1913 – Secure Email Validation with Brian Minick

In this episode of the Thoughtful Entrepreneur, your host Josh Elledge speaks to the COO of Zero Bounce, Brian Minick.

Minick Wide

Brian Minick, the Chief Operating Officer for ZeroBounce, shared valuable insights and best practices shaping the future of email marketing. ZeroBounce, a SaaS platform, has become essential for email marketers and data collectors. Its core service is email validation and verification, ensuring contacts are valid and deliverable, a necessity in the altered data quality standards post-pandemic.

Email marketing is cost-effective with a high ROI, making a solid sending reputation crucial for success. Brian emphasized the importance of a sender's reputation in determining whether emails reach the inbox, get trapped in the spam folder, or are blocked entirely. He also discussed the evolution of the inbox, emphasizing that quality trumps quantity in email marketing.

Brian highlighted the impact of email hygiene on sending reputation, a concept championed by ZeroBounce through their services, including blacklist monitoring, inbox monitoring, and email warmup. ZeroBounce also offers a free version for individuals to test their services, underscoring the universal need for data cleanliness and hygiene.

Key Points from the Episode:

  • Explanation of ZeroBounce's services and focus on email validation and verification
  • Importance of data quality and sending reputation in email marketing
  • Evolution of the inbox and impact of email hygiene on sending reputation
  • ZeroBounce's services
  • Best practices for email marketing
  • ZeroBounce's clients, including big brands like Amazon, Samsung, Netflix, Disney, and HubSpot
  • Promotion of ZeroBounce's free account and resources
  • Josh's promotion of his program and free video class on creating high ticket sales appointments
  • Emphasis on the value of positivity and inspiration in daily content

About Brian Minick:

Brian Minick is the Chief Operating Officer at ZeroBounce, a leading platform in email validation and finding. With over 15 years of experience in the marketing and tech industries, he is recognized as an email marketing thought leader. Brian is responsible for managing day-to-day operations and ensuring that clients maximize ZeroBounce's services.

Under Brian's strategic guidance, ZeroBounce has achieved significant recognition, including multiple Inc. 5000 honors, highlighting its rapid growth and impact in the email marketing sector. The platform supports many customers, from individual entrepreneurs to major corporations such as Amazon, Netflix, and Disney. It enhances email marketing effectiveness by ensuring emails reach intended recipients, boosting sales and engagement rates.

About Zero Bounce:

ZeroBounce is an acclaimed email validation and deliverability platform designed to optimize the accuracy of email data. ZeroBounce helps senders reach their intended audiences directly in their inboxes by ensuring that email lists are up-to-date. The platform is vital for businesses that maintain clean email lists, enhancing overall communication efficacy.

ZeroBounce has proven its value by validating over 24 billion emails to date. Serving a diverse client base of more than 300,000 customers, the platform supports a wide array of businesses, from small firms to large enterprises. ZeroBounce provides its users with the confidence to press “Send,” knowing their emails are far more likely to connect with real people, thus increasing the potential for conversions and customer engagement.

Tweetable Moments:

05:4 – “It is not a numbers game, it's a quality game. You really want to make sure that the contacts you have on your list are good, deliverable contacts who will open your mail, click your mail, and engage with it.”

Links Mentioned in this Episode:

Want to learn more? Check out Zero Bounce’s website at

Check out Zero Bounce on LinkedIn at

Check out Zero Bounce on Facebook at

Check out Zero Bounce  on Twitter at

Check out Zero Bounce  on Instagram at

Check out Zero Bounce  on Youtube at

Check out Brian Minick on LinkedIn at

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Josh (00:00:05) - Hey there, a thoughtful listener. Are you looking for introductions to partners, investors, influencers, and clients? Well, I've had private conversations with over 2000 leaders asking them where their best business comes from. I've got a free video you can watch with no opt in required, where I'll share the exact steps necessary to be 100% inbound in your industry over the next 6 to 8 months, with no spam, no ads, and no sales. What I teach has worked for me for over 15 years, and has helped me create eight figures in revenue for my own companies. Just head to up my influence. Com and watch my free class on how to create endless high ticket sales appointments. Also, don't forget the thoughtful entrepreneur is always looking for great guests. Go to up my influence. Com and click on podcast. I'd love to have you. With us right now it's Brian Minick. Brian, you are the chief operating officer for Zero Bounce. You're found on the web at zero

Josh (00:01:15) - Obviously, I think it's a brand I'm familiar with, and I suspect a lot of other people are as well, because you provide an invaluable service, which we're going to talk about on this episode. Brian, it's great to have you.

*Brian * (00:01:26) - Thank you so much, Josh. I'm excited to be here today and excited to share some share some information with your crowd today. Yeah.

Josh (00:01:32) - Yeah. Well, well, give us just a quick overview of of what Zero Bounce is and who you work with.

*Brian * (00:01:37) - Yeah absolutely. So Zero Bounce is a SaaS platform. And we do email validation and verification. And so what we do is we kind of think of ourselves as the data cleanup ers of the world in email. So we help email marketers and we help anyone that is collecting data to make sure that the contacts on their list are still valid, deliverable. And ultimately, we provide a suite of tools to kind of help and manage your sending reputation as an email marketer.

Josh (00:02:03) - Yeah, pretty important that you get that right.

Josh (00:02:06) - Would you mind talking about just how important this is, especially in 2024, which we'll talk a little bit maybe about some of the changes that have happened about if you are going to be sending any volume of emails, you better be playing by the rules in 2024. Yeah.

*Brian * (00:02:23) - That's right. And even, you know, we saw a big kind of shift in data quality, by the way, and during the pandemic and through the pandemic, as jobs were shifting, companies closing, raising these type of things. So the hygiene of your list is actually really important. The reason and why it's so important is this sending reputation, which is really this giant mystery for most people in the world, especially in technology space. But this email reputation you're sending, reputation is something that is, you know, looked at when you send email marketing and the quality of your sending really determines if you're going to be in the inbox, the spam folder blocked, marked as spam, these types of things, it's super important.

*Brian * (00:03:04) - And email marketing. I've heard it over and over. Josh, I couldn't disagree more. Email marketing is dead. It's dying, blah blah blah. It is the cheapest, highest quality form of ROI you can potentially put into a business that's proven over and over, and the stats are still confirming this. So, having kind of the right cleanliness tidiness procedures in place, super important, and especially with Google and Yahoo making these massive changes in February, which everyone should be alarmed for two reasons. Number one, Google and Yahoo got together in a meeting and agreed on something. So there's clear, right? I mean, there's something's going on there. Everyone should kind of be aware those are competitors and they're teaming up. and then you have, these kind of requirements that they're putting in for senders who are sending more than 5000 messages a day. And even if you're sending less than that, these really still apply to you because they're best practices. And so why would you not be doing best practices regardless of the volume? There's no cost to these, by the way.

*Brian * (00:04:02) - It's just simply set up and understanding what you have to do.

Josh (00:04:05) - Yeah. Well, do you mind maybe just sharing a bit about the evolution of the inbox? particularly I work a lot in B2B. I don't know if you've got maybe some insights on that world. I do know that for me, man, am I picky on my inbox or my email inbox? I have multiple email accounts that come into the company. There's one I've got that's personal, and I'm kind of a slash and burn person in there only because I think historically, you know, the inbox has just been not a fun place for me to hang out.

*Brian * (00:04:37) - Yeah, it gets muddy. And I don't think you're any different really than a lot of people. Right? I mean, I have personal accounts. I have many accounts purposely made to give it to what I would consider the garbage zone. Right. Like I don't want all the email not checking this regularly. I don't care what happens with the data. so you're not unique there in a sense that everyone is doing this as well.

*Brian * (00:04:57) - And so as a sender, you have to actually be paying attention to this stuff. Everyone is so focused, especially in email marketing, around quantity. It is what they feel. The holy grail of 10,000, 100,000, 1 million, 10 million. It's not about quantity. It's about quality. Yes, the quality is no different than anything else in life, right? Quality really pays off. And so you really want to just make sure that the contacts you have on your list are good deliverable contacts. Who will open your mail, click your mail and engage with it. These are giving you kind of all these good let's call them brownie points for that sending reputation and they don't hurt you. And then there's bad ones out there, bad email addresses that mark you as spam, you know, complain and do all these different things. Those are giving you negative. They're chopping away at your ankles here on your sending reputation. And people just continue to send to them with just blindly because they're thinking it's a numbers game.

*Brian * (00:05:49) - It is not a numbers game, it's a quality game. And that's kind of a lot. Well, you know what I'll try to share some insights on. Yeah.

Josh (00:05:56) - since I, I don't know if you know the answer to this. so let's say that you have a personal account and it's just for like your family, but some for some reason. Spammers got Ahold of that email account and you're like, I don't want business mail to this email account. And so you're just super aggressive and consistent and marking every single thing is spam. That's not relevant. Is there a way to kind of get yourself delisted from the from the spam directories I wish.

*Brian * (00:06:26) - And it's also a problem with cell phones, right. So as an entrepreneur here and someone that's an executive in a company, I have a personal line, I have a business line. And I keep it strictly separated by design. When friends call, I want to I want to know which line is what. Yes. And they have tapped and gone into my personal stuff and I'm getting business calls there.

*Brian * (00:06:43) - It's no different to me. But no, I wish there was some sort of way. I mean, obviously you can unsubscribe. A little tip if anyone's using Gmail. I'll just throw a little tip out here. You can put your account plus something else. So for example, my name is Brian Minnick. Brian Minnick plus up my influence at And any time now you get random mail, at least you can say who sold my data? Who's the one who sold it? so you can get some sort of indicator there. It's not bulletproof, but at least you know who you can get upset at.

Josh (00:07:15) - yeah. All right, so let's talk about zero bounce and how zero bounce becomes a really, really great partner. would you mind maybe talking about some of those, you know, those services that are included with zero bounces? Sweet of, you know, just things that help us stay where we want to be and not where we don't want to be.

*Brian * (00:07:37) - Yeah, absolutely. So there's kind of two different aspects here in points of view.

*Brian * (00:07:41) - There's the proactive approach, which is these are people that know that data quality is important. They'll hook us up to websites, sign up forms, check out forms, newsletter sign ups, and in real time, we can tell you if an email address is good or bad and even give it to the user. So the big case here is typos, especially on mobile. People are losing a lot of high quality data simply because of an unintentional typo on the form. you can hook us up to your form and immediately catch the user while the user still on your website, and actually suggest the fix if we can find it. so there's kind of the validation side. So that's cleaning up the email data, right? So you can be proactive or reactive. Meaning you're uploading lists and we're cleansing them and giving you back really the ones that you want to target for marketing. in addition to that, there's kind of some complementary tools that, will help email marketers or really anyone that's dealing with reputation. So we do blacklist monitoring to see if your email, your domain or your IP addresses are on any blacklists, which are really important if you're blacklisted.

*Brian * (00:08:41) - It's automatic spam, by the way. And one thing to remember, Josh and a lot of people, you know, the more I talk about it, the more I realize people don't understand this clearly it is. People can think, oh, I'm not on the it's not, it's not I'm on the blacklist or I'm not. It's there's hundreds of blacklists. And are you on any of them. That's the question right. This is not a true false. Yes. No. This is a a wide array of potential, you know. So you got Gmail, you got Yahoo AOL, right? I'm not even going down the business route. All of these kind of, different things that can really put those restrictions on you. So there's tools there. There's inbox monitoring and testing where you can send us seed accounts. We'll tell you if we went to inbox or spam, we're doing email warmup. So people that are doing cold emailing, biz dev people prospecting, those are the hardest on your reputation in your domain, especially if you're purchasing data.

*Brian * (00:09:30) - That's just the giant no, no, don't do it. but you've got to clean all this stuff up. dMarc, which is something that Yahoo and Google enforced. We're providing that as a service and a monitor, you know, and really just again, a plethora of tools to to enable you to be the best marketer with the best hygiene possible.

Josh (00:09:49) - Yeah. So these are all and how does in terms of, like, you know, all these individual services that we've been talking about, would you mind? And you get your friend that's listening. Here's the easy thing. Just go to zero bounce net and follow along. I don't know, Brian, if you know, offhand, like how you structure the products to people, just buy these individual services all a cart or is there an all in one solution?

*Brian * (00:10:12) - Yeah. So we kind of do it in two different routes. The validation piece is generally, it's a very wide array of people. So just just so you're aware there's nobody too big or too small for us and there's no geographic boundary.

*Brian * (00:10:23) - So I'm operating in every country of the world, paying customers in every country of the world. what is Russia and Belarus for sanctioned purposes? and what we're doing is you would put in basically the amount of emails that you have, we would spit out a price for you right? On the website. We're transparent. We have no nothing hidden there. 100,000 emails, for example, is is 390 bucks. And the turnaround time on that is, is one hour. So you go out to lunch, you come back, all your data is cleansed. And then secondary. All these tools that I'm talking about, the monitoring, the testing, the analysis tools that we offer, we bundle them up into a toolkit, and really kind of give you a very affordable and, some options, maybe based on how much volume or size of teams you might have. but we do offer a free version for every, every single person. I would encourage people to do that. You can get the all everything that I've talked about.

*Brian * (00:11:10) - You can get full versions of for free, at limited quantity so you can get an idea of what it's like, what it can do for you, and, you know, test it out.

Josh (00:11:20) - Yeah, I'm on the website right now. So the free, you know, the freemium solution you provided free. That's $0. Yeah. One inbox test, one email server test. You get a blacklist monitor that scanned every 24 hours. I mean, that alone. Like, what a no brainer.

*Brian * (00:11:39) - Yeah, totally free, by the way. These are not watered down limited. We're going to act like we're going to tell you something. Then we're going to force you to buy it. That's not how it works. And those replenish every month by the way. So you can do 100 validations. You can do all of those tests. Everything can go once per month, totally free. And for anyone who's kind of starting up, bootstrapping, watching the pennies, watching the dollars, please, by all means.

*Brian * (00:12:00) - This is why we built it, because we were that company as well. And so we never want to forget where we came from.

Speaker 3 (00:12:05) - Yeah.

Josh (00:12:06) - and so you work with some pretty, pretty, pretty big, big brands. Amazon, Samsung, Netflix, Disney, Sephora, HubSpot. They're sending out some emails, aren't they?

*Brian * (00:12:18) - quite a bit. So, you know, people always say, oh, I have these huge lists. And I'm like, well, I have seen some big lists. So, let's talk about it here. But you'd be surprised. There's people out there with billions of records and there's people out there with a handful of records. Again, you know, nobody's too big, nobody's too small. We can help really? Absolutely anybody. And it's equally important, regardless of the size. I think that's really what's important for me to share. Even if you're a small guy. I think an ad don't need this yet. You do. You actually really do these, you know, the ability to be an inbox or spam is the entire outcome of your of your campaign.

*Brian * (00:12:51) - If you're in the spam folder or people marking you as spam, that's it. You know, it's it's never going to work for you and you're going to say email marketing is a failing channel. well, it's not I mean, the stats are there. It's not.

Speaker 3 (00:13:04) - Yeah.

Josh (00:13:05) - All right. So in terms of like, maybe just best practice, would you mind. I mean, I'm sure you know quite a bit about this, but, would you mind maybe sharing some best practices for email marketing today, maybe a couple of dos and a couple of do nots that come immediate top of mind in terms of like what is working today? What are Google, Yahoo, and everyone else no longer going to allow you to do so? For example, I know, you know, way back in the day, you know, you could say, well, you could buy this email list and they're all opt in. Trust us. You know, you can buy this and you know, we're allowed to sell it to anybody.

Josh (00:13:40) - Is that so? Would you mind maybe just kind of sharing a little bit of that word.

*Brian * (00:13:44) - Yeah, absolutely. So maybe let's start with some of the do's or do not, do not purchase a list. That list has been repurposed, repackaged, retitled, relabeled, and really not in a good way grown by a sense of, I'm guessing emails putting different emails. Bots are going in there. All they're selling size period. And all they're doing is repackaging these titles to tell you that it's specific for you and it hits you right. It hits you hard. Like, hey, I have a bunch of SAS users that really are, you know, competitors to Zero Bounce. Here's all the users. This is garbage, guys. They're just it's a sales tactic to get you to bite. That's really all it is. That data is bad. Don't buy it if you have bought it, which is kind of one of the things I see a lot. If you have bought it, you've got to clean that data up, especially if you mixed it in to your great data.

*Brian * (00:14:32) - That's the killer. If you haven't clean this up, so do clean up that data. If you have ever worked with it in the past or kind of lingering habit. another do is I would really, you know, suggest that people use the best practices for collecting data, double opt in, meaning that somebody is clicking a link in their email to confirm whatever it is, the data you're giving that they're providing you. So that's a great way to make sure you have a real person and not a bot, and not some kind of other, you know, bad actor out there on an email address. Remember, bots attack the web. I mean, they're built, designed to do this. So when you think, oh, man, I got 100 signups today and there are all these random weird stuff that's not 100 signups. You got hit by a bot. so, you know, keep that in mind as well. Another do is definitely follow these new, kind of guidance by Google and Gmail or Google and Yahoo dMarc one click on subscribes and you know making sure you have a low spam complaint rate.

*Brian * (00:15:27) - This is something people are not talking about enough. And if they're not super familiar with email marketing, everyone that marks you as spam is considered a spam complaint. You are allowed point. 1% of your campaign can be marked as spam. That's considered acceptable. So let's put numbers behind that. One out of a thousand can mark you as spam. That's it.

Speaker 3 (00:15:47) - Wow.

*Brian * (00:15:47) - That's that's not hard to do. And what we're finding, because we're doing a bunch of studies, companies like AOL and some of the other providers, they're button Marcus spam stands out much easier than Mark is red. So a lot of people are using Marcus spam as the way to manage their inbox. Again, it's not even intentional and they're killing you. So let's identify these people, you know, segment what you might be sending them. Don't send them potentially absolutely everything. Be smarter right. Segment your data. so that's definitely another do. And I would say one more is a don't is trying to bury these unsubscribes or removing the unsubscribe completely insane.

*Brian * (00:16:24) - There is nothing that ticks me more Josh than somebody saying reply to me to unsubscribe. No no no no no no no, that's not how this works. Guaranteed.

Josh (00:16:34) - You just got an instant report of spam. If you do that to me instant.

*Brian * (00:16:37) - And I hope you keep emailing me because I'm going to ding you every single time. Yeah. No questions asked. guys, these are bad practices. Don't do these. Yes, you're canned spam compliant. You're following canned spam from a legal point of view, but you're not following it from a reputation point of view. So that's another kind of don't I mean, to be honest, Josh, I could go on and on here for for 30 minutes on do's and don'ts. so shut me off if, if that's enough to start with.

Josh (00:17:01) - Yeah. You know, a couple of things. Now, this said, I'm beginning is still amazing. As long as you play by the rules, is what you're saying. But, you know, a couple things that I had found here.

Josh (00:17:12) - I was actually just working on this for a presentation, but, you know, in terms of, like, if it's truly unsolicited and it's salesy, 90% like I saw this, it was in Harvard Business Review, 90% of top level B2B decision makers are just not going to respond. They're not going to engage it like this rule of thumb, like there's just you're going to have to nurture that relationship in some other ways. In addition to that, rather than just coming right out of the, you know, coming right for the jugular and from a sales perspective and then 60, you'll appreciate this this I saw this on WebEx and I'm sure you have similar data, but 60% of all email users, report that if you spam them, that gives your brand or company a negative perception. So it's just not worth it to be sloppy with that. you know, again, I guess, you know, for me. I would just I would justify is this email, is this email going to like they're going to understand why I'm emailing who we are.

Josh (00:18:12) - Like why we're connected or stuff like, that's what's always going through my brain before I send any email out.

*Brian * (00:18:19) - Absolutely, super important. And also, you know, be mindful of the type of content you're sending people and really think about what you actually want them to do with that email. So I have seen good ones right where it's like they send a little funny, you know, and Josh, you kill it with these little clips of like a little animated click. Me if you actually want to learn more. You know, I could see you. You've done stuff there, right? And people will appreciate that. But when you hit me with because I get three of these a day because it's the can system out of all these email softwares. Hi Brian, I noticed you're the CEO of Zero Bounce. Like, can you tell me anymore that you literally did nothing besides import data and hit hit? Yes, I mean it's guys, this is clear as day we're on. People are catching on to this stuff.

*Brian * (00:19:01) - Be smarter, you know, be intelligent. Go. Go after him on LinkedIn a little bit. Get them. Know your face. Send them a nice message. Ask if they want some donuts for the office. Like do something that's different. Don't just sit here and do what people have been doing for 20 years and and still think it's working because it's not.

Josh (00:19:18) - I love this great best practices zero bounce net. It's free for all and just go look through the suite of services. But I would say, listen, if you're if a marketer and you're not using a service like this, it's just inevitable. It's a it's a matter of time. You're going to have some deliverability issues. And is it really worth it for you to be out of commission for a month or so? And I think most of us would agree our email, being able to communicate with our customers and our audience, you know, with regularity, is pretty mission critical today. Brian, you have a lot of great resources through Xero Bounce as well.

Josh (00:19:54) - Where should somebody go? I mean, obviously we talked about zero bounce net. Is there anything in particular that you would recommend in terms of resources or next steps?

*Brian * (00:20:02) - I would definitely recommend for anyone to set up a free account. You're welcome to do that. You can try everything out, but besides that, if you want to learn more, either a you're welcome to chat with our team. We do kind of free consultations and deliverability guides. And then also one thing that might be super interesting, if you're kind of in the technical or technical side of email and you love the ideas here we have an email decay report, which we've been doing every year, and it is kind of crunching all the numbers on ROI, the amount of bad data that we're seeing. I mean, just keep in mind we're validating multi-millions of email addresses on a monthly basis, right? So the amount of volume that we see is insane. And some of that data, we can aggregate and kind of share it back. So you can get an idea of what's actually going on in the email world and share, you know, use it to your advantage.

*Brian * (00:20:46) - you know, information is key to, to performance.

Josh (00:20:49) - Excellent. Brian Minick, you're the CEO of Xero Bounce. Your website Xero bounce net go sign up for free. My CEO, while we were chatting I said, hey, do we have a blacklist monitor that we're using? And it's like we've done it manually. We've checked it out, I think, on some online tools, but, how much better would that be to know about it quicker, sooner rather than later? And, so it's Brian, it's been great to have you. Thank you so much for all the insights that you've shared today.

*Brian * (00:21:19) - Thank you. I appreciate being here today. And, I hope, I hope I was helpful for your audience.

Josh (00:21:30) - Thanks for listening to the Thoughtful Entrepreneur show. If you are a thoughtful business owner or professional who would like to be on this daily program, please visit up my influence. Com and click on podcast. We believe that every person has a message that can positively impact the world. We love our community who listens and shares our program every day.

Josh (00:21:51) - Together we are empowering one another as thoughtful leaders. And as I mentioned at the beginning of this program, if you're looking for introductions to partners, investors, influencers, and clients, I have had private conversations with over 2000 leaders asking them where their best business comes from. I've got a free video that you can watch right now with no opt in or email required, where I'm going to share the exact steps necessary to be 100% inbound in your industry over the next 6 to 8 months, with no spam, no ads, and no sales. What I teach has worked for me for more than 15 years and has helped me create eight figures in revenue for my own companies. Just head to up my influence comm and watch my free class on how to create endless high ticket sales appointments. Make sure to hit subscribe so that tomorrow morning. That's right, seven days a week you are going to be inspired and motivated to succeed. I promise to bring positivity and inspiration to you for around 15 minutes every single day.

Josh (00:23:00) - Thanks for listening and thank you for being a part of the Thoughtful Entrepreneur movement.

We're actively booking guests for our DAILY #podcast: The Thoughtful #Entrepreneur. Happy to share your story with our 120K+ audience.Smiling face with halo


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