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Why Validation is Key to Successful Email Marketing

Articles10-11-18

Email remains a core part of the marketing mix

While not a flashy new trend or the “next big thing,” email continues to be one of the most reliable ways for brands to communicate with customers and prospects. According to the Data & Marketing Association, email delivers the highest return on investment (ROI) of any digital marketing channel, besting paid search, affiliates, social media, and display, to name a few. Email campaigns produce, on average, ROI of 21% to 23%. Furthermore, emailexpert reports that for every $1 spent on email marketing, it yields an average return of $44.25.

Combine those eye-opening numbers with the fact that consumers prefer to be contacted via email, including the much sought-after millennial demographic, and the channel becomes even more attractive to retailers and brands.

According to a study from MarketingSherpa, 72% of U.S. adults prefer to communicate with brands via email, compared to less than 20% for both text messages and social media. In addition, a report from email marketing company Adestra revealed that 73% of millennials (ages 19-34) choose email as their preferred way to communicate with brands.


73%

73% of millennials choose email as their preferred way to communicate with brands

72%

72% of U.S. adults prefer to communicate with brands via email

22%

Email campaigns produce, on average, a return on investment of 21% to 23%


While that’s all well and good, it’s important to remember that emails that never make it to your customers’ and prospects’ inboxes are worthless.

In fact, they cost your brand money.

You wouldn’t consider sending a direct mail campaign without scrubbing / NCOAing the list first, or executing a telemarketing campaign without validating the phone numbers. Email is no different. Having a system or process in place to ensure your business is sending to only opted-in subscribers at legitimate email addresses is paramount.


A Domino Effect

With brands sending more email than ever, relying on the channel to develop and maintain customer relationships as well as drive sales, it’s critical that they maintain a strong sender reputation with the various email service providers (ESPs). Sending to old or invalid addresses results in bounces, subscriber complaints and spam trap triggers, which all negatively impact your deliverability rate. A poor deliverability rate compromises your sender reputation with the ESPs, leading to fewer customers receiving your emails and, ultimately, less revenue generated for your business.

It’s a death spiral that no brand wants to fall into.

So, how does your brand protect itself? The simple answer is by implementing an email validation service. Removing “bad” emails from your database results in better performance — i.e., increased deliverability, improved sender reputation, more revenue — and more cost-effective marketing. But removing “bad” emails from your list sounds a lot easier than it is in actuality, particularly for brands with thousands or millions of subscribers. Therefore, finding an outside provider to work with is often the wise move.

Partnering with a third-party email validation provider can offer the following safeguards to ensure you’re mailing to up-to-date and legitimate addresses:

  • Email Correction: Misspellings and typos are caught and corrected with an inference engine
  • Syntax Checker: Invalid email formats are identified and corrected where possible
  • Spam Suppress: Known spam traps, honeypot addresses and complainers are kept off of your mailing list
  • Mailbox Check: Indicates if a message to a mailbox delivers, hard bounces or soft bounces
  • Status Message: Provides the sender with numerous result codes to categorize email validation results
  • Global Domain List: An up-to-date and accurate list of all email domains to confirm current status
  • Address Activity: Provides information on an email address such as age and activity
  • Bounce Recovery: Find new and valid addresses for consumers in your database who, when previously mailed, have resulted in bounces

Processing your data through these steps will result in significantly higher deliverability rates and improved ROI.


The value of clean data

An email marketing database of individuals who have opted in to receive your messages and offers is one of your company’s most valuable assets. Take good care of it by regularly validating and cleaning the data to ensure deliverability; otherwise it becomes just that, data that’s not actionable.

In addition to identifying legitimate customers’ and prospects’ email addresses, validation services enable marketers to root out fraudulent addresses, saving themselves time and money.

Once your email data has been validated, it’s time for deployment. There are additional steps you can take at this stage to maximize deliverability and protect sender reputation, including the following:

Subject Line and Message:

Pay special attention to the subject line and message content to reduce the probability of it being flagged as spam

Managed, Steady Stream:

Deploy through a managed, steady stream to protect sender score

Continuous Feedback Loops:

Receive and monitor continuous feedback loops from internet service providers (ISPs) to see who has chosen to mark your email as spam, enabling you to remove addresses that have complained, identify specific groups of emails that are problematic and gain a clearer picture into potential security problems.


Conclusion

Email is more valuable as marketing channel than it’s ever been. It represents an efficient, cost-effective and preferred method for brands to communicate with today’s digital-savvy consumers on their terms. Maximize all that email can offer — most importantly revenue — by ensuring that you’re mailing to valid addresses.

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