Businesses put in a ton of work to collect lead information, especially their email addresses. Emails are an instant connection to leads, allowing you to slow-drip content, newsletters, and offers their way until they’re ready to convert while having your sales team work their magic.
Email collection can be tricky, though, especially when there is something incentivizing users to share their info aside from just wanting to hear from your brand. Not every email on your list will be one you can use to connect with leads.
This makes email verification crucial. In this post, we’re doing to discuss what email verification is, why it matters so much, and how you can start verifying emails for leads.
What is Email Verification?
Email verification is the process of checking and authenticating emails that you’ve been given to ensure that they’re authentic and that they’re likely to connect you to a real person (or, at the least, a real email account of an organization).
You can verify emails as they come in one at a time before (or as soon as) they enter your CRM. If you already have an email list that you’ve never checked, though, it’s a good idea to go ahead and run your list through.
Most verification tools will give you a “health” score of each individual email address, which considers factors like the age of the email, how long it’s been dormant, whether it’s a role-based email, and if it’s valid or not. While this isn’t entirely foolproof, it can help you flag which email addresses may be worth looking into further.
Is Email Verification Really Needed?
Have you ever seen a business giving away a lead magnet that you were interested in, but didn’t want them to bug you later about purchasing a product you knew you’d never buy?
While many people will decide the lead magnet isn’t worth it, unfortunately, plenty more will… but will leave a fake email address in the process. I’ve even seen people leave fake names and email addresses at conferences in exchange for a free stress ball.
One study found that approximately 60% of customers intentionally provided incorrect information to a business at least once when it came to their email address, and frankly this likely won’t surprise anyone. Even 10% of emails submitted during the checkout process are invalid, though this is often due to accidental typos more than an intentional action.
And unfortunately, while you can certainly track which addresses aren’t opening your email, there’s no easy way to assess which users might be fake and which might just wait for a subject line to really speak to them outside of authenticating emails.
How Email Verification Can Impact Your Team
If you have an unchecked email list, it can negatively impact both your sales team and your marketing team shockingly quickly. This happens for a few reasons, all of which email verification can help prevent.
1. It Destroys Your Email Data
An unchecked email list almost certainly means that you’re not getting accurate data.
If you have 100 emails on your list that have never been verified and a 40% open rate, you don’t know if that open rate is truly accurate. Are 60 users seeing the email subject line and thinking “eh, not impressed?” Or is it closer to 40 users who do this, and 20 of the emails either aren’t being delivered or are going to empty inboxes?
When you don’t have a clean list, your data hygiene is bad. Your metrics become unreliable and watered down, and it’s impossible to know exactly how well your campaigns are performing, which makes them nearly impossible to optimize for improved performance later on.
2. It Can Impact Your PPC Campaigns
Are you using an email list to run PPC campaigns? If you’re using Facebook Ads with custom audiences based around your customer lists, then having an unvalidated list can impact that.
While low-quality emails won’t prevent your higher-quality leads from seeing the ad, it can give you a false idea about how many people your campaign could actually be reaching.
If some of the email addresses are real but not actually your target audience, it can also hurt any campaigns you run where you make lookalike audiences off your email list, giving Facebook the wrong information about who you actually want to reach.
3. It Can Distract Your Sales Team
When new leads come in, your sales team is going to get in touch. That’s how the funnel works. And while lead scoring can certainly help them focus on the right people to pursue most, the reality is that they will reach out to everyone, and a lead may otherwise seem like a good candidate aside from a weak email.
You want your team to be focused on the right opportunities for revenue acceleration. Email verification is a simple step in that direction.
4. It Can Drive Up Marketing Costs
Email is an incredibly effective, low-cost, high-ROI platform in general. Once you start looking at a large, unmaintained email list, however, your costs go up and your ROI goes down.
Email software is wildly affordable on a per-user basis, but most offer tiered pricing based on the number of subscribers you want to store in the database. If you have a large number of less than stellar emails on your list, you’re paying more for no reason. That money could be better allocated to other areas in your marketing department, or even in your business in general.
5. It Can Hurt Your Deliverability
Both fake and poor-quality emails are going to hurt your deliverability rates. If the emails aren’t being delivered because the email addresses aren’t valid, you’re looking at high bounce rates and low deliverability.
This can start to hurt your overall performance, as mail systems can see this as an indicator of poor quality and it may start to tick you more towards that spam folder by default.
How to Verify Your Email List
The easiest way to proceed with email verification is to use an updated, thorough emali verification tool.
We offer a 100% free email verification tool here at Breadcrumbs. You can use it to help qualify or rank your leads, but you can also use it just to clean up your list.
You can either check a single email at a time, or connect to an email list to check your entire database. We currently integrate with Hubspot, but MailChimp is coming soon.
Once you do, we’ll give you a clear status (valid/invalid) and a score on a scale from 1 to 10 to share the assessment of each email address. We’ll include information about how we came to that conclusion, sharing the following:
- Whether or not it’s a valid format
- If the domain was found or not
- The age of the domain
- Whether the SMTP is accepted or is catch-all
- If it’s a free, disposable, or role-based email
- If there’s a spam trap
We can also help you find issues with invalid emails, especially where a typo was clearly accidental on the part of the potential lead. You can see this below, where we flag that the email is invalid but offer a suggestion for the correct email.
You can then check the new email address suggestion and make sure that it’s in great working order.
When You Should Verify Email Addresses
We know that you should verify your email list. The question now is when and how often.
For starters, go ahead and grab your entire customer list right now and run it through our verification tool. There’s no time like the present to start cleaning up your email list and improving data hygiene.
After your overall list is where it should be, you have a few options about verification moving forward. Some businesses prefer to run lists of new leads through after big campaigns or to just run checks every few months. Some sales teams will actually use our single email verifier to check up on individual addresses they want to double-check.
This answer will depend largely on the volume of incoming leads you have and how your team operates. If you have a higher incidence of low-quality email addresses or leads, we definitely recommend verifying your lists more often.
What to Do With This Information
I know we’ve said that you can use email verification tools to clean up your email list… but how exactly do you do that?
The actions you take may depend on your brand and what the validation tool flags. Here are a few examples:
- If email addresses are invalid, you can look for suggestions on the correct address and then test those. If they work out, you can update your database.
- Immediately delete spam trap emails from your email list and CRM, and make sure every member of your sales team knows not to contact them.
- Know that role-based emails may be high-value for B2B brands, so count that as a potential point in the lead scoring field
- Check addresses that are disposable and where the SMTP aren’t accepted against your email database; if they aren’t opening any emails, you can send them a “Still want to be on a list?” email and remove them if they don’t respond.
- Get this information to your sales team. They may notice more trends over time. You also want to let your marketing team know if the campaigns are bringing in a large number of low-quality leads so they can pivot to other strategies, platforms, and campaigns.
Email validation is something that most brands haven’t ever heard of, so if you came to this post asking “what is email verification?” then know that you’re not alone.
Just because some brands allow their lists to go unchecked does not mean that you should, however. It’s crucial to maintain great data hygiene for so many reasons, especially when doing so is as simple as uploading a list to a free tool and then taking action accordingly.
Want to clean up your email list by validating the addresses? Use our free email verifier tool here!