Email Appending – Is It Worth It?

Many people think “email appending” means attachments appended to the end of an email. That’s not what it means.

Email appending is a marketing method intended to build up customer email lists. Email appending vendors take customer address and name lists and locate emails for those names and addresses. This may sound like a great way to quickly build up an email list, but among email marketing strategies, email appending is potentially very risky, and if done properly, can often be very expensive when compared to other email marketing strategies.

Some email marketing experts say that properly-done email appending will get you a 20 percent return on your customer database. By this, they mean that 20 percent of the customer names and addresses you have will yield a valid email address, and the customer will respond that they want to receive email from your company. Email appending companies say they can achieve a 50 to 70 percent email append rate on customer data from the EU, US, UK and even China, the UAE and Africa. In order to make their businesses cost-effective, email appending companies maintain huge databases of email addresses that have responded favorably in one way or another to receiving inbound marketing emails.

Email appending companies are supposed to send messages to potential subscribers on your behalf, and only forward the customer emails on to you that “opt in” to receiving future emails. Emails from appended lists that do “opt in” still won’t perform as well as those you have from subscribers who have directly provided you with their email address, knowing they’ll be receiving marketing information from your company. Some appended email addresses will also bounce, usually about 1 to 3 percent, and experts advise that any email appending company you hire should immediately credit your account for any undelivered emails.

Risks for sending bad appended emails to customers who don’t want to receive the email, or which are “spammed” across entire networks can be pretty severe. Your company could be banned by different ISPs for being an unwanted spam emailed. It is difficult to remove yourself from an email blacklist once such an event has occurred. You could also accidentally anger good customers who truly did not want to receive email from your company. Industry-wide, the Messaging Anti-Abuse Working Group (MAAWG) issued a position paper that did not recommend email appending, because of the risks it entails and because it is very difficult to accomplish properly.

We do not recommend email appending. You will probably get much better results with many fewer risks if you turn to other email marketing strategies to collect legitimate emails of customers who want to hear from you.