Imagine you wrote a book and wanted to send the manuscript to publishing houses. For reasons unknown, instead of looking online for recent contact information, you pick up a dated reference book with publishers' addresses. You first send your manuscript to a publisher that you later learn went out of business five years ago. You then send it to a company that left the publishing business a decade ago. You try once more, but this time, your book gets returned because the publisher has moved. Your book never gets published.
No serious author would take that ill-fated approach, but that's exactly what we do as healthcare marketers when we send to unauthenticated email lists. But what is an authenticated email list? Here's what authentication means and how you can tell if your email list meets the definition.
List Authentication: Making Sure Your Message Gets Delivered
Simply put, authentication is the process of verifying that the addresses on your email list belong to your desired recipients, who actually want your email marketing messages. Your message, however fantastic, is useless to your bottom line if it doesn't reach the right physicians. Authenticating your email list will boost your open, click-through, and engagement rates by removing or precluding from your list abandoned or incorrect email addresses, retired or deceased practitioners, and physicians who didn't opt-in to your messages.
Top Six Signs Your Email List Isn't Authenticated
How do you tell a quality, authenticated list from a budget-draining unauthenticated list? Here are six red flags to help you spot an unauthenticated list:
- Your list is older than yesterday. If your list hasn't been updated as recently as yesterday, then there's a good chance it's unauthenticated. Truly authenticated lists are updated daily.
- The list has never been used for email marketing. A list used for other purposes besides email will not be optimized for email marketing. For example, it might have correct physical addresses, but the email addresses could be incorrect, rarely used by the HCP, or outdated.
- The list relies solely on the National Provider Identifier (NPI) list. Some in our industry joke that NPI stands for "not perfect information," and there's a reason for that. The NPI is a list that the American Medical Association (AMA) authenticates, but not to the extent that a marketing entity would. The AMA has authenticated the list only for the purposes of sharing it with HCPs, health insurance companies, the government, and other groups that need it for billing, not marketing, purposes.
- You purchased the list from anyone but DMD. DMD is the only U.S. company with a first-party email database that has been BPA certified. BPA Worldwide is the leading auditing service for B2B communication. The certification means we've obtained the consent of HCPs and confirmed their preferred email addresses.
- The list is not continuously maintained. Opt-outs should be removed the same day with the list continuously maintained in real time.
- Domain names aren't consistent with HCPs' places of practice. For example, if your physician works at a hospital where the hospital’s domain name (the portion of the email address after the "@" sign) doesn't match the physician’s domain name, it could be an invalid email address.