Picking an email cleansing software isn’t easy when you consider the number of options on the market. If you’re new at email marketing, things can get even more difficult. What are the most important aspects to keep in mind? What is a fair price to pay to get your list cleaned? Also, are there bonus features some email verifiers offer as opposed to others?
Below, we’ll look at the essential features an email cleansing software should provide – and share some extra tips to help you make the best choice. Knowing these details will give you an advantage: they’ll allow you to save and get the best service for your email list.
First, let’s see why using an email cleaner is important when you send mass emails.
Why you need an email cleansing software
As soon as you’ve picked an email service provider (ESP), you should also think about picking an email cleansing software. Email cleansing – sometimes called email validation or verification – is a best email practice that protects your list from bad data. The cleansing service you select is as important as what ESP you choose, if not more so.
Why? All email lists will inevitably decline – that’s a natural fact. Most people eventually get rid of their old email address for one reason or another. Or they begin using a new email address through their work or university and slowly neglect their original inbox. Eventually, the emails you send them will bounce.
An email cleansing service will remove the contacts that no longer exist, but also a variety of other low-quality emails. Some addresses on your list should have never been there in the first place. Their presence only affects your sender reputation and causes your emails to land in the spam folder.
This is why you choose a service to clean your email list. To make sure this gradual or, at times, rapid decay of data doesn’t ruin your chances of having a successful email marketing or cold emailing program.
Now, let’s move on to our topic: how can you make sure you choose the best email cleaning service for your business? Here are the essential criteria to keep in mind.
Accuracy: how good is your email cleansing software?
No email validation service will remove absolutely 100% of your bad data, but it should come very close. So you should expect at least 97% accuracy. Anything lower than that means the email verifier isn’t worth it. What’s the point of cleaning your list if bad contacts remain or good addresses get eliminated?
One of the indicators of a quality email cleansing service is a money-back guarantee. If the service is able to do what they advertise, they should have no problem backing it up. So, ask the company’s representatives: if the software fails to satisfy you, can you get a refund?
Features: what does the email cleaner do?
Email cleansing software can be very basic and only detect certain risky email addresses, such as invalid and disposable contacts. However, there are competitive services that will help you even more with their toolkit. The tools at your disposal can augment the cleansing, which is the primary purpose of the service. Since you’re trying to increase your deliverability and list quality, check what tools they offer.
What will this service do for me? That’s a valuable question and a great way to start comparing the email cleansing software out there.
At bare minimum, an important feature of any quality email validator is the ability to locate the following types of harmful emails:
- Invalid addresses. These types of contacts are the main offenders on any email list. Not only are they so common but also, they can cause serious damage to your email deliverability. Bounces tarnish your sender reputation, making inbox providers believe you have no concern for your email hygiene. This behavior resembles that of spammers, so if you keep emailing invalid contacts and getting bounces, your emails may begin to go to spam. A reliable email cleansing software should detect potential bounces easily.
- Disposable emails. Sometimes called “temporary emails,” they have a short shelf-life and then they are deactivated. They have virtually no marketing potential. People sign up for disposable email addresses from Guerrilla Mail or Temp Mail because they don’t want to share their real email address with you. Once these emails self-destruct, they bounce. To avoid gathering these types of contacts and getting bounces, make sure your email cleaner can detect them.
- Role-based emails. These email addresses don’t belong to a particular person, but to a group of people. Common examples include info@, office@ or mail@. You never know who is checking these mailboxes and what actions they’ll take. It’s possible your newsletter will be marked as spam because one of the people checking the inbox has no idea what it is. Role-based emails typically have little marketing promise. Detecting and removing them is key.
- Catch-all emails. These emails “catch” all of the emails sent to a particular domain and direct them to one inbox. If someone makes a typo or writes to someone no longer with a company, it all goes to the same place. Because of their nature, catch-all emails are prone to spam and over quota, so your messages may bounce. A good email cleaner can detect these addresses – but cannot tell you whether they’ll bounce or not. Email scoring is what helps you further validate catch-all addresses.
- Spam traps. Sometimes referred to as “honeypots,” these addresses are meant to lure spammers into sending email addresses to them. Those senders are then blocked, so you can see why you wouldn’t want to have spam traps in your database. Just by looking at them you’d never know they’re traps, but that’s where a good email cleaner makes a difference. Not all services can detect them, so be sure to check whether your service offers this feature.
Customer service: can you get 24/7 support?
Email verification is not something everyone has a grasp on. Most people, even advanced email marketers, don’t know all of the technical inner workings of email cleaning. The email validation services out there vary on how reachable they are. Some are not available by phone and others have live chats with limited hours.
You never know when you’re trying to send an email out and it’s crunch time. Are you going to be able to get a hold of someone if an issue arises? It’s really important that the email validation company you choose can be readily reached.
You’d be surprised how many are difficult to contact, even when you’re trying to make a purchase. The more available they are, the less you need to worry. A good thing to compare between services is the hours and days they are available and also how you can contact them. ZeroBounce, for instance, offers 24/7 support via live chat.
Security: can you rest assured your data is safe?
We’re at a time when security of all types is critical, but especially cybersecurity. You’ve been entrusted with your customers’ private information, so it’s paramount you pick a verifier that’s always vigilant.
First, be sure that your email verification software is General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) compliant. Whatever service you use should be taking security measures and also be continually improving best practices to avoid any breaches. Any great technology company is aware of and proactive about security, but it’s especially important for an industry that involves names and contact details of so many individuals.
Does the email cleansing service you're interested in have a commitment to security and information on their website about their safety and security protocols? Choosing a software that takes this seriously is a must.
Email cleaning API: is it reliable?
An email validation API is something you can connect anywhere you have an email sign-up form. Working in real-time, it will let someone signing up immediately know if they have made a typo. If they try to sign-up using a role-based email address, it will tell them to enter another email. What if they try to use a disposable email address just so they can take advantage of some offer you’ve made? The API require them to enter a real email address. Furthermore, it’s not unheard of for competitors to try to poison your list by entering in detrimental addresses. They do this to sabotage you and get a leg up.
When picking an email cleansing software, ensure it has a functional API. You want one that you can count on – and that means no downtime and the same accuracy as the bulk verifier.
Pricing matters: how much will cleaning your list cost?
If you’re new to email marketing, you probably have a smaller email list and keeping it clean should be inexpensive. As your list grows, maintenance costs will increase. However, if your list is successful, your email cleansing cost should be minimal by comparison.
Take a look at the various services associated costs and also what they are offering in return. There may be a very low price, but can you be assured that the quality is good? In some cases, you get what you pay for. If a service offers better tools, it may be worth it to pay a little more.
It’s important to keep in mind that skipping your routine cleansing is a bad idea. Your email service charges based on the number of contacts on your list. If you’re sending emails to invalid or bad contacts, not only is there no marketing potential, but you’re paying to do so. It’s a complete waste of time and resources to email invalid contacts.
For this reason, using a good email cleansing software is something that will pay for itself.
Bonus features and benefits: the clear differentiators
Apart from weeding out bad data, there are other things you can do to improve the quality of your email list. Certain email validation services differentiate themselves by offering bonus features and tools – and for some of them, you don’t have to pay a dime extra.
For instance, the removal of duplicate email addresses. Keeping them in your list means you’re using some of your budget to send your emails to the same person. Not only is this a waste of resources but also, it can cause that person to unsubscribe or to even label you as spam. So, when picking your email cleansing software, ask if it can detect duplicate contacts. ZeroBounce does it at no extra charge.
Here are some other features and tools to look for before signing up for an email verifier:
- blacklist monitoring: do they have a tool that can tell you whether your domain or IP is on any blacklists?
- deliverability testing: could you get access to a service that allows you to test your emails before you send them to your list?
- email scoring: is there any way your email verifier also helps you validate catch-all emails?
The better the email validation service, the more it can do. When you have all these email optimization tools on one platform, you know you’ve found a good company.
Author: Paul Leslie is a content writer at ZeroBounce, an email validation and deliverability company.