How to Avoid Spam Traps With Email Validation Tools
Every B2B or B2C marketer who’s ever dealt with email campaigns and communications have heard of the term “spam trap”. This nasty term is every professional email marketer’s nightmare.
What is a spam trap?
In essence a spam trap is nothing more than an email address that looks normal, yet it does not belong to a real person. Instead it’s used by major Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and blacklist providers to identify spammers so they can block emails from them. For a company that maintains healthy email lists, spam traps should not be an issue. But if your organization acquires email lists or doesn’t follow the rules of the permission-based email marketing, hitting a spam trap for you is not an if-question, it’s a when-question.
How do you hit a spam trap?
The most dominant use case is the simplest one – imagine you bought an email list from a third-party, which compiled this list from publicly available and private sources. Chances are that the list you bought contain spam traps, since (ISPs) and blacklist providers seed spam traps by adding them to added to bulk mailing lists that get sold to people.
Spam trap is every professional email marketer’s nightmare
As soon as your email campaign hits the spam trap, it can severely jeopardize your sender reputation, cause bounce rates to increase and decrease deliverability of your mass emails.
How do you avoid spam traps?
There are two best practices to follow at all times that minimize your chances of hitting spam traps:
- Use confirmed opt-in – always require your website visitors to verify their email address when they’re filling out the lead registration forms. That way you’re significantly improving the quality of your data and reducing the chance of hitting a spam trap.
- Use email validation (aka email verification) tools – always run an email validation process against the new emails you’re collecting from your leads. Email validation software automatically checks multiple parameters of every email address. Here are some of them:
- Check if the email address is RFC822 / RFC2822compliant
- Determine if the email address is associated with a disposable or temporary email service (e.g. mailinator, 10minutemail)
- SMTP and MX records need to be set up correctly in order for an email server to receive and send emails
- See the full list here
The email validation needs to be set up as a continuous process that runs automatically against your data and returns back the results automatically in the form of Email Quality Score (EQS) ranging from 0 to 1. Our recommendation is you should never accept emails with email quality score below 0.25. The best practice would be to remove them from your database immediately, before it becomes part of your nurturing and email marketing campaigns.
Also, if you’ve been purchasing email lists, perhaps its time to reconsider this risky strategy not only because of the spam traps, but also due to tightening data security and regulations such as GDPR, even if your company is based outside of the European Union