If you use email marketing for your business or otherwise send out emails to lists of addresses, you are likely familiar with the challenge of bad or fake email addresses.
Every time you send out an email blast, you get notifications back that your message bounced. Perhaps you think this doesn’t matter. However, there may be a significant hidden cost to bad email addresses.
How to verify email addresses?
Email address verification is the process of checking to determine if an email address is valid. When you are sending out emails, you want them to go to a real person.
One of the best ways to ensure that they do so is to check email addresses on your list to ensure they are valid. Verification is a valuable tool in any email marketer’s belt.
Why Do You Need To Verify if it is an Active Email Address?
Many email marketers think that there is no need for an active email verification process. They assume that they can periodically clean up their lists based on bounces or even just leave them as is.
After all, they wonder, what harm is a bad email address doing? The reality is that verification can greatly benefit your email marketing campaigns. These are a few of the reasons why it is so important:
Increase Delivery Rate
Verified email addresses are more likely to be delivered because you can be certain that they are valid.
Why spend time crafting the ideal email only to send it to dozens, hundreds or thousands of bad email addresses?
When you check email addresses, you ensure that your messages are likely to be received.
Avoid Hard Bounces
An undelivered email is more than just a waste of time.
It will also frequently result in a hard bounce. These are error messages sent by the recipient server to let you know that something went wrong.
If you get too many hard bounces from a server, it may start filtering all your messages to spam.
Email servers aren’t the only ones looking for bad emails.
Service providers are also checking your bounce rate. If they see that you are sending too many emails to bad addresses, they may blacklist you. This can have even further-reaching implications than spam filtering.
You may find more and more of your emails bouncing, even if they are sent to valid addresses.
Check for Catch-All Emails
Some email servers use catch-all addresses, accepting all the emails that aren’t sent to valid addresses at that domain.
There are two problems with this.
First, a catch-all may send a hard bounce even though the email is received.
Second, chances are good that no one is actively reading the email received by the catch-all.
Get Clearer Campaign Metrics
Beyond the damage to your email delivery rate, bad email addresses can also cause misleading campaign metrics.
You may see an abysmally low open rate and click-through rate, for example.
However, this may simply be because half of your list is made up of unverified emails.
When you store and send to email addresses, you are incurring costs of both times and IT resources.
While a handful of bad email addresses won’t have an impact, if you have a major problem, you could be wasting significant money.
Cleaning up your mailing lists is good for your bottom line.
Purge Temporary or Deleted Addresses
An email address does not need to have always been bad to be a problem.
Many people create temporary addresses to sign up for things or delete their older addresses.
In either case, emails that once worked may stop suddenly.
Actively cleaning your list will get rid of these problem addresses.
A rigorous email verification process can find these typos. You can then correct them and deliver your email as intended.
With the right toolset, it is easy and time-efficient to check email addresses. With so many benefits, there is little reason not to implement a verification strategy.
When You Should Check Email Addresses?
You don’t need to verify your email addresses excessively. It is valuable to keep your mailing lists clean by periodically validating them. However, you only need to check if there has been a major change to your list or if you are struggling with poor metrics.
For example, you want to verify email addresses when they are added to your list. You also want to check email validity if your bounce rate exceeds 2% or your open rate is low.
In addition, it is a good idea to clean up your lists on a regular schedule. Consider checking roughly once per month. If you have a relatively small number of emails, you may be able to do this quarterly.
If you have very long lists that change a lot, you may need a more frequent schedule.
Please note that B2B lists need to be validated more often than B2C.
How To Verify Email Address without sending an email?
How to test if an email is active?
The simplest way to verify an email address is to simply send an email to it. If you get a hard bounce, you can remove the email from your mailing list.
This is an inelegant solution. It can harm your domain reputation, get you added to spam lists and mess up your metrics. Sending test emails is better than continuing to email bad addresses. However, there are some better options.
Nonetheless, you should check your soft and hard bounces regularly. This is a great chance to clean up your list in between verifications.
Pinging the Server
Another way to check email addresses is to ping the mail server and ask it whether the address is valid. This can skip the need to send a test email.
You need a tool such as Telnet on Windows or PuTTY. The first step is to look up the mail server using the command “nslookup -type=mx” followed by the email domain name.
This should return several servers. Pick one of them and connect to it using Telnet. The command for this is “telnet mail server address 25.” Then, say hi to the server by typing “HELO domain name.” Note there is only one L in the command.
Finally, it is time to check the email address. Start by typing “mail from:your email address.” Then, after the response code, type ”rcpt to:the email you are verifying.”
This process is slow, cumbersome and very risky for your infrastructure, as you can likely tell. However, it is quite accurate.
Sending Email From Another Address
Another approach is to send a test email from a dummy account. This is an extremely simple solution and moderately fast.
All you need to do is sign up a free account then send a test email.
Since it is from an alternative domain name, you can write almost anything in your email body. When you get hard bounce responses, you can remove them from your email list.
The main advantage of this approach is that it is very easy, even for tech novices. However, it is often inaccurate because you may not get clear responses and your messages could be filtered to spam.
Additionally, you will need to keep track of the responses yourself using a spreadsheet. For many email marketers, this is overly time-consuming and frustrating. Not to mention the fact that it is just bad to spam your recipients’ inboxes!
Using an Email Verification Tool
In many cases, the best way to verify email address without sending emails is to use an email verification tool. This is an especially popular option for regular email marketers and others used to send numerous emails.
The email verification tool automates the process to check email validity. All you need to do is provide your mailing list. There are a few benefits of using a tool:
Accurate: Perhaps most importantly, email verification tools tend to be very accurate. You can be confident that your final mailing list only has valid addresses.
Speed: Compared to pinging the server, the tool-based approach is very fast. Plus, you don’t have to do any work to check email addresses. Just upload your list and let the system do the rest.
Support: Producers of tools like Bouncer know email marketing and verification. They can provide the support that you don’t get with other options.
GDPR Compliance (If You Choose Bouncer): While not every tool is GDPR compliant, Bouncer is! If you are doing business in the European Union, having a system that complies with these laws is important.
Using a tool to verify email addresses is the fastest and simplest option. For busy digital marketers, this is a must-have.
Perks of using an email verification tool vs in-house solution
Use Bouncer To Bulk Verify Email Addresses
Learn more about email list verification today. With this powerful feature, you can enjoy all the benefits listed above and more. It’s time to start verifying your email lists!
Izabela is a leading contributor to the Bouncer’s blog. She is inspired to help companies all around the world to get emails into their recipients’ inboxes
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