Email Validation: How Email Verification Really Works

email-validation-706418.jpgMaintaining a healthy reputation with ISPs and ESPs, and achieving a high deliverability rate is becoming increasingly challenging for marketers today. Even if your email address acquisition practices are organic, and they follow all the standards for email marketing, they still run the risk of falling victim to spam traps. And because spam traps, bounce rates and complaint rates will determine your reputation as a sender, you can’t afford to ignore this fact.

A spam trap is an email address (usually active at one time, but now abandoned) that’s used to expose illegitimate senders who add email addresses to their lists without user permission. Though good-intentioned, these traps don’t just identify bad senders, they also expose marketers who aren’t exercising enough control over email permission and list management practices.

Spam trap emails can end up on public lists, which make their way into your CRM and can cause one of two negative things to happen:

  • Your ISP delivers a hard bounce and you are granted the opportunity to remove the email from your list before it gets marked as spam.
  • Your “from domain” is blacklisted by email providers.

Neither scenario is good for your reputation, deliverability, open rate, click rate or conversion rate. Even a mildly poor email sender reputation could cause some messages to get automatically sent to spam. This triggers a downward spiral and eventually, you’ll be blacklisted. In fact, having just 1 percent of “bad” emails on your list can reduce your deliverability by over 10 percent.

Ready for some good news?

There is a way to significantly reduce your risk!

Email Verification

Email verification is a service that identifies possible spam traps and other email address discrepancies before they’re flagged by ISPs or ESPs and cause permanent damage to your reputation. In other terms, the service helps clean up your email lists to improve deliverability.

An email validation provider uses a sophisticated email verification system to check for syntax regularity. But unlike standard email verification, their system goes above and beyond Javascript and implements artificial intelligence, multi-layer testing and intricate algorithms to identify troublesome email addresses—often in real time.

Email verification providers use this data to predict the likelihood an email will return as a hard bounce. Each email that’s run through this system is categorized using a scoring system and 30 different diagnostic codes. If an email is suspect, it is isolated for review and the system either autocorrects syntax errors, or marketers can approve/remove the suspect email from their list.

Furthermore, the scoring process acts as an alert if an email is active but has not been engaging with messages for a long time. This also helps marketers maintain list hygiene.

Full service email verification includes:

  • Identifying invalid email formats
  • Locating and correcting misspelled emails
  • Ensuring the most accurate status of every email domain
  • Determining whether each email will deliver, hard bounce or soft bounce
  • Reporting how old and/or active an email is, and when it last opened

3 Ways to Verify Emails

There are three approaches to email verification. Which approach you choose will depend on the timeframe in which you need results and the level of verification you wish to receive.

  • Use a website or mobile application to verify one or a few emails in real time.
  • Submit an entire email list for automated processing and receive results within hours or minutes.
  • Commit to full-service email verification, send in your entire email database, and get results within a few days.

The consequences of an ill-managed email database include:

  • Losing revenue opportunities
  • Increased marketing costs
  • Sales inefficiencies
  • Poor customer experience
  • Damaged sender reputation

While email verification can turn these negatives around, it’s important to remember email verification isn’t a cure-all, or a one-time fix. Regular list hygiene is imperative to avoid damage to your reputation, which means all marketers should stick to organic acquisition methods, regularly clean out their lists and continue to use email verification as a safeguard.

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