Let's show you to how to verify an email address in this punchy, info-packed article. If you’ve ever dabbled in email marketing (or done it professionally), you may know of the grim statistics surrounding email deliverability.
48.16% of global emails are marked as spam and never delivered to the people who are supposed to be bringing you a 4200% ROI. With over 100 billion emails sent each day, 70% of them won’t even reach inboxes because of low sender scores.
So what’s a marketer supposed to do?
You can start by verifying your email address and your subscribers’ email addresses.
It’s one of the best ways to prevent Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and Email Service Providers (ESPs) from mistaking you for a spam account that wants to bother their users.
How to Verify an Email Address
If you want to check your subscribers’ email addresses to reduce the risk of hard bounces, you can use an online email verification service such as mailfloss that does everything for you automatically by checking your email lists everyday and removing invalid emails.
Other email verification tools require manual work or, at best, exporting your csv spreadsheets from your email marketing provider and then removing invalid emails from the provider once you’ve received the results back.
You can also use email verification APIs. These require costly developers to implement so may not be an option for some businesses.
Setting Up Your Sender Policy Framework Records
If you want to verify your own email address, you may need to set up your SPF (Sender Policy Framework) records.
Adding your email domain to SPF records means verifying which mail servers can send emails from your domain. This is typically used to prevent fake emails.
So let’s say you’re typically sending email from firstname.lastname@example.org and you’re using a newsletter service like MailChimp. If the SPF record is properly set up, mail servers will correctly recognize that MailChimp is authorized to send email for you, from the email@example.com domain.
Otherwise, these emails may be flagged as spam. And if only 10% of your emails are flagged, 40% of them don’t ever get delivered.
If you want to check if your SPF record is properly set up, you can use tools such as:
Checking your SPF records is especially important if you’re using third-party services to send email.
Email and Domain Authentication through DKIM
Every day, almost 100 billion emails get sent across the world. That’s a lot, right?
So imagine ISPs who have to chug all of that content and guess which is real, and which is fake. You may be sending mail from firstname.lastname@example.org, but how do they know you’re really who you’re claiming to be?
They may be paranoid, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t spammers trying to trick and scam their customers.
The best way to prevent extreme measures against your account (mistake or no mistake) is by using Domain Keys Identified Mail verification.
In short, DKIM verifies that you, the domain owner of the domain from which emails are sent, have given permission for that email to be sent.
Why is this so important?
Because, in order to put DKIM verification in place, you need to be able to access the DNS records of your domain, which can only be accessed by rightful domain owners.
(This may or may not include a fingerprint scan and blood tests.)
Once added to your records, DKIM will add a unique key to every email you send, identifying you and the email as lawful. Once a mail server receives your email, they’ll verify that this email was sent by you, and that the contents haven’t been intercepted in the meantime.
Adding the DKIM verification protocol to your email is generally a good idea if you’re sending emails for commercial purposes, as ISPs are adding stricter and stricter policies every day in their battle against spam.
This is one of the best ways to identify yourself as a known sender with a good reputation.
And speaking of reputation…
Email Sender Reputation
Your sender score is the score that ISPs and ESPs use to decide whether your email should be delivered to their users’ inboxes.
So if you’ve got a low score, maybe none of your emails will go through – even if you’ve got a mailing list with over 10,000 subscribers.
There are a lot of ways to prevent bad sender reputation, and email list hygiene is one of them (we’ll discuss below), but one of the surprising ones is inconsistent email delivery.
In this study by Return Path and published by Marketing Sherpa, it’s clear how send frequency has an impact on your sender reputation.
So let’s say you’re sending three emails a week for over a few months. The ESPs got used to it, and so have your subscribers.
But suddenly – you stop.
You don’t send any emails for a few months, and then you come back with a vengeance. You send three emails a day. Maybe you send more. Maybe the subject lines are full of caps lock and EXCLUSIVE OFFERS that your subscribers hate.
Not only will you get flagged as spam, but you’ll also draw the attention of ISPs and ESPs who’ll blacklist you.
After all, you’re not following your regular sending patterns. Maybe your email address was hijacked.
When it comes to some things, it just pays to be consistent.
But First: Wash Your Hands!
Finally, remember that it’s important to practice good email list hygiene. This means:
- Removing email addresses of subscribers who haven’t opened your last few mails
- Use double-opt in process
- Don’t buy email lists
- Verify any emails you get through
These practices already go a long way towards establishing good sender reputation, and they can also help with hard bounces (inactive emails) and soft bounces (mailboxes exceeding capacities).
If you verify and authenticate your email address, as well as your subscribers’ email addresses using a good email verification service, and use best practices to send email, ISPs won’t just leave you alone.
They’ll smile and wave.