A little more analysis, a little more insight… Exploring email marketing better

Role addresses and how they impact email deliverability

The success of any email marketing program largely depends on its email deliverability. Why? Because how will people respond to your campaigns if they don’t receive them in the first place?

Email deliverability is of critical importance because you get to ensure that you send your emails to people who signed up for them. For you to run a successful email campaign, it is imperative that you are sure that your emails are reaching their intended audience.

However, deliverability can be compromised by certain factors. Easily noticeable factors like poor (or excellent) copy as well as subtle factors like types of subscriber addresses judge the success of your email marketing campaign.

Back in the days, we used to send a simple test email to check for deliverability. Today, it is longer adequate. Marketers run their emails through a detailed email pre-send checklist to make sure they aren’t leaving anything to chance.

In this post, we shall discuss role email addresses; what they are, how they affect your deliverability, and what you can do about it. But first, we’ll begin with email deliverability.

Email Deliverability

Email deliverability is both important and complex. Several factors contribute to emails landing in the inbox of recipients. Some factors are relatively easy to fix while others take a long time before you can make any improvements.

Mailing list quality is a factor that is critical to the success of your email campaign. Fortunately, it is quick and easy to improve the hygiene of your mailing list. You want to clean your mailing list because you want to get rid of addresses that can negatively impact the deliverability of your email.

A clean mailing list to make sure your emails don’t hard bounce. Hard bounces are those emails that are bounced back to the email sender because the email address is not valid.

Role email addresses are one of those addresses you don’t want on your mailing list. That’s because role-addresses are impersonal and provide you with practically no scope for engagement.

What are Role Addresses?

Also known as role-based email addresses or role email addresses, role addresses are different from other email addresses in that they do not represent a specific individual, but rather, an organization, group, or position. Addresses like support@ , info@ or hiring@ are examples of role addresses.

Unlike personal email addresses, which are meant for person-to-person communications, role addresses are meant for a particular task or service. What’s more they may reach the person(s) in charge of the task at the moment, and not necessarily to the person who signed up.

Role addresses have a vital purpose, especially in larger companies. They are used to address complaints, issue directives, and other crucial management roles to their employees and customers. However, they are not likely to grant their consent to receive marketing emails.

Role-based email addresses typically fall into the following categories:

  • Designation or Position Addresses: This address belongs to a post (e.g. admin@, webmaster@) and not to an individual (e.g. phil@ or hafeza@). So an email sent to this address will reach an individual, but not the same one each time. Each time a new person occupies the post, the recipient changes.
  • Service Addresses: These addresses are targeted to providing support services. Think info@, cron@ or billing@.
  • Compliance Addresses: Such addresses are used to report spammers and accept complaints regarding misuse of service. They include addresses such as abuse@, compliance@, gdpr@.
  • Broadcast or Multi-recipient Addresses: When an email reaches this addresses, the auto-forward broadcasts it to a number of people. If one of the many recipients marks it as spam, it impacts your reputation. Examples include support@, staff@ and all@

Apart from this, there could be other impersonal addresses used within the organization. Often they are short-lived in nature and are used to verify communication channels (e.g. testing@, errors@). They aren’t widely known outside the organization.  

Problems associated with role-addresses

You can easily see these addresses are impersonal. Because of that, such addresses are unlikely to have expressly given their consent to sign up for newsletters or marketing emails.

Presence of role-addresses, therefore, give rise to problems like the following:

Bounce Rate

Email administrators are usually responsible for role-based emails. However, the admin might not always know whenever the individual that was in charge of that particular email moves onto another position or leaves the company.

This might result in a role-based email’s distribution list that is not up-to-date. As such, you might be sending emails to inactive role addresses. And because inactive role addresses are set to bounce emails automatically, you will experience a high bounce rate that will contribute to poor campaign performance.


Repeatedly sending emails to a role address will not only annoy the one running that email, but it might cause them to file spam complaints which will damage your reputation.

Role-based email accounts are often utilized as spam traps by their administrators. This may even result in your IP being blacklisted across the entire organization, thereby cutting you off from further leads or even existing customers.

CAN-SPAM compliance

The consent to send emails is usually a contract between both parties. However, by marketing to a role-based email address, you risk sending your content to people who did not agree to your conditions. This puts at risk of potentially violating the US CAN-SPAM act which governs email marketing.

New Regulations

The new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that was recently enacted in Europe has severely restricted unsolicited email marketing. Here is the thing you might not always know when you are emailing to Europe – for instance, household names such as Unilever and Bayer are based there, and many people do not know that – which bounds you to this act and its stiff penalties. Therefore, by eliminating role-based email accounts from your contact database, you will be mitigating your exposure to this risk.

Exponential Risk

Role addresses raise your risks exponentially. For instance, when you email one role-based email address, it might go to 10 different people (broadcasts), and it only takes one of them to complain, for you to get into trouble.

Additionally, sending one errant message to just one role address could result in multiple complaints. Emailing these addresses, therefore, is not worth it.

Customer Reputation

Whenever a ‘customer’ signs up for your contact list using a role-based email account, it is usually a type of ‘friendly fraud’ where they do not want to receive your emails personally. It is just like the individual who signs up as ‘Mickey Mouse’ so that they can receive a free marketing gift.

However, other admins to that account might not be aware of what transpired, and even though you have done nothing wrong, you are still at risk of being listed as spammer or being blacklisted.

Role-based email addresses are the number one type of email accounts that you must avoid when running your emailing campaign. They might land you in a lot of trouble in addition to negatively impacting your deliverability. But when dealing with hundreds of emails, it might be difficult to pinpoint them individually especially if users used them to subscribe to your list.

What you can do

To mitigate the risks associated with role addresses, it is imperative that you use an email verifier. This is a tool that utilizes a variety of procedures to determine the value of an email. It will be able to tell which addresses among your emailing lists are role addresses. This will help suppress and eliminate them.

QuickEmailVerification is an email list cleaning service that processes thousands of email-addresses every minute to identify the invalid emails in your contact list. This email checker will allow you to pinpoint and eliminate role addresses in real-time so that your lists stay clean, and without potential risk.

A little care can go a long way in improving the success of your email marketing campaign.


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