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Often the way that you find out that a user’s email address is no longer valid is that you get a bounce back (“user not found”). And of course, you know to remove those email addresses from your mailing list immediately (you do do that, right?).
But sometimes a user will switch email addresses, and they will actually try to notify you. They may do this in a number of different ways, but most commonly it will be in the form of an email sent to the “from” address on your mailings (this is yet another reason that the email address from which you send mailings should really exist).
Sometimes the ISPs facilitate this. In fact, some ISPs used to use a service called “True Switch” for just this reason. True Switch, which allowed someone who has switched ISPs to notify all of their contacts, has unfortunately shut down.
ISPs which used to use TrueSwitch include Verizon, AOL, Earthlink, Yahoo, AT&T and Comcast. TrueSwitch was an interesting service, their primary business model was facilitating users switching from one ISP to another. As they explained it at the time, “TrueSwitch makes changing your Internet Service Provider easy. We copy all your personal data to the new account, notify everyone with the new email address, forward emails sent to your old email address and help you cancel the old account.” But we digress.
Back to what we were talking about: what do you do when you get a notice that one of your users has changed their email address? (Of course, not to belabor the point, but if you are sending from an email address that can’t actually receive these notices, that’s an issue all on its own. So fix that.) But assuming you are able to receive these notices, what do you do with them?
Here’s what not to do with them: don’t ignore them!
Because here’s what happens if you ignore them.
First, the old email address starts bouncing. And that ticks off the ISPs.
But even if you are quickly processing bounced email addresses (and you are, right?), if you don’t take advantage of the fact that your users are telling you where to find them, you are losing users! So not only are you sending to email addresses which bounce (which decreases your deliverability), but you are not sending to users who may actually want your email (which decreases your ROI).
So, be sure that you are monitoring your email, and watching for these change of address notices. And processing them!
Because in this economy you can’t afford to ignore live users who actually want to hear from you, and are telling you where to find them.