Hard Bounce

On some occasions during an email marketing campaign, emails return to the sender and do not reach their intended recipient. This phenomenon is known as bouncing. 

When this happens, you can classify the bounce as a hard bounce or a soft bounce. Either one has an impact on your email address’ sender score, which is crucial to your ability to run email marketing campaigns.

It is important to know that email platforms are typically unable to predict if an email will bounce, so marketers must ensure the viability of the email addresses on their mailing list. Here, you will learn about hard bounces, how to avoid them, and the importance of maintaining your sender reputation.

What Is a Hard Bounce?

A hard bounce is a type of email that fails to reach its intended recipient. This is usually because of an invalid email address, like an incorrect domain name or unknown recipient. The recipient’s email server may also automatically block emails, preventing any emails with similar content from getting through.

In any case, hard bounces are detrimental to the performance of your email campaigns. If there are many email addresses on your mailing list that cause a hard bounce, spam filters may pick up on this and flag your email address as questionable. This will also negatively affect your email deliverability rates.

How Is a Hard Bounce Different From a Soft Bounce?

Soft bounces, on the other hand, happen to emails that enter the mail server of the intended recipient but return to the sender. This can be due to multiple reasons, the most common ones being:

  • Full inboxes
  • Huge email content
  • Offline email servers

If you’re an email marketer, a soft bounce is less harmful to your email campaigns. Additionally, unlike hard-bounced emails that signal permanent failure of delivery, soft-bounced emails only indicate a temporary delivery failure. You can retry sending soft-bounced emails up to 72 hours after the first send.

The Effects of Hard Bouncing on Your Email Deliverability 

Email bounces can happen in any email campaign. However, consistent bouncing emails can damage the sender reputation of your email address. This will lessen the effectiveness of your email address when you’re conducting email campaigns. To preserve your sender reputation, do the following practices:

  • Send emails at a consistent pace and make sure that you do not send too many at once.
  • Format your emails properly.
  • Continue updating your mailing list to prevent bounced emails.
  • Take some standard measures to prevent your emails from going to the spam folder. 

How to Reduce Email Bounce Rate

  • Use a double opt-in system 

Double opt-in systems allow users to validate their contact information. When a user subscribes to your mailing list, they receive a confirmation email to ensure that they entered the correct email address. This also ensures that the user is genuinely interested in what your brand has to offer, classifying the lead as high-quality.

  • Monitor your email campaigns

Consistently monitor all email campaigns that you run. Most email marketing platforms will show you metrics that measure your campaign’s performance. You will be able to see your bounce rates, and you can see the addresses your emails bounced from.

  • Clean your email list regularly

Maintaining good list hygiene is key to all email marketing campaigns. This ensures that you have high-quality leads and reduces the chances of your emails bouncing since you get to remove faulty emails. You can also compare your email list’s performance to previous campaigns.

  • Personalize your emails

Personalized emails don’t normally go to the spam folder. This makes them more effective in email campaigns. Additionally, consumers prefer getting personalized emails because it shows a brand’s human side, and it makes them feel like the brand cares about them. This builds more trust between the brand and the consumer.

Maintaining Your Email Reputation

As mentioned, you are bound to have bounced emails in your email marketing campaign for a variety of reasons. Generally speaking, it is good to have a bounce rate below three percent. Anything above this value will be detrimental to your sender reputation, and it may cause your emails to go straight to recipients’ spam folders.

About the Author
Koba Molenaar brings nearly a decade of rich experience in content writing, specializing in digital marketing, branding, SaaS, and eCommerce. Her passion for helping brands, from solopreneurs to established companies, connect with their audiences shines through her work. As a member of the Golden Key International Honor Society, Koba’s commitment to excellence is evident in her work, showcasing her as a relatable and knowledgeable voice in the industry.