Email marketing offers one of the highest rates of return of any form of digital outreach. In fact, McKinsey says that it can be 40 times more effective than social media ––meaning it’s not a strategy you want to miss out on.
The first step to maximizing your email marketing returns is curating a strong list of email addresses for prospects. And a key part of that is making sure that you don’t have too many invalid or low-quality email addresses on your list.
If you’re unsure how to tell if an email address is valid––or what to do if it is, then the information in this article should give you the know-how––and the tools––to have your email list looking healthier than ever.
Why is verifying emails important?
Now, you might be wondering why invalid email addresses are anything to be concerned about. While they won’t increase engagement, can they do your business any harm? Here are the top reasons why keeping an eye on invalid email addresses need to be a priority:
The dangers of sending emails to unverified email addresses
The first reason why invalid email addresses are a concern is that sending emails to unverified addresses can have a negative impact on your email marketing program.
That’s because when you don’t verify your email list, your bounce rates increase, and your engagement rates take a dive.
Over time, this can negatively impact your sender reputation, which you want to keep in good standing to avoid email service providers from filtering your messages out as spam.
When you send emails to unverified email addresses, you also get inaccurate data about the success rates of your campaigns. All of those unverified, inactive email contacts drag down your deliverability rate, making it look as though your campaigns are underperforming.
These inaccuracies can result in poor email marketing decisions based on data that isn’t reflective of the truth.
Increased bounce rates
When you don’t purge your email lists of invalid addresses, your bounce rate goes up. That’s bad for a few reasons.
First, email service providers like Gmail track your bounce rate. A higher bounce rate results in a decrease in your level of trustworthiness––which ultimately means that your emails are more likely to be filtered out as spam, instead of ending up in your leads’ inboxes.
Additionally, it’s tough to accurately determine the success rate of your email marketing campaigns when you have a high bounce rate.
If you have too many low-quality or invalid email addresses on your list, it can be tough to determine the success of your campaigns accurately.
Unhealthy mailing lists
Purchasing email data or letting invalid email addresses go unchecked for too long will lead to unhealthy, poor-performing mailing lists. These are problematic because of the downstream impact they have on your marketing strategy.
Unhealthy email lists have the potential to influence how you spend your money, market your products, and position your brand. But if that influence is based on inaccurate data––caused by invalid email addresses––you could be making decisions that aren’t the best fit for your needs.
When you send emails to invalid addresses, your overall engagement rates as a sender will decrease. That’s bad news for your overall email marketing strategy.
Engagement rate is another factor that email service providers track to assess the reliability of an email sender. If your engagement rate dips due to invalid email addresses, the messages that you send to valid email addresses could start going to spam.
This can create a negative feedback loop in which your engagement rate continues to decrease.
How to check if an email is valid: the hard way
Now that it’s clear why invalid email addresses can be such an issue, let’s address what you can do about it. There’s an easy way and a hard way to verify email addresses––let’s start by taking a look at how to do so manually.
Step 1: Check the email format
The first step of the manual email address verification process is to make sure that it’s in a standard format.
A valid email address consists of a prefix, an @ sign, and an email domain.
The prefix, which immediately precedes the @ sign, is often a name or business, while the email domain, which follows the @ sign, frequently comes in the form of .edu, .org, .com, etc.
If someone gives you an email address that doesn’t match this standard format, you can immediately flag it as invalid.
This form of manual check can be incorporated into any digital form that is used to collect email data. Simply code a checker into the form that only allows visitors to submit an email that fits the correct email format.
This automates the process so you can be confident that any email address that you add to your list has a solid chance of getting delivered.
Step 2: Send a test email
The next thing that [you can do is send out a test email](https://blog.kickbox.com/email-testing-for-success/). The idea is to send an email to the new address that you’ve received and then see whether you get a message back saying that it can’t be delivered.
If you do get that message, then the email address is not valid. If you don’t, then that’s a good sign that the email could be valid––however, this is not definitive proof.
The problem with this method is that sending mass emails to determine email validity can impact the factors mentioned above, such as bounce rate and sender reliability.
Step 3: Ping the server
A third way to determine the validity of an email address is to ping the email server associated with the address.
While this is fairly technical, a positive response––as opposed to an error message––should indicate that the email address is valid.
Step 4: Look at your engagement rates
If an email address passes the first three steps in this process, you can add it to your list. The next stage is to begin sending out emails to the address and monitoring the engagement rate.
If you don’t see any engagement from the address at all, that could be a sign that the person no longer uses the account or that it belongs to a bot. Either way, you may want to delete the address from your list so that it doesn’t bring down your overall engagement rate and threaten your reputation as a sender.
How to check if an email is valid: the easy way
If the previous section all felt like a lot of work, that’s because it is.
There’s a far easier way to go about email verification and that’s by using an email verification service.
Email verification services do all of the work for you––and they actually provide you with more information about the quality of your email addresses than what you can get from manual verification.
What’s more, you don’t need to verify email addresses one by one, but you can process your entire email list simultaneously.
Kickbox is the perfect tool to take the hassle out of email verification. We’ve put together a comprehensive guide for getting the most out of the email verification process, but here are a few of the highlights:
Step 1: Add your email lists to the verification provider
To add your email list, Kickbox features a wide range of integrations that let you quickly drag and drop your list directly from whatever platform you’re currently using to send emails.
Step 2: Let Kickbox do its thing
Once you’ve added your email list to Kickbox, you’re ready to run a check. You don’t have to do anything here. Just sit back and wait for a few moments while the software performs a comprehensive analysis of the email addresses that you’ve included.
Step 3: Analyze the results
Once the tests are done, you’re ready to analyze the results that they give you. Kickbox will tell you everything you need to know about the quality of the email data.
Once you’ve received the information, you have the option to download it for future reference.
To put Kickbox’s data into action, the first step will usually be to delete the questionable email addresses from your list. This is fairly straightforward––if you know that the email addresses are definitely invalid, then you don’t want to continue sending messages to them.
However, sometimes an email address will be flagged as being possibly valid or invalid. In those situations, you may want to look into the data that Kickbox provides a little more closely.
If so, you can flag those addresses for additional analysis to ensure that you’re not inadvertently deleting any addresses that could still provide you with value.
Get verification certainty with Kickbox
If you’re concerned about your bounce rate, reliability as a sender, or the overall engagement with your email marketing campaigns, it’s crucial to ensure your email lists are full of valid addresses.
If you’re looking for a partner who can give you that assurance, Kickbox has you covered.
Our complete email verification platform is the only tool you need to verify the validity of your lists. We can leverage our more than 12 years of industry experience to help you get more out of your email marketing campaigns.
But don’t just take our word for it––sign up for a free trial today to experience the Kickbox difference for yourself.