Role Emails: Remove Them From Your Marketing Campaigns

In this blog we are going to look at the role of role-based emails. These are email addresses that point to a business function or group, such as marketing team or technical support, rather than an individual. They are ubiquitous in business and invariably end up on Marketing’s contact mailing lists.

These email addresses serve many valuable functions for businesses, but if you are a marketing professional maintaining a mailing list, they can create a number of issues from increased bounce rates to sender reputation damage. In this article, we will look at what role emails are, why they create problems for marketing, and most importantly, how to prevent them from damaging your marketing efforts. (Spoiler alert: our DOTS Email Validation product easily identifies them.)

What is a role email?

In short, a role email is a ‘generic’ email address that is used as a distribution list or a position (i.e. a job title), rather than an individual person.

Role email addresses typically define a responsibility or function within a business. The email address not only refers to its current president – but likely also includes their immediate staff. While maybe a distribution list for an assigned team of technical support engineers, and emails sent to it might create automated support ticket in their support desk application. Role emails give consumers quick access to business functions, and also serve as a convenient touch point for companies to serve these consumers.

Why are role emails a bad idea for marketing?

If you are thinking that role-based email addresses could be a convenient marketing tool, you wouldn’t be the first. For one thing, it gives you direct access to the titles you hope to reach. For example, if you are selling to senior executives, “President” or “CEO” email addresses appear to be a convenient way to get your foot in the door. For another, it would seem that using a single email address to share your marketing message with an entire team would be an efficient way to reach more prospects. It is also worth noting that many people use a role email address to complete marketing forms, to help avoid cluttering their personal inboxes. They might even have created a role emails like or for this purpose.

Now, here are some reasons why using these email addresses is a really bad idea:

Spam, spam, spam. You cannot guarantee that the recipient(s) of a role-based email are the same people who opted in with this address – putting you at risk of potentially stiff compliance penalties from data privacy regulations such as the US’ CAN-SPAM Act or the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Duplication. The same person may appear on your marketing lists with both their personal and role email address – leading to duplicate messaging, annoyed customers and prospects, and a poor brand image.

Poor targeting. The person who originally opted in may have been interested in your product or service, but others subsequently receiving your emails may have no interest whatsoever. Role addresses can even lead to interested prospects being unsubscribed from your list by others.

Blacklisting. It only takes a complaint from one person on a role-based distribution list to get on a company’s blacklist. Moreover, spam-filtering solutions often treat marketing emails to role-based addresses as spam, given their frequent use without permission, and could potentially damage your sender reputation, shut down your email server or lock you out from an entire organization.

Skewed marketing metrics. Because role-based emails may involve an indeterminate number of people – with a variety of reactions to your messaging – they can have a disproportionate impact on metrics such as opt-out rates, bounce rates (from bouncing to multiple recipients), and even brand reputation metrics.

What can you do about role addresses?

Role email addresses inevitably make their way on to email marketing lists: some people intentionally opt-in with them, while others use them during lead generation to brush you off. They may also show up in 3rd party lists from lead providers. Regardless of where they originate from, your marketing efforts would benefit from identifying and removing them from your marketing lists.

Fortunately, there is a simple and automated solution. Our Email Validation product is designed to detect role-based email addresses, along with other problem emails such as bogus, vulgar, and disposable addresses. This product also detects and flags spam traps and honeypot addresses, and even known complainers, to protect your valuable sender reputation.

Read more about Email Validation, including a detailed developers guide, to help you learn more about our role in protecting you from other people’s roles.