Emails are Bouncing: How it affects email marketers and measures to take

Anton Shabatov - February 27, 2020 - 0 comments

Your unique, beautiful email text and enticing call to action don’t make sense if people don’t get your emails. There are a number of reasons why emails may never reach the recipients and return to the sender. Simply put, returns (failures, errors, bounces) are messages that do not arrive at their destination.

There are “hard” and “soft” bounces. 

A hard bounce means that the email is written incorrectly, and messages are sent to it. Hard bounces can often be the result of an incorrectly entered or nonexistent address, or an incorrect domain name, for example, [email protected], instead of [email protected].

A soft bounce means that the email is not delivered due to a temporary mailbox lock/unavailability, a temporary problem with the mail server that revokes a message from an existing mailbox when it is full.

The huge number of bounces is an indicator that the email list was not maintained properly. We have prepared recommendations for you on how to reduce the bounce rate to a minimum.

11 tips for reducing email bouncing

  1. Use your own customer base. Once again, we repeat — never buy contact information. Even if you were promised that the database is excellent and all the contacts are real, you will only know for sure when you send an email. If the base is so-so and a lot of addresses are non-existent — this can affect your sender’s reputation. Collect the database yourself to be sure of its quality and not to harm your mailing list.
  2. Email list verification. Use to check for incorrectly formatted addresses, invalid domains, typos (for example, instead of, gmailcom with a missing dot, etc.) Correct the email only when you are sure that the address is incorrect, or better yet, check with the customer.
  3. Set up the double opt-in

    An automatic confirmation email when a user signs up on the website or makes purchases serve a dual purpose:

    1. you eliminate invalid email addresses;
    2. once again, you make sure that customers really want to receive your emails. If the user made a mistake when entering the email — he will not receive the email and will register on your website once again, if he really wants to do that.
  4. Add links to users’ personal areas to emails. The reason for invalid emails may be that the person changed his or her place of work, or the email provider, not because he no longer likes you. So that the client can change the address, suspend the mailing or its parts, and thus stay with you and not spoil your reputation ― make the profile management process easy for customers and subscribers.
  5. Let your customers check the data. For example, when a client completes a purchase, encourage him to check the completed information, especially email, so that he is guaranteed to receive an invoice/payment confirmation.
  6. Spam rate. Some servers reject an email because it doesn’t pass the spam filters. Before sending an email newsletter, it is better to check all the messages for spam.
  7. Email quality. Test your messages ― before sending an email to the entire database, send it to the test group. For example, to your colleagues registered in different mail servers, and see how your emails behave. This procedure may not be repeated every time, but it can be effective at the initial stage.
  8. Monitor the domain delivery rate. Track your email openings and returns by major domains, for example,,, and others. If one of them is significantly different from the others or you suddenly have a drop in delivery ― you can see what the problem is through filtering or searching for the issue in blacklists. That takes to the next point.
  9. Check the blacklists. For your newsletters “purity” purposes  ― regularly check your database for the presence of blacklisted contacts. The situation is a little worse when you get yourself blacklisted. In this case, you should immediately contact the person who sent you there and try to resolve this issue peacefully.
  10. Monitor the market. Track changes and stay ahead of events: after companies M&As or renamings ― do not expect that customers will remember about your newsletter. Send an email to people with this domain in advance asking them to update their data or delete it from the database.
  11. Work carefully with old databases. Sending emails to a huge list with a large number of non-existent addresses in one fell swoop means a high probability that the emails will return and your sender’s rating will decrease. Even if a significant number of addresses are existing, you run the risk that customers might forget about you and consider the emails as spam. This will also affect your reputation and future mailings may be rejected by the server without reaching the recipients because you are on the blacklist.
  12. When you have nothing to write about and decide to suspend sending emails, at least periodically congratulate your customers on holidays, so that the database remains relevant. Do not use the old lists in mailing services, if you are not confident in their quality. It is better to try to revive the database by parts sending them a reminder about yourself and why you write them. Do not forget to add the “unsubscribe” button to the most prominent place in such emails.

That was all for today. Proofy team wishes you good luck, and never to have your emails bounced!


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