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How to Validate Email Addresses With Clay

Validating email addresses is important to increase engagement with potential leads. Learn how Clay streamlines the entire process through this guide.
Updated November 29, 2023
validate email addresses using Clay
validate email addresses using Clay

Validating email addresses is important for three reasons:

  • It increases the likelihood of your emails being opened and read.
  • It protects your reputation. You don’t want your messages to go straight to spam folders.
  • It ensures that your messages are sent to active email accounts. This prevents wasting your marketing dollars and maximizes email deliverability. 

Professional marketers use email verification tools to eliminate fake, disposable, or inactive email addresses.

Now, if you pair these tools with Clay, the entire email validation process gets streamlined. No more wasted effort.

In this guide, we’ll share how you can verify and clean bulk email lists using Clay. We'll also test and compare three email verifications tools - Debounce, Hunter, and ZeroBounce. Read on!

validate email addresses using Clay - output

Ways to Validate Email Addresses in Clay

Start by adding a list of your prospect’s email addresses. On your Clay dashboard, click add new table and import a CSV file.

add new table on Clay

Right-click on the column and choose ‘Add Enrichment.’

add enrichment on Clay list

In the pop-up, type "validate" in the search bar to find apps that validate emails. In this guide, we’ll use the following integrations:

  • Debounce
  • Hunter
  • ZeroBounce

1) Validate Email Addresses Using Debounce

Click Debounce to open the settings window.

validate email using Debounce

Next, enter a Debounce API key. You can either use Clay's key or your own if you have a Debounce account.

In this tutorial, let’s check the first option.

Insert the column with the email addresses as input. Make sure that each row has a single email or a list of comma-separated email addresses.

Notice that Debounce has other options to further filter your email addresses. You can even add custom formulas under the run settings. 

Let’s say you want Debounce to return emails that are safe to send. Toggle this option to ‘ON’ as shown below. 

enter Debounce API key

Once you’re done, click ‘Continue to Add Fields.’

In the next window, you can add more data to display to your table. There’s also a drop-down menu for result selection. For now, let’s leave this unchanged. Save your settings and run the integration.

A new column "Validate Emails" should appear in your table showing valid and invalid emails per row. 

validate email addresses using Debounce

2) Validate Email Addresses Using Hunter

Just like Debounce, you’ll need to enter a valid API key to use Hunter. For this tutorial, we’ll use Clay’s Hunter API key.

Next, enter the email address column as input. Make sure that each row contains only a single email address. Click ‘Continue to Add Fields.’

enter Hunter API key

Select which data you want to be added to your table. Save and run when you’re finished.

Hunter - add column as data

A new column ‘Validate Email’ should now be added to your table. 

validate email addresses using Hunter - output

3) Validate Email Addresses Using ZeroBounce

Similar to the other options, enter a valid API key to use this integration. Use Clay’s API key if you don’t have a ZeroBounce account.

Enter ZeroBounce API key

Then, insert the ‘Work Email’ column as input and continue. Just like Hunter, your row should only contain a single email address.

In the next window, toggle the options you wish to be added to your table. Then, save and run.

ZeroBounce - add data as column

Your table should show which rows contain valid email addresses. 

validate email addresses using ZeroBounce

Which Email Verification Tool Should You Choose?

In this guide, we’ve shown you three different ways to validate email addresses in Clay. Here’s what I think about each option.

Debounce

I find Debounce a great option if you’re validating multiple emails for each user. It’s also easier to filter out emails that are considered ‘Risky.’

‘Risky’ email addresses are low quality; meaning, they don’t get delivered to your target lead. Therefore, they’re a waste of your marketing resources. Plus, if you keep sending emails to these addresses, service providers might start treating your messages as spam. And you don’t want that!

Another feature that I love in Debounce is that it offers an option to remove emails from free domains like Gmail and Yahoo. This allows you to reach out to your leads through their company emails.

Hunter

This app is ideal for beginners. The settings are straightforward - just enter the email addresses you want to verify. That’s it. 

If you want customized prompts to filter your email lists, you can do so under the ‘Run Settings’ option.

Hunter also allows you to run and show other results on your table.

For example, you can tap the Gibberish option to eliminate random email addresses. 

There is also a ‘Disposable’ option to spot temporary email addresses. These emails are often used for sign-ups and are not good for contacting potential leads.

Perhaps, the only downside I see with Hunter is that it doesn't let you check multiple email addresses in one row. People often have both personal and company emails. If your leads have several emails, you need to put them in separate rows which can be extra work.

ZeroBounce

Just like Hunter, ZeroBounce is straightforward. It may not have a lot of filtering options like Debounce. But it has all the basics to validate an email address.  

For instance, you can check if an email address uses a free email service provider like Gmail or Yahoo.

But similar to Hunter, you can’t use it for checking rows with several email addresses. 

Another downside I’ve noticed is that it doesn’t have options for identifying gibberish or disposable emails. 

From the emails we’ve tested above, it’s not always accurate and reliable. Random-looking emails can be labeled as valid, as shown here.

Debounce, Hunter, and ZeroBounce comparison

My Verdict

Validating emails is not just about cleaning your email lists; it's also about making sure they're actively used. Why does this matter? Because when you kick off your email marketing, you want real people reading those messages. 

Debounce offers a lot of options to clean bulk email addresses. That’s why, out of the three, it’s my favorite tool to use with Clay.

Moreover, when you’re scraping email addresses from potential leads, you’ll likely get multiple email addresses for each. Debounce makes it easier to validate them all in one go, in one row. No need to juggle between separate rows when you enrich your list later on.

What’s Next

Email validation tools ensure that the addresses you send to exist.

With Clay supporting these third-party integrations, the process becomes seamless. This allows you to focus on quality over guesswork. 

But having a verified email list is just the starting point. 

Your next move? Reach out to these target leads.

And remember, Clay doesn't just stop at validation; it offers tools to write compelling cold emails, too. Check out our tutorial on how to craft personalized cold emails based on a prospect’s location using Clay to learn more.

If you find this guide helpful, share it and let me know how Clay helped you in your email campaigns!

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Written by Christy Cañete
Christy Cañete is a software engineer who's passionate about front-end web design. Not only can she code, but she writes too! She loves breaking down technical topics into super easy tutorials. If you're looking to learn without the jargon, she's your go-to.
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