Loqate, a GBG solution
Validate to captivate: how to increase email open rates and engagement

With the pandemic triggering a boom in eCommerce and all of us spending more time online, it’s no surprise that email send volumes have skyrocketed.

Data from HubSpot found that 44% more emails were sent by brands in May 2020 compared to before the lockdown in March. And while we’re still faced with so much uncertainty, email marketing is predicted to remain high for the foreseeable.  

Email has always been the channel of choice for retailers wishing to engage with their customers in a cost-effective way. But with storefronts and face-to-face customer interaction taken away, many have been forced to step up their game when it comes to email marketing. So, how do we ensure that emails are hitting customer inboxes successfully every time?  

What is email validation?

Keeping in touch with customers has never been more important. Whether it’s product offers, service updates or sending out messages regarding store openings and closures – email is a vital tool in maintaining brand awareness and generating sales.

As well as verifying that an email looks correct, email validation checks whether an address really exists and is able to receive incoming mail. If an email address is mistyped, email validation software lets customers know at the point of entry so they get a chance to fix it before submitting.

Why do I need email validation?

Email is one of the most effective ways of communicating with customers. But only if it arrives in their inbox...

GBG research shows that emails degrade at a rate of around 7% per year. That means, if you capture 100 emails accurately now, only 93 will be useable in 12 months’ time.

On top of that, there are over 3.9 billion email users worldwide but 17% of email address data is incorrect. This generally occurs because the user has made a genuine mistake or typo, or they’ve given a fake address.

Batch cleansing your email database regularly is therefore essential to help identify and remove invalid or outdated email addresses.

It’s also important to ensure emails are captured correctly at the point of entry. Allowing customers to free-type their email address without validation means you run the risk of collecting useless data, which can have a devastating impact on your customer marketing ROI.

What are the downsides of not verifying emails?

We all know that invalid emails bounce back. Operationally, processing bounced emails and migrating these customers into an alternative campaign (for example, direct mail) takes time and effort. As well as this, bounce backs can damage your brand reputation if customers don’t receive the communications they were expecting.

Anecdotal research suggests around 9 – 25% of emails are mistyped. For time-limited offers, such as a 10% off coupon valid for the next seven days, these mistypes could result in a significant proportion of customers not receiving their voucher. 

Internally, it could lead to the creation of duplicates (if email is used in the matching process) and could impact marketing metrics. Your campaign could actually be generating good ROI but could look otherwise when you come to measure its effectiveness because vouchers weren’t received and therefore not redeemed.

A disgruntled customer may then follow up by contacting your customer service team to ask why their voucher wasn’t delivered. Receiving this query, checking the system and then manually sending out another voucher takes considerable time and resource.

Extrapolate this out to a company that is receiving 500,000 sign-ups per year, at a rate of 12% mistypes, that’s 60,000 incorrect emails coming into your system per annum. Assume 10% of these customers follow up to ask the whereabouts of their voucher and that’s 6,000 inbound requests to deal with – or put another way, 23 requests for every working day. That’s a full-time job in itself!

If you wish to truly maximise the email channel, front and back-end email validation is key. The interruption to the customer onboarding process when applying email validation is minimal and removing database inaccuracies is essential for your business to flourish during these difficult times.

Find out more about email validation and data maintenance or sign up for a free data audit here.

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