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5 Valuable Lessons from the Best Event Marketing Emails

5 Valuable Lessons from the Best Event Marketing EmailsMarketers rely on a lot of tools to drive live event attendance and conversions. But time and again, emails remain the top channel for achieving event marketing goals. Here’s how to get the most from your live events with the help of lessons drawn from the best event marketing emails.

On average, B2B marketers use a total of 5 different channels to generate buzz and maximize engagement for their live events. Recent research published by event tech provider Bizabo shows that email ranks as the top channel for promoting live events among 46% of B2B and 24% of B2C marketers.

Let’s look at what the best event marketing emails can teach us about crafting effective event invitation, promotion, confirmation, notification, and follow-ups.

 

1. Create a sequence of email touch points

Live events typically consist of three stages: pre-event, in-event, and post-event. You need to map out a sequence of emails to be sent out at each stage in order to maximize engagement.

Pre-event emails are crucial since they set the pace and determine the initial results of your live marketing project, while post-event emails are also very important since they directly impact your campaign’s conversion rates and ROI. That’s why we’ll talk about these points in greater detail later in this post.

 

2. Build anticipation and excitement

Apart from generating awareness, pre-event emails help boost attendance rates by building anticipation and interest well before opening day. At a bare minimum, your event marketing campaign needs to send out invitation, confirmation, and reminder emails.

Email automation vendor Delivra recommends the following best practices when doing pre-event send-outs:

  • Invitation emails – Sent weeks or months in advance (the bigger the event, the earlier the send-out) since potential attendees need time to secure buy-in from their boss.
  • Confirmation email – sent right after the recipient responds with an RSVP (best handled through email automation).
  • Reminder email – sent once daily 3 days before the event (including a final reminder sent 1 hour prior to event opening).

 

3. Revisit your subject line strategy

There’s sadly no hard-and-fast rule that spits out irresistible email subject lines. But with careful tracking and testing, it’s possible to tweak your subject line strategy to get better inbox placement and open rates for your event marketing emails.

Event Technologies analyzed 1.25 pre-event and post-event emails and found that:

  • 44 out of the top-performing 50 pre-event emails (according to open rates) mentioned the event name in the subject line.
  • 40 out of the top-performing post-event emails also mentioned the event in the subject line.
  • Pre-event emails whose subject line included the event name had an open rate of 24% vs 18% for pre-show messages whose subject line made no mention of the event.

Aside from naming the event in the subject line, it’s also good practice to indicate a specific call-to-action (CTA), e.g., “Visit us at DMA 2017 &THEN – Booth #1234”.

 

4. Look for sources of conversion friction

One thing that sets the best event marketing emails from the rest is that they provide a seamless experience for your recipients, from email open all the way to landing page conversion.

According to Kissmetrics, anything that gets in the way of this conversion journey is friction. There’s clearly a lot of points in your recipient’s clickpath where friction can slow down or hamper conversion. Here’s a quick rundown of a few places to closely keep an eye on:

  • Email copy – Is the copy short and easy to read?
  • CTA – Does the CTA stand out? Does it clearly specify the action?
  • Design – Is the design responsive?
  • Social sharing – Does your email make it easy for people to find and connect with you on social media?
  • Landing page – Does it seamlessly transition from the email? Are the landing page copy and CTA consistent with the email?

 

5. Plan your follow up ahead of time

Should you try to reconnect with your event attendees after the show? Of course, by all means. But following up requires more than just sending out a quick email. Like pre-event emails, post-show follow ups need some careful planning:

  • Prepare a prompt and personalized follow-up plan
  • Carry out the follow-up over a series of nurturing emails
  • Start following up 1-2 days after the event; don’t wait until 2 weeks
  • Offer different possible nurture paths
  • Make sure to reference a specific activity at the live event
  • Be careful about adding event leads directly into your marketing database

 

What other live event marketing email best practices do you follow?

How to Decide Between Lead Generation vs Demand Generation Services [2019]

In this day and age, it’s surprising that quite a number of B2B marketing folks still get the terms “lead generation” and “demand generation” mixed up. Although these two activities remain inextricably linked, they’re not the same thing. That’s why if you’re out on the market looking for lead generation or demand generation services, it’s important that you know the differences between them and find out how to choose which one you need.

Demand generation and lead generation share some similar goals, but successful marketers use each of these to achieve different sets of objectives. According to the Content Marketing Institute, demand generation creates interest on your brand or product, while lead generation captures information from interested prospects once demand has been established. The outcome of demand generation services is increased reach and conversions, while that of lead generation is new qualified contacts available for marketing or sales.

In other words, demand generation precedes lead generation. Demand generation hauls prospects into your sales funnel, while lead generation ensures that these prospects actually make it inside. That means if you’re looking for an outsourced marketing partner, you need to be sure you’re getting the right services. Here’s a few questions to help you find out whether you need lead generation or demand generation services:

 

  1. What are your present priorities and objectives?

Customer acquisition and brand awareness typically vie for marketers’ time and budget. But achieving either or both these end-goals requires having clear processes in place. What’s more is that these processes vary depending on whether your current strategic situation call for a revenue-oriented or a branding-focused approach (or a combination of both).

If you’re leaning toward customer acquisition, then lead generation activities should probably make up a significant chunk of your marketing efforts. Otherwise, going for demand generation services is most likely your best path forward.

 

  1. How much does your target market know about your product or solution?

Keep in mind that demand generation services help you create buzz and awareness about your solution or company. It’s the right tool for the job if your target buyers aren’t very familiar with what you’re offering and you need to let your audience know about its capabilities and benefits.

On the other hand, if your target prospects already have a good idea about your product, then they’re potentially ready to proceed toward the next stages in the sales funnel. That’s where lead generation can really help.

 

  1. What prospect qualifications are you looking for?

Here’s one way to think about the differences between lead generation and demand generation services. Demand generation is like casting as wide a net as possible, while lead generation helps keep only the most interested prospects, setting the rest aside. This is why demand generation tactics often use content that’s freely available (such as blog posts), whereas lead generation relies on gated content assets (such as whitepaper downloads).

Lead generation needs a more specific (and oftentimes narrower) set of prospect qualification criteria. BANT, buyer profiles, and lead scores make up prospect qualifications in lead generation. Demand generation, meanwhile, works with a broader set of prospect characteristics.

 

  1. What are your target outcomes?

Demand and leads are obviously different things, although you could argue that a lead is what demand looks like once qualified. Unless we’re talking about demand in a microeconomics context, quantifying demand for your product or solution is trickier than measuring lead generation outcomes.

With lead generation, it’s easy to find universally agreed-upon metrics to measure results (e.g., record counts for lead quantity, lead scores for lead quality). For demand generation services, it takes a little creativity to find the right yardsticks to use.

By now, you’ve possibly gotten the impression that lead generation and demand generation go hand in hand. That’s exactly the case. Deciding between lead generation and demand generation services is actually finding the right balance between which initiatives to do in-house and which ones to outsource to a third-party provider. Define what you want to achieve and determine how your current capabilities and resources stack up against your objectives.

6 Actionable Ways to Segment Information Technology Mailing Lists

6 Actionable Ways to Segment Information Technology Mailing Lists

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Whether IT managers, directors, or CIOs (or all three) make up your information technology mailing lists, reaching out to an organization’s IT decision-makers via email can be a tough nut to crack. IT folks tend to be a well-informed bunch (i.e., keeping up with developments in their field is an unwritten item on their job description). This makes them almost pathologically allergic to sales and marketing efforts that try to “educate” them on a pain point or solution they can figure out on their own.

But with the right message delivered to the right person at the right time and for the right reasons, it’s not impossible to get decent email campaign results with your information technology mailing lists. That’s right. I’m talking about good-old email list segmentation.

List segmentation breaks up your contact database into groupings based on some criteria (more on this below). The main idea is that these groupings (or segments) let you deliver more relevant email messages, so that recipients respond better to your emails. Actual campaign results show that segmented email lists produce, on average, 14% more opens and 101% higher CTRs than non-segmented lists.

It’s a bit surprising (to me, at least) that despite the measurable benefits list segmentation brings to the table, a whopping 42% of companies still avoid using this tactic. That’s according to a DMA report that claims segmentation generated 58% of revenues and 77% of ROI in 2015.

So, there you have it. Segmentation isn’t only good for your email campaigns; it also works well at boosting your top and bottom-lines. Now, let’s go over a few segmentation techniques you can apply on your information technology mailing lists right away. Although there can be hundreds of ways to slice and dice your email lists, most of these boil down to the following:

 

  1. Start with basic firmographics

I’m sure you’ve come across some fancy ways of breaking lists up. But, in most cases in IT sales and marketing, segmenting lists according to your target prospects’ company attributes can already get the job done.

Information like industry, annual revenues, geographic location, and company size are good parameters to get started with chopping up your information technology mailing lists, especially if you also throw in additional segmentation criteria such as software or technology in use along with the company’s purchase process.

 

  1. Map emails to sales funnel stages

If you need a bit more precision in your email campaigns, then targeting based on where prospects are in your sales funnel is the logical next step to build on top of firmographic segmentation.

It goes without saying that emails sent to top-of-funnel prospects shouldn’t be the same as emails intended for leads that have been in your pipeline for a while. New email subscribers, for example, are most likely looking for general information about your products and company. They’re usually not yet ready for emails about product comparisons or pricing.

 

  1. Follow a contact’s clickpath on your site

A clickpath is simply the series of links a visitor follows. It tracks the steps a prospect takes to get what she wants from your website.

How prospects navigate your site can reveal a lot about what they’re interested in and what their intentions are. Leads who have made it to your product pages, for instance, may be expecting a more product-oriented email message than someone who’s only been to your careers page.

 

  1. Find out what content they’re engaging with

Which of your whitepapers does a prospect download? What topics on your blog does that prospect tend to view? Which of these does she share often?

The content that a prospect consumes can help you craft email messages that are likely going to resonate with that lead. If you’re able to map your content materials with your sales funnel stages, your email list segments will become even more granulated once you include content preferences as a criterion.

 

  1. Keep track of responses and activities

If you’ve been using your information technology mailing lists for a while, then you’ve most probably already gathered enough data on prospect responses and email activities to identify patterns in how they interact with your campaigns.

Activities like opens, clicks, replies, and opt-outs can let you segment your list according to how engaged or interested prospects are. These interactions enable you to prioritize or reengage stalled leads with relevant messages.

 

  1. Apply a lead scoring scheme

One way to put all of these different segmentation techniques together is to use a lead scoring system. A lead score quantifies many of the things we’ve talked about earlier and assigns a value to a prospect based on how that lead meets each of the criteria.

For example, a lead scoring system might assign more points to an IT director whose company falls within a given industry, but deducts a corresponding value if that contact just happens to be browsing job vacancies on your site. A lead scoring scheme can give bigger points to prospects that view a certain topic (e.g., bottom-of-funnel content) and smaller scores to top-of-funnel leads. All these points are then added in order to compute the lead score for that particular contact.

Whatever segmentation strategy you choose to stick to, the key thing is to realize that the old “spray and pray” approach at email marketing won’t work on your information technology mailing lists. It’s relevant, engaging emails which are going to get you the right results.

5 Metrics to Measure the Health of Your B2B Contact List

B2B Contact List

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You can’t manage what you don’t measure. That’s according to an old business adage that’s still relevant in marketing today, especially now that marketers are drowning in an ocean of metrics and KPIs that let them know what works and what doesn’t. So what numbers should you be keeping track of to get a feel for how your B2B contact list is performing?

As you may know all too well already, everything in B2B marketing starts with your list. That’s why you need to keep this critical campaign component firing on all four cylinders. To find out whether your B2B contact leads database is really up to the task, here are the five key metrics you should always be monitoring:

 

  1. Inbox Placement Rates and Delivery Rates

Inbox placement rates (IPRs) and delivery rates are two distinct metrics that measure email deliverability, although they’re often incorrectly used interchangeably. Delivery rates count the number of emails sent that didn’t bounce, while IPRs only consider emails that actually made it into the recipients’ inbox.

These two numbers can indicate the overall health of your B2B contact list. Low IPRs and delivery rates are often taken as signs that a list probably needs some scrubbing and updating. Recent research from Return Path reports that average global inbox placement rates hover around 80%.

 

  1. Hard Bounces

Bounce rates refer to the percentage of total emails that were not delivered. Soft bounces happen when emails get rejected from the recipient’s server because of a full inbox. Hard bounces, on the other hand, take place when emails are not delivered because of invalid email addresses.

You want to keep an eye on hard bounce rates, since ISPs and mail providers view high levels of hard bounces as a sign of spammy behavior. To help minimize hard bounces, regularly scrub your B2B contact list for invalid or non-existent email addresses.

 

  1. Unengaged Subscribers

Unengaged subscribers are inactive contacts in your list that have yet to promptly opt out. These are subscribers who remain on your B2B contact leads database but haven’t opened or responded to your emails in a while.

Sending emails to unengaged subscribers can harm email deliverability, since doing this tends to trigger spam alerts in most ISPs. So, manage inactive subscribers with a reengagement campaign or by removing them from your B2B contact list altogether.

 

  1. List Churn Rate

List churn rate or attrition rate is the proportion of subscribers that either opt out or drop out of your list in a given period. Factors like the number of opt-outs, hard bounces, spam complaints, and subscriber inactivity are the main drivers behind list churn rates.

List churn tells you how fast your B2B contact leads database is shrinking. That’s why you need to acquire new contacts at a rate that exceeds the churn rate in order to grow your list. GetResponse estimates average annual list churn rates to be around 25%-30%.

 

  1. Spam Complaints/Reports

Every time a recipient marks your email as spam, you’re racking up spam complaints under your sender record. Once the number of spam complaints exceeds a given threshold, mailbox providers automatically classify your emails as junk. According to data from MailChimp, average spam complaint rates can vary from 0.01% to 0.04%, depending on the industry.

While spam complaints tend to reflect the quality of your email messages, they can also give you an idea about the quality of your B2B contact list. Email lists sometimes contain spam traps, which are email addresses created by mailbox providers to catch spammers red-handed. Clearly, it’s important that you find and remove this type of address from your B2B contacts leads database to help reduce the risk of incurring spam complaints.

Now, you know the crucial set of numbers that help you accurately gauge your contact list’s performance. To gain sharper insights on your B2B contact list, don’t just passively measure these metrics against industry benchmarks. Also actively run tests designed to optimize your database on a regular basis.

Is Your B2B Contact Leads Database Ready for the AI Revolution?

Is Your B2B Contact/Leads Database Ready for the AI Revolution

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One of the main takeaways from Salesforce’s 2017 STATE of MARKETING report  is that investments in AI has outpaced spending in other marketing tech areas. B2B marketers are adopting AI technologies ranging from predictive lead scoring to chatbots in droves. But before you get caught up in the hype, there’s one thing you need to nail down before you start applying AI into your marketing processes: Is your B2B contact leads database ready for AI at all?

To answer this, we first need to separate the reality and the publicity behind AI’s capabilities in B2B marketing today. MarTech Advisor points to four key areas where B2B marketers can realistically expect AI to lend them a helping hand:

  • Scoring and ranking leads.
  • Segmentation and content personalization
  • Discovering and implementing Marketing automation strategies
  • Sales enablement and acceleration

At its present development stage, the best that AI technology can do is allow you to carry out the tasks in each of the above activities more efficiently. While some aspects of AI can uncover prospect behavior invisible to the unaided human B2B marketer, the reality is that AI remains just a tool, and tools are only as effective as the persons and processes using them.

So if you think AI has a place in your marketing toolkit, you first need to take a good look at your B2B contact leads database.

Like everything else in marketing, AI depends on good data. The data currently sitting in your CRM and datasets you’re about to collect need to meet some basic requirements before starting AI-enabled campaigns. In an interesting video series, Brandon Rohrer at Microsoft Azzure thinks of data science and AI as a lot like making pizza: the better the ingredients (your data), the better the final product (marketing insights).

There are four qualities that any dataset must satisfy to be ready for AI and data science:

  1. Relevant: Do the fields and records in your B2B contact leads database help you answer the questions you’re exploring? For example, which lead attributes in your CRM influence the likelihood that a prospect turns into a customer within the next quarter?
  2. Accurate: How reliable are the models/profiles generated from your marketing database? Do the records contain incorrect, outdated, redundant, or invalid entries?
  3. Connected: Are there significant gaps in your marketing data? What percentage of records contain empty fields?
  4. Sufficient: Do you have enough records to build robust AI models?

While each of the above criteria is important, we need to carefully consider sufficiency. AI requires data–lots of data. The algorithms that power most AI applications run on vast amounts of examples in their training set. In general, the more examples you use to train an AI algorithm, the more accurate the resulting model gets.

So before you think about applying AI in marketing, you first have to bring your contact leads database up to snuff.  Use the previous ideas as your guidelines and maximize the power of artificial intelligence.

Run These 6 Data Hygiene Checks On Your B2B Email Lists Before Your Next Campaign

Run These 6 Data Hygiene Checks On Your B2B Email Lists Before Your Next Campaign

Whether it’s B2C or B2B, email marketing has always been an excellent approach to nurture prospects, convert sales-ready leads, and solicit repeat and referral business. However, in order to be effective, your contact list requires a solid foundation. And whether you’re employing bought or home-grown data, doing hygiene checks on your email lists is crucial to boosting your ROI.

So what does it mean to run a data hygiene check on your B2B email lists?

Your contact database is brimming with data and insights into your potential clientele. However, if that data contains errors and inaccuracies, your sales and marketing initiatives are going to bear the brunt of the nasty side effects of having bad data on your list. Routinely running data hygiene checks guarantees that every piece of information in your contact database is as reliable and actionable as possible. Having meticulously-maintained and robust data is critical for running targeted and effective email marketing campaigns.

The following are the common types of dirty data that might be lurking in your B2B email lists.

  • Inaccurate data – These are those records that have typographical errors.
  • Duplications — These are separate records belonging to the same contact.
  • Dead accounts — These are those email addresses that were once actively used by their owners but have now become inactive.
  • Spam traps – These are those email addresses that are in circulation to help single out spammers who add addresses to their email lists without consent. They often find their way into authentic email lists.

To remove these kinds of data from your B2B email lists, you need to run these six crucial steps in maintaining good data hygiene:

  1. Data Scrubbing – This refers to finding and handling data entry and basic parsing errors.
  2. De-duplication and Records Matching – This refers to detecting and removing duplicate records as well as combining records incorrectly classified as separate.
  3. Recovering/Appending Missing Data & Values – This refers to managing records with incomplete data by using an intelligent algorithm.
  4. Data Migration & Merging – This refers to migrating or integrating a marketing database into another format or storage.
  5. Standardization & Normalization – This refers to checking the consistency and comparability of various pieces of data in the database.
  6. Data Verification – This refers to validating and verifying information on the database through phone, email, and online research.

Know that dirty data is something that you can absolutely do without. They can give you a bad rep by damaging your sender score and it could get a lot worst with your IP getting blocked or being blacklisted by your email provider. That’s why doing data hygiene checks routinely should be a part of your campaign process. It’s a good push toward reducing bounce rates and improving email deliverability and conversion rates.

3 Reasons Why Savvy B2B Marketers Do Email Marketing With Purchased Contact Lists

Why Savvy B2B Marketers Do Email Marketing With Purchased Contact Lists

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When handled correctly, you can take advantage of purchased contact lists to its full potential. That is why savvy B2B marketers include purchased contact lists in their must-haves especially when running email marketing campaigns. Here are three reasons why they just love to do so.

  1. It lets you kick-start your email campaign right away.
    Inbound marketing has its share of boon and bane. Sure. It’s a potent marketing technique that you should have. However, you can’t deny the fact that it takes a considerable amount of time. Time is precious so why be solely dependent on a strategy that eats it up? Fortunately, getting hold of purchased contact lists eradicates this as it gives you the upper hand in your lead generation.
  1. It fills your sales funnel right there and then and expands your contact database overnight.
    When you depend on inbound approaches alone, Your marketing team isn’t the only one that will bear the brunt. It can become an obstacle for your business growth as numbers tank and sales become sluggish. If that’s not a nightmare scenario for you, I don’t know what is. But if push comes to shove and you opt to send emails using purchased contact lists, filling up that funnel is easily within your reach. In other words, with a bought contact list, you can expedite sales-ready leads for conversion.
    Aside from virtually letting you expand your database overnight, using purchased contact lists in your email marketing basically opens up new horizons for you and put you in front of boundless business opportunities. So whenever you need a push in your lead generation efforts, don’t hesitate to make a purchase!
  1. You can use it to convert cold contact into warm leads.
    Some of you might be thinking that emailing to purchased contact lists is a little risky since the contacts haven’t opted in. But of course! They haven’t opted. Yet! Using these contact lists in your B2B email marketing enables you to convert cold contacts to warm, consent-based leads. You can, therefore, make these leads part of your sales and marketing campaigns. After this, it’ll be all about employing lead nurturing strategies and conversion.

In the right hands, purchased contact lists are great tools for building and growing the sales pipeline. That’s why savvy marketers use bought email lists because: it frees up their time to focus on more important things; it lets them fill up their funnel with ready-to-contact prospects practically overnight; and finally, it allows them to nurture and convert the right kind of leads. So, go find a B2B contact list provider that gives you more bang for your buck. Look for a vendor that manually verifies each list record, so that your email campaigns get better deliverability, response, and conversions.

B2B Prospecting: The Key To Getting More Sales From Your Sales Leads Database

B2B Prospecting: The Key To Getting More Sales From Your Sales Leads Database

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If you have a sales leads database and still wondering why you’re not seeing that sales figures, that might be because you have fallen short in prospecting. It’s a common knowledge that there are a lot of ways to do this like employing cold calling and email marketing. So why persist in prospecting? Isn’t having a product and/or service already does the work of getting that B2B prospects in front of you? Sorry for bursting your bubble but no. It was and will never be that simple.

Being a trailblazer in your field doesn’t guarantee an easy sell. In most cases, people will not just come up to you and say “I want to buy your product and/or service” or “I want us to do business”. You see, it takes prospects to make sales! You’re nowhere close to getting that business deal without B2B prospects. So time to raid that contact lists and begin calling!

Why do I need to call?

It’s a fact that you’re calling for yourself. Of course! You want a sale. Nevertheless, merely speaking up to people on the phone wouldn’t get you a sale. When you pick up the phone and dial a contact what you should aim is setting appointments! Why? Since you’re still in the prospecting phase of your campaign! At best, appointments equal prospects, and prospects can turn into sales.

How about sending emails instead?

It doesn’t really matter whether it’s over the phone or electronic mail as long as you’re able to set appointments with your target people. Appointments are the real deal since it puts you in the hot seat. It’s what brings you the “audience” you require in order to present your products and services. Just keep in mind that if you’re considering to exploit email as your prospecting tool, do not do email marketing in the manner that you’re doing cold calling.

As already said, forget about the sales you want if you wouldn’t even do prospecting. You should have an “audience” and it’s necessary to get your point across them. If they’re smitten, then you can now guide them through the sales cycle and if everything goes well, you’ll get sale as the end result.

So hit the phone and shoot your email. Start prospecting now if you want to get the best out of your sales leads database!

Why You Shouldn’t Overlook Invalid Email Addresses

“What would happen when a customer registers an invalid email address into the marketer’s online registration, contact form or subscription page?”

Clients were asked  about the rate of their typo errors and their replies were mostly “If it bounces back, my ESP filters it out and removes it from my list. It’s not much of a struggle.” But truth be told, it is a struggle and is far more complex. It ought to concern any know-how email marketer.

Businesses ought to monitor the emails they procure. Customer emails are generally the life of their marketing efforts. It is okay to pay for them, yet spending excessively and not getting your money’s worth is bad by any means. The real cost of faulty email addresses is far more worrying than marketers, and the business as a whole, may anticipate. Certain implications ought to be put into consideration.

First, marketing investment are wasted. Odds are, that the lead that appeared on your site did not just accidentally wandered there. That it is your marketing effort that motivated that lead to take action and provide their email address and other personal information. In the instance that the business cannot reach out and engage this lead more, then the marketing effort and money you have invested, is good as useless.

Second, prospects left hanging. When there is a typo in the registration, it is a mistake. Anybody registering their email address on the business website does it in the belief of hearing news regarding new product or service updates, an email activity alert, or a promotional offer. At the point when that expectation is not met, the confidence placed by the customer has been broken. Worse, they may not even be aware that  business’ failure to connect was the consequence of their own typo error. They would then assume that they were not valued and is being neglected. The reaction would be disappointment, separation and a customer left to ponder what perhaps had turned out badly.

Lastly, decreased ROI. While coming up short on client expectations, there is an added (grudgingly) consequence to that and that is as the efficiency of those faulty email addresses are made smaller thus will be its Return of Investment in the email campaigns. Regardless of whether the business’ goal is an increase in sales, spur social appointment or petition for donations, undeliverable emails is a bane to the ROI.