Catch-all emails, like going in for that extra helping of dessert, appear to be a great idea—in theory. Finally, the best thing to do is unsubscribe them from your email list. Continue reading to learn more about catch-all emails and how to manage them.
Businesses can use catch-all email servers to ensure that all messages sent to an incorrect email address on their domain are delivered. Catch-all email addresses allow businesses to receive important messages that would otherwise go unnoticed. At the same time, these email addresses end up on your email lists and risk becoming invalid, putting you at the mercy of Internet Service Providers (ISPs) such as Gmail.
Don't worry, managing catch-all emails is simple, and you'll thank yourself later. Despite the fact that they allow you to reach inboxes no matter what, leaving unmonitored catch-all email addresses in your email list can have a negative impact on your deliverability.
Don't worry if you've been perplexed by catch-all emails; you've come to the right place. In this article, we'll define catch-all emails, explain their purpose, and show you how to manage them for a healthy email list.
Catch-all email addresses are email addresses that belong to a catch-all mail server. They are also known as accept-all emails or wildcard email aliases. Emails sent to any address associated with the domain name are accepted.
That’s right—any email address. Even non-existent ones. This could apply to email addresses with typos or even completely made-up addresses.
Assume that the catch-all domain is yourdomain.com.com. You only have email addresses for three of your employees.: [email. Someone could send an email to [email protected].
You might think that this defeats the purpose of email addresses in the first place, but catch-all email servers were designed with good intentions.
Companies use catch-all email servers to ensure that emails sent to invalid or non-existent email addresses are delivered. It is a method of ensuring that important email messages are not missed. This is especially important for eCommerce stores that don't want to miss out on a lead or a question directed to the support team.
When sending emails to a non-existent catch-all email address, the message is forwarded to a single inbox created specifically for these types of emails. Most businesses will then check their inbox on a regular basis to see if anything of interest has arrived.
That sounds like a great way to avoid missed communication, doesn't it? Unfortunately, catch-all email servers quickly became a haven for spammers. As a result of being overwhelmed by unsolicited emails, businesses abandoned or paid less attention to their catch-all inbox.
If you're curious about how common catch-all emails are, we have some data that will reveal what the average email list looks like.
The chart below summarizes the email status of all emails verified by MailerCheck. As you can see, catch-all accounts for a sizable portion of the pie, accounting for 8 percent.6%.
This figure rises to 15 when we look at the median value for catch-all emails in each list across all customers.25%, with an average of 541 catch-all emails per list! And in an interesting twist, catch-all emails are more often found in smaller lists.
What does this all mean to you? Catch-all emails are far too common to ignore, and there is no way to tell if a subscriber belongs to a catch-all domain at first glance.
Many businesses use catch-all email. With no way of knowing which catch-all email accounts belong to real people and which do not, removing them from your list could be a costly mistake.
These email addresses may belong to genuine subscribers who signed up for your content and may eventually become paying customers. Not to mention, if they are engaged subscribers, they will contribute to your sender reputation and deliverability by increasing your open rates.
While the advantages listed above are compelling, there are a number of drawbacks that mean you can't simply leave catch-all emails on your list and forget about them.
Catch-all emails can harm your sender reputation. While your email may end up in the catch-all inbox, if the email address is invalid, it is unlikely to be opened. This will distort your engagement rates and harm the performance of your marketing campaigns.
To make matters even more complicated, even though "accept-all" implies that all emails will be delivered, there is still a chance that your email will bounce. In fact, some businesses configure their catch-all inboxes to accept all emails at first, only to reject them later, or to set catch-all rate limits, resulting in a hard bounce. *Le sigh*
Furthermore, Email Service Providers (ESPs) such as MailerLite use bounce rate as a metric to determine your suitability for their services. If your bounce rate rises too high as a result of catch-all email bounces, the ESP may terminate your account.
Of course, all of this is contingent on whether your catch-all emails are valid or invalid, as well as whether your email list is clean or not. Fortunately, there is an easy way to find out!
To be clear, emails from a catch-all server are unverifiable—there is no way to tell whether they are valid or invalid. No tool on the market can do this because it cannot use SMTP to monitor what's going on in the inbox.
You can, however, run your email list through an email validation tool, such as MailerCheck, to determine which emails belong to a catch-all domain, and then devise a strategy for managing these email addresses.
Step 1: Check your email list health
Did you build your email list from the ground up with sweat, blood, and tears? Is your list opt-in, or even better, double opt-in? Or perhaps you used an email verification API to filter out risky emails in real-time. If this is the case, there is a good chance that the majority of the catch-all emails on your list are valid. Congratulations on completing your list!
If you obtained your list through more dubious means, such as purchasing your email list (read more about why this is a big mistake! ), then stop right there. This will not only skew your engagement metrics and potentially harm your brand's reputation, but it will also be prohibited by any email marketing software. Furthermore, there is a real risk that you will fall into some spam traps along the way! You should work on building a healthy list from the ground up.
Run your email list through MailerCheck to gain more insight into it. It will tell you how many emails in your list are valid and how many are suspect due to being catch-all, syntax errors, not found, and other factors.
Step 2: Test and improve
You'll be able to see how many catch-all emails your email list contains after running it through MailerCheck. Conducting tests in your campaigns is a good way to weed out any invalid email addresses and save those that are valid.
You can keep your bounce rate low and your ESP happy by adding only a few catch-all emails to each campaign. You can then track which catch-all recipients open the email to determine which are valid, and transfer the valid ones to your main list while removing the invalid ones that bounce.
Continue doing so until you have exhausted all of the catch-all emails identified by MailerCheck.
Time to check your list
They certainly throw a spanner in the works for something as "passive" as catch-all emails, don't they? But don't worry! Now that you're armed with the knowledge and tactics needed to face catch-all emails head on, you'll be able to develop a strategy that fits your email marketing goals and allows you to make informed decisions about how you treat accept-alls.
The first step is to verify your email list! Sign up for MailerCheck for free today and begin verifying your subscribers!.