When your email marketing is booming, it means that you didn’t let any single detail slip away from you. To follow that logic, if your email campaigns are doing poorly, you must take a good look at all the vital components of your email outreach and see what you neglected.
In many cases, it would be your list of email addresses. Sometimes, senders think that the “spray and pray” approach to sending emails is still valid, so they send a lot of messages to the contacts they gathered and hope that the major part of these emails goes to the intended folder.
However, this method is a thing of the past, a very messy and chaotic past when recipients felt like they were walking across a minefield whenever they interacted with their inbox, and senders kept their fingers crossed whenever they hit “Send”.
In other words, this is not the “good old times” scenario. You don’t want to go back there and you don’t need to recreate this experience by refusing to verify your active email addresses.
Modern email outreach is all about being attentive to your contacts, even before you send your first email. Not only must you be able to craft a template that would appeal to your intended recipients (and their email service providers), but you should also make sure that you reach out to the right people.
Now, let’s break active email address verification down and see why it is so important and how to make it work for you.
Why do you need to verify an email address?
As we mentioned in some of our previous posts, email address verification plays a major part in email list hygiene.
- Better deliverability. When you send around 2500 outbound emails, you’d be happier if all of them landed in the recipients’ inboxes, right? However, if you don’t verify every email address on your list, you can expect that only 1000 or even 600 messages would reach the destination folder. When your goal is to develop your email marketing and expand your target audience, you can’t be satisfied with such results.
- Fewer bounces. So, if around 1000 emails out of 2500 you send get delivered, what happens to the remaining 1500 messages? They bounce back at you as hard bounces - and the more bounces you receive, the worse your sender reputation gets. Logically, the worse your sender reputation gets, the fewer emails you get to send to verified addresses because email service providers start treating you with suspicion. Long story short, you don’t want to see your bounce rate grow.
- More transparency. Unverified email addresses lead to more bounces and a low open rate - something that you’ll see when checking your campaign metrics. Because of this, you won’t be able to understand the true state of your email campaigns and evaluate your performance. Whatever relationship you may have with active recipients, it would be obscured by the data coming from interacting with invalid and obsolete email addresses.
- Higher engagement rate. The more recipients interact with your messages, the better internet service providers receive you. So, when you send emails to an address that hasn’t been active since 2018 and let them just pile up there, you do your email marketing a huge disservice. Your content should set things in motion!
As we always say, the quantity will never matter more than quality. You can add thousands of email addresses to your sending list every day, but it won’t mean anything if you never bother to verify any of them.
How to verify an active email address without sending an email
We make such a huge emphasis on the “without sending an email” part because sending an email to a questionable address is the quickest way to figure out whether it’s valid or not. If the address isn’t valid, you receive a hard bounce. No point in sending more messages, time to remove the inactive address from the list.
However, this is also the most harmful way of verifying email addresses - our goal is to evade bounces, not collect them. Therefore, abandon the thoughts of testing contacts with your mailbox and look for more elegant solutions. Modern technology is more than happy to provide those.
Manual email verification
The most reliable way to craft a list of verified and validated emails is to work on it personally, separating apples from oranges by hand. Of course, it’s time-consuming, but in the end, you can personally vouch for every email address on your list and no longer concern yourself with worrying about inbox placement.
How can you verify emails by hand?
- Dummy account. Not the most sophisticated option, yet you can get the hang of it pretty quickly. Register a free account on an alternative domain and send an email to the address in question. See if your message gets delivered or bounced. If you receive a hard bounce, you know that the address is invalid. The downside of this method is that the more addresses you need to verify, the harder it is to keep track of your work. Of course, you can manage it via spreadsheets, but it won’t make your task less taxing. Also, your alternative domain name would still build up a reputation, meaning that pretty soon, you’ll be receiving inaccurate data because your emails would be intercepted by spam filters.
- Double opt-in verification. This technique is mostly used in inbound marketing to keep track of registered users. Whenever a visitor decides to create an account or your website or sign up for a free trial or subscribe to your content, they receive a unique link. By clicking on that link, they confirm their email address, letting you quickly verify all inbound contact data and prevent users from providing non-existent email addresses. With double opt-in, your registered users also consent to receiving emails from you, making it easier to deliver messages to their inboxes.
- Double re-typo verification. This method works for your inbound recipients who sign up for your newsletter or subscribe to your blog. After they confirm their decision on your website, you can make a pop-up form that asks them to enter their email address once more. Thanks to that, you can rest assured that your inbound contacts are real. However, sometimes, your website visitors may use an alternative email address to keep their main mailbox free from unnecessary messages, so monitor those new addresses closely.
- Email checker. Let us be clear, when we say “manual,” we don’t mean that you can verify an email without tools entirely. Accessing DNS records and sending requests to an SMTP service isn’t something anyone can pull off. You need an email checker to do it for you. Luckily, there is a broad choice of email-checking tools that let you go through every email address on your list and see whether it’s good to go or not. A lot of these services are available online, without requiring you to install them or even sign in. Let’s take a look at an email checker developed by Hunter.io
To start email address verification, you just enter the email address you need to check and click “Verify.” After this, you’ll receive a brief outline of the domain name and server status. Hunter.io email checker also informs you whether the email address is publicly available.
In addition to the Hunter.io online email checker, there are Snov.io Email Verifier, Bouncer email-verifying feature and email-checker.net. However, you must keep in mind that each of these email checkers has specific features of its own. For example, with Hunter.io, you can find out whether the email address is valid, but you may get a bunch of outdated addresses that no longer belong to relevant recipients. The email-checker-net tool doesn’t let you work at scale and upload emails in bulk. So, keep this in mind when choosing the best email checker for your business goals and marketing needs.
Email verification within an email finder tool
When you have more than a couple of email addresses to work with, using email checkers that only allow you to verify them one by one won’t do. You need something bigger. Something that would let you verify an entire list within a relatively short time period.
In that case, you should go for a good email finder. An email finder is a tool that lets you harvest email addresses from a publicly available web source and verify them on the spot. Hunter.io Email Finder provides such a feature, letting you collect business email addresses from the company’s website. However, the issue of outdated email addresses still stands - and some of those addresses can be transformed into spam traps, so don’t get carried away.
There are also paid services, such as ZoomInfo, but startups with limited budgets can find their pricing intimidating. Snov.io also offers bulk email verification, letting you decide which volume fits your pace.
Due to this, our advice is to use a sales tool in addition to your email finder of choice. For example, LinkedIn Sales Navigator scrapes data from active LinkedIn profiles, letting you compare it to the data collected from the company’s website and see which emails are guaranteed to be active and valid. This process may take more than just a couple of clicks, but the end result would be worth it.
How do email verification tools work?
Any bulk email checker that's worth its money puts an email address through several verification stages:
- Syntax verification. The email checker checks the local part of the email address (johndoe@) and the domain part (company.io) to ensure its compliance with the syntax guidelines (character use, dot placement).
- MX records check. At this stage, the email checker uses a DNS lookup, accessing the intended recipient’s public DNS records, such as an MX record that outlines which email server is in charge of managing mail.
- Email server ping. The email checker connects with the SMTP server connected to the email address and sends a validation request. After receiving a reply (250 OK), the email checker gets a confirmation that the email address is valid. The negative result would look like this: 550-5.1.1 User Unknown.
- Disposable email check. The email checker makes sure that the email address isn’t a dummy account created by a spammer or a user not interested in providing their real contact data. Email verification services usually locate temporary email addresses by scanning through domains that generate them - whenever they find a match, they mark the address as disposable.
- Domain name validation (DNS). The email checker looks through the DNS records associated with the email address, checking the DKIM public key, SPF record and DMARC policy. If all those are available, the address is considered valid.
Some tools may go as far as checking whether some email addresses on your list have been greylisted or blacklisted before and even reveal them as spam traps, preventing you from being trapped in a blacklist database.
How often do you need to verify email addresses with a bulk email checker?
If you operate in a B2B area and have a massive list of emails, you must always verify your email addresses before you start your campaign. Make it a part of your routine:
- You gather new email addresses by researching the prospect’s website, LinkedIn page, or scanning the list of contacts registered for a webinar.
- You run email verification via an email checker, email finder or any other service that fits your budget and end goals.
- You remove email addresses that you weren’t able to verify and launch campaigns for the validated ones.
These three steps are essential for your deliverability and maintaining a positive sender reputation. When it comes to planning inbound marketing campaigns, you have to verify your email list quite frequently. The rule of thumb says that the frequency of your email list verification should match its growth speed. Even though you make your inbound prospects go through double opt-in verification or re-typo verification, remember that they might have an email address reserved specifically for emails they don’t want to see. So you must check those new addresses for activity, and if you see zero engagement on their behalf, don’t hesitate to get rid of them.
Is it sustainable to verify emails with a mail checker?
It’s no big deal when you need to check one or two email addresses. However, when you need to run bulk email verification, you’ll eventually have to look for paid tools and services. For many users, it seems like too much - after all, a good email deliverability tool that allows you to manage several inboxes doesn’t come cheap. Adding even more services seems like wasting too much money.
The truth lies in the ROI. There are many flexible price offers that let you pick a tool that matches your pace, workflow, and financial capacity. Even though it may feel like you’re putting a strain on your budget, you’ll end up losing more money trying to fix your sender reputation or even having to register a new business domain. Business email outreach requires a lot of investment, so you must make every cent count. The best way to do it is to ensure that none of your messages flies past your recipients’ inboxes.
So, having an email verification tool to back you up will sustain you in the long run, letting you stay in control of your list of email addresses and your campaign metrics. The price paid for the service will return to you in outnumbering high-value prospects that didn’t miss your emails.
Having to verify your email addresses may feel like an extra chore, but in fact, it’s an important part of building a successful email marketing campaign. You should be attentive to your recipients, and this attentiveness begins with the very first steps, such as making sure you have the right contact data and know the journey your email has to go through.
There are many tools that will help you handle any volume of emails you need to verify. Don’t be afraid to use them for the sake of your deliverability. Many services that we mentioned offer free trials, so you can make up your mind while making the most out of the features provided to you.
Before you start email verification, it also doesn’t hurt to check your performance and make sure that you’re moving in the right direction. Our Foldlerly tool lets you instantly see your Sender Score and measure your relationship with all the email services that you send to. Additionally, it allows you to check the state of your DNS records and email templates, informing you of potential outreach issues before internet service providers do.