If you collect email addresses through your lead generation funnel, you’re familiar with how many people submit fake email addresses, especially if you offer a quality lead magnet.
The fake email address epidemic wastes a lot of time and money. Sending lead magnets to non-existent inboxes or toxic email addresses and giving unusable leads to sales teams can devastate your sales efficiency.
This is why business owners and marketers want to know, “How do I stop people from signing up with fake email addresses?”
Well, we’ll show you.
How to stop people from signing up with fake email addresses
Weeding the fake email addresses from your email contact lists is more profitable than you may realize. Yes, it relieves a lot of headaches and sales inefficiency.
But, people will often enter a real email address to get your lead magnet if you can stop them from entering fake email address up front. Then, you get a true lead. And, a person who thought they were going to pull the wool over your eyes ends up becoming a customer.
In short, stopping the flow of fake email addresses gives you access to more potential customers.
Weeding out fake email addresses is a two-part process:
- Validate email addresses at the point of entry.
- Clean your email databases regularly to remove email addresses that are valid, but don’t belong in your email system.
Here’s how you complete both of these steps:
Implement data integration
In order to stop people from signing up with fake email addresses, you have to catch them in the act. That means that your lead collection form must check email addresses as they are entered.
This might seem impossible. But, it’s actually rather simple.
All you need is a data partner and a data validation API that gives you access to your data partner’s data verification system.
You’ll connect your lead collection form to your data provider’s system using the API. That way, when someone enters an email address on your form, your system will automatically send the email address to be verified.
If the email address is fake, you’ll find out on the spot. And, the potential customer will be prompted to enter a valid email address.
An email address validator detects invalid email addresses (those with an invalid syntax, such as without the “@” symbol) and non-existent email addresses. But, a good email address validator also identifies toxic inboxes, spam traps, and catchall email addresses that you need to avoid.
An email verification API integrates with a unique URL, which removes the need for an API key and simplifies the implementation. Many lead generation platforms have an interface for adding API connectivity, or your development team can add the integration in a matter of minutes.
Using data integration to check email addresses at the point of entry will catch the majority of fake and unusable email addresses. And, it can cost less than a penny per validated email address, if your email validation volume is high. So, increasing the quality of your leads and your sales efficiency will more than cover the cost of validating email addresses.
Maintain your databases
Even though data integration will stop almost all the fake email addresses from getting into your email lists, you still need to periodically check your email lists to remove email addresses that are no longer valid or have changed owners.
This part can also be done with an API. The same email validation API that checks emails at the point of entry will work in your CRM or email management system. You can use the same simple integration to create an automated email list maintenance process that regularly cleans your lists.
If you don’t have a system that’s capable of data integration, you can still clean your lists. Just use batch email verification.
Batch email verification puts your email addresses through the same validation as a data validation API. You just need to upload the email addresses manually.
The process is simple:
- Export your email list to a .csv, .txt, or Excel file.
- Ensure that each piece of information is separated into its own column. First names, last names, and email addresses get their own column.
- Upload your list for processing. You’ll usually receive your cleaned list in a matter of minutes. However, very large lists may take longer.
- The returned file will be a comma separated .csv file, which you can reload into your email databases.
These steps remove email addresses that have become unusable since they were collected. And, this process ensures that you have the right name for each email address. That way your email campaigns don’t suffer from data decay.
There’s also a bonus to using batch data processing: data append.
Append data to your email addresses
Collecting email addresses will generate excellent leads. Email marketing is some of the best marketing you can do.
And, the more information you have about a potential customer, the better you can market to them. So, it’s extremely useful to gather additional data using your email addresses.
Once you’ve verified the deliverability of your email addresses, you can upload the clean list to have additional data—phone numbers, mailing addresses, and names—added to your email lists to build complete customer profiles.
This is especially effective because it enables you to optimize your lead collection forms for conversions. Ask for just a first name, last name, and email address on your collection form. That way you collect more email addresses.
Then, use a data append service to get the associated information for each email address. That way your sales teams have geographic and demographic data to create personalized sales pitches and offers.
This is especially powerful if you use account based marketing, since your sales teams need the most complete customer profiles possible.
The first two steps will ensure that the email addresses you collect are valid. Appending additional data makes those email addresses more valuable and increases the ROI from your lead generation.
That’s how you stop people from signing up with fake email addresses. And, the same tools help you use those email addresses to build entire customer profiles. It’s inexpensive, effective, and it raises your email marketing ROI. You leave money on the table every time you collect an email address without validating it.