The undead that roam the earth at Halloween are kindergarteners compared with the terrors in your email address database.
These frightful specimens can kill your email marketing program faster than you can yell “Trick or Treat!” Why? Because they siphon money away to find and fix them. They can get you blacklisted, kicked off your email service provider and even denied the ability to send email at all.
If you could peel back the top of your database, you would see specters like these hiding inside:
- Mistyped, malformed, truncated or nonsense addresses: These are the devils you know, like the address in which someone spelled the domain wrong (ALO instead of AOL), forgot the “@” symbol or typed “.com” instead of “.edu.” Maybe somebody gave you “firstname.lastname@example.org” because she just wanted a freebie, not your emails.
- Deliverable but worthless addresses: These are the devils you don’t know, and they’re more dangerous because they can slip past your validation checkpoints: mistyped addresses that are still deliverable, disposable email addresses, role accounts (“info@” or, worse, “abuse@”) and abandoned addresses that blacklist monitors have recycled into spam traps.
Are you thoroughly spooked by now? Relax. The three suggestions below will work better than a garlic necklace to keep worthless addresses out of your database:
- Add address validation at opt-in: A third-party service like SafeToSend® can detect and deflect potentially bad addresses as soon as your customers type them in.
- Go for quality over quantity: This is crucial if you reward cashiers who collect point-of-sale opt-ins.
- Create standards: Develop internal definitions for what comprises a quality email address and apply it organization-wide.