Email Verification: Keep Deliverability High By Keeping Undeliverable Emails Out

When you hit “send” on a campaign, do you know how many of your emails will actually land in customers’ inboxes? If you’re not using email verification, you may be shouting into a void. 

You can wind up with undeliverable email addresses in your list for many reasons. Customers make typos, bots can sneak junk addresses into your forms, and people enter fake addresses to get a coupon code or free download.

Those bad email addresses are more than an annoyance—sending undeliverable emails can undermine your deliverability and, ultimately, your bottom line. 

Email verification uses an API to automatically check if an email address is deliverable. It answers the question, “Will this email actually make it into an inbox?” 

Why email validation matters

Better deliverability = protected domain reputation

Poor deliverability and open rates will hurt your domain reputation. To an inbox provider, lots of bounces are a red flag for bad actors. It’s usually a signal that it’s a bad actor either sending spam, or who bought a list without getting opt-ins, or who otherwise may be sending emails that people don’t want to receive. 

When that happens, email clients will be inclined to treat all other messages from that sender as spam.

So, even with all those good email addresses on your list, your engaged customers who want to hear from you could become out of reach. Email verification makes sure that undeliverable email addresses don’t get in the way of your connections with your customers. 

Valid profiles = reduced costs

It pays to validate emails, literally. Every spam profile is taking up space in your audience—so you’re paying your ESP to send emails that will never be received. It’s a bit like paying for postage to send a package to an empty lot.

The cost of an email validation API is usually nominal, and the savings you get from a clean list in your ESP are worth it. It will also spare you the expense of repairing a damaged domain reputation. Plus, you avoid the opportunity cost of winding up in your real customers’ spam folders. It’s like an insurance policy—nobody likes paying for it, but you’re happy to have one to protect you.

Cleaner data = better resource allocation

If your email strategy is based on bad data, you’re not going to get the results you want. From wasted time sending emails that will bounce to skewed lead scoring, undeliverable emails muddy your data and drain your resources. The more undeliverable emails in your list, the less understanding you’ll have of your customer base.

Even a small number of bad addresses can create big problems. Imagine: you offer a free gated PDF on a landing page, and you create a nurture campaign to the segment of customers who download it. Say a lot of people want that PDF, but not many of them want to give up their contact info—so you get a lot of fake email addresses. Even if they make up a small percentage of your overall list, they’ll be a big chunk of that segment, so you waste a lot of the resources you devote to that campaign. And when you look at the performance of that operation, you’ll see skewed numbers that won’t play in your favor.

How email validation works

Step 1: verify format

This step is simply checking that text entered in an email form field is in the correct format, such as name@domain.com This catches some typos, like if someone forgets to include the @ symbol, but it can’t tell you if the address is spelled correctly or if the address truly exists. This is a necessary step, but is limited in scope.

Step 2: verify deliverability

The most important aspect of email validation is ensuring a message you send to an address will actually be delivered. Simply use a third-party API, which will do the work for you. 

You can use any email verification API. I’ve found Kickbox to be the best bang for the buck, but any similar service will achieve the same results. You can do this right in Customer.io with our Kickbox integration, or you can add it into the code on your sign-up form using Kickbox API (or whichever email verification API you choose) .

Engagement starts with deliverability

If the metrics from a campaign or broadcast show high bounce rates or low open rates, there’s a good chance that undeliverable addresses may be muddying things. And even if your deliverability is healthy now, it’s a good idea to protect your domain reputation and data integrity in the future.

At the end of the day, your goal isn’t to send emails—it’s to have people actually receive your messages. Deliverability issues are incredibly common, and they’re potentially very costly. If you set up automated maintenance of your email lists, you’ll knock down one more barrier preventing you from landing at the top of your customers’ inboxes. 

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