Email is one of the most effective marketing channels out there. Compared to social media, where you are dependent upon the company’s algorithm treating your content favorably, email marketing can more effectively get your content in front of your audience. Email has an average open rate of 21.73% and an average click-through rate of 3.57%, which just isn’t possible for other marketing channels.

But having an effective email marketing strategy isn’t as simple as getting a ton of people to sign up for your mailing list. If your mailing list contains emails with innocent typos or maliciously fraudulent domains, you could be hurting your deliverability and sender reputation score.  

In a recent microwebinar on SD Times, Pouya Tavakoli, sales engineer at Melissa, explained that this score is used by email service providers to determine if it should allow an email to be delivered to someone’s inbox or sent to spam. If a sender reputation score is particularly bad, it could lead to being put on a blocklist.

There are two main factors that impact your score: email sending practices and recipient engagement. Your score can fluctuate based on the frequency and volume of your emails, bounce-back rates, and the level of personalization in your email. Your readers also impact your sender reputation score by such measures as open rate, click-through rate, instance of emails being marked as spam, and unsubscribe rates, Tavakoli explained. 

Therefore, there are a number of types of email domains that should be removed from mailing lists. For instance, spam trap emails should be avoided. These are email accounts created specifically to flag incoming emails as spam, which could lead to problems because if a lot of people mark an email as spam, the email provider might start automatically flagging future emails as such. 

“A single spam trap in your mailing list can jeopardize your domain’s reputation by potentially placing it on a spam blacklist,” he warned.

Another type to remove is email with a mobile domain. Tavakoli explained that the mobile domain is intended for sending out SMS communications and is regulated by the FCC. As such, you can actually get fined if you send emails to those domains, he said. 

Also on the chopping block: disposable domains. These are addresses designed to only be used for a short period of time, often used by customers signing up for a service who don’t want to be marketed to by that company at a later date. 

And the final type to avoid are “accept-all” mail servers, which will accept mail even if the email address does not actually exist. Tavakoli explained that these are often used by companies to avoid missing out on email communications.  

According to Tavakoli, there are also human errors, such as typos, that frequently end up in these mailing lists. He explained that these actually occur more frequently, but don’t pose as great a risk to the business as the above-mentioned threats.

“It is crucial to regularly audit and cleanse your email lists, removing not only incorrect addresses but also any specialized or/and potentially harmful ones,” he said. “This diligent maintenance safeguards your sender score and enhances the overall effectiveness of your email communications.”

According to Tavakoli, how strict you should be when cleansing names will be based on what the mailing list is for. For a marketing campaign, a company may want to be more strict because “your main goal is to reach a large audience of potential customers, but then your sub objective is going to be to avoid any harm to your sender reputation,” he explained.

On the other hand, onboarding emails may allow the company to be more lax. “Clearly, you don’t want to have any purely invalid emails coming into your contact list, but you can choose to take on those things,” he said. “You could allow accept-all servers or disposable domains just to kind of grow your business contacts. But, it’s also useful to keep a flag on those special types of emails when they’re in your contact list, just for future reference.”

Melissa’s email verification solution can assist with the challenge by verifying and correcting email addresses at the syntax, domain, and mailbox levels. It does this based on a combination of SMTP interactions and reference data. 

“For instance, to identify accept-all servers, we employ specialized techniques that involve interactions with the mail server. Based on the server’s response to our inquiries, we can infer whether it is configured to accept all incoming emails, regardless of their validity. For detecting disposable email domains, we would additionally reference a list of known disposable domains, which is continuously updated to reflect new entries.”

To learn more, visit Melissa’s website or watch the microwebinar on Global Email Verification.