The undead that roam the earth at Halloween are nothing compared with the terrors in your email address database.

These frightful traps can kill your email marketing program faster than you can say “Trick or Treat!” Why? Because they cost money to find and fix them. They can get you blocklisted, kicked off your email service provider and even denied the ability to send email at all.

If you could x-ray 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 “mickeymouse@xyz.com” 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 blocklist 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:

  1. 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.
  2. Create standards: Develop internal definitions for what comprises a quality email address and apply it organization-wide.
  3. Go for quality over quantity: This is crucial if you reward cashiers who collect point-of-sale opt-ins.

 

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