It can come as a surprise: you sign up with a great new email service provider like Benchmark, you prepare to launch your first campaign, you upload your email list and then . . . your progress suddenly stops. You’re told you need to verify your email addresses. Don’t worry - we’ve got you covered. We’re going to answer your questions and get you back on track. The bottom line is that email verification doesn’t take long, doesn’t cost much, and can significantly improve your marketing efforts. Let’s dive into the details. What is email verification? Email verification is the process of making sure the emails on your list are tied to an inbox. In other words, it’s making sure that the messages you’re sending have somewhere to go. Why should I verify my emails? When it comes to undelivered messaging, blasting your emails to an unverified list could result in some unfortunate consequences. Email service providers like Benchmark get proactive about verifying your emails to protect you from: Account Suspension Internet service providers, spam monitors, and email security services all set thresholds for spam complaints, undelivered messages, and unsubscribes. If you are emailing a stale or unmanaged list, you will likely cause a high number of all three. Email platforms like Benchmark have an obligation to enforce these thresholds. If you exceed them, they may be forced to suspend your account to maintain their reputation and deliverability rates. Verifying an email list is specifically helpful for reducing your number of undelivered messages. Dismal Marketing Results Sending an email to a lot of addresses might make you feel productive, but if those addresses are not valid, you won’t accomplish what you set out to do. After all, sending an email is a tactic. The underlying goal is to make a connection, which isn’t possible with an invalid address. If too many of your emails bounce back, this can hurt your deliverability. That means that even valid addresses may not hear from you. Plus, a high bounce rate can muddy your campaign metrics, making it more difficult to understand what’s working for the valid addresses on your list. Wasting Money Since email service providers like Benchmark base their pricing on the number of subscribers on each user’s list, keeping invalid email addresses in the system is a recurring waste. How does Benchmark know my emails need to be verified? Benchmark works with BriteVerify to perform a preliminary scan on a portion of your list. During the verification process, BriteVerify checks email syntax (“does it have an @ symbol”), verifies its email domain (MX record), and confirms the address exists on the server using custom integrations. Benchmark flags users when the percentage of risky emails in the sample list exceeds its acceptable standard. In general, of course, it’s a good idea for everyone to verify their entire email list before importing it into an ESP. While Benchmark’s preliminary process helps assess your risk, it doesn’t subject your entire list to a complete scan. That’s where BriteVerify can help you. What kinds of emails are risky and how should I handle them? BriteVerify sorts emails into different categories, where “Valid” emails are not risky at all and “Invalid” emails are those you should obviously remove from your list. The remaining categories are a bit more nuanced. “Accept All” emails are associated with domains that accept everything that comes in - at first. These catch-all domains may have a firewall or other spam tool that could remove or bounce your email later. “Unknown” emails are associated with a domain that isn’t responding. This may be a temporary issue, but it still creates uncertainty. Since “Accept All” and “Unknown” emails are risky, it’s wise to proceed with caution. If a large majority of the list consists of Invalid, Accept All and Unknown emails, consider the age and source of the data. In addition, BriteVerify also scans for and identifies two more potentially risky types of emails: role-based addresses and temporary addresses. Role-based addresses are usually set up to manage an organization’s generic inquiries or issues. Examples include addresses starting with sales@, support@, or info@. These emails may be managed by several people across different departments. In general, sending email to such addresses results in a high complaint rate. Temporary or disposable addresses are created by users in lieu of using their primary address. Users may want to conceal their identity or simply be wary of joining another email list. Temporary addresses are valid and active for a while - in fact, users may share them with multiple organizations. However, they are more likely to be shut down after some time. Because of their temporary nature, they are identified as risky emails and should not be included in the imported list to Benchmark. How should I verify my emails and how much is this going to cost? You can sign up for BriteVerify and verify your emails by clicking this link and following the steps. As for cost, proper email verification can save you money. For example, maintaining 100,000 subscribers in Benchmark costs $449.95 per month. If 20% of those emails are invalid (a realistic possibility), that means the user should ideally only be paying for 80,000 valid subscribers at a cost of $360 per month. Without verification, the user is paying the higher price. The difference between the real world and the ideal world is a recurring loss of $89.95 per month or $1,079.40 per year. BriteVerify costs just a penny to verify each email - in this case, $1,000 for 100,000 addresses. Verification thus pays for itself in less than a year - and that doesn’t even account for the benefits of better and unimpeded marketing results. The benefits of cleaning your list are direct and measurable. Mike Means, Sales Channel Manager at BriteVerify, advises that \"continuously monitoring the quality of your emails before sending is becoming a ‘must do’ as email data is decaying faster than we think.\" Why are so many of my email addresses invalid? Here are a few reasons you may have a high rate of Invalid or other risky emails: List decay. Email addresses don’t necessarily stay valid forever: people change jobs, get married, or abandon accounts. Citing MarketingSherpa research, HubSpot notes that “[e]mail marketing databases naturally degrade by about 22.5% every year.” You didn’t validate your emails as they came in through webforms, allowing typos to enter your system. In addition to cleaning your existing list, BriteVerify can block typos at the point of entry. The list is peppered with role addresses (like sales@ or marketing@) or disposable ones. Even great marketers have bad emails on their list. They just know that by proactively removing them, they’ll achieve better performance, improve campaign measurement, and protect their campaigns from sudden derailment.
Unless your calendar is stuck on 1997, you will be aware that permission email marketing is the only way to play the game in the 21st century. The era of blasting emails to every address your freeware harvester spider could dredge up is long gone and the only legitimate way to conduct a campaign these days is to ensure that your customer has given you clear and unequivocal permission before you start. This prospect seems to befuddle many small business owners who operate primarily in the non-cyber world, but there are some easy, effective ways to obtain email newsletter permission from your customers. A question that can stymie many small businesses is exactly how to propose in order to get those prospects to say “I Do!” Businesses that primarily operate online find it somewhat easier than their brethren who are still in the brick & mortar world. Online businesses can compile subscriber email addresses by driving their traffic towards their subscription forms. The simple act of dangling a special discount coupon or a sneak peek on a hot new product line is usually enough to convince website visitors to sign up for their periodical newsletter. Some of the most effective tactics include: Offer a Prize for Business Cards Every business should have a drop box for business cards next to its checkout counter, and the incentives should be clearly marked. Providing the winner of the periodic draw with a free product or service, usually in the retail price range of around $100, will ensure that the box gets stuffed with business cards on a continual basis. It is absolutely imperative that you note that any customer submitting their business card will be placed on your newsletter subscription list and that if they do not want to receive any emails they must write prominently on their cards the words: No Email. Federal regulations for auditing customer permission are getting tighter every year, so you would be well advised to take a photograph of the box with the sign on it and keep it safely stored along with each and every business card you collect. This way you will be able to clearly prove that permission was granted. Ask for a Subscription in Each Customer Contact No matter how your customers interact with your business, your employees must be meticulously trained to ask for a subscription. This question may be posed at the checkout counter, on the phone, or at any other time that your staff is in contact with customers. Although not all customers will be willing to provide their email addresses, each instance where your personnel fails to ask for their subscription is an opportunity that is missed. Provide a Freebie for an Email Address Giving a completely free product or service in exchange for subscribing to the emailed newsletter is a very effective strategy that can quickly build your list. A restaurant may offer a free appetizer or dessert with the meal; a clothing store can give an accessory; or a mechanic can provide a free filter with the oil change. Whatever your business, you will not be hard pressed to find some relatively minor SKU you can give away in order to gain that customer\'s email address. Ensure that the address is keyed into your computer before the transaction is completed to avoid duplicates. Solicit Actively Whenever you are exhibiting in a trade show, market or fair you should engage your customers directly to solicit email addresses. If you are providing samples you can make them contingent on an email address entered into your guestbook, or offer incentives like a test drive or a photo with your booth\'s hot show girl. Most businesses still do not have their primary base of operations on the internet, so many may think that it is nearly impossible to compile a permission email marketing list in “the real world.” Not only is this conclusion fully erroneous, but these small business owners do not realize that in many ways building a healthy subscription list of email addresses is often easier offline than on!
Emails sent in campaigns can bounce for a number reasons. Common reasons could be \"user over quota\", \"recipients server temporarily unavailable\", \"content rejected\". These bounces are classified into soft bounces and hard bounces. Soft Bounce: When the email has bounced with a reason indicating short term issues with the recipient, they are flagged as soft bounce. These email addresses could later be available in future campaigns. They include reasons like \"Quota exceeded\", \"Too much sessions in a connection\", \"Temporary local problem\", \"Out of Office Auto Reply\" Hard Bounce: When the email has bounced with a reason indicating permanent issues with the recipient, they are flagged as hard bounces. Chances that these emails could later be available for future campaigns is less. The reasons for such bounces could be : \"Mailbox not found\", \"unknown user\", \"mailbox is no longer active\", \"incorrect domain\". Benchmark email recommends cleaning up such emails to improve your statistics for future campaigns. In case the same contact has hard bounces in three consecutive campaigns, Benchmark email automatically flags the contact as a \"Confirmed Bounce\". A \"Confirmed Bounce\" contact will be excluded from your active contact count, and will not be sent any email, if the contact list is selected again. In case a previously bounced email is opened in another campaign before it has been flagged as \"Confirmed Bounce\", the contact\'s bounce counter is reset to zero. This allows bounced emails, to remain in the active contact count and not be flagged as \"Confirmed Bounce\". The \"Confirmed Bounce\" contacts are listed separately in your contact list.