Mailgun and Exponea cohosted a great webinar on the importance of email list validation – what it is, why it’s important, and some ways to get it done. List validation is an extremely critical part of achieving good email deliverability rates.
If you missed the webinar, or just want to relive the experience, you can check out the full video by clicking the image below. If you don’t have time to watch it, we’ve summarized some of the key points after the image.
The webinar speakers
We were lucky to get two true email deliverability heavyweights to speak on the webinar:
Gavin Sherry, Senior Deliverability and Strategic Consultant – Exponea. Gavin has more than 20 years’ of experience in strategic marketing and ecommerce solutions. He manages all of Exponea clients’ toughest deliverability questions and teaches the Exponea Academy emailing courses.
Nick Shafer, Manager of Deliverability and Compliance – Mailgun. Nick is passionate about teaching both large and small businesses how to do the right thing when it comes to emailing and growing a healthy emailing list.
Table of Contents
What is email validation?
The webinar starts off with Nick explaining just what email list validation is. Essentially, it’s checking to verify if the email addresses on your mailing list actually exist.
In the past, that was all that it was. But now, as technologies and techniques have evolved, list validation is also about determining whether or not you should send an email to an address on your list.
Mailgun’s list validation tool not only checks whether an address exists; it also checks things like email address syntax, ISP specific grammar (i.e. some ISPs allow the use of + in an address, others don’t), and typos (e.g. .vom instead of .com).
Why is email validation important?
According to Gavin, getting your email delivered is all about your reputation. And your reputation is based primarily on three factors:
- Your list hygiene: how clean is your email list?
- Your segmentation practices: are you sending to engaged subscribers?
- Your mailing frequency: the more you send, the more scrutiny you’ll get from the ISPs.
For ISPs, the most important factor is your list hygiene. And validating your email address list is a surefire way to improve your list hygiene (check out other important factors for improving your email deliverability).
The impact of email list validation
Gavin told a quick story about the impact email list validation had for one Exponea client.
The client was a large, well-known global B2C brand. When they started with Exponea, they had very low open rates: just 7.8%. They were emailing their database three times per week.
Other brands of their size in the same vertical typically had open rates closer to 20%.
They ran their list through Mailgun’s validation service and discovered lots of typos in the email addresses.
After cleaning the list, they now have an average open rate of 28%. Better sending practices have also grown their active mailing base by 66%.
Integrating list validation with Exponea
Combining Mailgun’s list validation tool with Exponea’s Scenarios creates a water-tight solution for list validation. Here’s how it works:
- Mailgun’s list validation API is integrated with Exponea.
- A scenario in Exponea is created that “listens” for any email subscribe event from any source (Facebook, in store, web, etc.).
- The new email address is passed on to Mailgun’s validation API before it’s enrolled into a mailing campaign.
- The address is evaluated as either Deliverable, Undeliverable, Do Not Contact, or Unknown, and this information is added to the customer profile in Exponea.
- Deliverable emails enter a welcome campaign, undeliverable and do not contact addresses aren’t added to the list, and unknown addresses enter a double opt-in program.
Double opt-in scenarios, in best case scenarios, typically don’t have conversion rates higher than 70%. This approach lets you bypass double opt-in programs for safe email addresses, saving that approach only for emails that might put the hygiene of your list at risk.
Is email list validation visible on the customer side?
No, it’s done extremely quickly and quietly. The customer will have no idea it’s happening, so no friction is added to the customer experience.
Are there any email sign-up sources you can’t validate?
As long as you can “listen” for the sign-up event, you can validate the email address. We haven’t encountered any source that can’t be validated yet.
How does Mailgun identify spambots trying to register for a mailing list?
Spambots can be identified by looking for suspicious behavior or naming patterns that Mailgun carefully watches out for.
Do you need to validate email addresses that have gone through a double opt-in procedure?
Not at first. But things change, people change their email addresses. So what was once a safe email address might have been abandoned, and then turned into a spam trap. That’s why it’s important to periodically validate your email list, even if you have a double opt-in procedure in place.
WATCH THE WEBINAR RECORDING
Future-proofing Your Customer Data with Email Validations.
Watch the on-demand webinar to find out why email validation is the foundation of good sending which in turn will increase engagement rates and ultimately online sales.