3 min read
Email address validation has been the matter of concern for webmasters, email marketers and online services for years. There are many companies offering email validation services developing various tools and approaches to provide advanced solutions for this problem. Since this problem and the ways to solve it exist for years we finally can make a right approach to email address verfification once and for all.
First, let us start with the definition of word ‘valid’ concerning the email address. We should also make a correction considering that we use email addresses to make mailings for our purposes to derive the definition of this word like we need. Thus, we call email address valid if it complies the following requirements:
- Email address belongs to the user that has subscribed to our newsletter
- Email address is still used by the user that has subscribed to our newsletter
- The owner of the email address wants to/doesn’t mind to receive our letters
In case user entered a wrong address that doesn’t exist we get a hard bounce. In case user enters a wrong address that belongs to another user we can get a soft bounce or that user can put our mail to the spam box which is definitely going to have negative effect on our sender reputation. Thus, it is vital to be sure that the email address belongs to the right user.
There are several things you can do to comply this requirement:
- Send confirmation letters - if for authorization in your service or subscribing the newsletter a user has to follow the activation link inside the letter you send him for confirmation, there is no chance that the email address he has entered is wrong in any way, as he cannot confirm the subscription if the email entered is wrong
- Do not buy email lists - you do not know the method that was used to collect it
You only can be assured that email belongs to the user at the moment of its confirmation. You do not know what the user will make afterwards - transfer it to someone another, delete or abandoned. That is why you need to comply the following requirement.
Even in case the email address is valid know it can get invalid in future just because the user has deleted, abandoned or transferred a valid email address to another person. Such a thing doesn’t depend on you, so all you can do is to follow the recommendations below.
First of all, the best way to make user motivated to get your newsletter is to make it valuable for him. However, this is not a matter under discussion now. Let’s review the technical moments:
- If you get several soft bounces in a row during a month there is something wrong with this email address. Of course, the reason can be in temporary errors on the server or absence of space in the user’s inbox. If the opening rate for this user is 0 or very low, still, you better delete him from the list.
- If you get one hard bounce from the email address check the content of the letter. Maybe it contains unacceptable by the ESP content or formatting. However, in such a case you will get a prompt failed delivery messages from other addresses as well. So if you get only one, delete the address from the list.
- If the opening rate from the user remains at 0 level for months you better delete him from the list.
- Make it easy for the user to change an email address as he can move to another mailbox still unwilling to give up on your newsletter.
All these tips are based on practice, they are not ideal as there can be many scenarios. However, the majority of successful email marketers use these tips for their good.
On the moment of subscription confirmation you can say that user really doesn’t mind getting letters from you. However, the time passes and it can be hard to predict how his attitude will change. For the email marketer it is essential to make sure the user is fond of getting letters from you now so that email marketing campaign show good results.
Actually, when it comes to the technical moments it is enough for you to follow the tips listed above and read our articles about the catch-all email servers and inbox and delivery improvement.
Most of the work that can be done here is about the content and the way you make your newsletters:
- the content has to be engaging and valuable
- the newsletter mustn’t be annoying - do not send it too often
- it has to be easy to unsubscribe from the newsletter
Considering you have followed the requirements listed above it is almost hard to predict or find out whether user is okay to get your emails while he doesn’t unsubscribe or mark your letter as a spam. That is why you need to have right attitude to the email address verification.
There are too much things to do if you want to get assured the addresses you have in your mailing list are valid. Especially if you did not follow the tips pointed out above from the start. In such a case you need to verify the email addresses you already have in your base. For this reason you need to use the automated email verification services. However, automatic check can be not enough and you may need services of the company that provides a manual verification.
So here is the right approach:
- follow the tips mentioned above and listed here
- use the manual verification services to validate mails from the list
- do not worry if the bounce rate doesn’t exceed 2.5-4%.