Bounce-proof Your E-mail Lists

Jun 04, 2007 8:29 PM  By

Keeping your e-mail lists fresh is critical to the success of your online marketing and e-commerce efforts.

Thanks to error-ridden databases, privacy concerns, and excess spam, as well as the high turnover of e-mail addresses, many marketers are now finding they are losing e-mail addresses faster than they can gain them. Customer retention has reemerged as the key to profits.

In a white paper by Newton, MA-based e-mail marketing firm FreshAddress, the company’s CEO, Bill Kaplan, outlines five steps you should take to bounce-proof your e-mail lists:

  • Use a double-entry system during registration: This will reduce typos and help your customers recognize how important an accurate e-mail address is to you.
  • Validate e-mail addresses at the point of registration: Examine your current methods for validating e-mail addresses at the point of registration. Consider upgrading your software or using a real-time validation service so you can catch your prospects when they want you most.
  • Confirm your registrations: Present all new registrants with a confirmation page, which lets them review what they have typed and correct any mistakes made.
  • Implement a double opt-in process: Require visitors to check their e-mail and click through on a custom link to confirm that your e-mail was successfully delivered to them. Note: you may see a significant drop off in your registrations and annoy some prospects, but it will ensure that only valid e-mail addresses are introduced into your list. Decide if this trade-off makes sense for you.
  • Examine your offline data entry procedures: Review the other ways that e-mail addresses get into your database. Provide your data entry staff with a list of common top-level domains (.com, .net, etc.), domains (Hotmail, Yahoo, etc.) and standard e-mail address formatting rules. If you do any significant offline data entry, investigate implementing aggressive validation on these addresses at the time of entry.