What is Email Validation and Verification?
Having a killer email campaign is an integral part of any marketing plan. But even the best campaign strategy in the world doesn’t mean anything if it never reaches your target audience. Research shows that over 20 percent of email addresses entered into online forms contain some kind of error, rendering them useless and automatically slashing your prospect base by a significant portion.
Worse, sending out emails that don’t reach the intended recipients is also a waste of your sales team’s valuable time, with anywhere from 35-50% of orders going to the team who makes first contact. Bounced emails prevent your sales team from making those connections and positioning your company to capitalize quickly on new business opportunities.
As if wasted money and time weren’t enough, poorly vetted emails also risks your entire online presence, as having a higher percentage of emails that bounce can make you look like an evil spammer and put you at risk of being blacklisted. Knowing that your email is going to the right (and a real) place is what’s best for your bottom line—and reputation.
So how do you figure out which of your emails are going to the right people and which ones are hitting the junk pile? Email validation can help you clean up your list and make sure you’re reaching your intended audience.
What is email validation, exactly?
Email validation helps ensure that both the domain name and local portion of an email address are valid and entered/spelled properly to improve your email list’s accuracy and value.
Marketers know that email validation is important, but don’t always know how to go about it. Here are the three primary email validation methods you should consider when strategizing how to update your list and boos the return on your time and investment:
1.) Syntax Verification is the simplest standard for email validation and verification. It’s a basic check to make sure the email address is valid and returns an error when one of three main components of the email address are missing: that is, the portion before the ‘@’ symbol, the ‘@’ symbol itself, or the domain portion of the address which follows the ‘@’ symbol and ends in .com, .org., or .net. The downside to syntax verification is that while the email address may be technically accurate, there’s no way to tell if it’s the email address you want because syntax verification doesn’t guarantee there’s a person behind the email address, only that that email address has all the right parts to be valid.
2.) SMTP Verification, or Simple Mail Transfer Protocol, is essentially the postal service of the internet. It’s the internet standard for sending email back and forth, allowing us to check in with a potential recipient’s email server to see if there’s a mail server associated with the domain.
SMTP checks that the syntax is correct, while also verifying there’s a mail server associated with the domain (meaning that there’s an actual user at the other end). Of course, SMTP verification isn’t foolproof; it’s not possible to always know for sure if an email exists or not. The SMTP verification could be trying to verify with a catch-all domain (or “accept-all domains), in which messages to be sent no matter what someone enters in front of the @ sign—ex. sales@XYZcompany.com, sarah@XYZcompany.com, bigfoot@XYZcompany.com, etc.— without having to configure your server or make any changes, and is lenient about allowing message delivery, even if it isn’t correct.
3.) Confirmation Email Verification is the surest way to guarantee that a person is receiving your emails, but it also requires the most effort. In this method, a web visitor may submit an email address in the online form and immediately receive a follow up email confirming their opt-in. Once they’ve confirmed that they’re willing to receive further emails, that email address is verified.
However, be aware that if you have an existing email list, your current customers aren’t going to be excited to have to suddenly confirm they’re a real person. Also, sending out large batches of confirmation emails can get costly. So, if your mailing list is low quality, you could still be spending money to get bounce backs, spam reports, and a ding on your mailing reputation.
What email validation provider is right for you?
In digital marketing, the quality of your list is hugely important, but choosing a method for keeping it in tip-top shape can be confusing. It’s important to strike the right balance among your goals, budget, and how precise you want your list to be. Whichever you choose, you’ll need an email verification provider that gives you an in-depth analysis of your emails, and not just an ambiguous pass or fail grade. Your marketing, your sales, and your email reputation depend on it.
Learn more about how email validation could help your business. Download our latest white paper, Email Validation and Verification: Unlocking the Mystery below.