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 no 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. Let’s begin by understanding role addresses.

What are role addresses

Role addresses are organizational email addresses associated with a certain function, responsibility, position or department and not with an individual.

They are mostly managed by more than one individual and mostly have a distribution list. That means the email sent to a role address actually will be shared with everyone on the distribution list.

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. Addresses like support@ , info@ or hiring@ are examples of role addresses. They’re often broadcast or redistributed to a number of individuals.

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 take care of specific functions. However, they are not likely to grant their consent to receive marketing emails. Importantly, some of them may actually fall into disuse after a certain task has been accomplished.

Types of role addresses

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 position, the recipient changes.
  • Service Addresses: These addresses are targeted to providing support services. Think info@, warranty@ 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.  

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.

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:

You’ll face a higher bounce rate

As mentioned earlier, a role-address is most likely a part of distribution list, meaning that your email would be distributed to more than one person. The admin who’s in charge, or the system that takes care of this distribution, doesn’t always know if a certain person has moved or left. That means your email, when forwarded to that particular individual, will bounce.

You could be blacklisted

Some sign-up systems don’t allow you to sign up with a role address. Apart from other reasons, there’s  strong reason: the risk of being blacklisted.

Because a role-address could be a broadcast or redistribution list, one or more people on the list could find your email unsolicited. As a result, they’ll report  you as a spammer. Depending upon the number of such complaints, some action could be initiated against your sending IP, including being blacklisted.

Another risk is that some role-addresses are sometimes turned in spam traps. In this case too, you risk being blacklisted.

You fall short of compliance

Email marketing best practices strongly recommend you follow the process of double opt-in: when someone signs up and submits an email address, don’t immediately add them to your mailing list. Instead, send an email to the address, asking the recipient to confirm if they’d really like to be on your subscription list.

Role-addresses almost invariably will never double opt in. That means that if you have some role-addresses on your list, you bypassed the double opt-in step and are likely sending unsolicited emails. In effect you could be non compliant of best practices, or worse, regulations like the CAN-SPAM or the GDPR.

Your risks are disproportionate

One email sent to a role address may end up in the inbox of six or eight or ten people in the organization. Remember, only one of them had signed up using that address. That means to the rest of the five or seven individuals, you are a spammer. 

That means that while you sent email to a one address, there are potentially five or seven people who’ll report you as a spammer.

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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