Building a database full of active email addresses is an email marketer’s dream—and, probably, a mandate from the company. If you’ve crossed the magic threshold of a million addresses, or more, congratulations!
Email marketing experts usually preach “quality over quantity.” But quantity with quality gives you more options for targeted messaging and more effective testing—besides being able to get your messages out to a wider audience.
On the downside, you have more to lose if you can’t get into the inbox, especially when you send a million or more messages a day, from broadcast promotions to triggered and targeted mailings and transactional messages.
The more email you send, the more opportunities there are for hard bounces, which can significantly impact your sender reputation, inbox placement, and revenue.
That’s why email verification can be such a useful tool for high-volume senders to achieve better inbox placement and get the most out of large-scale email marketing.
However, high-volume senders have special email verification needs.
When your small email address list morphs into a giant database, small-scale list hygiene (removing undeliverable and spam-complaint email addresses from a list) isn’t always enough anymore.
Instead, high-volume senders using email verification need two things:
1. Scalable email verification methods for higher capacity across teams
You’re collecting more email addresses more often from more sources, and those addresses need to be verified ASAP—ideally before you add them to your database.
Bulk or one-time email verification—you upload your entire list to a service that then scans it and flags problematic email addresses—is a start but it won’t meet your unique needs.
What’s better is a service that combines multiple hygiene options—a first-time “list” verifying and then following up with real-time or daily batch verification using an API at the point-of-capture like through Kickbox’s two-step method for email verification.
This type of service will keep out more mistyped, undeliverable and deliverable but problematic addresses—think disposable or role email addresses that are not attributed to an individual.
2. Top-level security that meets privacy standards
Imagine the damage done to your company, your customers and your brand reputation if your multi-million-address database is compromised through a data partner or a service that has access to your information.
Actually, you don’t even have to imagine it.
Almost every day we hear about another compromised database that puts millions—even billions—of email addresses at risk. A reputable verification service offers multiple levels of security during and after transmission.
Besides data security, you must also be certain that your service provider complies with the growing number of data privacy and security laws, including GDPR, Canada’s Anti-Spam Law, the California Consumer Privacy Act and other state regulations.
A certifying service, like the Privacy Shield, can show whether a vendor complies with these strict laws.
5 Tips to Help You Create a Strong Email Foundation
Even with a large or outdated email database, it’s never too late to get your email data in shape.
By working with your marketing operations, database or IT team, you can prioritize what you need to see results fastest. The five tips below can help you identify which areas to focus on for better email verification.
1. Gauge the health of your email marketing database.
The only useful email address is a valid one.
But as your email database grows and ages, natural list degradation can decrease the likelihood that your emails will arrive in the inbox. B2B email data tends to degrade at a higher rate than B2C data due to the fluid nature of employment.
As a first step to ensuring stale data does not impact your deliverability, we recommend categorizing your email addresses by deliverability status to gauge the health of your marketing database.
Kickbox classifies email addresses into four categories:
- Deliverable: The recipient’s mail server stated the recipient exists and is able to receive mail.
- Undeliverable: The email address does not exist, is misspelled or malformed.
- Risky: Deliverable but problematic. This includes “Accept All,” disposable and role addresses that could generate a bounce or low engagement. Use caution.
- Unknown: In some cases, the destination mail server is too slow or temporarily unavailable, so the email address status is unknown.
2. Permission first!
It should go without saying, but you should send only to subscribers who have opted-in.
Buying lists is never a good idea, as you will violate rules of consent, damage deliverability and sender reputation, and put your relationship with your email service provider at risk.
Just don’t do it!
3. Sync up your marketing and customer-facing teams.
Make sure everyone understands why it’s critically important to collect emails only with permission and to be sure that data is accurate.
Agencies or companies managing multiple databases can further mitigate risk using a tool like the Kickbox Portal for Agencies.
4. Put your giant database to work with automation, personalization and segmentation.
While identifying the health of your email addresses through verification is a great starting point for increasing deliverability, it does not negate the need for an effective and relevant messaging strategy to achieve better inbox placement.
By analyzing your customer lifecycle, finding the most meaningful points of activity or inactivity, and setting personalized campaigns to launch at those points, you decrease the risk of unsubscribes and spam reports.
Your big database needs an ESP that offers these capabilities, like Iterable’s Workflow Studio and personalization features.
5. Keep your email suppression lists up to date.
Most messaging platforms suppress email addresses as subscribers unsubscribe. However, it is important to make sure that your suppressions lists are updated from other sources to mitigate the risk of spamming subscribers who have already opted-out.
Additionally, cross-checking lists with other teams is a good way to avoid marketing cannibalization and potentially annoying your subscribers.
Quantity with quality is your goal for your email database. Achieving it takes some time, a little expense and a lot of cooperation across your company.
Your email database is your greatest asset!
Anything you can do to protect and improve it will pay handsome dividends for the life of your program.