If you’ve ever had an email bounce back to your inbox as undeliverable, you may have wondered what went wrong. Unfortunately, when this happens, the email was likely invalid.
Not only will such a bounce negatively affect the deliverability of your campaign, and your ability to engage with customers, but it can also tarnish your sender reputation. That’s bad news for your bottom line.
The good news is that no matter which operating system you’re using, it’s possible to ping an email address and determine if it’s valid before ever disseminating your campaign.
More often than not, a preemptive measure like pinging can save your business time and money. Here’s a closer look at the logistics surrounding email pinging, and how it can maximize your ROI.
This is what happens when you ping an email address
There may come a time when you need to verify an email address to test whether it’s valid and active before ever pressing the Send button.
It may be tempting to simply send a test email to see if it bounces back––simple, right? Not as much as you’d think.
Testing email addresses in this way can negatively impact your sender reputation, and potentially increase the likelihood that your campaigns will end up in your recipients’ spam folders.
Pinging an email address is a great alternative to sending an actual test email. However, manually pinging an email can be time-consuming for one email address alone, let alone thousands or even millions.
Let’s dive into the behind-the-scenes nitty-gritty of manual email pinging––and then offer a faster alternative.
Step 1: You reach out to the email server
To begin, you’ll want to reach out to the email server of the email address you’re testing behind the scenes. Here’s how to do it:
- Launch the command prompt.
- Input the following command: nslookup –type=mx domain.com
- Replace “domain” with the actual name of the domain you want to verify (e.g., Gmail, etc.).
- Press enter to load the Mail Exchange Record (MX).
- Connect to the domain’s mail server (e.g., for Gmail, type in gmail-smtp-in.l.google.com 25
Step 2: You “chat” with the email server
In the command prompt, you’ll have a short but sweet “chat” with the email server. You’ll do this via a series of Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) commands. It should unfold like this:
- Introduce yourself by typing HELO
- After the server responds, next to mail from, type in your email address, and press Enter.
- Next to RCPT TO: type in the email address you’re trying to verify/ping.
- Press enter and the server will check if the email is valid.
Step 3: You interpret the result and keep or delete the email
Once you’ve pinged the email address, you’ll get a response that indicates if the email is valid or not. For example, if the server chats back “OK,” then the email address exists/is valid, so it can stay on your list.
On the other hand, if you see “Disabled” or “Does not exist,” (usually indicated by the Error code 550-5.1.1) then you know you have an invalid email on your hands. In this case, you’d want to remove the email address from your list.
You could even place it on an email suppression list (a list of emails you want to refrain from emailing again––or at all). This way, you can avoid accidentally sending an email to that email address in the future.
How email pinging can help your business
Increase the deliverability of your emails
Email deliverability is the percentage of your email campaigns that reach your recipients’ inboxes (instead of their spam folders or, even worse, getting blocked in the first place).
At its core, email pinging is a preemptive measure to help increase your email deliverability rate.
In other words, when you’re able to first see if an email is valid before ever sending your email campaign, you can offset the likelihood of a bounce back. Talk about a missed opportunity for engagement (and conversion)!
Decrease both hard and soft bounce rates
By pinging and verifying whether an email address is legit before you send your campaign, you can decrease the likelihood of an email bounce.
If you’ve ever gotten one of these return-to-sender messages then you’re already familiar with this.
As its name suggests, a hard bounce means a message is permanently undeliverable—either because of a typo in the email address, or because it’s been deactivated.
A soft bounce means the email address is valid, but your message is temporarily undeliverable, often for a reason on the recipient’s end (like a full inbox or busy server). The server will usually try to redeliver the message at a later time.
It’s important to avoid email bounces as much as possible, particularly hard bounces. A hard bounce can damage your sender reputation and send a red flag to ISPs that you haven’t pruned your lists from invalid emails––a characteristic that could land you in the spam folder.
Boost your sender reputation
Pinging the emails on your lists (and eliminating the invalid ones) can boost your sender reputation.
Your reputation is, in many ways, your marketing bond. ISPs assign you a score based on your email sending practices (including bounce back rates, open and click-through stats, and user complaints, among other measures).
If you send messages to unverified emails and/or spam traps, for example, you’ll have a higher bounce back rate and a lower open and click-through rate, which would damage your sender reputation.
As a result, your messages could land in your recipients’ spam folders or an ESP could block them automatically. As you can see, this will negatively impact your deliverability rates, engagement opportunities, and ultimately damage your marketing campaign.
Improve engagement and click-throughs
If you send your campaign to a bunch of unverified email addresses, and they hard bounce, there’s zero possibility of them reaching a potential customer.
That means that before a customer has even had a chance to view your campaign, your open and click-through rates have already been affected. In short, your engagement rates will tank. Your campaign (and bottom line) can’t afford this type of missed opportunity.
Pinging the emails on your list can help ensure you weed out the fake emails, ensuring that you reach real customers who want to receive messages from you, and who will ultimately engage.
Save time and money by focusing efforts on real connections
What good is an email list of one-million email addresses if, say, 25% of them are invalid, disposable, or spam traps?
You’ve spent too much time and money creating your campaign for it to not reach genuinely interested recipients.
The quality of your email list is far more important than the number of emails on it. Sweeping your list free from unverified emails will allow you to redirect your energy towards reaching the customers who want to hear from you.
Gain valuable data about the success of your campaigns
You need valid and reliable metrics to determine whether your campaign has been successful. Keeping an email list littered with invalid and inactive email addresses and then sending your campaign to them can send your deliverability rates into a nosedive.
Of course, this could make it appear as if your campaign is underperforming. As a result, you may proceed to make financial decisions based on this inaccurate data.
Verifying your email addresses before, not after, helps to ensure that you’re taking proactive steps to keep your engagement data positive.
Ready to ping (and verify) first and reap the benefits later?
If you’re unsure about the authenticity and validity of your email list, pinging is always a possibility. But that’s not the most practical way to go about it.
At Kickbox, we offer an email verification service that can save you from the hassle of manually pinging each email on your list. You can drop and drag your existing list into our comprehensive email verification platform which will automate the validation process for you.
Even more, as your customers subscribe, we can verify their email at point-of-collection with our email verification API, ensuring an invalid email never weasels its way into your database.
Sign up for free, and let our team of experts save you the time––and headache––of manual email pinging. (And help maximize your company’s ROI in the process.)
Keep your list healthy and boost campaign performance by regularly cleaning your email list. We’ll let you know which email addresses are good, bad and risky, before you hit send.
Your first 100 verifications are on us. Verify for Free