How to Check the Quality of Your Email Lists (and Why You Need to Do It)
If you work with email lists, you know that keeping your email addresses current is a bit of a nightmare. This is especially true if you purchase email lists.
Beyond keeping emails current, you need to avoid spam traps, invalid and catch-all email addresses, and abuse emails. Otherwise you could run into email deliverability issues later on.
The workload of keeping your email lists current and keeping them clean is too much to do without some sort of automation.
There was a time when checking emails in bulk was nearly impossible.
Validating an email required sending a test message to every email address. This meant that anyone verifying a lot of emails was bound to run into deliverability issues of their own. So some test messages wouldn’t get delivered. This compromises email verification results.
Fortunately, it’s easier to check lists in bulk now.
Here’s why this is good news.
Why you should use batch deliverability validation on your email lists
There are uses for bulk email verification that go beyond protecting your email deliverability.
First, it’s the most efficient way to weed out bad emails.
It’s also the most affordable way to do it. Manual email verification can be time intensive and expensive.
With bulk email verification, you simply upload your email list. The returned file will identify which emails are unsafe. You can then exclude those from your email sends.
But it can indirectly save you time and money as well.
Use a bulk email deliverability check to evaluate the quality of your list suppliers
While it is the responsibility of the email list provider to quality control their product, emails are slippery things.
They can be changed and created easily. People make mistakes when they enter email addresses all the time. So even a well-checked email list can quickly become ridden with bad emails. Especially if the list undergoes any manual data entry.
Additionally, some list providers do a syntax check on their email lists just to make sure that all the email addresses have a valid format. But that doesn’t mean that there’s actually an inbox associated with every email address.
So before using any new list, it’s best to check the actual status of all the email addresses. This will give you an idea of how well the list provider is quality controlling their email lists.
If a list provider repeatedly gives you lists that are mostly invalid emails, it may be time to change suppliers.
Also, a bulk email validator is your best bet for quality assurance if you’re a list provider.
Use a bulk email validator to expedite your email sending
Email deliverability is important. However, your sending domain reputation can tolerate sending messages to a few invalid email addresses.
Additionally, things that are considered soft bounces don’t hurt your deliverability. Inboxes that are temporarily full or receiving server errors don’t count as a hit on your sender reputation.
And sending messages to invalid emails won’t immediately tank your sending reputation. But invalid email addresses do eat up your sending limits.
It’s the spam traps and emails on the global suppression list (GSL) that you really want to avoid.
So there are tolerances for the number of bad email on an email list.
Say you process a list of 100 emails, and 90 of them come back as valid and safe to email. The other 10 are simply invalid.
Depending on your operational tempo, it may not be worth the time and effort to remove those 10 emails.
Obviously, your tolerances for invalid email addresses will vary. If you regularly process lists of 5000 emails, ten percent is actually a lot of invalid emails.
You can use bulk email validation to rate your lists out quickly by assessing the number of quality emails they have and determining what your threshold for bad emails is.
Then simply sort your email lists according to your go/no go criteria and send the low quality lists for cleaning.
There are tools that perform an overall list assessment like this. Typically they return results in a grade fashion. An email list will be qualified as safe to use so long as a certain amount of the email addresses are valid.
But these tools often don’t report the status of the email addresses or give information as to why the invalid email addresses can’t receive messages.
A batch email validator that returns the specifics of why each bad email is non-functioning gives you much more utility. And if you use the right one, it won’t cost you any more than an overall list evaluation tool.
Knowing why an email address can’t receive messages gives you more granular control over your list cleaning.
You may want to keep temporarily unavailable email addresses so you can try them again later. Email addresses that simply have an invalid syntax might be easily correctable and retried.
james#searchbug.com is an obvious typo that can be corrected.
But you can salvage some of your emails with more specific batch email validation reporting.
Again, if you’re running very high email volumes, this could amount to a significant number of emails.
Users enter email addresses incorrectly. Servers go down periodically. And people using legacy email services sometimes have full inboxes.
For businesses that run through a lot of email lists, the batch email verification process can be automated with an API so that incoming lists can be processed and routed based on their overall quality.
Automated batch email validation protects your databases.
While it’s best to screen emails before they even get added to any list, that doesn’t always happen. Even then, small typos sometimes aren’t detected because the email address still has a valid syntax. But it doesn’t route to any inbox.
So batch email validation provides an additional filter to help keep your databases clean, which reduces stress on your entire organization and saves you time and money on data management.
To wrap up, if you use a third party list provider, batch email validation is a must. You just can’t ensure that only sendable email addresses are included on every list.
Without a bulk email validator, the worst case scenario is that you hit spam traps or GSL emails, which could disrupt your entire email program. At best, you end up sending a number of useless emails.
If you’re developing email lists yourself, you can use an API to automate the process of validating email addresses at the point of entry to save yourself a lot of headache in quality controlling your lists.
So how do you use bulk email validation? Are you doing list overviews or pulling each list apart to exclude any non-functioning email address?
Check out our real-time email deliverability check, and leave a comment to let us know how you use it and how well it worked for you!