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Email Bounce: How to prevent email bounce back effectively?

14 min read
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If you are looking to grow your business, email outreach is the most effective channel. Building an email list and consistently sending messages saves time and effort in nurturing your prospects. The success of your email campaign(sequence) depends on its email deliverability. If you are able to make it to the recipient’s inbox, your first job is done. This improves your productivity; however, the problem arises when the email bounces back.

In 2021, 9.94% of the total emails got bounced. According to a study by Moengage, the standard benchmark of email bounce rate is 4.31%. Anything above 4.31% is a serious issue. However, email bounce back can be reduced by following the best practices.

In this article, we will be describing the significant reasons for email bounce back and how to prevent it efficiently.

What is email bounce back?

An email bounce back is when your email cannot reach your recipient’s mailbox due to certain issues. In this case, your email service provider sends you email bounce back messages about failed delivery and technical details of the failure.

Bounced emails negatively affect your email account by making your account more vulnerable to the SPAM filters. This also decreases your email sender score and deliverability rate. Therefore, an email marketer needs to know about different email bounces and the prevention methods.

Any marketer, salesperson, or any other professional who does the outreach would like to avoid it.

Let us go through different types of email bounces and the reasons behind them.

Types of Email Bounces

Generally, there are three types of Email Bounces:

1. Hard bounce

2. Soft bounce

3. General bounce

1. Hard bounce

A hard bounce is a type of email bounce where the recipient’s email address is invalid or non-existing. Mostly it happens when the email address is no longer active or the domain has expired.

Hard bounce also occurs when you enter incorrect email addresses that are totally unknown to the email service providers (e.g.; typing down @gmail.con instead of @gmail.com).

You can check for possible errors such as:

  • Spaces
  • Special characters not followed by a letter
  • Special characters at the beginning or end

2. Soft bounce

A soft bounce is the type of email bounce where the recipient’s email address is not able to receive your emails temporarily.

When a soft bounce happens, there isn’t an issue with your or your recipient’s email address. These are temporary and get fixed in some time.

Some common reasons for soft bounces are:

  • A full inbox
  • An out-of-office status
  • The email server is down or offline
  • The email message is too large

3. General bounce

A general bounce is the type of email bounce, where the recipient doesn’t receive the email due to the technical limitations of the server. In some cases, the receiver’s firewall settings may restrict your emails. This type of email bounce is safe and doesn’t affect your email account and sender reputation.

Basic structure of an email address
Basic Structure of an Email Address

How to calculate email bounce rate?

The bounce rate for your email sequences can be calculated by dividing the number of emails bounced by the total number of delivered emails.

The bounce rate can be expressed as a percentage by multiplying the number by 100.

Here’s the formula to calculate the email bounce rate:

Email bounce rate formula

Let us understand this with an example.

You launched a campaign. 1000 emails got delivered and 10 emails got bounced.  Here the bounce rate will be:

(10 / 1,000) x 100 = 0.01 x 100 = 1%

So for this particular campaign, your email bounce rate is 1%. Always try to keep your bounce rate below 4.31%.

Below is a graph showing the average bounce rate for an email in the United States.

Average email bounce rates in the United States

Why do email bounce back?

Creating an email campaign(sequence) and then getting a bounce-back message can be a significant loss. Let us see the 8 critical reasons which restrict your emails from reaching your receiver’s inbox.

8 reasons why emails bounce back

1. Invalid Email Address

2. Blocked Sender’s IP address

3. Email blocked by receiving server

4. Receiving server is overloaded

5. Receivers inbox is full

6. Low sender reputation score

7. The recipient has added an auto-reply

8. Email size is too large

1. Invalid Email Address

Your email service provider cannot find the email address if it is already expired or invalid. These conditions force your service provider to bounce back the emails. 

These issues usually arise when you use unverified emails, buy an email list or use an old email list. This may also happen when you enter an incorrect email address with some typographical mistakes or invalid email format.

In these cases you will receive email bounce back messages “The email account that you tried to reach does not exist” as shown in the image below.

Email bounce back due to invalid email address

2. Blocked Sender’s IP address

Sometimes email service providers block many IP addresses when they suspect spamming activities. In this case, your emails won’t be able to cross the filters of the recipient’s server, resulting in an email bounce back.

Free email providers like Gmail, Yahoo, Zoho, Outlook, AOL share a single IP address with many users. When any shared user performs a spammy email campaign(sequence), other email users with shared IP addresses get affected. Avoid using free emails if you are doing a email campaign(sequence).

3. Email blocked by receiving server

Many servers block a particular email address or domain if they suspect any malicious activity. When the sender tries to send an email to those recipients, their email gets bounced. It ultimately decreases your sender reputation and email deliverability.

email blocked by receiving server

Source – https://support.yet-another-mail-merge.com/hc/en-us/articles/211405229-What-are-bounces-Why-do-I-get-bounces-

4. Receiving server is overloaded

Your email cannot reach the recipient if the receiving server is overloaded. In this case, the server won’t be able to receive any incoming requests, and you get a bounce back message. This is a soft bounce, usually a temporary issue that gets solved in some time.

Email bounce back due to overload on receiving server

Source – https://support.yet-another-mail-merge.com/hc/en-us/articles/211405229-What-are-bounces-Why-do-I-get-bounces-

5. Receivers inbox is full

Every mailbox has some standard storage limit. If the recipient has not cleaned up his mailbox, then it has a chance of your emails getting bounced. This is a rare issue which usually happens when the email address is active but doesn’t have free space to take new emails. This is again a soft bounce and is considered a temporary issue.

Email bounce back as receivers inbox is full

Source – https://twitter.com/mattyza/status/1207185237547114497

6. Low sender reputation score

The sender reputation score is one of the major factors that affect your email deliverability and bounce back rate. A low sender reputation score diverts your emails towards the SPAM filters or bounces back. Overall, this decreases your sender reputation score and increases the email bounce rate.

7. The recipient has added an auto-reply

If a recipient is not available to access the email, then he sets an auto-reply to all the incoming emails. You receive an informative reply from the receiver. This is also considered as a type of email bounce back, but it does not affect email deliverability or sender reputation score.

Email bounce back as the recipient added auto reply

Source – https://www.codetwo.com/admins-blog/how-to-set-up-email-auto-responder-on-microsoft-exchange-server-side/

8. Email size is too large

Email size is an important factor for email bounce back. Some email service providers restrict emails of huge size due to their privacy concerns. There are also some email service providers that allow only text emails.

In these cases, sending emails with rich text and images makes your email bounce back. It has to be taken into consideration and draft the email in an optimized manner.

8 reasons why emails bounce back

We hope you understood why emails bounce back, now it’s time to find how to prevent it in the first place.

Implementing the best practices effectively against email bounce back helps your emails reach the recipient’s mailbox.

Let’s dive deep and learn how to stop bounce back emails with tried and tested proven techniques.

How to prevent email bounce back?

In the last section of our guide, we’ll explain how to fix email bounce back.

If you have identified an abnormally high bounce rate in your email sequence, the following methods will be helpful.

Let’s get started.

10 ways to fix email bounce back effectively

1. Use double opt-in

2. Maintain a clean list

3. Double-check for typos

4. Authenticate your email account

5. Don’t spam your content

6. Maintain time frame between consecutive emails

7. Keep an eye on your sender reputation score

8. Send emails consistently

9. Avoid Free Sender Domains

10. Don’t exceed your daily sending limit

1. Use double opt-in

Double opt-in is one of the best methods of building a valuable email list. Once a user registers with your mailing list, ask them to verify their account. This provides you an assurance about the authenticity of their email address. This simple process will help you to reduce the email bounce rate drastically.

2. Maintain a clean list

Update your email list periodically. The email addresses usually expire with time, which increases the chances of email bounce. It is better to verify your email list before scheduling any email campaign(sequence).

Maintaining a clean list makes your email list healthy. Scheduling an email campaign(sequence) with these lists provides you with better deliverability and a decrease in bounces.

Pro Tip: Remove the inactive email accounts from your main list.

3. Double-check for typos

The best way to prevent typographical error is using the double-opt-in method listed above. Still, if you are manually building a list then these types of mistakes are prevalent.

You need to be very careful while listing down your email address before sending your email campaign(sequence). We have seen many emails bounce with users because they type @yahooo.com in place of @yahoo.com.

It is highly recommended to double-check your email address everytimẹ to avoid simple typographical mistakes like this.

4. Authenticate your email account

Authentication is a process done to maintain your sender reputation, which indirectly helps you to reduce the email bounce back rate. There are three types of authentication processes to improve your email deliverability

  • SPF
  • DKIM
  • DMARC

These techniques help the receiver’s server to check the authenticity of the email received. When the receiver’s server gets these records in your email, they provide a clean chit to your message and reduce your email bounce rate.

Bonus: Learn how to set up SPF and DKIM to improve your email deliverability.

5. Don’t spam your content

There are various factors that make an email content spammy that increase your email bounce rate. Check out the below pointers to build a non-spammy email content which will give you better results:

  • Do not add any SPAM triggering words in your email content. There are certain SPAM triggering words which are blacklisted by various Email Service Providers. If you add words like FREE, OFF, 50% in your email body, the receiver’s ESP assumes the email to SPAM or promotional content. On frequent usage of these words, the emails bounce back.
  • Do not use too many links in your emails. Adding too many links in your emails is suspected to be an act of phishing activity and the receiver server bounces back the email.
  • Maintain 60:40 text to HTML ratio. Rich graphics and beautified HTML emails are usually promotional and pure text emails are damn boring. Maintain a mixed ratio between the text and HTML to get the best performance.
  • Avoid CAPS, BOLD and Exclamation marks. Content with too many characters in caps or bold is intended to be spammy and should be avoided.

If you follow the above pointers in your email content, chances of your emails being considered spammy are less and this will reduce the email bounce rate.

6. Maintain time frame between consecutive emails

You should always maintain some time gap between two consecutive emails in an email campaign(sequence). All email service provider’s algorithms believe that no human can send multiple emails at one go. When this happens, the algorithms assume it to be a non-human activity, and your emails start to bounce.

The ideal time gap required to be maintained between two emails is 90 seconds. You can use an email outreach tool like Saleshandy for your email outreach campaign(sequence).

It allows you to set a time gap between two consecutive emails before launching the campaign(sequence). 

Sending emails in this way not only adds a human touch to them but also prevents them from bouncing back.

7. Keep an eye on your sender reputation score

The sender’s reputation score is a standardized value provided to the domains to check their email activities. A low sender reputation leads to email bounce back, emails going to spam, and sometimes blocking your account.

Along with following the best practices of sending email campaigns(sequences), it’s also important to keep an eye on your sender reputation score. There are many free tools like Sender Score, which allows you to check your score.

keep-an-eye

8. Send emails consistently

You should always keep an engagement with your email subscribers. When there is a constant flow of messages between two accounts, the receiver server gets an assurance of the quality of the email conversation. The receiver server stays aware of the email activity which makes your account less vulnerable to email bounces.

9. Avoid Free Sender Domains

While using a free email sender domain (e.g., @gmail.com, @outlook.com, etc.), you are not allowed to authenticate your email account. This makes your account more contagious to spam filters, and your emails bounce back while doing an email campaign(sequence).

Always use an authenticated business domain for email campaigns(sequences) to get the best results from it.

10. Don’t exceed your daily sending limit

Every email service provider provides you with a certain email sending limit. If you try to send more than your limits in a day, your emails start to get bounced. 

It is suggested to keep a look at how many emails you are scheduling in a day and plan accordingly. You may permanently block your account if you frequently exceed your daily sending limit.

To get a record of your daily sending limits, it is suggested to consult with your email service provider on a regular basis.

Final words

Marketers spend a lot of time, effort, and money on email outreach.

Constant email bounce might break the success of the campaign. Following the above methods and prevention techniques will always help you with the best results to reduce the email bounce rate. 

Along with the best practices, you also need to use a cold emailing tool like Saleshandy, which automates your email campaign(sequence) and stops your emails from bouncing back.

If you found this post helpful to reduce the email bounce rate, feel free to share it on your social media handle.



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