Email Validation on Forms – The Definitive Guide for Marketers

Jul 1, 2024

Email is one of the most effective channels for lead generation and one of the most lucrative in terms of marketing ROI. However, there is one problem: to achieve great results, you need to collect real, valid email addresses.

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When people leave their addresses on your website, they can often make typos, leave someone else’s address, make up fake addresses, or use temporary emails for registration. The way to fix all of these problems?

Validate email addresses with forms on your website. Today, we’re going to show you how to do just that.

What are email validation forms?

An email validation form works in the background of an email capture form. If a website has a place to enter an email address (for example, for subscribing to a newsletter), the validation form works in the background to check if it is a valid email address or not.

Bouncer's signup form

If the address is valid (it has proper formatting and exists), the form accepts it.

If it is an invalid email address (includes a typo, does not exist, it’s a disposable address, a duplicate in your list), the form shows an error message after the input box.

The role of this form is to ensure only the valid email address format is accepted. This way, your email list does not get cluttered with outdated, fake, and generally useless addresses.

How do email validation forms work?

There are two main ways.

Get valid email addresses with code and regular expression

Most programming languages support email validation. For example, you can write Javascript code and add it to your website or create an HTML form for checking if an address is valid. This method can be fairly simple, as all you need to do is add the Javascript or HTML code to the website (via regular expression), and voila, you can do email validation.

The downside is that using regular expression and tools like Javascript code is not very reliable. These can only check if someone entered a properly formatted email address. For example, if they typed john@example_com instead of [email protected], the form shows a validation message that the email is not good.

For example, the following ASCII characters will throw an error: ^[a-z0-9.!#$%&’*+\/=?^_`{|}~-]+@[a-z0-9-]+(?:\.[a-z0-9-]+)*$.

In other words, it only checks for email syntax. The Javascript or HTML form does not capture:

  • Outdated and fake email addresses
  • Spam traps
  • Duplicate emails
  • Catch-all addresses
  • Disposable emails

It essentially covers just the basics. If you have elementary coding skills, and you want to do server-side validation, this way of checking the email format makes sense. However, the use can still submit an address that can do damage to your email campaigns.

The advantage of this method is that if you know your way around regular expression and basic HTML elements, you can validate emails for free.

Validate email addresses via API

API stands for application programming interface, and in this case, it is the API of email validation tools such as Bouncer. These tools do email validation across different touchpoints, checking each email in less than a second.

The API is also based on code and it helps you find valid email addresses in real time.

Typically, you would go to a tool such as Bouncer and head to the dashboard. You then input text (a list of addresses), and it shows every invalid email address on your list.

With the API, you can do automatic validation directly on your website. Your developers just need to connect the API to the form on your website to validate emails in real time.

Here is how it works.

  1. Someone entered an email address on your website through a form
  2. Bouncer’s API works in the background, doing different types of email validation
  3. The user gets a message if their email is valid or not

The instant validation means that invalid emails never reach your email list, and you are safe against all types of invalid addresses.

The downside? Using APIs on email validation forms does not come free. However, the marketing ROI you can get can be amazing. For example, it costs just $8 to validate 1,000 email addresses in Bouncer. If you remove just 20 emails as fake or outdated, this can have a meaningful impact on your email engagement and overall deliverability.

Why should you validate emails on forms?

It seems like an extra step and a reason to annoy your developers. However, using validation on forms (be it through HTML code or validation tool APIs) actually makes a lot of sense.

No spam sign ups

Whether it’s regular expressions or APIs, validation prevents spammers from signing up on your website. Demos, newsletters, downloading lead magnets – no one can leave a fake, spammy address on your website. Your sales and marketing teams no longer have to waste time on fake leads.

Improved sender reputation

When an invalid email lands on your list, and you send a message to it, email service providers take note of that. The email bounces, which is no big deal for just one email. But over time, with hundreds and thousands of bounced emails to fake addresses, this adds up and makes a dent in your sender reputation.

Sending only to valid email addresses is a superb way to lower your bounce rate, increase your engagement, and get a better return on investment from email marketing.

Less money spent on email marketing tools

All of the most popular email marketing tools charge a business based on the size of their email list. Fake emails are dead weight that bring no results to your business, but providers such as Mailchimp only care about the total number of users on your lists.

For every duplicate, outdated or fake address, you pay money every month. This may not sound like much, but with large email lists, this number adds up and could save a lot of money every month.

Improved analytics

Invalid addresses cannot receive emails. And if you constantly send messages to these addresses, they never get delivered. Among other things, this ruins your email analytics because you never know your real deliverability and open rates.

If every entered email address is valid, the email marketing analytics give you a clear representation of how your campaigns are performing.

Improved user experience

Whether you use automatic validation or a regular expression pattern, showing an error message to the user on your website can actually provide a better user experience.

If someone really wants to purchase from you (or sign up for something) and they accidentally have a typo when adding their address, this person will want to know so they can correct it on the spot. Otherwise, you lose a subscriber and a potential customer just because you have not checked their address on your website.

Compliance with regulations such as GDPR

The General Data Protection Regulation states that the data you collect from users should be accurate. By adding validation directly on your email forms, you ensure compliance before the situation spirals out of control and you start emailing bogus addresses.

Security and fraud prevention

Some users could be adding fake addresses just for some fun. But others could have a different idea: trying to commit fraud using fake identities. While you cannot prevent situations of false representation, you can easily stop users from entering fake addresses.

How complex is it to set up validation on forms?

Not complex at all. For example, you can add the following regular expression to your code on your website:

You can find invalid email addresses with server side code.

You can ask your developer to add this to your Javascript or HTML form and you’re safe against the most basic types of invalid addresses.

If you’re using API, the principle is the same: just connect the API to the website’s code and you can get real-time validation and squeaky-clean lists.

Use Bouncer’s API and validate emails at the point of entry

Bouncer’s email validation API helps you capture all types of invalid addresses at the point of entry. It takes a few hours to set up, and the benefits you get are long-lasting. Some of the reasons to try it include:

  • Impressive performance: validate up to 100,000 emails per hour
  • Fortress-like security: GDPR and SOC-2-compliant
  • Easy to use: plenty of API documentation to help even non-developers integrate
  • High accuracy: 99.5% validation accuracy

And the best part is that API is included in all Bouncer plans, starting as low as $8 for 1,000 emails.

Wait, the actual best part is that you can get started with Bouncer today and validate your first 100 emails completely free.

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