A manufacturer wouldn't dream of shipping a product without first subjecting it to quality assurance (QA) inspections. QA ensures that lemons don't make it out of the plant and that consumers get what they want. This principle seems so elementary, yet many healthcare marketing companies fail to perform these kinds of checks on email lists. Instead, they take the "send first, ask questions later" approach to email marketing. As a result, their delivery and engagement rates reflect that haphazard strategy. By contrast, DMD puts every new email address through a rigorous quality control process that effectively separates the wheat from the chaff.
Check #1: Comparing HCP Personal Information against our Records
The first thing we do when we acquire a new email address is to do some research on that healthcare provider's (HCP's) background. During this check, we ask the following questions:
- Do we already have the record?
- Is this HCP deceased or retired? This question may seem basic, but you'd be surprised how many email addresses of deceased or retired HCPs linger on email lists.
- Is this person actually a physician? Before we email someone, we like to know whom we're dealing with so we can tailor our message accordingly. With every email address, we check whether the person is a physician by also searching for the name in our NP/PA (nurse practitioner/physician assistant) list.
- Is this person an HCP? We have to ensure the email address of an office manager or administrator doesn’t end up on an HCP email list.
Check #2: Domain Checking for Validity, Name, and Format
The domain is the part of the HCP's email address after the "@" symbol. Because we send out millions of emails each month for our clients, we have an extensive list of domains we know are bad. If we see that an address has one of these domains, we remove it immediately.
Assuming the address has a good domain, we then look to see if it's formatted correctly. In other words, we look at whether the address follows the naming conventions of the domain. For example, we might know that the "@ScottsdaleOncology.com" domain uses the "John Doe" convention, so we compare the address in question to that naming convention. Finally, we see whether the address actually contains part of the HCP's name.
Check #3: Test Emails to Prevent Bounces and Unwanted Communication
In our final quality check, we send out a series of test emails to further verify that the address is working. Delivery by itself does not constitute a working address because delivery to the junk folder or delivery that results in a “soft bounce” does not deliver performance. Vendors who brag about 99% delivery are telling you very little about the performance quality of their list. Email data has to be constantly tested and many delivery codes analyzed to ensure that an address can generate real responses.
Next time you are ready to purchase an email list, ask the perspective vendor for complete documentation on their testing procedure, and ask for typical results. Quality lies in the guts of email testing.