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Email Bounce Management: Soft Bounces vs. Hard Bounces
Email bounce management is one of the most important terms when it comes to email deliverability. However, some marketers don’t give it the due attention, therefore, they bear the loss of failing their marketing campaign. Thus, marketers, as well as every sender, should at least have adequate knowledge about email bounce management; how should they manage email bounces and why do these emails bounce in the very first place?
What is Email Bounce?
When an email is rejected to be delivered to the respective recipient, it is called an email bounce. It defines the non-delivery of a sent email. This usually happens when the server of the receiver rejects to deliver a message/email. However, email bounce can happen because of several reasons. Email delivery failure is usually notified through an automatic notification, received by the sender. Many email servers also try to mention the reason for email delivery failure in this notification.
Elements of a Bounce Notification
Generally, we have seen all the important information, required to identify the cause of email delivery failure, mentioned in a bounce notification that is sent to the sender by any mail server.
The common elements present in almost every bounce message are as follows:
When: The notification clearly states the exact time and date, an email was bounced.
Who: The bounce message also identifies the server the rejects the delivery of a respective email.
Why: The message also contains the reason for the mail delivery failure. It usually contains the RFC code (stated by the RFC code, the hard bounces are mentioned as ‘5XX code ‘, however, the soft bounces are mentioned as ‘4XX code’.)
Note: Many ISPs, use different codes to mention the reason for the bounce, therefore, there can be different codes so be aware.
Types of Bounces
There are two types of email bounces; soft bounces and hard bounces. Let’s find out more about both of these types.
As its name goes, soft bounces are the small issues that cause email delivery failure, which can be dealt with rather easily. Soft bounces occur when the email address of the recipient is valid and the recipient server does not create any hindrance either. However, the email was still not delivered due to either of the following reasons:
- The inbox of the recipient was full as the user has more emails than the given space.
- Another very common reason for the email delivery failure is that the server may be down.
- Or, the size of the file sent was too large or too heavy to be delivered successfully to the recipient’s inbox.
- Soft bounces also occur due to mailbox not getting configured correctly or if the respective mailbox is inactive.
- Or, because theemail content is not according to the recipient server’s policies
The emails failed to deliver because the soft bounces may be deliverable after some time. In most cases, while re-sending an email is automatic, it successfully gets delivered after 72 hours.
A hard bounce is a little more complicated to deal with than soft bounces. It refers to the permanent rejection of an email to be delivered. Moreover, there could be several reasons for having a hard bounce occurred. However, some of the most common causes of email delivery failure due to the hard bounces are as follows:
- The email address of the recipient doesn't exist or is invalid.
- The email server of the recipient has permanently blocked delivery.
- These email addresses should be added to a suppression list. It is a list of addresses that you can create for your mail service providers. Your service providers will not deliver emails to the mail addresses added in the suppression list. Because if you keep on sending emails to these inactive addresses, then it will keep on bouncing which will only harm your sender reputation, affecting your whole marketing campaign.
Managing Email Bounces
Now that we have discussed the email bounces and its types in detail, let us discuss that who can manage email bounces and how? Internet Service Providers (ISPs), for example, Yahoo, Gmail, etc. keep a record of email bounces every sender is getting and decrease their mail deliverability rate, however, it is totally dependent on the type of bounces and also the number of bounces. ISPs sometimes also completely block all the emails by a particular sender. Therefore, the sender reputation and email engagement rate hold greater significance. This is why marketers try to keep communicating with the ESP staff as regular as possible.
Moreover, having a high bounce rate can also appear to the ISPs that a sender has either collected or purchased these email addresses without the consent of users. This is why email marketing opt-in is considered as the best practice to lower the bounce rate.
Use Double Opt-In:
It is a best practice to always confirm new subscriber’s consent regarding receiving your emails. You should try to send a confirmation email to these new subscribers confirmingthat they want to hear from you. This will also help you in making sure that their email address is valid.
Manage your list:
Another way to lower your bounce rate is to manage the list of your subscribers and regularly clean it by getting rid of invalid and inactive emails. Many mailbox service providers let you review and manage your lists easily from your dashboard. You can also discard hard bounces but only after a certain period.
Monitor email delivery:
You should try to keep a track of your email delivery rates by keeping a close eye on your email bounce rates. You should also try to keep a record of your response rates. Once, you have started keeping a record of these rates regularly, you can easily point out the failures. Thus, you can stop it from happening again.
Avoid spam triggers:
No matter how efficiently you have designed your upcoming marketing campaign, the content of your email does the maximum work. Therefore, try to follow the best practices while drafting your email. You should also try to avoid spam triggers in the email message and subject line as these spam triggering words can make your email to bounce.
Wrapping it up:
Knowing about the email bounces and how to manage these bounces efficiently, is very important for email marketing. Therefore, you should not only stay updated about these bounces but also follow up on these quick tips to keep your bounce rate low. The lower the bounce rate you have, the higher your email marketing will be flying as you won't have to worried about email delivery failure.
If you are looking for a straight forward solution to email bounces, you can switch to CBT Mass Email Sender. This software makes email marketing a breeze.