If you were hiking and encountered quicksand, you would probably make a note on your map never to go that way again. Without making some record of where the quicksand was, you risk making the same mistake again.
The same idea applies to email marketing. Spam traps are the quicksand of our industry. We deploy millions of emails every month for our clients. With that many emails going out, you can imagine how often we've encountered bad domains on the email lists that they bring us. When we do, we add the domain to our email database. We also take a preventive approach, spot-checking addresses before we deploy to them.
Identifying Bad Domain Names In Your List
Over the years, DMD has amassed a lengthy database of email addresses that have gone dark and unresponsive domains. In fact, we have amassed over 2 million bad addresses that we use as a check against every new healthcare professional (HCP) email address we get from another list. In this way, we can identify bad addresses before we deploy for a client, and we can avoid non-responsive domains by using an alternative email address for the HCP. In this way, we prevent bounces before they occur, preserving your campaign's metrics in the process.
Spot-Checking Email Addresses: Does This Address Make Sense?
Technology has done wonders for healthcare marketing, but good old-fashioned common sense still goes a long way in culling valid email addresses from a mixed bag. For this reason, we systematically authenticate every email address even though we obtain it through an opt-in source. We look at the address and ask, "Does this information make sense knowing what we know?" You'd be surprised how many erroneous emails we catch with this simple method. After an address and preferences verification, a certain percentage of those addresses do bounce out because a certain percentage of good email addresses go bad every day.
Rating Other Email Lists by Looking for Parts of the HCP's Name
For any list we get from our email database partners, we want to be able to rate its quality. To do this, we look at whether any part of the HCP's name, which we get from the name-address file, appears in the email address. If not, we start to get a little concerned about the address' integrity.
For instance, we might see the email address "John.Smith@yahoo.com" associated with a Dr. David Porter. This particular breed of bad domain name is called an incorrect email association. John Smith maybe valid and Yahoo.com is a valid domain so firstname.lastname@example.org is a valid email address but linked to the wrong individual.
Some other bad domain examples include:
- com= website or mail server does not exist
- org= valid website and mail server but wrong domain for an HCP
- com.com= redirects to shire.i.com.com = Porn site and also possibly a European trafficking site
- rr.com= consumer ISP that is no longer valid
Technology has given medical marketers so many valuable tools to improve the integrity of our email lists. The advanced metrics we track have helped us create our industry-leading list of bad domains. Nevertheless, our eyes can be just as useful as technology in identifying spam traps, bad domains, and mismatched addresses. Between our bad domain list and spot-check protocol, we catch the majority of bounces before they ever occur.