Email Appending Best Practices for 2017


Email appending can be an extremely helpful tool for email marketers in the long run. Even though it has been around for as long as email marketing has been around, the chances of it being used well are low. There are many reasons for this. Finding a trustworthy email appending solutions provider is difficult today- the industry is such that low quality players far outnumber the good ones. Email appending is the process of adding or updating a missing email address into a customer record within your database. This significantly improves your email marketing metrics. If you are a seasoned email marketing professional, we are sure you will have used email appending during your marketing campaigns.

Benefits of email appending

For beginners and those who do not know the details and technical aspects of email appending, this best practices compilation will surely help you make an informed decision. There are various steps involved in the process and more importantly, many things that you should be careful about. There are various benefits of email appending. As per email marketing experts, you can see an average increase of 30% in your ROI when you use email appending. It not only benefits your email marketing program, it improves your delivery rate, IP reputation and makes your database stronger and cleaner. This decreases the need to spend on data hygiene processes.

Data quality is the key to getting higher returns from your email campaigns. If you have low quality data, then you cannot really expect leads to flow in. Now, data quality can deteriorate steadily, over a period of time. There are many changes in data that happen, and after a certain amount of time, your data will not look like how it used to, when you started off. This is where the benefits of email appending come into the picture.

One of the biggest advantages of email appending is the improvement in data quality. It allows you to reach your target customers faster and engage them easily.

It protects your sender reputation. Since it uses the process of opt-in emails, you are compliant of anti spam laws, and for an email marketer, this is a serious issue. Only valid email addresses are added to your database after the append process, increasing deliverability and improving sender score.

Just how clean is your data? Identify where your data requires attention, allowing you to choose which areas to improve.

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Your eventual ROI improves. The cost of data decay when calculated against the cost of e-appending, there is bound to be a significant bonus and additionally, your own dataset becomes healthy.

Email Appending Best Practices

There are a set of things you need to consider, before you begin an email append on your database. These are essential to remember because they can cause serious issues at a later date, for you as an email marketer and for your brand too. So, these best practices ensure that you are on the safer side and you also get to reap the benefits of email appending!

Append customer data-ONLY

It is important to understand this valuable piece of information. In the rush to improve email marketing results, most marketers will solicit email append from shady service providers. They really do not bother about reputation and compliance. If you append a prospect file and send out emails to them, you are effectively breaking a law and there are not many ways to get out of this offence. The penalty can be quite severe.

Email appending is an accepted practice by the DMA if it is 100% CAN-SPAM complaint.

When you send across a dataset to be appended, ensure that this file only consists of customers or any party that has interacted with you and has provided their contact details to you either via your online methods of data collection or offline sources which was then transferred online. This can be a form page, questionnaire, surveys, contests and such to name a few.

In summary- When you send out your database for email appending, you need to make sure that the list you are sending contains only customer contacts and NOT prospect contacts.

Opt-in Vs Opt-out

The append service provider, once the appending is done, will send out a welcome email to the newly appended files. This is the first contact that is made-post append. This is done to let the receivers know of your intentions with them. The suggested process here is the opt-in process. There are advantages to this. In comparison, if it’s an opt-out and you get a large number of opt outs, it affects your IP reputation and stability. Another point is that people like it when they are asked for permission to be contacted. They would have already had a previous connection with you and the chances of an increase in subscriptions are always high.

The Welcome email

This is part of the process and most popular email append service providers consider this as a vital part of the entire procedure. The welcome email can be sent by you or the email append service provider. It is mostly sent by the service provider. You can always draft one out and send it to them to be forwarded.

The welcome email needs to have a set of standard options to make sure that it serves its purpose and gets the job done well.

The subject line should contain the name of the brand, preferably within the first 10 words.

The message should clearly state the reason for sending, within the body.

It should have the postal address of the brand sending the mail so that it is CAN-SPAM compliant.

Do not sell anything to the receiver in the welcome email. You can go so far as to tell them what they can expect from adding you to their mailing list, but that’s about it.

The opt-out option should be visible and easy to use and should stay functional for at least 10 working days.

All opt-outs should be collected and removed from your mailing lists into a suppression list.

Ensure you have your email program set up, before you send the welcome email. Once the triggers are set off, the emails need to shoot out immediately. This ensures that you get a good hold of prospect attention. Make sure you have created an easy passage of data from the service provider to your server and that this dataset is ready to match and integrate with your email service provider (in-house or external). These are common issues that crop up which delay the deployment of email campaigns, effectively nullifying the email append process.

Keep your in-house list separate

It is vital to make sure you do not mix your newly received appended list and your in-house list. You can merge them after you start receiving replies from the welcome mail. This way, you can be sure of the results of the append job. It eliminates bounces which are common during appending. Send the welcome mail from a separate IP, just to be sure.

There are many factors that affect an append job. The reputation and the abilities of the appending partner are one; you never know what types of emails you will get back. The process of taking precautions while transferring and receiving data should be default for all email marketing executives.

The service provider

As with any outsourced process, the vendor reputation is highly important during email appending. Fly by night operators are dime a dozen today and many have fallen prey to them. This has created all kinds of issues for reputed businesses and many who want to venture into this business. How do you validate email appending solutions of a service provider?

They should have a strong client list to begin with. You can ask for references from past clients and cross check with them.

If they are a new player, you can ask the basic technical aspects of how they go about doing the match, the algorithms they use, the quality of the master database they have, the way they handle unsubscribe requests, hard bounces, their take on the DMA and CAN-SPAM guidelines and also provide samples.

It isn’t easy choosing the right partner and pricing should never be the guiding factor because there are many providers who undercut major players in pricing and provide shoddy results.

It is best to compare many providers and see which works best for your budget and matches the results you are looking forward to.

Some of the basics that you can expect from a good append service provider are as follows-

No charge for matched and delivered opt-outs.

No charges for non-matched records.

No charge for bounces.

There are many things that can go wrong. Check everything and make sure that both you and the service provider are on the same page with regards to the results you are expecting, the quality of the emails that will be appended and the data security processes that need to be in place. The benefits of email appending are many but a bad service provider can turn the clock back on your email marketing campaigns.

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