When you’re involved in any kind of outreach using email, then the integrity of the contact information is everything. While it’s possible to try to find information about how to contact people within a company using their Facebook page and other sources, a dedicated solution to locate quality contact information makes all the difference to getting an acceptable response rate.
Quality Contact Information vs Email Delivery Success Rates
Using invalid or stale email information tends to hurt the email delivery success rate. You’re stuck with emails bouncing back or getting redirected to a catch-all email address; both don’t do your email outreach or marketing efforts any good at all. Get enough emails bouncing and sooner or later it will start to affect your active marketing because the email servers pick up when emails coming from your domain or IP address aren’t effective and often mark them as ‘spam’.
For the reasons outlined above, the quality of contact information in many ways matters more than having a higher quantity of email addresses in a list. That is to say, a validated email list with a double opt-in is worth far more than a purchased email list that’s untested. Alternatively, a reliable list of contacts to reach out to with correct email information is worth it’s weight in gold.
Seeking Reliable Contact Information for Marketing Purposes
The issue with quality email address matters as well when looking at contacting people in the media or other industries. If you only send email to the webmaster, it won’t get where you want it to go. You need the correct email information for the specific person if you’re going to successfully contact them.
Perhaps you’re reaching out to offer a guest post or to seek a mutually-beneficial partnership of some kind. Being sure about absolute deliverability of your message is important. Otherwise, you run the risk of thinking your outreach had a low response or a poor success rate. Should you bump into the person at an industry event a few months later and mention contacting them, they may well draw a blank because they never received the email you sent. At which point, you look completely unprepared.
How is Email is Sent and Received?
Depending on how the email servers are set up, when you’re sending out email from your website’s domain, it will run through several processes in the course of getting sent and hopefully delivered. An SMTP server is used to send email out over the web. This is a collection of governing rules that all mail servers operate under. The standardization of email allows for consistency where all mail servers operate using the same basic principals even if their email software under-the-hood is different.
Email relies on a six-step process to get email from the originator to the receiver. We tend to think that we write the email and click “send” and then it’s done. That’s not actually true! Here is how it works:
- An email client (Gmail, Hotmail, Outlook) is used to compose the email. This is called the mail user agent.
- A mail submission agent (software on the email server) checks the email for validity before attempting to send it, then dispatches the email to the mail transfer agent.
- The mail transfer agent checks the MX record for the recipient’s email address and verifies the best approach to sending out the email. This can be to another mail transfer agent in a chain of them or to a mail delivery agent.
- The email message then moves to the mail delivery agent (software that holds email ready for retrieval by a mail user agent (Gmail, etc.).
- The mail user agent (Gmail, etc.) requests to collect any email messages that have been stored by the mail delivery agent (using either IMAP or POP3 as the protocol)
- Lastly, the mail transfer agent looks up the MX record of the domain for the recipient, to confirm how best to transfer the message.
As you can probably tell – email is not as simple as it is made to appear. Without quality contact email, it’s likely to fail somewhere along the multi-step process too.
The Need for Reliable Email Servers
Another way that email can fail is if the email servers and the software running on them is poorly maintained or out-of-date. When email servers fail during one of the running email processes, it can create data corruption and problems with sending/receipt of messages. Similarly, if the software being used on the server is not one of the better email server software packages, that can be asking for trouble too.
Using a reliable brand that provides email services is important to ensure email is sent out (or received) correctly without technical snafus. The last thing you need is to have the right contact details for someone, craft an interesting message for them, and then have a technical problem causing an issue.
Email still remains an important form of business communication for companies. While the number of communication channels has grown, email is still the primary means of online communication. As a result, getting email right still matters for all businesses, large and small.