Protect Your E-mail Housefile Investment With NCOA
You may already be familiar with NCOA for your postal addresses, a service that corrects and updates your snail-mail list. What you may not have known is that since 2000, this service also has been available to freshen your e-mail address lists.
A typical NCOA for e-mail service includes the following functions:
Identification of addresses that should be removed from your list. These may be addresses that match a list of suspicious addresses, such as “firstname.lastname@example.org” or “email@example.com”; match a block list; are unrecoverable bounces; or are duplicates. Some services also can catch different addresses belonging to the same person, so you don’t double-message these people.
Flagging of addresses for manual review. These might be addresses that meet certain rules maintained by the provider, or simply violate standard guidelines for e-mail addresses. An example would be addresses containing unusual characters.
Correction of typos. Using tables of known typos as well as heuristic rules, your provider can help you recover customers lost to “dead” addresses as a result of thousands of typos and syntax errors, including every typo example presented earlier. Some providers even offer recursive processing, which can intelligently correct multiple typos in one pass.
Updating of old addresses. All true NCOA for e-mail providers operate popular consumer Web sites designed for individuals to use when their e-mail addresses change. These updated addresses, in addition to across the board domain changes, then are made available to you. Typical vendors offer pay for performance pricing. On average, this works out to less than 50 cents per recovered address. Depending on the type and quality of your list, initial match rates will vary from very small to more than 10 percent. Your relationship with a vendor may be a simple one-time run, or a contract-based relationship where it will help you keep your list fresh over time.
Your customer database is one of your most valuable and expensive assets. To let it waste away at a rate of 25 percent to 33 percent per year is not a viable way to do business. You should start thinking now about the problems lurking in your database, and resolve to take care of these as soon as possible. Using an NCOA for e-mail provider can help you reconnect with customers lost to “dead” addresses immediately, and ensure that your well-crafted messages earn you the maximum return on your investment.
Austin C. Bliss is president of e-mail deliverability solutions firm FreshAddress Inc. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (617) 965-4500.