Shed Some Light On: Email Bounce Rates

After your email is sent there are a number of things that can affect its deliverability. A bounce rate is one of the measures of deliverability and can be an indicator of a quality list.

Your bounce rate is the number of emails rejected by your recipients email server.

There are two types of bounce rates, a soft bounce and a hard bounce.

hard bounce is a permanent failure in delivery.

It could mean any of the following:

  • The email address no longer is in use
  • The domain of the email address doesn’t exist
  • The email server of your subscriber is blocking emails from you

soft bounce can be a temporary email delivery issue due to any of the following:

  • The subscribers email server was down when you sent the email
  • The email file size exceeds their server’s limit
  • Their inbox is currently full

Is a High Bounce Rate Bad?

If your email service provider starts to see too many bounces on your list they can issue a warning or even suspend your account. A high bounce rate is a sign that you aren’t sending as often as you should and keeping your list updated. This is one of the many reasons having an on-going email program is key to it’s success.

If you aren’t mailing regularly your list becomes outdated. The number of bounces you receive in a single campaign can increase every month you aren’t sending emails.

If your subscribers don’t remember who you are they are also more likely to mark your email as spam.

How to Decrease Your Email Bounce Rate

There are a few ways you can reduce your email bounce rate. Here are some recommendations:

  • Email your subscribers on a regular basis
    Most email service providers will automatically remove any hard bounces from your list so they don’t bounce again the next time you send a campaign.
  • Require subscribers to double-opt in
    After your subscriber signs up on your website, ask them to confirm their subscription in the first email they receive. This helps weed out any bad emails ahead of time if they aren’t delivered successfully before being confirmed.
  • Make it easy for subscribers to unsubscribe
    Don’t try and bury your unsubscribe link. If your subscriber isn’t happy and no longer wants your emails make it easy for them to unsubscribe. This will decrease the chances of them adding you to their block list. A healthy list is a good list.
  • Send an inactive subscriber campaign
    Every six months send a targeted email to subscribers who haven’t opened your email in the past 6 months. Ask them if they are still interested in receiving your content. Give them the option to unsubscribe to make sure only the subscribers who want your content are getting it. This will also decrease the chances of them marking your emails as spam in the future. A win-win all around.

It’s not about how many subscribers you have. It’s about the quality.

A high bounce rate is a sign you should be making a few changes to your email marketing strategy. Take it as a warning and a very good reason to make some improvements this year.

Sarah Shuda
Sarah Shuda
Designer. Mom. Wife. Loves Gilmore Girls, healthy living, and long walks in the country.