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How to Validate Email Addresses, Step-by-Step

How to Validate Email Addresses, Step-by-Step

Are you sending newsletters and other marketing emails? Then you have to know how to validate email addresses so that you can get the best results from your campaigns. 

Millions of marketers across the globe use email to grow brand awareness and boost sales. According to Litmus, the return on investment (ROI) for email campaigns is $38 for every $1 spent. So, it’s no surprise that so many organizations send newsletters and marketing emails, and try to engage with their subscribers. However, the first step of a successful email campaign is making sure you reach those subscribers. That’s why validating their email addresses is essential. 

How to validate email addresses: what does the process look like? 

If you’re new to email validation, the idea of cleaning your list may sound complicated, but don’t let that discourage you. Technology has evolved so much in the past few years that the process has become a breeze.  

So, how do you go about validating email addresses? First, let’s see what that means and how it helps you.  

An email validation service analyzes every address in your database and ensures it’s deliverable and genuine. And it does so quickly, sometimes, in a matter of minutes. The benefit is immediate. Your sender reputation improves, and so does your email deliverability. As a result, you get a better chance to connect with the people on your list and increase conversions. 

Email validation: where do you start? 

First, you have to find a reliable email validation system. As email marketing has grown so much, many services have appeared on the market. Not all of them are worth your money.  

Once you’ve picked your service, it’s easy to start cleaning your list. You upload it onto the platform and allow the system to validate it. Then, you simply download it and email confidently, as the contacts you’ll end up with will belong to real people. 

Now, you may ask yourself, what kind of email addresses an email validator removes from your list? And, why is it important to weed them out? Let’s talk about that so you can better understand how email hygiene determines the results of your email marketing campaign. 

Harmful email addresses that sabotage your email campaigns 

You may think emailing invalid contacts is no big deal, so what if some of your emails bounce?  

Well, a high bounce rate has a significant impact on your sender reputation. When delivering your emails, Internet Service Providers (ISPs) use your reputation as a guide. If your bounce rate is high, and your emails hit spam traps and get spam complaints, you may end up in the spam folder or altogether undelivered.  

What are the email addresses that most affect your sender reputation and sabotage your email campaigns? Let’s take a look at the riskiest ones. 

  • Invalid email addresses. Some of them were invalid to begin with, while others became invalid over time. One thing is sure, they’ll bounce, so it’s best to get rid of them. 
  • Abuse emails. They belong to people who usually label emails as spam. You don’t want to continue to email them, so just let them go. 
  • Spam traps. As a spam prevention method, spam traps are designed to lure in spam senders and block them. They’re hard to validate, but once you do, weed them out right away. 
  • Catch-all emails. They’re created to accept all emails sent to a certain domain. You can email them, but many will bounce and hurt your reputation. 
  • Role-based emails. They belong to a group within an organization and have little to no value to your email marketing. 

These are just a few examples of email addresses you could have in your list right now, and you should remove them as soon as possible. Not only are they eating up a portion of your marketing budget, but they also pose a serious risk to your reputation. 

Validating with the right service 

If you’re ready to clean your list, but you don’t know how to choose the right service, we’ve got some tips for you. Learning how to validate email addresses the right way is a useful skill to have if you’re planning to expand your email marketing.  

So, what’s an email validation system supposed to offer you? Apart from being able to detect all the email addresses we talked about, here are some key features to look for: 

  • Accuracy. Search for a system that promises an accuracy rate of at least 97%. Anything less than that is unacceptable. 
  • Price. It differs from one service to another, but you can easily find one that offers a good deal. The more email addresses you validate, the more the price/email address should decrease. 
  • Security. Whenever you clean your list, you share it with this third party, so make sure they take all the measures to protect your data. 
  • Customer support. Some email validation services offer 24/7 customer support, so why not make the most of that? 
  • Documentation. Your service should provide clear documentation on your email validation results, so you know where your data quality stands. 
  • Ease of use. Validating your database should be a smooth process; upload, validate, download. That’s it! Don’t waste time on platforms that are difficult to use or require you to download any software. 
  • Email validation API. The API validates email addresses in real-time, thus preventing bad data from ending up in your list. It should be easy to install on your registration and signup forms.  
  • Bonus features. Before you sign up for an account, ask the company’s representatives about any bonus features the service offers. Some of them provide data appending, for example, which means that they’ll add the name, gender, and location of your subscribers.  

Lastly, the experts you choose should not only know how to validate email addresses, but also make the process simple and pleasant for you.  

Knowing how to validate email addresses is an asset in today’s digital marketing landscape. If you have an email list, consider cleaning it as soon as you get a chance. Once you’ve validated it, add an email validation API to ensure it stays current and that you’re emailing genuine human beings. Connecting with real people is the only way to succeed in email marketing to reach your business goals and reap the results of your hard work.  


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by Corina Leslie // Corina Leslie is the PR Manager for email validation company ZeroBounce, an Inc. 5000 honoree. Most often, you can find her on the ZeroBounce blog, where she shares her tips and interviews experts on digital marketing and PR.

Opinions expressed by contributors are their own.