Have you ever tried to send an email but had it rejected or returned? This is called “bounce.” Email bounce is when you try to send a message but the recipient’s server rejects your mail. This can be especially frustrating for businesses, as email marketing can be an incredibly effective (and cost-effective!) way to attract new customers. There are several reasons your emails may bounce, which we will get into later. Let’s start by explaining the 2 primary types of bounce.
Soft Bounce vs. Hard Bounce
Soft bounces are typically caused by temporary delivery issues. For example, if the recipient’s server is down for some reason, this would be considered a soft bounce. Other common causes for a soft bounce include the mailbox being full or the message you’re sending being so large that the recipient’s server won’t allow it to pass through. When your mail comes back as a soft bounce, most ESPs (email service providers) will continue to attempt to send your message through for up to 72 hours. Occasionally, the issues are not corrected during that time period and the intended recipient never receives your email. You should receive a message from your ESP if this is ever the case.
Your ESP may begin to consider soft bounce email addresses as hard bounces if the issue continues to exist after several attempts to send mail. Most ESPs “scrub” your mailing list to remove all “hard bounces” so it’s important to resolve issues that are causing soft bounces, if at all possible.
Hard bounces are caused by a permanent delivery issue. This can be caused by sending to an incorrect address or to an email server that has blocked mail from your IP address or domain name. When you receive hard bounces, it’s important to remove the intended recipients’ addresses from your email address, as a high number of hard bounces will make you appear as a spammer in the eyes of other servers.
Email List Hygiene
Being identified as a spammer can have a very negative impact on your business, as it can basically eliminate your ability to execute email marketing campaigns. This is why it’s important to implement healthy email list hygiene practices to make sure your emails have the best chance of reaching their intended audience. Here are some of the most important things you should be doing:
- Check your list regularly and make sure to remove all invalid (hard bounce) email addresses. This is called list scrubbing.
- Watch your email delivery rates. If you begin seeing high bounce rates, start scanning your list to find email addresses that need to be removed.
- Make sure that your list is double opt-in. This means that in addition to opting into your list online, the subscriber has to confirm that he/she is interested in joining your list by responding to a verification email.
Can Sending Email Impact Your Server’s Health?
At HostandStore, it’s important to us that all our servers are as healthy as possible. For large-scale mailing, your best bet will be to find a third-party email marketer, such as MailChimp, A Weber or Constant Contact to send from. This protects your servers and limits the risk of damaging the IP addresses associated with them. It’s important to remember that these big mailers use special servers designed to manage large amounts of outgoing email and know how to properly maintain the health of not only these servers, but the IP addresses that power all this mailing!