How To Manage Email Bounces

You create an email, send away, and then — when you check your email reports — you see that it “bounced.” Which means your email never actually got to your intended recipient.

Even worse, if your account has a high number of bounces it can have a negative impact on your delivery rate.

A high bounce rate could even cause you to be labeled a spammer – and that could have a devastating impact on your business.

When you embark on a new email marketing campaign, you hope that every one of your carefully crafted messages reaches its intended recipient, but that is not always the case. Undelivered email is a fact of life in the email marketing world, but it is important to manage those failures and do what you can to reduce them. A high failure rate affects not only your potential revenue stream but your reputation as an email sender as well.

Soft vs. Hard Bounces
When an email is undeliverable it is said to have bounced, but it is important to understand the difference between a hard bounce and a soft one. A soft bounce means that the email made it to the recipient’s mail server before being returned as undelivered. That means the email address is a valid one, but for some reason the email could not be delivered. You may receive a soft bounce if the recipient’s mailbox is full, the message is too large, or if the server is down.

A single soft bounce is often no big deal – it might simply be that the server was temporarily down or the receiver’s inbox was temporarily over its size limit. But if the same email address results in a soft bounce over multiple campaigns it should be removed from your list.

A hard bounce means that the email is permanently undelivered. This could be caused by an invalid email address, a bad or shut down domain or a typo in the address. Either way, those hard bounces should be removed from your mailing list at once, since they can have a negative impact on the delivery rate of future messages.


Here’s why emails bounce and what to do about it:

1. Non-existent email address
If the bounce is marked as “id invalid” or “no such user here”, the email address could have a typo error or the person with the address may have left the organization. There’s also a chance that the contact gave a false email address, which can be the case if you’re offering something online in exchange for an email. In this case, it’s important to review the contacts in this category, or remove them from the existing list, to avoid future bounces.

2. Undelivered email
If bounced emails are in the “undelivered” or “servfail” (server rejection)category, that means that the receiving email server is temporarily unavailable, was overloaded, or couldn’t be found. However, if this email address repeatedly bounces on multiple emails, it may mean the server is gone for good.

3. Mailbox full
If your contact has so many emails in their inbox that they can’t receive more, your emails will bounce back until there’s space for them. At times like these, you will receive a “mailbox not available” error. These may be soft bounces which will be received once the mailbox space becomes available again.

Email Bounces

4. Auto-reply
If someone goes on vacation or can’t check their email, your emails to them will bounce. It’s important to note that, unlike with other bounce categories, this type of bounce means your email was successfully sent to the inbox. Check how often this email address ends up in this category. If months go by and you are getting the same response, you may want to consider removing the address from your list.

5. Blocked email
If the email addresses are placed within the Blocked category, the receiving server has blocked the incoming email. This may show in the bounces report as “blocked”, or “relay access denied” or “no SMTP permission”. This is often the case among government institutions or schools, or some corporate offices where servers can be stricter when it comes to receiving emails. To resolve this issue, you need to get in touch with your email service provider’s support team.

Hard and Soft Bounces

6. Other
This category consists of reasons like spam issues, or id not listed in domino directory, or often bounces that don’t give the server a reason for bouncing too are put in this category. Ideally, these addresses also need careful monitoring to achieve better bounce management.

Bounce Management
Juvlon makes it easy for you to stay on top of your email bounces. Within your email reports, you can easily view the list of addresses which are in the soft or hard bounce category, and read the reasons for non-delivery. Regularly check this list and remove or update contacts with ongoing delivery issues.