Bespectacled African-American man checks if an email is valid before sending a marketing email

How to Check If an Email Is Valid

You just got an email address and are ready to send a note to the person in question. But how do you check if that email is valid? Should you just try sending an email? The answer may surprise you: no.

Sending an email to an invalid address will cause it to bounce back – and that’s not something you should take lightly. When your bounces are higher than 2%, your future emails may start going to spam.

So there are good reasons and benefits to check if an email address is valid. You want to reach the person and hopefully make a connection. 

Want to check if an email is valid? Try our free email verifier and find out in seconds.

Why check if an email is valid

Email helps us connect to the entire world. Just think of all the incredible ways you can use email – provided you have a working address. To say it’s changed the world is no exaggeration.

Consider the following:

  • Approximately 4.3  billion people around the world use email.
  • People get an average of 126 emails a day.
  • Of all the marketing channels available, email has the highest ROI, currently at $36 for every dollar spent.
  • Most people (61%) prefer email over other communication methods.
Bespectacled man contemplates that emails that look like spam are more likely. to be marked as spam.

Email’s versatility is why the channel is so widespread and people prefer it. But email only works if you have the right address. 

We all find ourselves wondering if a contact we just found is valid or not. For instance, you may be:

  • An investor looking for lucrative projects.
  • A business in search of investors.
  • A public relations professional trying to reach a journalist and pitch a story.
  • Or a journalist hoping to connect with a source.
  • Perhaps you’re on a sales team cold emailing prospects.
  • Or maybe you’re a job seeker or recruiter. 

Whatever reason you may want to send emails, the bottom line is that you don’t want your email to bounce. If it bounces, you’re not making a connection, and that defeats the point of sending the email. 

It’s like carefully writing a letter, crumpling it up, and throwing it in the trash. But that’s only a small part of why using an invalid email address doesn’t pay.

What can go wrong if you send an email to an invalid contact

If you think having the wrong email address is no big deal, perhaps you haven’t realized the full ramifications. It’s not just an annoyance. 

If  you don’t have the right email address, consider the following drawbacks:

  • You’ll waste time. You wrote an email and chose your words carefully, only to discover that you didn’t have the correct contact.
  • Your brand will leave a poor impression. If someone added their email address to your list but mistyped it, you have the wrong contact, even though they’ve expressed an interest in hearing from you. This will result in a bounce, and they won’t get your emails. They’re unlikely to realize they made an error and will think you flaked on them.
  • Bad data costs you money. When sending a newsletter or promotional email, invalid email addresses will squander your expenses. Email service providers (ESPs) charge based on how many email addresses you’re sending to and in what quantities. Incorrect email addresses waste money and can’t lead to any good outcome.
  • You’ll land in the spam folder. Sending an email to the wrong email address will result in a bounce, and the more bounces you get, the more Internet service providers (ISPs) begin to classify you as a spammer. Sending emails to incorrect addresses tarnishes your sender reputation. You don’t want that to happen because any emails you send (including to correct addresses) start landing in the spam folder.
Bearded smiling man considers impressive email marketing statistics.

An email expert on the importance of checking email validity

We spoke with copywriter and email strategist Zach Nonnemacher of ZeroBounce who explained in plain English why you need to check email addresses before sending a message. 

Email marketing expert Zach Nonnemacher points out why it doesn't make sense to email someone without checking.

Here’s what Zach says: 

You need to check if an email is valid. Otherwise, how do you expect to communicate with anyone?

Think of it this way – if you were calling a friend and got a message saying, “This number is not available,” you wouldn’t keep calling that number, would you? Of course not – you’d delete the number from your contacts and ask for the correct one at the earliest opportunity. 

Sending a message to an invalid email address is no different. You wouldn’t waste time or effort writing or designing emails that go nowhere. You’d validate your list of email contacts, delete the invalid, fake, or outdated ones, and keep the valid ones. 

As a final important note, blind emailing an unverified address is riskier than dialing the wrong number. There are many email address types out there, and many of them can hurt your ability to reach your contacts via email. Be responsible, take the short time needed to validate your contacts, and act from there.

How do you check if an email is really valid?

Now that you understand why you should validate email contacts, let’s explore the different ways you can do that.

Check a single email address

If you just have one email address that you need to verify, it’s so simple: use the ZeroBounce free email verifier

Screenshot of the ZeroBounce free email verifier with dark green elements on light background.

Type or copy and paste the email address in question. Within seconds, you’ll see if that email is valid or not. Never send a message if the email address is invalid.

Instead, consider using our email finder to get the right contact information and avoid bounces. 

Bulk email verification: validate many email addresses at once

Suppose you’ve been collecting email addresses and have an email database. It wouldn’t make sense to check each email address one at a time. Instead, upload the entire email list to the email validation platform and allow the software to check the validity of each contact.

Once it’s finished, eliminate all of the invalid or damaging email addresses. This is something you should repeat no less than quarterly, but for larger lists as much as monthly.

Man with shaved head in Hawaiian shirt understands the value of checking to see if email addresses are valid.

Email validation API: check emails in real time

It’s a good idea to have many forms on your website and other places so anyone can sign up to get your emails. Perhaps you also have a contact form. Make sure that any form that can capture an email address doesn’t become a way for bad data to leak onto your list. 

So, how do you protect your forms from invalid or even mistyped email addresses?

Connect an email validation API to every form. If someone makes a typo or tries to use a disposable email address (one set to self-destruct), it will alert them to correct the error.

Other types of bad addresses can wreak havoc on your list. An email validation API blocks them at the source.

What are the benefits of checking if an email is valid?

The most apparent reason to check whether an email address is valid is because it’s only usable if it’s valid. There are many benefits, though. 

Checking if an email is valid lets you:

Keep your sender reputation from dwindling

Sending emails to “out of use” email addresses will result in bounces. Bounces cause your sender reputation to decline. Think of it like a credit score for Internet Service Providers (ISPs). When you have a decaying reputation, ISPs start putting your emails in the spam folder because they have begun categorizing you as a spammer.

Checking email addresses cuts costs

When you send emails in bulk, you’re charged based on the number of contacts on your list and how frequently you send out emails. Some email service providers (ESPs) are happy to allow you to keep sending messages to erroneous addresses. After all, that’s how they make money. 

On the other hand, reputable ESPs will block your account if you send too many emails that bounce. Usually, you can’t access your account again and resume sending emails until you clean your email list. 

RELATED: Our customer Gene Massey got blocked because of too many bounces. Find out how he solved the problem

You save money when you check that email addresses are correct. You’re no longer wasting your expenses on something that can’t possibly offer a return. Also, you avoid getting in trouble with your ESP and having your account blocked. 

Ensuring emails are valid will  increase ROI and other metrics

If you’re doing email marketing right, it pays to track your metrics. What is the open rate? How many people reply to your emails? It’s not just about ROI, although we can’t pretend it doesn’t matter. You can only enjoy good metrics by using verified email addresses. 

Quite simply, email doesn’t work without valid email addresses. Keep them real.