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What Are Bounced Emails?

If your emails aren’t landing in recipient inboxes, then they cannot fulfill their intended purpose. Check out what bounced emails and how to avoid them.

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What Are Bounced Emails

Bounced emails, also known as email bounces, are emails that cannot be delivered to the intended recipient and are instead returned to the sender’s email server or client. There are two types of email bounces: soft bounces and hard bounces.

Soft bounces occur when the email is temporarily undeliverable to the recipient. Common causes of soft bounces include:

  • Recipient’s mailbox is full
  • There are temporary issues server issues
  • The email is too large
  • Spam filter issues
  • Greylisting

Soft bounces typically require no action from the sender, so you can wait until the problem resolves itself. The email client or server will usually retry sending the message automatically. If the email tries to send multiple times or over the course of several minutes, but it’s still unsuccessful, then you may be dealing with a hard bounce. 

Hard bounces occur when the email is permanently undeliverable to the recipient. Common causes of hard bounces include:

  • Invalid or non-existent email address
  • Offline or misconfigured recipient server
  • Sender’s email address is blocked

Hard bounces do require action from the sender, such as updating the recipient’s email address or removing it from their email list. The hard bounce itself is usually paired with a message from your email provider that notifies you of the root problem, so you understand how to proceed. In other cases, you may be left to figure out the issue and its solution yourself.

Why Reducing Email Bounces Is Important

For the average person, an email bounce of any kind is a hassle and may require reaching out to the intended recipient. In contrast, email bounces are more difficult and complex when you’re using them as a marketing plan or in any capacity as a business. 

Soft and hard email bounces alike occur for a variety of reasons, and impact both the deliverability and reputation of your email campaigns. Too many can imply that subscribers are purposefully blocking or avoiding your emails, or they can mean that you’ve designed and are sending your emails incorrectly. 

As such, it’s important to regularly monitor your email bounce rates and take appropriate actions to reduce them. This creates what is known as a “clean” mailing list. 

Having a low bounce rate also helps you create an email list that accurately reflects your recipient base. That, in turn, allows you to collect accurate data that can help you improve your email marketing campaigns in the future.

How to Reduce Bounced Emails

Fixing your bounced emails depends on the type of bounce and the specific cause of said bounce. Here are general steps you can take to fix this issue:

  • Check the email address: If you receive a hard bounce, check the email address to make sure that it is valid and properly formatted. If it isn’t properly formatted, you may need to update it.
  • Resend the email: If you receive a soft bounce, try resending the email at a later time or reducing the size of the email.
  • Remove bounced email addresses from your list: If you receive repeated hard bounces from an email address, it’s likely that the email address is invalid or no longer in use. Remove these email addresses from your list to avoid future bounces. 
  • Use a verified email sender: Make sure that your email sender address is verified and authenticated to ensure that your emails are not marked as spam or blocked by the recipient’s email server.
  • Follow the best practices for email delivery: Make sure that your email content follows the best practices for formatting, subject lines, and call-to-actions. Also, follow the best practices for email delivery, such as sending emails at an optimal time slot and frequency.
  • Use an email validation service: Consider using an email validation service to verify email addresses before sending emails. This will reduce the likelihood of hard bounces.

With these steps in use, you’ll ensure your sent emails are more efficient, accurate, and helpful to the people they’re trying to reach.

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