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email bounces, how do they impact your email marketing?

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My email marketing isn’t getting through – what can I do?

This week we are going to look at the two types of bounces messages that you may be receiving. We’ll look at exactly what each one means and how you can take action to rectify each one.

When looking at the results of your email marketing, you’ll see two types of message failure, these are “soft bounce’s” and a “hard bounce’s” – often it can be hard to understand exactly what these are and how we can take action.

Soft Bounces

So, what is a soft bounce?

This means that your email has not been delivered to the recipient because of an issue that is in most cases temporary, this could be:

  • A server outage at your recipient’s end
  • The mailbox may be full
  • Or too much volume – you may be sending to quite a few mailboxes on the same domain in one mailer, if these bounce – this is the recipient’s gatekeeper telling you to slow down.
  • The sending server may reject your message because of spam body content.
  • The sending server may reject your mailer because of a poor sending server reputation.

What is a hard bounce?

A hard bounce is a permanent failure, a notice the the email did not go through and this issue will not be resolved by sending in the future. The reasons for a hard bounce could be:

  • A Typo in the address for example is misspelling of the domain, for example, when creating the list, you may have misspelled GMAIL.com for example.
  • A dead domain: the domain name may not exist any more. Since you accepted a request from a recipient to be added to your mailing list, they may have gone out of business or may have neglected to renew their domain. A server configuration issue: your recipient may not have their email account or server set up correctly, this can often be the case with businesses that may have new or complicated setups – often their gateway may contain an error that means an email may not be routed correctly. So, what does it mean if we are getting lots of bounces?

If I keep getting soft and hard bounces – can this damage the success of my marketing?

This is an issue that can damage your marketing success. If your bounce rate is high, it means that the number of people seeing your email marketing is not as high as it could be. If fewer people are seeing your message, it means fewer opportunities to sell.

Bounces will also have a cumulative negative affect on the reputation of your sending server. if your recipients email service provider see that a number of your addresses are bouncing, they will assume that the sending list is poor quality and will deduct points from the reputation of your sending server.

Your sending server carries a percentage score – and this score can go down if a number of bounces are logged, low sending score means low future delivery. This can be a vicious circle that results in your email marketing going nowhere.

How can I minimise the amount of bounces that I get?

It’s really important that you monitor your bounces and take action, so lets look at what you can do:

1. Remove all hard bounces from your list. Take these off as they are permanent failures and sending again will get the same result. Good email marketing software will automatically delete all hard bounces straight away – making your list management an automated process.

2. Try soft bounces in a few days times – if they still bounce remove them. As a soft bounce is in most cases a temporary failure, then it may be worth trying them later as the issue that prevented delivery first time around may have now been fixed. If it still bounces after two sends – then delete it. Again; decent email marketing software will automatically try a delayed second send and then a delete if the email contact still bounces.

3. Ask your service provider to keep you up to date with the reputation of your sending server – it’s good to know this as the reputation needs to be high in order to maintain good delivery and low bounces.

4. Make sure that your email document does not cause any words or phrases that may trigger your recipient’s spam filter, if the filter is triggered, this could cause a soft bounce due to content. All good email marketing software should have an inbuilt spam checker – this will read through your mailer prior to sending and will advise you of any detected spam words or phrases that you should remove.

5. Scan your list for obvious typo’s, one of the largest causes of bounces can often be as straight forward as miskeying an address when entering it. It’s always worth quickly casting your eye over your addresses and looking for anything obvious.

6. Make sure your list is double opt in; if the source of your email list is sign ups to your website, make sure that your website form asks the recipient to reply to an email before granting permission to join the list. This is quick and easy to implement – and stops automated bots polluting your mailing list with junk addresses.

7. Make sure your list is regularly re-qualified, the most successful email marketeers will always contact their recipients often by telephone to ask if the address that you have on file is still the best one to use for email contact.


By following our tips on housekeeping of your data – you’ll make your email marketing really successful time after time. Decent software will automate pretty much all of the tasks required, meaning it isn’t labour intensive for you to maintain a great list.

email blaster is free to try – so why not open an account today and see how easy it is to carry out really effective marketing every time.

For a little more information on how we manage soft and hard bounces at email blaster, head over here; soft and hard bounce removal 

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