By Kate Maddox
FreshAddress, an e-mail service provider based in Newton, Mass., released a report that found the average e-mail append match rate was 15.1% for commercial clients, compared with an e-mail append match rate of 10.3% for non-profit organizations.
The e-mail append match rate is the percentage of e-mail addresses that can be identified for customer records, based on other information provided such as name and postal address.
FreshAddress, which serves b-to-b, b-to-c and non-profit clients, based the report on an analysis of more than 75 million customer records processed for its clients between April 1 and Sept. 30.
FreshAddress has a three-step process it uses in appending e-mail addresses to customer data, said Bill Kaplan, CEO of the company.
For b-to-b customers, the client provides any information available on the customer name, the company name, the company’s address and any alternate e-mail addresses.
The first step FreshAddress takes is to match the customer name against opt-in b-to-b databases, such as those offered by sales lead company infoUSA and credit bureau Equifax.
The second step is analyzing what FreshAddress calls corporate domain pattern recognition, which is basically figuring out a company’s e-mail naming convention.
Finally, for smaller businesses that might not have recognizable corporate domain names, FreshAddress searches the customer’s name against opt-in b-to-c databases, such as shopping databases for free product information or offers.
After FreshAddress has found an e-mail append match, it sends out a confirmation or permission request on behalf of its clients to validate the e-mail address.
The research found that the discrepancy between match rates for commercial clients and those for non-profits was directly correlated to the age of the customer base. Non-profits with younger donors performed in the higher range, while those with older customers performed in the lower range. Kaplan speculated that older customers do not opt in to as many databases, making it more difficult to provide an e-mail append match.
FreshAddress also reported that the average e-mail change of address (ECOA) update rate for bounce lists for both commercial clients and non-profits was 10.2%.
FreshAddress provides an ECOA service, which also uses b-to-b and b-to-c opt-in databases to help its clients update e-mail addresses for their customers.
Finally, FreshAddress reported that companies that conduct quarterly append and ECOA updates are able to double the rate of both appends and change of address updates.
"Companies are continuously trying to keep their e-mail lists fresh and updated to connect with their customers and reach them with messages," Kaplan said. "If you can reconnect with 15% to 30% more of your customers through e-mail, your bottom line will go up substantially."