You’ve spent the past week creating the perfect marketing campaign, and now it’s time to send it to current and potential customers. But before you import your list into your email service provider (ESP) or marketing automation platform, you need to ask yourself three important questions, as you may be about to make a costly and time-consuming mistake.
1. How did you build your email list? Did you use a double-opt-in process?
The source of your list matters. If you, very recently, built your list through contacts using a double-opt-in process, then your email list is likely pretty clean. By using a double-opt-in process, you eliminate invalid email addresses due to typos or fake addresses from your campaigns.
If you purchased the list, however, there is a very good chance that your list contains many old email addresses and probably at least one spam trap—a normal-looking email address designed to catch people sending spam. Sending emails to a spam trap can land you on a blacklist for your ISP. Even worse ESP will often fire you as a customer if they even suspect you of attempting to send to purchased or harvested lists.
2. How old is the list?
Email lists expire very quickly. People change jobs, get married or abandon email addresses. According to Marketing Sherpa, an email list decays 2.1 percent every month. If the list is 6 months old, then it’s probably not giving you the results you want, as your list of 5,000 might now be 4,370. Sending to that list will immediately drop your sender reputation and significantly impact the overall deliverability of your campaigns across the board.
3. Are you following the rules of your ESP, CRM or Marketing Automation Platform?
Every email marketing platform or tool has rules on everything from formatting to email list quality. When you break these rules, there can be consequences that prevent you from sending your campaign altogether. Furthermore, most ESPs strongly encourage that all email lists be double-opt-in to reduce bounce-backs and protect you against malicious bots and scammers. Check with your vendors to find out their rules and then make sure your list and their processes comply.
If your answers show that your list is new and opted in, congratulations! You are following safe marketing guidelines. However, if any of your answers indicate that your list could contain a large number of invalid emails, it’s time you verify your list. Email verification is easy, affordable and is a marketing best practice that will save you a lot of time, headache, and money in the long run.