I help clients set up their website to work with their mailing list. Lead generation is a very important function of a business website, however I’ve had several clients who come to me with gi-normous mailing lists. One list was 10,000 names. They thought their email blasts and e-newsletters were being delivered to 10,000 individuals until they upgraded to one of the top-notch contact services (like Constant Contact or Mail Chimp). Then, they were surprised when chunks of their list were being rejected. They were stuck between the bad news that they had an under-performing mailing list and that they couldn’t send out a new email blast until their list was cleaned up.
This why these contact companies are top-notch… they have scanning tools in place to check out email addresses so you’ll know if they are formatted correctly and if they are still live and viable.
I’ve heard the complaint that these services are expensive for people with big lists. Yes, many contact services charge by how many contacts you have in your database. What if that 10,000 name list was really only 1000 good addresses? Would this reduce your current costs or perhaps make starting a contact list more affordable? For sure!
There’s one thing you can do right now. It’s the first step toward cleaning up your contacts. If you can download your list as an Excel file or in CSV format you can look through the email column for poorly formatted email addresses.
- Look for addresses missing the “@” symbol. Without the “@” emails won’t be going anywhere.
- Look for addresses missing the “dot” in dot-com, dot-edu, dot-org, etc. Again, without the dot emails won’t be going anywhere.
- Look for addresses that have spaces in ANY part of them. A space is simply not good email address format. If you try to send to addresses with a space, your emails won’t be going anywhere.
What should you do when you find a poorly formatted email address? If it’s an obvious error you can add the dot or the “@”. I suspect this will make you squirm, however I recommend deleting contacts all together when the email address is bad. If you can’t email them then they shouldn’t be in an e-mailing database!
If you have a big list and want to maintain as may good addresses as possible, I use professionals who can quickly scan for errors and prop up the quality of the list. It’s worth it! You may end up with a shorter email list, but they will be legit addresses that can receive your newsletters.