How To: Fix an Invalid Email Address

Invalid email addresses are often one of the main reasons emails aren’t delivered, bounce, or aren’t accepted to a delivery list. If this happens to you, don't sweat! It’s actually a pretty common problem in email marketing, and it can be fixed - today we are going to walk you through how to do it.

First, let’s understand what invalid email addresses are and why this issue occurs:

What Is an Invalid Email Address?

Basically, an invalid email address is an incorrect email address - It’s an address that either never existed, or doesn’t exist anymore, and it can’t be used to send an email.

Now, invalid email addresses are pretty common in email lists. Larger databases can contain somewhere between 5% to 30% invalid email addresses. These are numbers that, even for a large-scale email list, can cause quite a bit of trouble, like damage to your sending reputation, so it's important to do a little bit of maintenance work when this occurs.

4 Reasons For Invalid Email Addresses:

In order to fix an invalid email address, it helps to first understand how to recognize one, and why it happens. Let's take a look at why these addresses show up in your email lists in the first place:

  • #1 The Email Address Has Been Changed or Deleted The most common scenario - People change or stop using their addresses all the time. Once an address has been abandoned for some time, the email service provider will either delete the address or deactivate it. After this, the address is invalid and no longer viable.

  • #2 Change of Work (Company) Position When it comes to business connections, another common reason why email addresses become invalid is because of movement within a company. When a company employee gets a promotion or gets assigned to a different division, they may be assigned a new address and forget to update all of their registrations. It's also possible that your contact at has left, moved, or is no longer working for that company. When this happens, their old address is often deleted or deactivated.

  • #3 The Email Domain is Dead Email addresses that are otherwise considered valid can sometimes be considered invalid when the server is temporarily down, or when the domain is dead and no longer able to send or receive emails.

  • #4 There Are Typos in the Email Address Honestly, people misspell their own addresses all the time! Scan your invalid email address list for mispelled domain names, or possible typos in the address itself. Sometimes they're fairly easy to spot - it's usually a simple matter of adding extra letters or tapping adjacent letters on the keyboard.

Tips To Fix Invalid Email Addresses:

Okay, so now that we’ve understood the reasons behind invalid email addresses, the good news is that some can be salvaged fairly easily! Here's what you can do when investigating your contact list:

Try Reaching the Person Behind the Email Through Other Means

Mistakes happen! If you believe that you have been given an invalid email adress in error, you can, for example, call them on their cell phone or at their workplace and ask them if they’ve changed their email. If they give you a new email, make sure to update your email list as soon as possible and remove the invalid email address. You can also try to locate the valid address on their LinkedIn account, their social media, or their employer's website.

Get in Touch With the Company About A Replacement Contact

If you notice that an important representative that you’ve been doing business with has suddenly gone AWOL, it’s not a bad idea to get in touch with their company and confirm whether or not they're still the contact you should be using. Staff can get shuffled around within a company, or people can simply resign from their position and leave a company entirely. In these scenarios, just ask for the new email address or the email address of the person who’s replaced your former client.

Don't Give Up! Check The Status Of the Domain!

These days, it’s pretty easy to determine whether the domain of your client’s email address has gone down or if it’s just a temporary server issue. Before giving up on an invalid email entirely, it's worth running a check on the server. Sites like Website Planet, Host Tracker, and Site24x7 are safe and effective ways to check whether the domain of the email address you need is dead or not. (If it is indeed dead, then there’s nothing much you can do. Just make sure to take it off your email list!)

Check for any Typos or Problems With the Formatting

This is one of the simplest solutions for invalid email addresses! Everybody makes mistakes - checking for typos can help. Check the spelling of the address and make sure the formatting has all the elements of an email - the name, the @ sign, the dot, and the net/com/etc.

Need Help? Bento can do it for you!

It can be tedious and time consuming to run an audit of your email address list on your own - sometimes it's better to pass the baton to someone else who knows what they're doing. Luckily you're in the right place - Bento offers email validation services, so if your hands are full, no worries - we can take it from here! Here are some of the basic checks we run at Bento:

  • MX checks - These checks are conducted against the MX records of a particular domain. If we find no such records, it means that the subscriber can't receive emails and they’re going to be unsubscribed from the list.

  • Syntax checks - We are able to check the overall format of the email address - including any potential typos and whether it could be received by big email providers like Gmail or Yahoo.

  • Regex checks - This check looks for emails that match unique spam patterns present on rogue email lists. This is a very powerful tool that has been able to detect and remove a staggering 35 percent of bad / invalid emails from one of our client’s mailing lists.

  • IP scanning - This scan checks for whether or not subscribers have submitted their address from a particular region - it also checks whether an IP block we've detected submits high spam rates.

  • User-Agent checks - These checks determine whether the subscriber submitting their email address is a human being, or a robot.

  • AI - This powerful tool runs the subscriber’s address through our machine-learning API and determining whether or not it matches certain unwanted patterns we've located inside our exclusive Bento network (based on user and subscriber data). If there is a match, we inform our users and they get to decide whether they want to remove these addresses themselves.

Minimize The Occurence of Invalid Email Addresses!

Here are some tips to help combat the surge of invalid email addresses in your personal mailing list:

NEVER Rely on Email Lists Sold on the Internet!

Email lists that are up for sale are a big no for several reasons. First, they’re highly unethical - nobody knows how they’ve been gathered, and it’s likely been done without their owners’ awareness or consent. Second, these lists are ridden with spam traps and invalid email addresses.

Utilize the Double Opt-in!

Nowadays, it’s pretty easy to make sure your email list is filled with people who really want to be on it and who won’t put fake or invalid addresses just to get something for free. The double opt-in or email confirmation option is a great way to make sure people are serious about your email campaign. They will receive an email in their inbox asking them to confirm their address. Another way to make sure people are giving the right address is to make them type it manually - twice.

Remember - It's always better to collect a highly engaged core audience, than to utilize a bloated and inflated one with invalid addresses. By cutting down on invalid email addresses, you can utilize mail tracking statistics and data to better understand what resonates best with your audience, and craft a better user experience for your customers.

Conclusion

Every email campaign will encounter a set of obstacles when trying to obtain its goal. Invalid emails are considered to be one of these obstacles, but there are ways to minimize the damage from a bloated and invalid mailing list. If you try the solutions above, it’s very likely that you’ll get your campaign back on track while your bounce rates go down, while your email deliverability goes up! Good luck!