Início » Email Bounce: Why It happens and what you should do
email-bounce-deliverability

Email Bounce: Why It happens and what you should do

Email bounce is a huge problem for everyone who deals with sending emails on a regular basis. It is an undesired situation that can bring a negative impact on the performance of any company.

Controlling bounce emails is an urgent need. But how are you supposed to do that, considering that bounce emails are not the sender’s fault sometimes? Basically, this fact is what makes a strict email bounce policy so necessary for marketers.

Read this article with detailed information about bounce email to might know what has been causing it, and practical strategies on how to solve this issue. This way, you can improve your deliverability rates and also protect your reputation as a sender.

  • What is an email bounce?
  • Different types of email bounce
  • Why do your emails bounce?
  • What should you do to reduce your email bounce rate?

What is an email bounce?

When you send emails as a part of a marketing campaign, but they are not delivered as intended, you have a situation called email bounce. In other words, bounces are messages that couldn’t be delivered to the recipient’s mailbox due to several reasons, most of them technical. 

But you don’t have to focus on the bounces themselves. You must look at what might have caused them, adopting actions to solve the issue as soon as possible.

When the bounce email happens, the sender receives a message containing the explanation for it. This “return to the sender” notification is called SMTP Reply (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol), and its report can help understand such an unrequested occurrence.

Bounces can cause irreparable damages to your reputation as a sender, compromising all your marketing campaigns. As they are mostly caused by technical problems and malfunction, the good news is that reducing bounces is attainable.

All you have to do is to understand the reason why the message wasn’t delivered to the final destination, fix the issue that caused the bounces, and adopt strategies to avoid the same problem again.

First of all, let’s begin with the first part of the lesson: understanding bounce email and its different types.

Different types of email bounces

There are two major categories of bounce emails. They are Soft and Hard Bounces, and both of them are linked to technical issues.

Being aware of these types of bounces is necessary to reduce them to a bare minimum, which is important if you want to protect your reputation as a sender and increase your deliverability rate. 

Soft bounce

Soft bounces are nothing more than temporary failures, such as a weak internet connection, a server malfunction, or a DNS error.

When your message is too long, it can also result in a soft bounce. Shortening the message will fix this error. Likewise, when you send attachments that are too large, your message will bounce. In case it happens, reducing the overall size of the content can solve this technical error.

Finally, because it’s a temporary occurrence, most ESPs (Email Service Providers) will try delivering the message more than once, in case the circumstance that caused the soft bounce disappears. If the email continues bouncing, then the providers will stop, making the message return to its origin. 

Hard bounce

Unlike the previous concept, hard bounces are caused by permanent failures, making it impossible to deliver a message to a certain address. Most of the time, hard bounces happen because the:

  • sender is trying to send an email to an invalid or fake address;
  • email address that is going to receive the message is incorrect or misspelled;
  • server hosting the email address no longer exists;
  • message was rejected by the receiver;
  • sender has been marked as a spam sender and was blocked.

To avoid hard bounces, it is extremely indispensable to keep your email lists clean and free of invalid addresses. When you experience too many bounces in a short period, your deliverability is put at risk, becoming a target to spam filters.

Avoiding emails that might destroy your reputation is also recommendable to control the level of bounced messages. Verifying and validating email addresses is a great and functional way to do so.

Why do your emails bounce?

Email bounce happens for many reasons. They go from temporary to permanent issues. Let’s see more details regarding aspects that can cause bounces.

Mailbox full

A point of attention regarding bounces is related to hitting full mailboxes. If the subscriber has too many messages in the mailbox it will be unable to receive new messages. 

This can be a sign that this email is inactive. Active users hardly ever get to this point. People manage their email accounts every day. They need it for professional matters and also for personal reasons.

Many companies keep sending messages to full mailboxes in the hope the user cleans it, but it is very unlikely to happen. These users probably abandoned the email address, as you should do too.

If you notice you are hitting full mailboxes too many times, you should probably consider removing these addresses from your database. They have a high chance of being inactive users, something you must avoid.

Spam complaints

When you get too many spam complaints, ESPs will start blocking the content you send to people, resulting in bounces.

That’s why you must be careful. Sending emails to anyone will probably result in spam complaints, hurting your deliverability.

If you want to avoid receiving spam complaints, start by getting permission to send emails to a certain account. This can be done through optimized landing pages or even registration forms on your website.

You can also stay away from dangerous email addresses, whose origin is unknown, which will protect your email address and domain.

Finally, you can adopt some positive policies when sending emails, such as not sending too many emails at once, not using trigger words in the title and body of messages, and only sharing content that is interesting to your community.

Disposable emails

Disposable Email Addresses (DEA) don’t have long-term value to their creators and owners. They were created with a limited and brief purpose. After this objective is achieved, users can easily get rid of such addresses.

They are bad for marketing campaigns just because of that. If you try sending emails to a disposable address after it is expired or destroyed, you will experience bounces. Even when you are able to reach disposable emails, they can provide low engagement. There is no point in keeping in touch with them.

Detecting and blocking disposable email addresses is an initiative that can help you control Bounce Rates, which is a huge step to take when you want to protect your domain and deliverability. 

Blocked email

It happens when the receiving ESP has blocked the incoming messages originating from your email address.

This happens when users are annoyed by the messages you send, blocking your address, or when your sending emails policies are weak. 

For instance, companies that don’t have a schedule, and end up sending too many messages in a short time, without any planning, can have their emails blocked.

When companies send messages without permission, it can result in blocking too. So, make sure you have the user’s consent before sending any messages and organize a schedule for email marketing campaigns. This way, it’s very unlikely to receive a spam complaint and fall on a public blacklist

What should you do to reduce your email bounce rate?

Now, you understand the definition and the causes for bounce emails. So it’s time to learn some practices that can reduce the Bounce Rate. By definition, they are good techniques to protect your deliverability overall. Check it out and use them to your benefit.

Clean your email lists

Cleaning your email lists is a top priority if you want to reduce the email bounce rate. It’s something you should do regularly. Scrubbing your subscriber lists will remove invalid emails from your database, eliminating most undesired bounces.

Save only the contacts that are responsive and active. Everything else is useless to marketing campaigns. Engaging only with active users is vital if you want to plan effective email marketing campaigns.

Your email lists must be updated, clean, and free of poisonous addresses, such as spam traps. It will not only protect your deliverability, but it is a recommended way to keep bounces under control.

Build an opt-in list

Having the user’s permission to send messages is essential to avoid bounces. It can be done through registration forms equipped with an opt-in section.

When users confirm they want to receive your pieces of communication, they will recognize you when you arrive at their mailboxes. They really want to hear from you.

This way, you won’t be marked as spam. This is great to improve your reputation as a sender, according to the safety methods of most ESPs.

Be very specific and direct when you elaborate on the opt-in sentence. Make sure you get the consent of prospective subscribers who are interested in receiving emails from you. 

You might also ask for a second confirmation through email, confirming their registration and validating their address. When you have an opt-in email list, you can reduce email bounces.

Improve your reputation as a sender

Companies that are used to sending many emails every day are evaluated by Internet Service Providers (ISP). 

The ISPs use mechanisms to classify senders, giving them scores. They consider their behavior on the internet and how people react to the delivered messages.

When many users register spam complaints and send blocklist requests to the same email address, we have to conclude that this company is not looking after its reputation as a sender. 

As a consequence, ISPs will start blocking the messages, understanding these sending IPs and domains as spam senders. Some obvious signs show when an email sender reputation needs improvement, such as:

  • a high Bounce Rate;
  • purchased lists are attached to a bad reputation;
  • spam filters are constantly reproving emails;
  • presence on a public blocklist, for example, the SpamHaus Project;
  • poor engagement online;
  • a lot of unsubscribe requests.

If your reputation is not as good as you thought, it’s probably due to outdated email lists, sending messages to the wrong audiences, or sending emails to invalid addresses.

When your reputation is hurt, it’s very common to experience many bounced emails. Your credibility can be restored by cleaning your database, checking email validity, adopting an opt-in policy, and managing your subscriber lists.

Check your email addresses

Sending emails to accounts that are invalid or no longer exist can harm your reputation. That’s why you should always check the validity of email addresses before you include them in your mailing lists.

It is an important measure to avoid bounces, not to mention it is a positive attitude to increase your credibility as a sender, helping to build a safer online environment.

Bounces are usually caused by poor and outdated sending practices. Focusing on improving your deliverability will probably eliminate the bounces gradually.

For that, you can use email checker services, such as SafetyMails, to verify emails and confirm they belong to real people. They are fast and provide an accurate analysis of any address, checking the structure of the emails, or looking for typos, for example.

Other tips to reduce bounces

Your Bounce Rate shouldn’t be higher than 5%. Using all the previous suggestions will make you go very far. However, if you want to go beyond acceptable, there are other strategies you can adopt to reduce bounces.

To excel in email marketing campaigns, you should:

  • send emails according to the users preferences: give your subscribers the power to choose how and when they will hear from you, making they select the type of content, as well as the frequency;
  • authenticate your emails: authentication is a primordial process to strengthen your reputation, and you can count on internet protocols to help authenticate your sending IP and domain, such as setting up SPF records;
  • send emails regularly: when subscribers spend a long time without receiving any news from you, you can be forgotten, and when you finally make contact, your address won’t be recognized. Regularity and patterns help you achieve a good level of engagement and fewer spam complaints, hence, lower bounce rates;
  • email your most engaged members first: this strategy shows ESPs and spam filters that you send interesting content and the users trust you as a sender, besides achieving a higher level of engagement;
  • remove unsubscribers from mailing lists: if someone unsubscribes, it means this person isn’t interested in your offers and contents, and won’t contribute to engagement. In this case, you should remove this individual from your database (if not, you will be eventually blocklisted). Some services can do it automatically through integrations for you.

Complete elimination of bounces is not yet possible. Server issues and spam filters will always be constant elements to be dealt with.

However, there are some things you can control. Working to engage and interact with your target audience is something within your reach, and, as you must remember, it is the first step to take in order to control bounces.

Managing your bounces are directly related to the way you protect your deliverability. Taking care of your reputation is all about following and respecting the guidelines proposed by ESPs and main spam filters, which are related to online security.

Making the internet a safer place is also a subject of your interest. It doesn’t matter the type of emails you send to your subscribers, security is mandatory. When you work under this principle, you don’t have to worry about email bounce.

If you liked this content about bounce email, you will probably enjoy this content with an overview about the importance and benefits of checking email address validity.