As a marketer, when you deep dive into your reports, which we’re sure you do more often than not, have you ever wondered why your email deliverability rate looks to be under industry-defined parameters whereas the click rate is comparatively high? There are fair chances that they can be phantoms disguised as valid leads.
This is classic phantom behavior by valid-looking leads sitting in your database where the email addresses are seemingly valid but their activity is not. In this quick read, let’s stupefy the stealth mode of phantom leads. Shall we?
How to tell phantoms leads apart from spam bots?
While the outcome of the activity of spam leads and phantoms could be the same, there is a slight difference between them. Spam leads can enter into your database through forms. You won’t know if spam leads were sent an invite email or not because they aren’t mailable. You would run a gated outreach for a set of valid leads but spam bots can enter into the system even without being invited.
Valid email addresses sitting in your database can confuse you with the deliverability factor, that is, phantoms can seem absolutely mailable and you might notice a normal deliverability rate. However, those leads may not behave in the manner a genuine lead is supposed to. Here are a few tactics for differentiating phantom leads from spam bots:
1) Mailable Email Addresses: They’ll seem totally mailable or valid. You’ll notice emails are getting delivered to those leads.
2) Deliverability Rate: Phantoms showcase a fair deliverability rate but the open rate isn’t as good you expected it to be.
3) Click to Open Rates: Emails are not being opened but there are clicks. Also, their behavior would be unusual in terms of the number of times they click on a link during a certain time or under a minute.
4) Detailed Analysis: Your next action should be identifying bad leads. Pull out reports based on the following metrics:
- Out of the entire database, how many leads are fully active. The activeness of a lead can be identified on the basis of emails being opened, visits made on webpages, clicks on the visible links inside emails or webpages, and clicks on hidden links if there are any.
- Record how many emails were delivered and how many were opened out of those in addition to clicks via those emails.
- Then record for those leads to see if they also visited the same page that they clicked on.
- Hidden links are not visible to the human eye. Keep a record of such links and their activity.
- Record the sources these leads came from.
If you receive results for any of the aforementioned, fret not, we’ve got you covered with the remedy too.
How to remedy phantoms?
Here are the remedies that, when adopted well, would enable you to keep a close check on phantoms infiltrating your instance:
1) Two Factor Authentication: Implement a two-factor authentication when seeking enrolments, a double opt-in if you will. The first email can go out in a generic manner in which you can use a verification link which, when clicked on, leads would receive another email in their inbox seeking verification from your end. The enrolment should happen only after the verification is approved.
2) Trust but Verify: Don’t rely on clicks only. Approve leads only if they visited the page they clicked.
3) Tracking CTR frequency: Keep a check in place for flagging leads that click on a link 3 or more times in a minute. Sometimes you’d observe a good number of clicks in a minute.
4) Install a Honey Trap: Install a trap for capturing phantom leads. Create a Boolean field “Is Phantom” and use it as a hidden field in forms and marketing emails. Well, humans surely won’t click on that field but phantoms will not be smart enough not to. If that field is tracked out to be TRUE, you’d know your next action.
5) Single-Click subscriptions: Adopt single-click subscriptions only when absolutely imperative otherwise prefer not using this approach.
Database hygiene is vital to any marketing process. Being dynamic in nature, it becomes challenging to maintain a 100% accurate database but implementing a few good practices go a long way not only to validate records but also to get a squeaky clean database. Now be it a bot, a phantom lead, or even a ghost, you’ve got all the right spells to stupefy their stealth mode. Cast them away!
Have you effectively stupefied the phantom leads in your database? Let’s talk!