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Email Bounce: How To Prevent It

How do you feel, when you send an email campaign and receive a message that some of your subscribers couldn’t receive it? Disappointed and frustrated, right?

Message that comes back because it couldn’t be delivered to a prospect’s email is a bounce back. In this post, we’ll explore all about bounce emails, including the causes and how to prevent them in your email marketing campaigns.

Let’s first understand what are bounced emails.

Bounced Emails

When you try to send an email, it can’t be delivered, and you receive a bounce back message in response. An email passes through a series of mail transfer agents. These software agents ensure the proper delivery of email messages. When the software agent discovers a message that cannot be delivered, it will bounce it back with an error message to the sender.

Effects of bounced emails on business:

  • It makes your marketing strategy less effective
  • It leads to unachieved sales target
  • It affects the sender’s reputation
  • Email service providers may not collaborate with you
  • With emails ending up in spam box, you may be tagged as a spammer

Bounce Rate

Bounce rate is the rate or percentage of emails, that are either rejected or failed to be delivered and bounced back. It is determined by dividing the total number of bounced emails with the total number of emails sent multiplied by 100.

Less than 2% bounce rate is considered normal. Anything beyond 2% means it’s time for you to check your email campaign.

How It Impacts Deliverability?

High bounce rate results in unpleasant consequences such as:

Bad Reputation

Email service providers look for IP addresses that frequently send messages to invalid users. On this basis, they determine the sender’s reputation.

Blacklisting

Repeatedly monitored high bounce rates causes the sender’s IP address to end up in the blacklist.

Account Suspension

The user’s account will be suspended if the grievance rate is beyond the permitted limit for the campaign sent by the user.

Lost Money

Every message is chargeable. Hence, sending messages to invalid email addresses, will upsurge the cost of your email campaigns without any investment returns.

Due to these reasons, bounce emails shouldn’t be overlooked.

Types of Email Bounce

It’s important to know the types of email bounces so as to get the right solutions. There are eight types of email bounces. They are:

Hard Bounce

Hard bounce is a permanent delivery failure that happens because the recipient’s address is no longer in use or is invalid. Email addresses can also be invalid due to typo errors such as ‘gmal’ instead of ‘gmail’.

Soft Bounce

A temporary failure that takes place when the recipient’s email server is down or experiencing other technical difficulties, the file size of the email is too large or the mailbox exceeds the permissible limit, is known as soft bounce.

Transient Bounce

It’s a temporary delay in delivering the message. However, the server will fix it and send the email within a timeline. These emails don’t require any action from the users. But if delivery failure persists, it could be considered as hard bounce.

General Bounce

Your mail server fails to get the email message delivered, and the reason is unclear.

Blocked

The recipient’s server blocks the email from the sender’s mail server due to reasons like the sender is a spammer, the sender’s IP domain is blacklisted, or the message appears to have content that appears like spam or has inappropriate links.

Auto Reply

It’s an automated response that is sent to the sender.

Abuse/Fraud Feedback Report

It’s an email message that is sent to the sender by the ISP’s Feedback report. This happens when a receiver categorizes your email as offensive, abusive or fraudulent and reports it as SPA.

Challenge-Response Message

An automated response with a challenge from the recipient is sent to the sender. The response usually comprises of a link, that needs to be filled manually. After this action, the email gets delivered to the recipient.

What Could Happen If You Do Not Take Immediate Actions?

Failing to take immediate actions can:

  • Hamper the goal of reaching out to your audiences and yielding ROI
  • Waste your time
  • Land your email addresses on the blacklist
  • Cause the suspension of your account

What’s the Solution?

Now that you have an idea about the types and reason for bounced emails, it’s time to check out the solutions:

1. Use A Good Sign-Up Form

You need to have a contact list to send emails. For that, you need to use a good sign-up form that lets people to feed in their information and email address. Ensure you use a good captcha system to avoid fake sign-ups by bots.

Source: Jot Form

2. Always Use Double-Opt In

Double-opt in method is a step ahead of single-opt in method. People enter their email address and other information as requested and hit the submit button.

After that, they receive a confirmation in their email with a link. It’s only when they click on the link, that they are added to your mailing list. This gives you valid emails in your list.

Source: Really Good Emails

3. Use Clean Email List

Clean your email list regularly because it is quite likely that you may have email addresses that have got invalid over time. Make sure you re-engage the dormant subscribers and remove the subscribers who are inactive despite sending the re-engagement emails.

4. Keep Information Updated

Your contact information must be updated. One way to do this is by amending the spelling errors and avoiding the usage of generic email addresses like noreply@email.com.

Look for ways that let your users update their information on their own or verify that their information is correct and updated. By doing this, you can prevent email bounces.

5. Avoid Emails That Look Like Spam

Spam filters assess whether your email looks like spam or not. Ensure that the template remains updated and that it doesn’t have any element that can make it look like spam.

Use of tools like mail-tester.com can help you deal with this issue. Such tools help you stay on track or direct you to change the wordings, links, formats or content so that your emails aren’t perceived as spam.

6. Create Good Repute with Your ESP

Your email service provider needs to check your legitimacy. What should you do to be authentic? Try sending emails in small lots.

Ensure that these lots have email addresses that would not mark you as spam because, if they do, it will make your ESP suspicious about you. It’s only when your emails are received and not marked as spam that ESP filters will trust you.

7. Email Authentication

Email authentication will give an authentic and professional touch to your emails and increase the delivery rate. A study states that less than 40% of brands use the three major methods of email authentication: SPF, DKIM, DMARC.

  • DKIM emails add credibility and enhance email deliverability.
  • SPF helps marketers, to tell email authenticators that the email they are sending is genuine and original.
  • Domain-Based Message Authentication Reporting and Conformance (DMARC) makes your email authentication more powerful.

8. Set a Consistent Email Schedule

Consistent mailing will not let users forget that it is they who chose to get the emails. Prepare a schedule to send emails based on the engagement patterns of your users, so that they are expected by your users and their servers.

Wrapping Up

Bounced emails directly affect the delivery rate, subscriber’s engagement, business reputation, conversion rates and your income.

Frustrated with bounced emails? Is your email bounce rate high? Either way, this post will guide your marketers to handle and prevent email bounce issues like a pro!

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Kevin is the Head of Marketing at EmailMonks, one of the fastest-growing email design and coding companies. He loves gadgets, bikes, jazz, and breathes ‘email marketing’. He is a brand magician who loves to engage, share insights with fellow marketers, and enjoys sharing his thoughts on the latest email marketing best practices at EmailMonks Blog.

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