As a system administrator, I’ve seen a lot of creative attempts by salespeople to explore a target company. Here’s an observation I think many marketers are facing in creating an effective email marketing campaign.  This one process may be what’s keeping your email messages from reaching their identified targets.

One of the techniques used by email providers like Google is to route incorrectly addressed incoming email to a catch-all email account. This account is usually the administrator. But it can be anything the administrator wants.

Our team makes use of these types of accounts in our various projects all the time and we clean out the refuse once a month or so. They catch everything and a general purge spares nothing.

It’s purpose is to prevent spammers from analyzing information about our email services from bounced messages.

This is good news in the war on spam and phishing. However, it’s bad news for you if you’re using dubious marketing tactics.

What May Be Happening When Your Email Marketing Campaign Members Don’t Respond

Let’s say you are a sales rep or a marketer trying to break into Acme Rail Rockets. You have a single point of contact in the company, Bob Binky. And you consider yourself lucky because he was kind enough to provide his email address. So you start your email marketing campaign, sending Bob five well-crafted marketing emails to his email address, “bob.binky@acme-dot-com.

What happens if Bob leaves the company in the middle of your email campaign?

Well, unless Bob updated every marketer and sales rep in his address book, Bob’s system won’t notify you that he’s left the company. After the system administrator closes out Bob’s account, their system will route the rest of the messages in your email marketing campaign to the catch-all account. There, the system will schedule all of them for mass deletion. And all you’ll see is an unresponsive Bob.

For sales reps, this means that probing for live email addresses or honest, mis-typed email addresses will put your sales letter in the queue for deletion.

And for marketers, this means that the system is dumping all of the addresses for unresponsive list members  into it’s catch-all account. It will later erase them all in bulk.

Over the past 6 months, we’ve had several people move on to new opportunities. After the sales manager reviews the contacts for customers and vendors, we schedule the account for closure. I review the catch all account about once a month. However, there’s no way I can read all of the emails to find legitimate typos. Bulk erasure is typically what happens.

Tips to Remember When Creating an Effective Email Marketing Campaign

If you want to avoid having the messages from your email marketing campaign land in the catch-all email account, here are some things to try:

  1. Clean Your List

    Run your re-engagement campaigns to determine who’s real and who’s gone. Remove the email addresses that aren’t responding back and engage those who do respond.

  2. Check Your Typing

    For our incoming email, I find a few messages addressed to people that currently work for our company. However, the sender mis-typed the email address, either by accident or on purpose. Since the system can’t find a user, it routes their message to the catch-all account where no one will see it. So do what you need to do to verify you got your prospects and clients’ email address right.

  3. Don’t Spam

    Some sales reps, marketers, and email list providers will verify a target contact by trying multiple variations of a contact’s name. They depend on the bounced message to let them know if they have a hit or if they have to try the next variation. That strategy doesn’t work if the system routes every variation they use to the catch-all email account. Your list may have Bob’s email as b.binky@acme-dot-com simply because your first message  didn’t bounce. In reality, the system quarantined your message and you aren’t reaching Bob at all.

If you want to create a viable email list for an effective email marketing campaign, put valued content on your site, keep your audience engaged, and clean out the unresponsive members as often as possible.