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BR 2021 #01 | Collecting email addresses to boost your reputation!

Goodbye 2020... Hello 2021! I think we all hope that this new year will bring us a little more sparkle in our lives than 2020! But who says new year, says good resolutions, right? I suggest that every Wednesday in February (or March), we focus on one thing that would allow you to boost your reputation in 2021 (or to keep it at the top if you are already very good at what you do :p) without reinventing the world 😉

Today, we are going to talk about the collection of e-mail addresses. As the year 2020 was not really the best for some businesses, we would be tempted to make up for it in 2021 by collecting more email addresses in order to offer commercial content... Mistake! Collecting new ones is good, but be careful to collect them correctly, otherwise you will incur the wrath of certain ISPs, Webmails or specialized organizations!

What is the collection of e-mail addresses?

Collecting addresses... it's the sinews of war! A bad collection = a bad reputation, the impact is direct. Understand here that the collection is the most important element if you want to have or maintain a good reputation (at least at the beginning). Each e-mail address will have to be collected in the rules of art, pampered, coddled if you want to make the most of it!

Don't forget that an e-mail reputation can be lost in a few seconds whereas it takes you thirty days to build it, if not more! This loss of reputation will be mainly due to the addresses you collect, so if you want to avoid complaints, bounces and spamtraps, I advise you to read on...

What are the risks associated with the collection?

To ensure a secure collection of e-mail addresses, the choice of the source will be decisive.

Here is a small summary of the different sources and their level of risk (it's up to you if you want to tempt the devil...):

Limited riskCustomers, newsletter registration, content download, ...
Moderate riskSales point, telephone, events, internal contests, ...
High riskExternal contests, performance-based collection, co-registration, co-sponsoring, affiliate traffic, ...
Major riskFile purchase, file exchange, ...
Risks associated with the collection of e-mail addresses

The higher the risk you choose, the more you can be :

  • Listed by anti-spam organizations because you have targeted their spamtraps (see Spamhaus spamtraps).
  • Listed by one (or more) ISP or Webmail because you have generated a lot of complaints or because you have generated a lot of errors on their servers (cf. hardbounce: NPAI vs. softbounce: Full boxes).

Also note that your brand could also be blocked if you are a multi-recidivist (we are talking about several major blocking events).

Thus, you will understand that with a major risk, you are sure to have reputational problems (the impact will just depend on the quality of the purchased or rented file...) but on the contrary, with a limited risk, you will have much less chances to have a major impact on your reputation. Hence the interest here to pay attention to the way you collect your e-mails.

What actions should be taken to collect e-mail addresses?

Several actions can already be put in place to collect and secure your email addresses, we will go through three of them:

1) Secure the website collection form:

Unfortunately, many of you still don't secure your form on your website and quickly end up with a whole bunch of addresses with weird aliases and/or domain names...

Here are some examples to lighten the mood:

  • laspote.net / llaposte.net / lqposte.net / gmzil.com / gmaim.com => Refers to a shadow Mx server: park-mx.above.com
  • bsh4d6gwkx5cfmr@mail.svenz.eu
  • trouducul@moi.fr

Locking your collection form will prevent you from collecting this type of addresses in your database and if you are unlucky, there may very well be some spamtraps in there... Thus, we will put in place the following elements:

  • Add a catcha to avoid collecting spamtraps (in particular typo) or bogus addresses (from a competitor).
  • Check the syntax of the e-mail : to avoid collecting misspelled addresses (error before the @).
  • Test the MX record of the domain to avoid collecting addresses that are also misspelled with a wrong domain name or unfortunately come across a typo spamtrap (misspelled domain).
  • Use an external tool who will check the quality of the address and give his opinion on its use.

2) Put a double-optin mechanism:

Here again, many people bombard you with all kinds of commercial content once they have collected the address (even if the trend is reversing a little compared to what I saw when I was still working at Cabestan).

The purpose of the double-optin is to highly qualify an email address to ensure that it :

  • Be well valid.
  • Has given his consent to receive our e-mails.
  • Be the originator of the application.

In addition to validating these three points, we will be able to engage the new address freshly collected from the first e-mail.

The content of this email should allow the new registrant to validate his registration before receiving the first mass emails. And I don't remind you that if he doesn't validate his registration, his email address should not be used 😉

Need help?

Reading content isn't everything. The best way is to talk to us.


3) Set up a customer journey:

This is a mechanism that is becoming more and more widespread and that can be coupled with the double-optin and that can work very well as long as you have the right email combo...

The objective here is to accompany the new subscriber with his new subscription via a series of e-mails (logically with a non-commercial purpose). This can be done in the following way with an example of five e-mails:

  • 1er e-mail: Validation of the registration.
  • 2ème e-mail : Company presentation.
  • 3ème e-mail : Presentation of the benefits and services.
  • 4ème e-mail: Gathering information to improve your future targeting.
  • 5ème e-mail: First promo code after registration.

It is important to measure the path to see possible dropouts, whether on the opening rates, the unsubscribe rates and especially the dissatisfaction rates...

For the little story at the end...

I was recently asked a question about the need to re-optinize an email address that was collected via an external mechanism.

I always give the same answer: "If you don't collect an e-mail address yourself, re-optinize it to make sure the person wants to receive your offers. This will be an opportunity to introduce yourself, to get their consent and above all to avoid harassing them with commercial content from the very first e-mail that happens to be irrelevant.

Another important point is not to forget to collect the date of collection, the partner who collected the address if it is not you, the action that led to the collection, the URL of the form that collected the e-mail address - especially if it is not yours - and the IP address (thank you Mr. RGPD).

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You think you have problems with the collection of your addresses? You think you have spamtraps in your database? Or recurring reputation problems? Or you simply want to set up a double-optin / customer journey mechanism to welcome your new subscribers?

Do not hesitate to call on us via our various services

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Please feel free to like, comment, share this article! Any comments are welcome 🙂

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Small listing of our last articles related to the blog:

The mystery of commercial pressure

Replay of the live show "Non opt-in customers: how to talk to them?"

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Photo by Ian Taylor on Unsplash

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