The quality of your email list determines whether you are a top-tier online marketer, which is why the effort put into email verification and overall list hygiene pays off handsomely.
As Econsultancy/Adestra’s “Email Marketing Industry Census 2012” study relates, “We all know it, but data is the key to effective email marketing. Having a good quality, up-to-date email database puts you up front in terms of deliverability and optimizing your results.”
While the study found a link between email best practices and strong ROI, it also found that too many marketers were neglecting best practices, noting that, “in light of the challenges that email is facing, email marketers need to step up their game to ensure the best results.”
The previous Econsultancy study also found that deliverability was a problem for email marketers, and that while “cleaning up lists” was a top priority, too few marketers were following best practices to improve their deliverability.
Among the challenges marketers face is weeding out and updating the up to 30% of email addresses that become undeliverable in any business quarter. An undeliverable email address means the address was entered incorrectly, the user has changed addresses, or the address was abandoned.
Besides diminishing your reach and conversion rates, undeliverable emails can undermine your marketing program by harming your reputation.
As Lyris points out, many ISPs use dead email addresses as spam traps to monitor your list hygiene and measure your sender reputation. “The dirtier your mail list, the more likely they’ll route your email messages to the junk folder or block you.”
With ISPs and email providers monitoring email activity more closely than ever, the care you take to maintain a high-quality email database ensures a low bounce rate, high percentage of deliverable emails, and a greater percentage of active subscribers.
Email verification helps you avoid these problems by checking the accuracy of email address formatting and syntax and confirming that an email address exists and can receive email. Email addresses can be verified in batches or in real time when entered on your website.
This advice jibes with SilverPop’s survey findings, which showed that the top email marketing performers have the lowest bounce rates, which is attributed to their being “more vigilant about verifying email addresses before adding them to the database and about doing list hygiene to remove undeliverable addresses.”
The effort you put into cleaning your list can make a big difference in deliverability, reputation, and marketing results. As Mark Brownlow of eMail Marketing Reports advises, “The new email marketer tackles their reputation with ISPs directly, by keeping lists clean of dead addresses etc.”