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Email Bounces: The Biggest Blasphemy for Email Marketers

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An email bounce occurs when the recipient’s email server rejects your message. It occurs due to several reasons, and almost everyone faced bounced emails once in a while. But, they are absolutely unwanted for email marketers. Frequent bounces can dent your sender reputation and compromise your overall deliverability. In the worst-case scenario, it can permanently damage your IP reputation. Today, we will look at the two main types of email bounces, the reason behind failing to deliver messages, technical terms associated with the topic, and what your email developers can do about them. Read this blog for pretty much everything you need to know about email bounces:

The Two Types Of Email Bounces: Soft Vs. Hard Bounced Emails

This section cover the differences between a soft and a hard bounce:

Soft Bounce

When an email address is temporarily unable to receive messages, the rejection is known as a soft bounce. It occurs when the recipient’s inbox is full, your message is probably too large and has caused email server downtime, or their mailbox is inactive or misconfigured. It also occurs when your message doesn’t meet their server’s anti-virus, anti-spam, sender or DMARC requirements. Invalid email address and flagged content are also two common reasons for soft bounces.

Hard Bounce

A hard bounce occurs when the recipient is permanently unable to get your messages. Domain not existing, email address not existing, or getting blocked are reasons behind hard bounced emails. When your message repeatedly faces soft bounces, your email marketing tool will convert it into a hard bounce. Generally, it tries to send the email a couple of times before removing the contact from your mailing list.

Facing bounced emails becomes common as you start building large mailing lists. Your email marketing tools set an upper limit for the hard bounced emails, making you less vulnerable to them. Upto 15 soft bounced emails are allowed by MailChimp, the leading email marketing platform. If kept unchecked, such messages can undermine your email marketing campaigns if the bounces exceed beyond a certain level.

Soft Bounces: Why You Should Care About Them

Soft bounces are much more challenging. Multiple reasons lead to temporary rejection of your messages, and they are indicators of something being wrong with your list building practices. It could also be traced back to ineffective segmentation. Let’s explore the common reasons in detail:

Recipient’s Mailbox Is Full

It is very common for people to not open messages as all email marketers know. The average open rate is 18% which may vary for different industries. But, it gives a rough idea behind the huge number of unread messages that might fill their inboxes and temporarily restrict you from sending emails. While your email marketing tool will try to send the message up to 3 times after definite intervals, you may fail to deliver those messages if the user has abandoned the email address.

Your Email Address Is Facing Mail Block

This is a result of poor sending methods leading to the server blocking your messages. When one of your IPs or sending domains is temporarily blocked/blacklisted, you may face a mail block. You can also face this problem if your message looks like spam (like an all-image message) to multiple recipients.

Transient Bounce And DNS Failure

When your message isn’t delivered the first time, your recipient’s server will try to resend it within a preset time frame. Many email marketing platforms consider it as a soft bounce. When the recipient’s DNS host is out of reach due to a typo or their server is down, you can face soft bounces.

Tactics To Prevent Email Bounces

This section covers preventive measures to avoid email bounces:

Opt-In Forms

One of the most effective ways of preventing email bounces is sending messages only to the people who have opted in for receiving your emails. In most countries, it is necessary to get the recipient’s permission before sending them promotional offers via emails. Businesses generally go with the single opt-in method, but double opt-in forms tend to be better for avoiding such deliverability issues.

Ask Your Contacts To Whitelist You

Many recipients require the sender to be whitelisted before they start receiving the messages. If this condition isn’t satisfied, your messages will end up in their spam folders. You can ask your new subscribers to add you to their whitelist to ensure seamless deliverability. This also acts as a positive signal for your IP reputation and increases your overall deliverability.

Put The Opt-Out Options At An Accessible Position

Every year, you may lose anywhere around 25-30% of your email subscribers. Their preferences might change over a while, and your messages can become irrelevant to them regardless of the personalization efforts. In such cases, they must be able to unsubscribe. You should put a link that helps them opt-out by unsubscribing to their mailing list at an accessible part of your customized email template. This will minimize the chances of them being frustrated and marking you as spam.

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