Have you tried sending an email to a few email addresses and it bounced back?

We know it can be frustrating, most especially that you spent time and resources crafting that email and gathering email addresses only to have it bounced.

Guess what is more disappointing… Even if you keep the monetary losses aside, your sender reputation may be undergoing a slow poisoning because of the increasing email bounce rate and this becomes more challenging for you to achieve high delivery, open, and click-through rates.

But don’t worry. We got you covered. A bounce rate that is above 2% is just a reminder that you have to take action on your email marketing campaign to improve it.

A good place to start is to better understand what an email bounce back is and what type of bounce you experienced. That way, you can better address the problem and finally execute an effective email marketing strategy.

What is an Email Bounce Back?

In its most basic explanation, an email bounce back happens when the emails you sent cannot be successfully delivered to their intended receivers for whatever reason.

The bounceback message is generated either by the mail server of the intended recipient (recipient’s server) or your mail server as the sender. It’s a notification to let you know that something occurred to disrupt the delivery of your mail.

Yeah, we know, the term email bounce back may sound like a kid’s playground game but it is exactly what it says. But why is it important, by the way?

Bounce Back Message: Why is it Important?

The actual text or bounceback message will provide you, the sender, the information you need to diagnose the email issue.

This is because most often, the bounce-back message contains the vital information necessary for technical support so you can verify the exact error reported by the server. Sometimes, the bounce-back message may even contain recommendations on how you can go about fixing the problem.

For instance, it reads, “The email account that you tried to reach does not exist. Please try.” Hopefully, after knowing the bounce-back message and troubleshooting it based on the recommendation, it can already result in success.

Now, here are the two variations of email bounce backs:

Soft Bounces vs. Hard Bounces

A soft bounce is a temporary problem and the bounce-back message typically alerts you of the issue so you can resend your message at a later date.

For example, your recipient has an email Inbox quota and it has already exceeded. Other reasons include the recipient mail server being temporarily unavailable.

A hard bounce, on the other hand, can be a permanent problem. This is because the remote mail server is informing you that the email address you’re trying to email does not exist and it will not work at a later time.

Knowing the difference between hard email bounces and soft bounces will help you better fix the issues that arise, especially in Outlook or Gmail.

Should You Try Sending the Bounced Email Again?

If the bounced email has been marked as undeliverable, we suggest that you try sending it again after a while, especially if it’s only a soft bounce. However, if it bounces repeatedly, don’t try sending the email again because it can eventually affect your sender reputation.

Now, let’s dive into the topic of why your emails bounce back.

7 Common Reasons Why Your Emails Bounce Back

1. Email Address Errors

Sometimes, the reason why your emails are bouncing back is really as simple as a misspelled email address or non-existent email address. And yet, something this easy can be overlooked.

If you entered an email address incorrectly, your mail server attempts to deliver your message to another remote server and you will get that immediate bounce-back error.

That is why it is always best to make sure that you proofread the email address because even just a dot can cause an address error. Fact-check your email list before sending your campaign just to be sure.

2. Message Too Large

Another reason why your emails bounce back is that the attachment or the content in the message exceeds the limit set by the receiving server. This includes the images, text, and headers that you use.

Those may be larger than the actual allowed size of the mailbox or that your message is too lengthy. It would be best if you send messages in smaller sizes (anything not exceeding 10 MG).

3. Mailbox Full

Occasionally, your email just doesn’t have enough space to land or is taking up too much space.

There are plenty of email applications that have a certain storage capacity for each user. For instance, your recipient only has 2GB space for all their emails received and sent, including photos and documents attached.

If that exceeds the limit, the server will no longer allow new emails and will alert the mailbox owner so that they can resolve the issue. If possible, reduce the file size you’re sending if you have to share a document, use an online host like dropbox.

4. Blocked by the Recipient

Yes, recipients can block emails from senders that they do not want to hear from. If this happens to you, then an email bounce back will be generated.

5. Mail Block – Known Spammer

The recipient’s mail server may mistakenly think you are spam or malware and will protect itself by not accepting your content. You have to contact whoever manages the recipient’s email server so you can solve this issue.

Another thing you can do as a preventative measure, which we will discuss in-depth later on, is to tighten both your wifi’s and email’s security by regularly updating your passwords and using virus scanning software.

6. Mail Block – Relay Access Denied

This happens when the server rejects the sender’s email address. As in, you are entering the “From” address but you are using your ISP’s mail server instead of Google’s.

The most common reason why this error occurs is that you (the sender) did not authenticate your outgoing mail server because of some misconfigurations.

7. Permanent Failures

The 500 error means that something is wrong on the mail server and it will not accept the delivery of your email. But despite being called permanent failures, these kinds of bounce backs still have solutions as it may just be a technical misunderstanding or a simple case of human error.

The good news is you can mitigate the bounce backs you receive and make sure your email campaign will run as efficiently and smoothly as possible once again.

Is email deliverability causing you a headache? Turn things around. InboxAlly can help you get back on track! Find out how.

Fail-Proof Strategies to Decrease Email Bounces

1. Read the Bounce Message First

In order for you to troubleshoot an email bounce, the first thing that you have to do is to read the error message first. This will give you a clear view of why your email was blocked, such as the mail servers are not responding or a certain recipient’s email address does not exist.

If the bounce-back message is easy to solve, then simply correct the issue that it highlights. Now if the bounceback message is a little bit challenging for you to interpret, it’s likely because of spam-like content.

2. Check for Common Types of Mistakes

Your emails bouncing may not really have to do with the receiving server, but just common types of mistakes, like a typo.

If you typed something incorrectly, the remote mail transfer agent (MTA) that mail servers use will send you a bounceback message with an error code explaining why it did not deliver your email.

We’ve already mentioned this earlier and we’ll highlight it again, do check for spelling errors, dots at the end of the email address, space before and after the “@,” and quotation marks.

If a certain email address repeatedly bounces, it could mean that the recipient’s server is gone for good.

3. Protect Your List

When it comes to email bounce rate, your email list should be given a high priority. The first rule is to grow your list through lead generation and gather them organically through paid search, point of sale interactions, opt-in forms on your website, etc.

After gathering these emails, put in an effort to clean and protect your list. And even if you bought an email list, ensure that you run it through an email list cleaning service to avoid spam trap emails and may cause you to have a problem with the remote mail server.

4. Send Email on a Schedule

Your sending practices play an important role in the number of emails that successfully land in your recipient’s mailbox on time.

The “sending practices” cover everything from content structure to the email list, and sending frequency. That’s why we suggest you stick to a consistent mailing schedule.

By sending email on a schedule or based on the engagement patterns of your recipients, you will have a clear roadmap for your email marketing campaign and your emails are expected by both the mail servers and the customers.

This simple change can go to great lengths in reducing your email bounce rate.

[You may also like: 15 Email Marketing Best Practices]

5. Build Sender Reputation

We know that this step may be easier said than done, but this is one of the definitive strategies to decrease your email bounce rate.

And one way for you to build your sender reputation is to adopt a sender policy framework or an authentication process that will make sure that no third party will use your email addresses in sending out campaigns.

Another step is to monitor your sender score. Ideally, keep it above 90. Some sender score checking tools you can try includes:

  • SenderScore.org
  • ReputationAuthority
  • TrustedSource

For your email to be successfully delivered to the recipient server and build your sender reputation, we also encourage you to warm your IP address first before the actual campaign.

Need help with an IP warm-up? InboxAlly is the ultimate email deliverability tool for you!

6. Get Off the Blocklist

Sometimes, your emails are bouncing because you have been blocklisted not just by the recipient but the blacklist operator. They don’t block your email address, but the email server.

One warning sign that you’ve been blocklisted is when your ESP tells you about it. Some blocklists that are professionally maintained and are highly regarded by ISPs are Spamhaus, SpamCop, Passive Spam Block List, and Composite Blocking List.

Being listed on one of these platforms could have a significant effect on your email deliverability. So, if you’ve been blocklisted, get off on that list as quickly as possible.

7. Give Your Subscribers Control or Use Email Preference Center

An email preference center is a page that provides your subscribers a choice in the emails they get from you, like the frequency or content, aside from the option to unsubscribe.

This way, they can opt down on your list rather than completely opting out. One of the perks of giving your subscribers control is to fuel your personalization efforts and segmentation strategies.

For example, you are a sports retailer. By using an email preference center, you can tailor your message based on the sports that each recipient is actually interested in.

A caveat to this approach, though, is your email platform and you (the sender) should handle this kind of request. It may not be easy on your part to schedule these preferences and prioritize which email someone will get within their timeframe.

But the good thing is you can use preference centers in gathering your subscribers’ profile information, like their first and last names, location, gender, job title, birthday, and even shoe size. That way, you can personalize their experience and it’s a pretty powerful kind of email marketing.

Get Your Email Deliverability in Tip-Top Shape Today!

Email bounce is always not good news for your campaign and your domain reputation. As such, it is vital to clean your list before sending a campaign and follow the other strategies we shared with you above to decrease your email bounce rate.

We hope this short tutorial was useful in sharing information about how to handle email bounce effectively.

If you’re tried everything and still feel like you need help, you can contact InboxAlly’s support team.