Making sure that your contact database is clean and tidy is very important before sending out emails, and that is especially true if it is your first DEM campaign using a new software of marketing automation.
But what do we actually mean when we say clean lists of contacts? And why is the authenticity of your contacts such an important part to guarantee a successful outcomes of your your email marketing campaigns?
First of all, a clean database is a database that contains lists of valid and working email addresses, so that delivery errors do not occur. In fact, delivery errors are the number one enemy for any new sender, particularly because when there are too many and they happen to reject you often, they can determine the penalization of our domain, compromising our online credibility.
There are two main types of delivery errors, Hard Bounce and Soft Bounce; in both cases we define as bounces all of these emails that are being rejected by the recipient servers and then “bounced back”.
Differences between Soft Bounce and Hard Bounce:
The Soft Bounce is a temporary error, and reasons can be different: the recipient’s mailbox is too full, the recipient’s server is temporarily offline or our message is way too heavy to be delivered. When an email address is reported as a soft-bounce, it is recommended to try to send that same email up to a maximum of 5 times in a defined period of time (3-4 weeks), in order to check if the error is due to a momentary server problem. If the soft bounce continues, the best practice is to create a special list with all these email addresses: this list will be used to take occasional delivery tests to check if the situation has changed.
The Hard Bounce, instead, is a permanent delivery error: the email address to which we sent an email no longer exists, has been disabled or the recipient’s server has blocked the one of the sender.
A high rate of hard bounce is very compromising, mainly because email clients (Gmail, Yahoo, etc.) can read this reality as a sign of you doing some dodgy marketing business. In fact, too many hard bounces will probably make you look like you don’t know the recipients you are sending your emails to, or that maybe you have bought a list from an untrustworthy website online to try a large submission. And you don’t want to ruin your reputation: automatic rules of the majority of spam filters of most ISPs closely analyse the reputation of a sender, and, bare in mind, the internet never forgets. A history of a high rate of hard bounce will most likely cause a large percentage of our mails ending up straightaway into our list’ SPAM folder. And it makes sense: client servers must “protect” users from spam and risky content. If they believe you are an unsafe sender, indeed they will hardly let your emails pass through their doors! If it happens to be like that, unfortunately regaining the trust of email clients will be a very long and delicate process.
But of course, the saying “prevention is better than cure” applies for email marketing too.
Here the best tips to follow before sending your first email for a new campaign:
1. Get started with the right foot
If you have a clean list of contacts that has been used in the past and maybe (even better) has achieved excellent results of Open rates, it is highly recommend to send DEM first to this list. This will be necessary to ensure the quality of the first delivery, whatever the amount of addresses in your list could be. You’d rather be outnumbered than outgunned.
2.Learn from the past
If you have previously used another software of email marketing, it might be possible that you have already had some (bad) experience with hard and soft bounces. If that is the case, before starting with a new email marketing software, it is recommended to export all the previous bounced addresses and create a new special lists in the new platform, which will be excluded from all the new send. This kind of activity is really important to ensure that the hard bounce does not occur more than once, consequently penalizing our domain authority. Remember: Do not delete the hard bounces! Removing them completely from the platform means that, if by accident one of these addresses is reintroduced into your CRM we will not be “protected”, and that will generate a brand new series of hard bounces.
3.Trust is good, not to trust is better
It can happen that you are not sure of the quality of your contacts, especially if your business has been carrying a huge, badly organized and chaotic database through the years. Chances are, you have been adding addresses by hand, online and through many kinds of activity you won’t even properly remember.
Absolutely avoid loading in bulk a messy and infinite CSV file in your new CRM. In any case, it is always advisable to check the quality of contacts before sending, and there are many online services specifically designed to ensure that those emails are valid and currently existing. SharpSpring suggests us a few, as Webbula, Kickbox and BriteVerify.
4.More haste, less speed
If you are a beginner with email marketing and totally new as a sender, it is important to grow the volume of email jobs slowly and gradually.
This process, called warming, allows you to introduce your mail to ISPs “discreetly“, in order to avoid overwhelming third parties with high intensity behaviors, which will likely result as SPAM. Furthermore, starting with small lists will allow you to stop sending particular DEM if the initial results are not what you expected to be,
Sharpspring, as shown in this article, suggests to always starts with not more than 1000 contacts, and gradually increasing through time: have a look!
Moral of the story: always plan a good email marketing strategy ahead of time and make sure that your database is clean before rushing into action. Also, remember that once you start off on the right foot, email marketing only gets easier (and more fun), especially if you decide to use a platform of email marketing automation. How? Discover it watching our video! 📧