List Hygiene Webinar: Q&A

Our recent Ask the Experts webinar on list hygiene attracted a lot of great questions! Unfortunately, we didn’t have enough time to answer them all, so let’s dig into the some of them right now:

If you’re using a real-time validation service on an email sign up form, is it wise to also use CAPTCHA?
Real-time validation is a great way to verify that an email address is a real, functioning mailbox. However, implementing CAPTCHA will add an extra layer of protection against bots signing up for your email program.

What are some good email validation services? And is it better to put validation on the entry points (web forms, etc.) or validate after acquisition?
Validation at point-of-signup is a best practice for web forms in order to prevent any bad addresses from getting on your list, right off the bat. If you acquire addresses via other methods that don’t allow for instant validation (such as trade shows or conferences), be sure to validate your addresses prior to mailing them.

Return Path partners with BriteVerify, an industry leader when it comes to list validation. BriteVerify will help you reduce invalid signups, clean bad addresses off your list, and reduce your bounce rate—which will, in turn, improve your sending reputation, and your delivery to the inbox.

Can you offer any advice on email appending?
The general recommendation for email appending is simply not to do it. Data obtained from these services is often incorrect our outdated. If you can’t avoid an e-append, be sure to validate the email addresses before adding them to your list.

How long should you wait until removing someone entirely from your list after trying re-engagement efforts? Also, at what point of unengagement should we put them in a re-engagement campaign?
When to send a re-engagement series varies by vertical and the specific sender. In order to know what the appropriate thresholds are for you, you should gain an understanding of your subscriber lifecycle. We recommend using our Lifecycle Metrics Benchmark as a baseline to help inform you of how your subscribers engage with your email over time and help pinpoint when they start to disengage.

After attempting a re-engagement campaign, you should remove the unengaged subscriber within a couple of weeks. Continuing to send to them will put you at risk for receiving complaints from them; eventually, these inactive addresses could turn into spam traps.

 How often is necessary that we use a list scrubbing service?
It’s a good idea to use these services whenever you are adding large quantities of new names to your list. For example, if you collected a lot of addresses at an in-person event or acquired many names during a special promotion, you will want to mitigate the risk of sending to them by validating the addresses first.

If your acquisition stays pretty steady throughout the year, consider performing a list cleanse every several months. Unengaged addresses can become spam traps in as little as 6 months of inactivity, so routine list scrubbing can prevent these older names from hurting your sending reputation.

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