email bounce rate

Three Tips to Reduce Email Bounce Rate

If your email bounce rate is giving you trouble, you’re right to be worried. A high bounce rate means people aren’t hearing from you, so your entire email marketing is under-performing. However, finding the cause of your bounces and reducing them isn’t that hard. Our tips below are going to help you do just that.

Why your email bounce rate matters

Let’s face it: email marketing isn’t easy.

On the one hand, it holds the potential to be your most lucrative form of customer outreach by far. In study after study, it outstrips social media, pay-per-click, display ads, search engine marketing, and virtually every other form of digital content available.

That’s why it’s so important to have an effective strategy in place that will get customers clicking through to your website and turn leads into conversions.

Of course, getting those clicks is easier said than done. You need email content that converts and sells.

You must consider how you’re structuring your emails and how your call to action is worded.

Also, you’ve got to focus on email preview text, and ensure that you’re writing outstanding subject lines in order to increase your open rate.

Taking each of these things into account is absolutely essential. There’s no question about it. But here’s the bottom line: none of the above matters if your email bounce rate is high. First and foremost, you’ve got to ensure that your emails are being delivered.

No one will ever see that amazing copy you’ve written without proper delivery (and the accompanying low bounce rates). And, perhaps even more importantly, consistently high bounce rates can get your IP blacklisted. When that happens, your open rates will plummet.

Never fear, though: we have three tips that, when taken together, will dramatically reduce your email bounce rate.

Ready to learn more? Let’s get started!

reduce email bounce rate

Hard vs. soft email bounce rate

Before addressing any issues that may be causing a higher-than-average email bounce rate, it’s important to understand what a “bounce” actually is.

When it comes to email marketing, we need to distinguish between so-called hard bounces as opposed to soft bounces.

1. A hard bounce is a permanent delivery failure.

This can be caused by any number of issues: for example, an old domain or an expired email account. There’s no hope of ever reaching a hard bounce account, and you shouldn’t attempt to send another message to it.

2. Soft bounces, on the other hand, are a temporary form of delivery failure.

Like hard bounces, they can occur for a range of different reasons. The recipient’s email server might be down temporarily; their mailbox could be full; or, the message you sent might be too big.

What’s a “normal” bounce rate?

According to a recent study, hard and soft bounce rates vary by industry. However, when combined for each industry and averaged across the board, a total bounce rate of roughly 2% is considered average.

If the percentage of undeliverable emails in your campaigns is significantly higher, you’ve got work to do!

how to check emails

Build an opt-in list

When you were first starting out and beginning to build your email list, you probably encountered the occasional website offering to sell you a list of subscriber emails. Also, you may have found tools that allow you to “scrape” contact information from various websites.

While there are some instances where gathering data this way can make sense (for instance, if you’re doing highly personalized, individual outreach to big leads that could become major accounts), your best bet for building an email list is through an opt-in system.

Simply put, sending out emails to a cold list that you’ve purchased is going to result in a high bounce rate.

Instead, you want a list that’s comprised of people who have actually requested to receive content from you. These subscribers are highly valuable.

A list of people who have never heard of you will be considerably less receptive to what you’re offering. And, in many cases, you could end up with a large number of email addresses that aren’t even valid.

Sending out an email to a newly purchased list of contacts who never opted-in to your content can be a recipe for disaster: if enough of them bounce, you could end up blacklisted.

Long story short: work to build an opt-in email list.


Verify your list

No email list is perfect. Even if you’ve built it up yourself, there will still be undeliverable addresses. People mistype their email addresses when filling out your opt-in form. Or, they close an email account, or allow it to fill up such that it can’t receive any more messages.

No matter what type of business you’re running or how you’ve put together your email list, using an email verification service like ZeroBounce is far and away your best bet for reducing your bounce rate.

With email verification, you’ll know in advance which addresses are undeliverable, and you can remove them from your list before you send out your next email.

Cleaning your list regularly should be routine if you want to maximize your delivery rate.

By understanding the difference between hard and soft bounces, using an opt-in system, and verifying your email list with Zerobounce, you’ll be on your way to low bounce rates–which means more clicks, and more conversions.

Use an email verification API to protect all forms

You can eliminate all the undeliverable and potentially harmful emails, but what about your signup forms? What’s to stop a typo or bot from slipping some bad ones on your list? If you don’t have a way to prevent erroneous email addresses from infecting your forms, you’re like a boat with a hole in it.

Any quality email verification service that validates your email lists should also offer an email validation API that will stop any mistyped or detrimental emails from making their way to your list. Some people are especially protective of sharing their email addresses. So when they use an online form or want to take advantage of a promotional offering, they use a temporary (also called disposable or burner email address) available from various websites. Disposables work for hours or maybe a day and then vanish. Adding temporary email addresses to your list is a certain way to get bounces.

Additional tips to improve your email hygiene so your emails reach the inbox

  • Always allow replies to your marketing emails and invite your subscribers to reply. If they send you emails, always write back. This is the ultimate kind of engagement, which is the term used to describe any interaction subscribers have with your emails: click-through, forwarding, replies, and even unsubscribing.
  • Have a prominent unsubscribe button. It’s not just a best practice; it also keeps spam complaints low. Some people will hit the junk button if it’s not visible or if unsubscribing is remotely challenging. People marking you as spam will tarnish your reputation and start the slide of your emails not reaching the inbox. It’s one of the worst things that can happen to your email camaigns.
  • Send emails at regular intervals. By scheduling your emails on the same day of the week or month, you’ll indicate to Internet Service Providers (ISPs) that you’re a legitimate sender. You’re not behaving like spammers, but as a trustworthy sender who belongs in the inbox.