The American Rental Association is an international trade association for owners of equipment rental operations and manufacturers and suppliers of rental equipment. Headquartered in Moline, Illinois, and comprised of an additional 35 active state associations, ARA’s member-base of over 9,400 rental operations and 1,000 manufacturers is dispersed largely throughout the Americas. Because of this widespread client base, ARA often found it difficult to relay a single message and effectively communicate with its staff and members. To streamline this communication, ARA found a way to notify email senders of the status of their emails, ultimately easing the process of email delivery. “One of the reasons ARA decided to go with Aptify as an AMS partner back in 2006 was because of the configurabililty of the system. We liked that virtually everything could be customized to fit our needs and found that staff were very responsive and beyond helpful,” recalls ARA’s .NET Developer, Adam Stemper.
To equip their solution, Adam submitted this innovative idea to Aptify’s Innovation Competition–an annual competition that happens at our users conference showcasing new and unique techniques using the Aptify system–where they swept the competition and took home the winning title!
“We had a whole bunch of email addresses in our system that were just bad emails—they didn’t go anywhere, we couldn’t contact the right people, and over time, they just kept piling up and more and more emails were getting added incorrectly,” says Stemper. “For example, let’s say you try to contact [Matt] at some organization and your staff member enters his email address incorrectly. It then becomes especially difficult to contact Matt with something important if you don’t have the right contact information.”
For a solution to this issue, ARA created a VBScript (Visual Basic Script) and tied it to the Aptify system to track anytime a new email address is entered—or a change is made to an existing email address—in a Person’s record or Company record. From there, once any changes are made, the script is automatically run and sent off to a third-party verification service to validate that particular email address.
Once an email goes through the verification process, it promptly responds back with a message box notifying users of legitimacy. In the case that the email address is bad, the record is still saved but the user will have the opportunity to change the email address before sending out their next email communication.
The service ARA uses for this is Kickbox.io and it offers free verification for up to 100 email addresses per day. Stemper recalls, “In a single month, we were able to verify 600 emails and over 100 of them came back as undeliverable; that means nearly 20% of all emails were unsuccessful. That’s a huge amount.”
With the new verification process in place, ARA staff members are now able to quickly correct any errors when entering email addresses or go back to the association member and inform them of email address issues right away before sending out any communications.
“Since implementing the tool, one-on-one communication and blast emails are becoming much more effective, since we are better able to reach our target audiences with fewer and fewer bounce back emails,” Stemper concludes.
To find out more about the American Rental Association, visit its website here.