Monthly Archives: March 2017

List Cleaning Services 101

By | Email Delivery Tracking, Marketing Email Deliverability | No Comments

Email marketing can be a walk on a minefield if you come unprepared. Thresholds for bounced emails, unsubscribe requests and spam complaints are set by Internet Service Providers (ISPs), corporate email protection services and anti-spam groups. If your email campaign has a high rate of any of these metrics, then there will be a good chance of harming your sending reputation and getting your emails sent to the bulk folder or blocked altogether. The pickle is that a lot of account suspensions actually happen due to the stale or old email addresses in your list, that are never used by the owner, and not by any violations on your part.

Below we will tell you about List Cleaning services, what they can do for you and when to use them.

What is List Cleaning?

List Cleaning is a third-party service that scans your email lists to identify and filter out invalid addresses. It is also commonly known as List Cleansing or Email Verification. While a lot of companies offer List Cleaning, not a lot of them come with reliable accuracy.

It is also worth noting here that most of the List Cleaning services will not remove the invalid addresses on their own; instead they will detect the addresses not likely to be successfully delivered, and rely on you to remove them from the list yourself.

 

When Should I Clean My List?

There is no black and white answer to this, as some email delivery services like MailChimp advocate not relying entirely on List Cleaning in a majority of cases. However, if you are faced with the challenge of bad email delivery, then you should always choose a reliable third-party service like BriteVerify. They claim to offer a reduction of bounce rate by 98%.

What cleaning a list will surely do is help you get rid of all those stale addresses. However, you should never expect List Cleansing services to be a one-stop solution to all your worries, as it is not going to help you with issues like spam traps, blacklists or abuse complaints.

List Cleaning can be very effective if you already have a record or subscriber permissions and you are following the best practices for email list acquisition.

5 Reasons to Never Buy Email Lists

By | Email Authentication, Marketing Email Deliverability | No Comments

With so many businesses looking to buy and sell their customer lists, it’s no wonder that direct marketing has gotten a bad wrap over the past few years.  While some of those lists that are being sold might advertise themselves as being an “opted-in list”, the reality is that they’re not. And even if a customer had opted-in to a vendor’s mailings, they have certainly not given their permission to you, so any emails they receive from you would be considered spam.

If you’re considering buying email lists, you might want to consider the following 5 reasons against any such idea:

  1. Spam Complaints. Remember that when you buy an email list, you aren’t getting the list exclusively.  Odds are that same list has been sold to multiple companies.  Because of that fact, there is a high chance that email recipients who suddenly get an influx of emails from a variety of vendors, will unsubscribe and even report the emails as spam. Receiving multiple spam reports will cause a spike in feedback loop reports and complaints which will give ISPs reason enough to be leery of future mailings coming from you.
  2. High Rate of Unknown Users. Email lists are always sold by quantity, so don’t expect quality to be there. Most of the time, vendors fabricate the true quality or nature of opt-in statuses on their lists. You will only be able to verify and guarantee that the subscriber is real and current if you use standard channels like web-form signups.
  3. ESP Violation. Use of rented or purchased lists are often prohibited by Email Service Providers. A violation of these policies will mean that the ESP could terminate your contract. It is important to review your ESP’s terms of violation for clarity before purchasing any email lists.
  4. Low Open Rate. ISPs these days are far more sophisticated in how they track user engagement when evaluating bulk mailings. Data measures have gone way beyond just the standard complaints, unsubscribes and bounces.  They now include behavioral stats like open rates and clicks. ISPs also measure the quality of your messages when scoring you and granting continued white label status, allowing you to send emails to your subscribers.
  5. Bad ROI. Keep in mind that email marketing is a business; therefore, there is a cost for every message sent. Hence, with each investment you expect a decent return. Purchased lists will have a seriously low response rate, meaning that your ROI goes down the drain and the bounces, spam flags and unopened deletes seriously damage your sending reputation.

So the next time you or anyone on your team suggests buying email lists, remember that quality will always trump quantity. Stick with best practices and the standard approaches of acquiring subscribers. Check out this article by Hubspot for additional information on the topic and for tips on how you can build your own lists, naturally.

Single Opt-In vs. Double Opt-In: Which One Is For You?

By | Email Authentication, Marketing Email Deliverability | No Comments

The public opinion for using Single Opt-In (SOI) vs Double Opt-In (DOI) is one that is split. So how can you decide which one is for your email marketing campaign? Well, let’s try and sort this out, once and for all!

But first, let’s review both of these major email permission approaches to ensure that we’re on the same page:

  • Single Opt-In (SOI) – This is a subscription process in which a new email address is automatically added to your mailing list, without the need for the owner of that email address to confirm conclusively that they willingly opted-in.
  • Double Opt-In (DOI) – This is a subscription process in which a new email address will only be added once the owner of that email address clicks on a confirmation link in an opt-in confirmation request email, sent to them after they opt-in thru a checkbox or form. DOI is also known as Confirmed Opt-In (COI).

Now that the definitions have been clearly defined, let’s discuss some of the benefits and risks associated with each approach:

  • Benefits & Risks of SOI – This process helps maximize your email list growth, but can result in a higher deliverability risk. A poorly executed SOI is more likely to encounter higher spam complaints and, quite often, the engagement rates are much lower, meaning you email deliverability will suffer.
  • Benefits & Risks of DOI – This process does minimize deliverability risks; however, it also results in a slower email list growth. A poorly executed DOI could result in a lower confirmation rate, potentially stifling your email list growth rate.

Want to find out more?  We think this is a great article for you want to find out more about the two opt-in methods and their many pros and cons.

So, coming back to our question – Which one is for you?

  1. Single-Opt In is not for everyone, especially if:
  • Your ESP requires Double Opt-In
  • Your company is a harassment magnet
  • There is no clear visibility into your deliverability
  • There are stronger permission requirements in your industry, especially due to regulations on marketing to minors, financial information or healthcare
  • You have real concerns about getting junked or blocked by some inbox providers
  1. There are three core components to email permission, which should help you decide which opt-in method is good for you:
  • Signup – What is the process of indicating that a person would like to receive promotional messages?
  • Context – What are the circumstances under which the person signed up?
  • Confirmation – What is the process for the sender to confirm that the owner of the email address knowingly and willingly signed up to accept promotional emails?
  1. Many brands never use just one of the two opt-in methods exclusively – there is often a mix of both approaches across the various touch-points. However, as list quality concerns and engagement rates affect sending reputation and the global performance of email campaigns, at Mail Monitor we recommend Double Opt-In due to the high deliverability risks associated with Single Opt-In.