5 Reasons Why Emails Bounce (and How to Fix These Problems)

by Burke Dorman
3 mins read
Stressed businessman

Despite your best efforts, bounced emails can — and will — happen from time to time; it’s simply a part of the email marketing process. However, just because email bounces come with the territory sometimes, it doesn’t mean that these unwanted occurrences have to derail your digital marketing campaign.

With a proper understanding of what causes hard and soft bounces, as well as a smart game plan in place for counteracting these problems, there’s no reason to fear for your sender reputation and campaign success. To help you eradicate the threat of bounced emails from your upcoming inbox campaigns, let’s take some time to talk about the top five reasons behind these bounces, and what you can do to put an end to these problems for good.

Demographic research

You Don’t Have the Right Email Contact Information

According to The Houston Chronicle, one of the main issues causing email bounces is failing to have correct contact information. As unexciting as this explanation may seem, the truth of the matter is that simple typos in an email address and other minute administrative errors can wreak havoc on your ability to avoid bounced messages.

Fortunately, the fix for this issue is simple and straightforward. Firstly, regularly pruning bounced message recipients from your list is crucial. As well, giving contacts the ability to update their email information can negate the risks of incorrect membership data.

The Person on the Other Side of the Screen Is Dormant

Having the person on the side of the screen maintain a dormant state can also lead to plenty of bounced messages and undelivered emails. From auto-replies to vacation settings, there are plenty of scenarios in which the service provider will return a message not because of any wrongdoing on your end of the equation, but rather because of the preferences of the contact list member in question.

While you can’t force through a message under these circumstances, you can keep an eye out for repeat offenders. Once you have a spotlight on these problematic contact list members, you can choose to either stop sending emails for a period of time to this segment or purge them entirely.

Your Target Contact List Member Has a Full Inbox

Sometimes the answer to a bounced email is as simple as a full inbox. It might sound silly, but you’d be surprised at how often this issue occurs and causes problems with message deliverability.

Regrettably, your options are limited in much the same way as when you’re dealing with a dormant contact list member. You can choose to give this individual some time to clear out space in his or her inbox. Or, remove them from your list entirely and see if they rejoin at a later date.

Spam email

Your Content Triggers a Spam Email Filter

Even if you’re not doing anything underhanded in the email inbox, getting bounced by a spam filter can happen from time to time. Usually, sales-oriented language and nonsensical wording — common attributes of spam emails — are the major culprits on this front.

However, if you’re not overtly spamming your contact list, analyzing your message content and minimizing the impact of this issue can be tricky. Different email service providers can pinpoint certain words and phrases as “spam-worthy”. With this in mind, be sure to note the attributes of your bounced content and test new iterations within these various service provider segments of your inbox audience.

The Email Server in Question Is Down (and Other Technical Difficulties)

The final inclusion on the list tackles this problem from a decidedly technical standpoint. From server downtime to issues with service providers, technical difficulties can hinder deliverability and bounce back your emails.

The best way to combat this kind of issue is by adopting a little bit of patience into your approach. If you suspect a technical error is cutting you off from a portion of your audience, give the framework behind this connection a few hours — or even days — to come back up. Doing so could mean the difference between experiencing avoidable bounces and maintaining a stable pathway of communication with your contacts.

It’s easy to see that the reason behind an email bounce come from a variety of sources and issues. Thankfully, with this new insight, you can get to the bottom of these problematic events. Keep your bounce rate low as you continue to leverage the power of the most effective channel for consumer outreach.

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