verification providers use this data to predict the likelihood an email will return as a hard bounce. Each email that’s run through this system is categorized using a scoring system and 30 different diagnostic codes. If an email is suspect, it is isolated for review and the system either autocorrects syntax errors, or marketers can approve/remove the suspect email from their list.

Furthermore, the scoring process acts as an alert if an email is active but has not been engaging with messages for a long time. This also helps marketers maintain list hygiene.

Full service email verification includes:

  • Identifying invalid email formats
  • Catching and correcting misspelled emails
  • Ensuring the most accurate status of every email domain
  • Determining whether each email will deliver, hard bounce or soft bounce
  • Reporting how old and/or active an email is, and when it last opened

Ways to Verify Emails

There are two approaches to email verification. Which approach you choose will depend on the timeframe in which you need results and the level of verification you wish to receive.

  • Use an API to validate emails in real time as you capture them on your site.
  • Submit an entire list for batch processing, download the results and add the invalid emails to a suppression list.

The consequences of an ill-managed email database include:

  • Lost revenue
  • Increased marketing costs
  • Sales inefficiencies
  • Poor customer experience
  • Damaged sender reputation

While email verification can turn these negatives around, it’s important to remember email verification isn’t a cure-all, or a one-time fix. Regular list hygiene is imperative to avoid damage to your reputation, which means all marketers should stick to organic acquisition methods, regularly clean out their lists and continue to use email verification as a safeguard.

Ready to improve deliverability? Sign up to get a free Email Validation now. 

Reach Your Customers With Email Validation

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