What happens when a customer enters an invalid email address into your online registration or enrollment page? When we ask our clients “What’s your typo rate?” most people’s response is: “If it bounces, my ESP filters it out and eliminates it from my list. It’s not a big deal.” The reality is far more complex – and should be cause for concern for any savvy email marketer.
An Expensive Mistake
The true cost of bad email addresses entering your database through a typo, a simple mistake, or malicious activity is far higher than you might expect. Consider these obvious ramifications:
- Wasted marketing investment: Chances are, that lead didn’t simply happen upon your site. Your marketing dollars inspired them to take action and provide you with their email address and other personal information. If you can’t continue the conversation, your precious marketing dollars have been wasted.
- Unmet expectations: By definition, a registration typo is a mistake. Anyone entering their email address on your site or in your store does it with a clear expectation in mind. Perhaps they’re anticipating receiving new product updates, an email action alert, or a promotional offer. When that expectation is not met, an implicit promise has been broken. Registrants aren’t aware that your brand’s failure to respond was the result of their typo or oversight. They assume your brand has simply failed to follow through. Their response: disengagement, dissatisfaction, and a customer left wondering “What happened?” Given the power now vested in each individual through social media, the potential damage to your brand cannot be underestimated.
- Diminished ROI: In addition to missing the mark on customer expectations, bad email addresses diminish the efficacy and return on investment of your email campaigns. Whether your goal is to increase sales, drive social engagement, or solicit donations, undeliverable emails are a bane to your ROI.
- Increased expense: Don’t forget the additional cost of servicing those disappointed customers. Call center time and customer follow-up can tie up valuable resources.
Email File Health Hazards
If your site has functionality to catch common errors, such as missing @ signs, or multiple periods, you still aren’t off the hook. Simply screening for deliverable email addresses is not enough.
An inadvertent mistake or misspelling can transform an innocent customer email into a hazardous spamtrap. Customer typos – as well as the outlying “web vandal” entering a spamtrap purposefully on your registration page – can have disastrous consequences.
Hitting just one or two spamtraps can literally bring down your entire email program. Without rigorous email validation tools in place, even Fortune 50 companies have seen their email programs blacklisted by organizations such as SpamHaus and others – resulting in millions of dollars in lost revenue.
The Solution: Validation and Correction Tools
Based on our 10+ years of experience monitoring and studying email addresses and client databases, 2% to 20%+ of email addresses entered on websites are invalid or bogus. In our 2010 Email Address Validation Study of 50 Leading Retailer Websites, leading retailers failed to block invalid addresses in approximately 64% of cases. That’s a shocking statistic especially considering that these are leading internet retailers.
Fortunately, REACT (Real-time Email Address Correction Technology), our cloud-based email validation and correction tool, literally corrects problematic emails at the point of registration on your site – before they even enter your file. A customer enters their email address, and within milliseconds, their entry is either validated and accepted into your database, or a pop-up window appears offering a suggested correction or, in the case of invalid entries, requesting a valid address.
Some examples of the errors and problematic addresses REACT weeds out include:
- Typos: e.g email@example.com, chris@hotmail,deana@@aol.com
- Bogus, prank and malicious addresses: e.g.,firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
- Domain-specific errors: e.g., firstname.lastname@example.org (gmail doesn’t allow underscores)
- Known spamtraps and honeypots
- The list goes on! See our site for more.
Keep Those Thieves Out of Your File!
Whether you have customers entering their email addresses on a registration site, or you have sales associates registering them in a POS system or call center, typos and less desirable visitors will always appear. Take heed, and remember that the costs of just one malicious or misspelled email can be enormous. Email validation and correction tools are a great investment to keep the robbers at bay while improving lead quality and deliverability rates. A small investment upfront could save you ten-times that on the backend.