Hard Bounce and Soft Bounces: What They Are, Why Does it Happen, and How to Avoid Them - ToOLOwl
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Hard Bounce and Soft Bounces: What They Are, Why Does it Happen, and How to Avoid Them

A hard bounce is an email that cannot be delivered for some permanent reasons; however, a soft bounce specifies a temporary issue. When a small business starts with their email marketing, they realize there is a completely new language they need to learn. Precisely, email marketing includes its own terminology, and each phrase means something different for the business.

One of the most common terms in email marketing is “bounced email.” Let us look more closely at what a bounced email is, what is hard and soft bounces, why it happens, and how to avoid these common email marketing mistakes.

Bounced Email

If any of your emails are not delivered to the intended recipient, then that email is bounced. Notably, there can be several reasons due to which an email gets rejected by the mail server, either temporarily or permanently. When this happens, you typically receive an auto-response that lets you know that the email has bounced. Some of the reasons for a bounce may include sending a message to an incorrect email, server outages, or because of recipient’s inbox is full. A bounced email also sometimes indicates a problem at your end. For example, it means that you have been flagged as spam too many times or have a restrictive DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting and Conformance) record, and your email doesn’t pass the DMARC policy.

Now, after bounce emails, let’s look at what soft bounce and hard bounce is!!

Soft Bounce vs Hard Bounce

While growing the email list, there is nothing more annoying than realizing that a large percentage of emails doesn’t reach the subscribers. This is known as bounce rate. As email might bounce for different reasons, these differences are usually defined as hard or soft. So let’s look at what the difference between them is.

Soft Bounce

A soft bounce is an email that does not get delivered due to a temporary issue. Specifically, soft bounces can happen because the recipient’s inbox is full or due to an issue with the receiving server. As soft bounce is temporary, you can try sending the email a few times. Then, if the email still fails to deliver, you can consider it as a hard bounce and remove that subscriber from your list.

Hard Bounce

A hard bounce is an email, which does not get delivered for a few permanent reasons. This is typical because the receiver’s address is invalid or no longer in use. Some of the other reasons may include the subscriber who could have mistyped their email address, or the domain may not exist. Hard bounces can be a major issue as they can affect your email deliverability rate and the company’s reputation.

Ways to Improve Email Bounce Rate

Precisely, tracking the bounce rate has various benefits. But the most important thing is to fix the problem that causes a high bounce rate. Here are a few steps to reduce the email bounce rate.

Clean up Your List Regularly

A high bounce rate typically happens because your list is too cluttered. A high bounce rate can assist you in identifying if you have a long list of fake email addresses in your system. For starting a business and for its smooth running, you may have started building your list years ago. In that time, many of your subscribers have moved on and gotten new email addresses. That is why it is essential to maintain and update your email list regularly. It is also a good option to occasionally check your feedback loops and remove any subscribers who complain about you or report you as spam.

Adopt and Include a Double Opt-in

One of the best ways to improve the quality of your email list is to include a double opt-in for new subscribers. In a single opt-in, a subscriber gets added to your list when you add their email. However, in double opt-in, a subscriber enters its email address and then receive an email with a link. Once they click on the link and verify their email address, they will be added to your list. Many small businesses resist implementing double opt-in as it takes longer to build a contact list. However, if your subscribers verify their email addresses, you will get a higher deliverability rate and a more engaged list.

Send Email Consistently

To maintain a low bounce rate, you should email your list consistently. If new subscribers sign up and then do not hear from you for long, they may forget they subscribed in the first place and mark your emails as spam. To avoid this, have consistent contact, keeping them engaged and ensuring that you continue to build a strong relationship with them.

Verify Your Domain

DKIM, SPF, and DMARC are the three primary ways to authenticate your domain. However, there are very few small businesses that complete the authentication process. Precisely, it would be best if you understood that authenticating your domain will lower your email bounce rate and improve the deliverability rate. Also, it will prevent security alerts from popping up when subscribers open the emails.

Avoid Writing Spammy Language in Your Email

There are cases when you unknowingly add Spammy language in your email. Remember not to include words and phrases such as Dollar Sign, 50% Off, Act Now, Free Offer, Make Money, and Drastically Reduced excessively in your email. Precisely, these will make your email look like spam, and your email may directly go to the junk folder.

Monitor Email Deliverability

Just because something is working well for you doesn’t mean it will continue to work in the same direction. Therefore, it is essential to monitor your email marketing campaigns and deliverability rate. Also, keep an eye on the bounce rates, open rates, and the number of subscribers who have marked you as spam or have made a complaint. If you track these metrics, you can easily spot and address issues early and before they turn into a significant problem.

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