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Top 5 Risky Email Addresses You May Have in Your List

email In the past few years, email has become the most powerful digital marketing tool. Unlike social media, it allows businesses to stay in touch with their audience in a personal, uninterrupted manner. But email marketing has its best practices, and not following them will prevent you from achieving the ROI you’d expect. There are risky email addresses that could be clogging your email list as we speak. Removing them is easy and boosts your deliverability and open rates, thus improving your conversions.

What are these risky email addresses? Why are they risky in the first place?

Let’s examine how they affect your email marketing:

  1. as someone who uses email to communicate, you have a sender reputation. When it comes to deliverability, it’s what matters the most. Why? Because Internet Service Providers (ISPs) use your sender reputation to decide whether you’re a legitimate sender or not. The better your reputation, the higher your deliverability.
  2. the quality of your email lists dramatically impacts your sender reputation. If your database contains a high number of invalid and fake email addresses, that will affect your entire email marketing program. Not only will your emails bounce, but as your reputation declines, your genuine subscribers will stop receiving them, too.

You can see why some email addresses are risky to your email marketing, and why it’s important to remove them from your list. Now, let’s take a close look at some of the riskiest addresses that may have ended up in your database.

Misspelled email addresses are nothing but dead ends

Billions of people use their phones to surf the net. One day, they may come across your website and may want to sign up for your emails. But, when they type in their email address, they hit a wrong key and misspell it. If john.doe@gmail.com wants to be on your list, but types john.doe@gnail.com in your signup form, that address is nothing but a dead end. It will bounce, and John will never ever see your email, although he thinks he subscribed.

Sure, you can use the double opt-in and ask John to confirm his subscription from the beginning. But what if you haven’t implemented this two-step process on your website yet? This is where an email address validation system comes into play. By using advanced algorithms, it detects and removes these malformed email addresses.

Spam traps: no one will ever see your email

Spam traps are particularly scary addresses for email marketers. They are a spam prevention method and don’t belong to actual human beings. As the name suggests, their mission is to attract and block spammers.

Imagine hitting a spam trap and having inbox providers think you’re someone who sends spam. What do you think they’re going to do? Most likely, deliver your future emails in people’s Spam folder. If you continue to email spam traps, ISPs will eventually block you and you’ll end up on a blacklist.

Spam traps look just like a regular email address, so it’s impossible to detect them without using a specialized tool. Email validation services have a hard time identifying them, as well, but have a much better chance of doing so.

Abuse emails: stop emailing people who mark you as Spam

People’s inboxes are swamped by emails every day. Many of them are marketing emails  – some may be spam, others are emails to which they’ve subscribed. But due to the high number of subscriptions they have, people may forget they signed up for your emails. So they hit the “Mark as Spam” button without hesitation. Or, maybe one of your emails looks spammy and they decide to penalize you by hitting the same button.

A high complaint rate comes with a great risk: it impacts your reputation and, eventually, your deliverability. ISPs won’t deliver your emails to your subscribers’ inboxes if you’ve gotten spam complaints in the past. The best thing to do is to remove these abuse emails from your list to protect your reputation.

Disposable emails: a sure way to ruin your bounce rate

You created an exceptional lead magnet to entice people to join your email list. Maybe you’ve spent days working on it and you’re excited to see how it will help to grow your database. But the truth of the matter is that people may want to get your freebie, but they don’t want to receive emails from you. So they don’t use their own email address to download your magnet. Instead, they register with a disposable email address, one that will auto-destroy in a short period of time, sometimes in 10 minutes.

What do you do next? Your email that address thinking that you’ve acquired a new lead. Next thing you know, your bounce rate increases and sends the message to ISPs that you’re someone who doesn’t keep up with their email hygiene.

Dormant addresses affect your engagement rate

Not all of your subscribers will open and read every one of your emails. You may have a few very active ones, who don’t want to miss out on anything. Those are valuable leads worth nurturing with compelling content. On the other end of the spectrum, there are subscribers that never open your emails anymore. Why?

Maybe they signed up a while ago and, in the meantime, have switched to a different provider and abandoned their old address. Or perhaps they registered to download a whitepaper, but none of your other subject lines enticed them to click. Then, there are people who aren’t really interested in what you communicate. However, they want to stay on your list, just in case something worth clicking comes along, such as a fantastic promotion. Finally, there are subscribers who simply put off unsubscribing from your emails.

The problem with these unengaged subscribers is that they have a negative influence on your metrics. Your open and click-through rates will appear to be lower than if these people weren’t on your list. That tells ISPs that you’re not sending content people want to receive, which, in turn, will cause your delivery rates to decrease.

What to do with dormant subscribers? Isolate the ones that haven’t opened your emails in more than six months and deploy a reengagement campaign. Keep a close eye on the metrics and weed out all the email addresses that haven’t interacted with your content.

Wrapping things up

A good email validation system will remove all these risky email addresses from your list. As a result, you’ll see your open rates and overall performance improving.

Succeeding at email marketing is an attainable goal. You can use email to raise your brand awareness, educate and inform your audience, and talk about your business. Just keep in mind that following best practices is key to getting your emails in the inboxes of real people. Keep your data clean, create great content and email regularly.

A former journalist, Corina Leslie is the PR & Marketing Manager for ZeroBounce. She is passionate about communication and helping others email successfully. You can find her on the ZeroBounce blog, where she shares her best tips on digital marketing, copywriting, PR and everything in between.

You can connect with Corina on her LinkedIn profile.