Email is the lifeblood of communication in the digital age, and email validation is a key to success. It’s hard to imagine a world without email, and businesses would be lost without it. However, email can also be a source of frustration and wasted time if not used correctly. One of the main ways to use email correctly is by validating your email addresses before you send them out. In this blog post, I will discuss what email validation is, how it works, and why you need it. Read on to learn how to improve your email campaign effectiveness.
What is an Email Validation?
This is the process of verifying that an email address exists and is valid. There are several methods of email validation, but the most common method is to use a tool that checks the email against a list of known email addresses. This can be done in real-time or in batches.
How Email Validation Works
While there are third party services that can provide email validation services, most ESPs (email service providers) have built in tools to provide email validation.
Typically, providers can class the email addresses (on the list you provide), into three classes:
Valid: An email address is one that exists and can receive email. The email validation process was able to complete right to the mailbox.
Uncertain: An email address that exists (and has the proper syntax), but has some issues that might (or might not) result is bounces. Email validation could confirm the email address, but not DNS records or mailbox actions.
Invalid: An email address that does not work. This could be any one (or a combination) of email address syntax being incorrect (such as typos), missing or broken DNS records, or that the mailbox is unable to receive email.
How Email Validation Helps
Using email validation before launching each email marketing campaign, helps to improve the effectiveness, and deliverability of your email, and a better ROI.
Some of the specific benefit include:
Results in Higher Conversion Rates
Higher conversion rates, resulting from more of your email reaching subscriber mailboxes. This results in higher open and click rates, etc.
Helps Email Reputation
Your email reputation is maintained (an improved) because your bounce and spam rates decrease. Again, this results from using a “cleaner” email list.
Increases Delivery Rates
Delivery rates will increase, because only valid email addresses are being used; as email validation helps you remove “bad” email addresses.
Your ROI is improved, because resources are not wasted sending invalide email addresses, and the resulting improvement in open and click rates of your campaign email.
Email Validation Methods
There are several email validation methods available, but the most common are:
This method uses an email address prediction tool to suggest possible email addresses as you type. This is similar to how most search engines now suggest possible search terms as you type.
This email validation method requires the email address owner to confirm their email address, by clicking on a link in an email sent to them. Once confirmed, the email address is added to your list.
Real-time third party
This method uses a real-time check of the email address against a known email list, as well as checking DNS records, and for other potential delivery problems. This is done in batches (usually every 24 hours), and can be done manually or automatically. One example of such a service, among many others, is dbounce.
What is the Standard Email Validation?
Standard email validation includes checks for the valid format of an email address. This helps to avoid issues such as typing errors, invalid domains, or invalid characters in an email address.
There are two domain formats that are used in email validation: FQDN (Fully Qualified Domain Name) and IP address. That’s the part of the email address that comes after the “@” symbol. The domain format needs to follow these two specific rules:
- Only letters, numbers, and dashes are allowed.
- The final portion of the domain must be at least two characters long, such as .com, .org, .us, or .ca, etc.
The prefix format is the part of the email address before the “@” symbol. There are three common prefix formats: name, email, and user. Also there’s a specific syntax required for email address prefixes:
- Only letters (a-z), digits, underscores, periods, and dashes are allowed.
- A period, dash, or underscore must be followed by one or more letters or numbers.
Why is Email Validation Required?
A study by Talos Intelligence determined that 22.43 billion daily email messages are legitimate, out of a total of 122.33 billion emails sent daily. DataProt posted this along with several other statistics, which helps us understand why email validation is required.
Some of the most common include:
Improving Data Quality
One of the most important reasons email validation is used, is to improve data quality. This is done by removing invalid email addresses from your email list, which can help to improve email deliverability rates.
Reducing Hard Bounces
A hard bounce is when an email message cannot be delivered because the email address is invalid. By using email validation, you can help to reduce the number of hard bounces, and improve email deliverability rates.
This often can also occur when an email address no longer exists or was otherwise terminated. Since the address existed (and was used) previously, using email validation before sending each email campaign, will help to catch such issues.
Avoiding RBL Blacklists
An RBL blacklist is a list of IP addresses that have been identified as sending spam email. If your email server’s IP address is on an RBL blacklist, it can cause email delivery problems. Email validation can help to avoid this issue by identifying invalid email addresses before they are added to your email list. Without question, you never (ever) want to be placed on an RBL (realtime block list).
Minimizing Spam Complaints
Spam complaints can happen when someone clicks the “report spam” button in their email program, for an email that they received from you. This can cause email deliverability problems for future emails. Email validation can help to minimize spam complaints by identifying invalid email addresses before they are added to your email list.
Many ESPs expect your spam complaint rate to be less than 0.01%. If your spam (and bounce) rate goes too high, not only will recipient networks begin refusing email, your ESP might suspend your delivery services.
Email validation is a process that helps to improve email deliverability rates by removing invalid email addresses from your email list. It can also help to avoid email delivery problems caused by RBL blacklists, hard bounces, and spam complaints. Email validation is a required step in email marketing, and should be done regularly to maintain high email deliverability rates.