What is a hard bounce in email marketing (and its effect on your online business)? It is a known fact that email marketing is a common strategy to reach potential customers.
If used properly, this can lead to business growth and development. However, there are times when an email message cannot be delivered due to a hard bounce.
The Basics of Bounced Emails
Generally, bounced emails are addresses that aren’t successfully delivered to its corresponding recipients. These may occur for various reasons.
Bounce rates are related to the quality of your email list. Low bounce rates show a good list with active and well-engaged subscribers. High bounce rates indicate possible problems on your list, either how it is managed or the list itself.
On average, a healthy email list should have a bounce rate of two to three percent. If higher bounce rates are generated, then it’s time to determine the reason and to take immediate action in order to reduce the number of bounces.
What Is a Hard Bounce in Email Marketing?
A hard bounce email refers to those that have failed to deliver or has been returned to the sender due to permanent reasons and errors. This type of email is permanently undeliverable.
The presence of high volume hard bounces email on the campaign list can be very risky to your ability to deliver due to the possible spam filters which can be viewed as a red flag. This can also make a domain land on the blacklists causing difficulty to monitor and target the right users.
In some cases, the bounced email addresses are quickly and automatically cleaned from the audience. These cleaned addresses will then be excluded from all the future campaigns.
What Causes Hard Bounce Emails?
Now that you know what is a hard bounce in email marketing, let’s take a look at the common reasons that lead to these hard bounce emails:
- Non-Existent Email Address
This is probably the most common reason for the occurrence of hard bounce emails. It normally happens when there is a typographical error, when the user has disabled the address, or when the user switched providers.
If there are numerous hard bounces in your campaign list, then it is best to verify the other emails through an online email validation tool.
- The Recipient’s Server Blocks Email
Some institutional and corporate domains are stricter when it comes to their spam filter settings. There are times when the sender domain authentication can resolve the issue. However, if it is still being blocked, try contacting the recipient and request for them to add your email address on their inbox address book.
Can a Soft Bounce Become a Hard Bounce Email?
Yes! An email address that returns a soft bounce for five consecutive times is automatically converted into a hard bounce. This is particularly true if there are no clicks or opens recorded during the period.
When the subscriber interacts with the email, the recorded number of soft bounces for that particular address resets to zero.
How to Reduce Hard Bounce Emails?
The hard bounce emails can reduce the effectiveness of your campaign by reaching the limits and endangering the domain towards perpetual spam folders. In order to prevent it, the following techniques can be done:
- Try using a double opt-in form for email address confirmation. This will require verification and interest confirmation to its users.
- Check the spam mail databases. This will ensure that your site’s domain is not added or included in the list.
- Test and verify your emails before sending. This should apply, most notably, if there is a large number of recipients.
- Monitor the email deliveries. This is done by using several metrics such as response rates, bounce rates, and email opens.
- Always include an option for email management. This will allow consumers to update their own addresses.
Other Tips and Advice
- Keep your lists up to date
Several hard bounces signal research on the business’ own contacts. Since people tend to change their email addresses without updating on regular senders, it is best to update your list. The recommended frequency of updating is at least once per quarter to guarantee that all data are existent.
Those who use email marketing should also be aware of the possibility that a customer flagged the email as a spam due to several communications. This should also be checked regularly for any indications of spam filters.
- Consider having strong data hygiene
After a marketing campaign, sites with a high number of hard bounces should consider having better data hygiene. A complete and regular checking should be done to businesses to ensure that all resources are useable and will perform their purpose. Keep in mind that the inaccurate, missing, and superseded information will result in dirty data, which in turn coincide with the presence of hard bounces.
The poor data hygiene will culminate in the lost time, money, and effort. Lack of information about these matters can seriously affect the company’s overall status and client satisfaction. It is best that the company creates a useful system and policy that will help clean their data.
Email delivery plays a very essential role in an effective online marketing scheme. If you have a high email bounce rate, then you should look into it and immediately fix the problem.
Several factors might cause an increase in your bounce rates. Carefully monitor the soft bounces while giving extra attention to hard bounces.
You should focus on removing the hard bounces as this will permanently stop sending messages to the address. Do the research and perform validation to determine the main cause of the problem.
Clean your list from inactive subscribers and always practice good list hygiene. Several tools for monitoring are also available for easier and more productive results.
Never take for granted the high bounce rates. Together with the other metrics, they can greatly affect you and your business’ reputation. Keep in mind that bounce-free list promotes better deliverability and higher profits. What is a hard bounce in email marketing (and its effect on your business) definitely needs some research? Happy mailing!