On a recent visit to New York City, vendors lined the streets, hawking counterfeit designer purses. At first glance, the bags seem genuine—but the illusion shattered upon closer scrutiny. All you have to do is touch the “leather,” examine the stitches, and check the lining to see you’re dealing with a fake.
Many of the email lists on the market today have the same authenticity problem. On the surface, they may seem impressive but the allure quickly fades when you take a closer look. The lists may be pieced together from unreliable sources and even if the addresses were at one time valid, by now they are out of date.
In the best case scenario, these “bad” lists will be a waste of your company’s money. But more likely, the consequences will be more extreme, causing your emails to be blacklisted as spam and putting you at risk of regulatory non-compliance.
Problems with Low-Quality Email Lists
Many email lists seem impressive at first glance, but when you take a closer look, they are pieced together from unreliable sources and the addresses are out of date.
The problem is that too many email providers use the labels “verified” and “validated” in the same way that the vendors slap “Louis Vuitton” and “Gucci” on their vinyl bags. But of course using the name doesn’t make the purses or the mailing lists any more genuine.
Here are some common problems with inferior lists:
- Third-Party Sourcing: Some of the lists on the market today have been pieced together from a person collecting them from overseas. The addresses may also be guesses based on email naming conventions used by different health systems, so they aren’t correct.
- Outdated addresses: Many lists have addresses for physicians who are no longer practicing, who have changed affiliations and no longer have access to the address, or who may even be deceased.
- Not using preferred current address: Even when the addresses are correct, they are often generic professional addresses that get opened by an administrative assistant and never reach the specialist.
- Delivering at the wrong day or time: When emails are delivered during a physician’s busy day of the week or time of day, they are usually left unread.
- Physicians who are not opted in: The regulations in the U.S. require email marketers to have permission from recipients to contact them. Further, the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that goes into affect on May 25, 2018, may create more regulatory challenges for pharma marketers in the U.S. For so many reasons, it’s essential to insist on an opted-in list.
The Test: 5 Signs of a Good Email List
The best way to protect your company’s investment is to make sure any email lists you consider can pass this quality test:
- First-party sourced
- 100 percent of physicians double opted-in
- Addresses authenticated using the AMA Physician Masterfile
- Database certified by BPA Worldwide
- Updated daily
The Value of a Genuine List
Bad email marketing lists can cause your messages to be blacklisted as spam and put you at risk of regulatory non-compliance.
When you purchase a genuine designer handbag, you know it will stand up to the most stringent inspection. The same is true of an email list that meets all of these quality checks. This should give you confidence that your digital marketing campaign respects your recipients’ privacy and preferences and is not a compliance risk.