The Anatomy of an Email Append

Written by Kim Chapman, Senior Account Executive

Email Append

It can take a long time to build up your email database organically. If you are looking for a way to substantially build your database, and you have a significant quantity of customer postal addresses, it might make sense to do an email append. But before you jump in headfirst, it’s important to know the ins and outs of this marketing practice. Here are some tips to get you started:

1)     Start with a clean customer file, which means running the file through CASS and NCOA

2)     Make sure you are using a high-quality vendor who insists on providing you with high-quality data. This means they should:

–       Use opt-in 3rd party data that includes the source, and a date & time stamp. Using opt-out 3rd party data can increase the chances of your customer wondering how you obtained their email address, and them reporting it as SPAM

–       Perform a precise match, using first name, last name, and complete postal address

–       Perform thorough data hygiene, which includes suppressing unsubscribes, undeliverable addresses, and damaging addresses such as spamtraps and frequent SPAM complainers

3)     The append vendor should send out a permission email. Whether it should be an opt-in or an opt-out message is up for debate as there are pros and cons to both. The problem with opt-out messages is that the likelihood that every customer will read the permission email is slim, which increases the risk of someone reporting one of your future marketing emails as SPAM. Ironically, the problem with opt-in messages is the same: since the likelihood that every customer will read the permission email is slim, you could be letting go of quality email addresses of customers who would welcome your emails. If you go the opt-out route, a potential safeguard against customers reporting one of your future marketing emails as SPAM is to ensure a welcome message is included in the first marketing email they receive. A message that explains why they are receiving this email, and makes it easy for them to unsubscribe, should they want to. (For anyone who does not open this first email, continue including the message in future emails until they open it.)

While email appends can be helpful for many companies, it’s important not to stop organic collection methods. Make sure there is an email sign-up on your website, and that it’s easy to find. In addition, consider displaying an email sign-up pop-up box when someone accesses your website. While some people may find this annoying, it will be a nice nudge for those who want actually want to provide their email.

If you are interested in implementing an email append, contact me at