What Is Email Appending? Definition and Best Practices

At Stirista, we get really excited about all of the awesome things we can do with data. But we also realize some of these ideas and strategies can be hard to understand, especially if you’re new to data and email marketing. For instance, what is an email append? There’s a lot of information floating around out there, and not all of it is correct.

So What Is Email Appending?

As a starting point, the word “append” simply means “to add or supplement”. Therefore, email appending simply means adding emails.

Here is the definition of email appending according to the Direct Marketing Association’s guidelines: “it is the process of adding a consumer’s email address to that consumer’s record. The email address is obtained by matching those records from the marketer’s database against a third-party database to produce a corresponding email address.”

This is the kind of definition you often see if you Google email appends, but it doesn’t tell the whole story. Yes, when you run your current database against an external one provided by a vendor, you get more complete, up-to-date information about customers. But that’s really only part of what an append can do. For instance, you can append more than just email, adding fields such as age, income, marital status, etc. Basically, an append transforms your database from a list of contacts to a list of real people.

Reverse Email Append

Not to be confused with a regular email append, reverse email append involves using your current customer email address and matching it against a data provider’s database (like Stirista) to obtain full names, postal addresses, phone numbers and other important information of your customers. So it is the opposite of an email append.

Paint a better picture of customers

Think of your current database as a rough sketch of your customer. The outlines might be there, but it’s really hard to tell what this person (or business) actually looks like. When you append more data, you add more detail to the sketch, until it becomes a real portrait.

In the end, appending your data just means making your list more thorough and accurate. Enhancing your data with an append makes your campaigns more effective. Not only are you better able to reach your customers, but you have greater insight into who they are, which will make your messages more relevant. It’s all about turning that stick figure sketch of your customer into a persona you can truly understand.

Email Append Best Practices to Keep in Mind

One important thing to keep in mind about appends for B2C data is that the opt-in rules still apply. If you send emails to new customers who didn’t opt into your messages, you’re probably going to irritate a lot of people. Rather than develop better relationships with customers, you’ll turn them off for good. However, if you do maintain best practices for opted-in data, you have the potential to more effectively reach your audience.

So there you have it—everything you wanted to know about appends and were afraid to ask. Appends are a great technology that gives marketers greater insight and access to your customers. And that’s a powerful thing. We don’t advise using appends as a cocktail party conversation starter (hey, it is what it is), but it’s vital information for your marketing team to have.

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About the author

Stirista began as an ambitious project from an apartment in San Francisco. But as office space expanded, so did our client base. After a few short years, we have worked with the largest healthcare insurance provider in the world, the biggest telecommunication company in the US, and some of the most prestigious universities in the country. We are on the preferred vendor list for a handful of Fortune 500 companies, with three of the ten largest companies in the world turning to us for...

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