Email addresses can reveal more than you might imagine about your contacts. Here we explore some smart ways to gain extra insight from this simple piece of information:
1. Checking deliverability. Email addresses can be validated against an official specification (RFC822) in order to confirm they are correctly formed. In addition, the domain part of the address (the text immediately after the @ sign) can be checked to ensure it exists and accepts mail. This provides a good indication of deliverability before actually sending a message, which can save both time and money when planning bulk mail-outs.
2. Inferring country. In many cases a contact’s country can be inferred from their email domain. Whilst ‘.com’ addresses such as ‘hotmail.com’ don’t give much away, a contact with an email address ending with ‘.fr’ is highly likely to come from France. Using a lookup list of country codes, it is therefore possible to ‘guess’ the country for many contacts based only on their email address.
3. Inferring company/institution. Taking this one step further, it’s also possible to derive a contact’s company or institution from their email address. To achieve this, DataSalon is working closely with Ringgold, who maintain a large reference database of companies, governmental departments, academic institutions, hospitals, charities, and other organisations. Using this newly-developed process it is now possible to infer accurate company and institution information using only a customer’s email address. For example: using publisher contact data, this typically produces a ‘hit rate’ of around 40%.
4. Joining up data. Because email addresses are unique, they can be used as a ‘key’ to identify overlapping contacts between unrelated systems. For example, a common email address may enable the linking of a customer’s purchases and newsletter sign-ups, even if these are held in completely different systems. In combination with other linking rules, this approach can help to build a complete ‘single customer view’ across all of the systems within an organisation.