It’s not uncommon for a business to take the time to create an email newsletter or other type of marketing communication with their customers. They make sure it looks good and everything is spelled correctly. Feeling proud and confident, they send it to all their designated email recipients. They then check the delivery, only to see a certain number of the emails have bounced. Their wonderful communication didn’t make it to the intended recipients. When this happens regularly, it can impact a company’s marketing program.
According to an article in Website Magazine, “Bounce rate (as well as its digital cousin exit rate) is very useful in determining how effective Web pages are at encouraging users to continue with their visit. Bad design? Nonsensical content? Your visitor is going to bounce. You can count on it.”
Hard Email Bounce
When an email is returned to the sender, and is identified as permanently undeliverable, it is considered a hard bounce. In many cases, this results from having the recipient’s email address incorrectly spelled. The recipient may have also a new email address. It is also possible the recipient’s email server, has blocked the senders email server for some unknown reason.
Soft Email Bounce
When an email makes it to the designated email address, but is returned, this is called a soft bounce. This often happens when a recipient’s email account is full. It also occurs when an email server is down or simply overwhelmed with traffic. In some cases, this happens when the email message is too large to be delivered. Most email servers will try to deliver an email for a few days. After that, it turns into a hard bounce.
There are some situations where an email will not be delivered because the recipient is not able to check their account. This happens when people are on vacation or traveling where they have no internet access. This type of bounce indicates the email address is correct, and able to be delivered to the recipient. If an auto reply message is received for months at a time, the recipient may no longer use the designated email address.
There are also situations where the email sender will be blocked by the recipient. This can happen when sending emails to organizations or individuals, who have placed strict restrictions on the type of emails they receive. This can be resolved in many cases by contacting the recipient in another way, and asking them to unblock the sender.
An effective way to avoid email bounces is to regularly monitor an email list. The spellings of the emails must be carefully checked for accuracy. It’s also important for a company to ask customers to regularly update their information. Some business have experienced success by sending update requests through regular mail. It is an expensive way to keep a list current, but usually pays for itself in a short time. A certain percentage of email addresses provided to a company will be false spam listing. These addresses must be purged from the email list as soon as possible.
Every company should develop a process for handling email bounces. Once this process is in place, bounce rates should decrease. Many companies do tests on their email lists. This ensures they are clean before being used with actual customer communications.