We've all sent emails and had them bounce back with a cryptic message about why it wasn't delivered. Are you sure you have the right address? That's usually the first thing we ask ourselves. But when email failures keep happening, it can be more than just an incorrect address to blame. In this blog post, we will take a look at some of the other reasons why your emails might be bouncing back and what steps you can take to get those messages delivered safely into their intended inboxes. Whether you're running a business or marketing campaign, learning how to diagnose these issues is essential for keeping your communication clear and reliable!

When emails don't go through it can mean missed opportunities and unproductive efforts. Understanding why emails bounce back is an important part of actively tracking the effectiveness of your campaigns -- without this knowledge, any data collected will be incomplete and inaccurate. In this blog post we'll discuss common causes for bounced emails along with strategies to avoid them. Read on to learn more about how these seemingly insignificant issues are impacting your marketing endeavors.

What is a bounced email?

A bounced email is an email message that is returned to the sender because it was not able to be delivered to the intended recipient. There are several reasons why an email might bounce, including:

  • The recipient's email address is incorrect or no longer in use
  • The recipient's mailbox is full
  • The recipient's email server is down or experiencing technical issues
  • There is a problem with the email message itself, such as an attachment that is too large or an issue with the formatting

When an email bounces, the sender will typically receive a notification message explaining why the email could not be delivered. It is important for senders to monitor bounced emails and address any issues that may be causing them, as continued bounced emails can affect the sender's reputation and ability to deliver email effectively.

There are two main types of email bounces: hard bounces and soft bounces.

Hard bounce

An email hard bounce is a permanent delivery failure of an email message. This means that the email message was not delivered to the recipient's email server and will not be delivered in the future.

Hard bounces are an important metric to track when sending emails, as they can indicate issues with the email list or email sending practices. It's generally a good idea to remove hard bounced email addresses from your email list to ensure that future emails are delivered successfully.

Soft bounce

An email soft bounce is a temporary delivery failure of an email message. This means that the email message was not delivered to the recipient's email server, but the sender's email server will try to deliver the message again at a later time.

Unlike hard bounces, soft bounces do not indicate a permanent delivery failure and the sender's email server will continue to try to deliver the message until it either succeeds or the message is considered undeliverable. It's generally a good idea to keep track of soft bounces and try to address any issues that might be causing them, as they can indicate potential problems with the email list or email sending practices.

It's generally a good idea to keep track of both hard and soft bounces when sending emails, as they can indicate issues with the email list or email sending practices. Hard bounces should be removed from the email list, while the cause of soft bounces should be investigated and addressed.

Why does your email bounce back?

There are several common reasons why emails can bounce back or be returned as undeliverable:

The recipient's email address is invalid or doesn't exist: This is the most common reason for bounced emails. If the email address you're sending to is incorrect, or if the domain name doesn't exist, the email will bounce.

The recipient's mailbox is full: If the recipient's mailbox is full or exceeds its storage limit, the email will bounce back.

The recipient's server is down: If the email server of the recipient is down or not functioning properly, the email may bounce back.

The email message is too large: Some email servers have size limits on the messages they can receive. If the message is too large, it will bounce back.

The email has been flagged as spam: If the email's content or sending behavior is flagged as spam by the recipient's email server or spam filters, it may bounce back.

The email server is blocking the sender's IP address: Some email servers may block IP addresses that are known to send spam or that have a history of sending malicious content. If this is the case, the email will bounce back.

The email contains attachments that are blocked: Some email servers block certain types of attachments or block all attachments for security reasons. If the email contains a blocked attachment, it will bounce back.

How does bounce rate affect your business?

Bounce rate is a metric that measures the percentage of visitors to a website who leave the site after viewing only one page. A high bounce rate can be a negative sign for a business, as it suggests that visitors are not finding the content or experience on the website engaging or useful. This could lead to fewer conversions, such as sales or leads, and a lower return on investment for the business.

However, it's important to note that there are many factors that can influence bounce rate, and a high bounce rate may not always be a cause for concern. For example, if a business has a website that is primarily intended to provide information rather than drive conversions, a high bounce rate may not be a problem. Similarly, if a business's website is getting a lot of traffic from sources that are not relevant to its target audience, it may see a higher bounce rate as visitors leave the site quickly because they are not interested in the content.

Bounced emails can have a negative impact on an organization's email deliverability, productivity, and potential missed opportunities.

Email deliverability refers to the success rate of emails being delivered to the intended recipient's inbox. If an organization has a high rate of bounced emails, it can affect their overall deliverability rate and result in legitimate emails being flagged as spam or not delivered at all. This can lead to decreased productivity as employees may not receive important emails or may have to spend extra time resending emails that did not go through.

Additionally, bounced emails can lead to missed opportunities if important business communications are not being delivered. For example, if an organization is relying on email to communicate with potential clients or partners, and those emails are bouncing, the organization may miss out on opportunities to establish new relationships or close deals.

To minimize the impact of bounced emails on deliverability, productivity, and missed opportunities, it is important for organizations to regularly check and clean their email lists to ensure that they are sending emails to valid and current addresses. They should also use email marketing tools that can help identify and remove invalid or inactive email addresses from their lists such as email list checkers. Finally, it is important to follow best practices for email marketing, including using double opt-in forms to confirm that recipients want to receive emails from the organization and respecting recipients' requests to unsubscribe.

In general, businesses should aim to have a bounce rate that is as low as possible, while still providing a good user experience. This can involve optimizing the website's design, layout, and content to make it more engaging and relevant to visitors. Monitoring and analyzing bounce rate over time can also help businesses identify trends and issues that may be contributing to a high bounce rate, and take action to address them.

How to fix an email bounce?

There are a few potential reasons why an email might bounce, and different solutions for each. Here are some common issues and steps you can take to try to fix them:

The recipient's email address is incorrect: Check the email address for typos or mistakes and try sending the email again with the correct address.

The recipient's mailbox is full: If the recipient's mailbox is full, they won't be able to receive any new emails until they free up some space. You can try sending the email again later, or you can contact the recipient and ask them to free up some space in their mailbox.

The recipient's email server is down: If the recipient's email server is down, your email won't be able to be delivered. In this case, you'll just have to wait until the server is back up and try sending the email again.

The recipient's email server is blocking the email: Some email servers may block emails that they consider to be spam or malicious. If you think this might be the case, you can try contacting the recipient and asking them to whitelist your email address or domain.

There's a problem with your email account or server: If none of the above solutions seem to be the issue, there may be a problem with your own email account or server. In this case, you'll want to contact your email provider or IT department for assistance.

How can you prevent email bounce back?

It's important to stay proactive about email bounces so that you don't see a drop-off in email delivery rates. By verifying emails and validating them prior to sending, you can confidently ensure that messages are reaching their intended targets without any issue. And when the email list is further segmented into different groups, the accuracy of email delivery increases exponentially and makes measuring email campaigns far easier as well.

Use an email list validation tool

Using an email list verification tool can help you identify invalid or non-existent email addresses in your list, also known as "bounces". This is important because sending emails to invalid addresses can damage your sender reputation and reduce the deliverability of your emails, An email list verification tool can help you identify both hard and soft bounces so that you can remove them from your list. This can improve the overall deliverability of your emails and help ensure that your messages are reaching the intended recipients.

Some email list verification tools also offer additional features, such as email syntax checking, domain checking, and spam trap detection, which can further improve the quality and accuracy of your email list.

Check Your Email List Regularly

One of the best ways to stay proactive about email bounces is to regularly check your email list. This will help you to identify any invalid or inactive email addresses that may be causing bounces. There are a few different ways that you can check your email list, including using a list-validation service or manually checking each address yourself.

Use a Double Opt-In Process

Another way to stay proactive about email bounces is to use a double opt-in process for your email list. This means that when someone signs up for your email list, they will need to confirm their subscription by clicking on a link in a confirmation email. This helps to ensure that only valid and active email addresses are added to your list.

Remove Inactive Email Addresses

If you find that an email address on your list is no longer active, it's important to remove it from your list. This will help to reduce the number of bounces you experience, as well as improve the deliverability of your emails. There are a few different ways that you can remove inactive email addresses from your list, including manually deleting them or using an automated tool.

Monitor Your Bounces

It's also important to monitor your bounces so that you can quickly identify any problems with your email delivery. There are a few different types of bounces, including soft bounces and hard bounces. Soft bounces typically occur when an email address is temporarily inactive, while hard bounces occur when an email address is permanently invalid. Monitoring your bounce rate will help you to quickly identify any problems with your email delivery so that you can take action to fix them.

Keep Your Email List Up-To-Date

Finally, it's important to keep your email list up-to-date so that you don't experience any unnecessary bounces. This means regularly removing any inactive or invalid email addresses from your list. It also means adding new subscribers to your list on a regular basis so that you can keep your numbers up and avoid having too many bounced emails

It is important to regularly check for and resolve bounced emails because they can have a negative impact on the effectiveness of your email communication. Bounced emails occur when a message you have sent is unable to be delivered to the recipient's email address. This can happen for a variety of reasons, such as a full inbox, an incorrect or outdated email address, or a problem with the recipient's email server.
If you don't regularly check for and resolve bounced emails, you may not realize that some of your messages are not being delivered. This can lead to missed opportunities, misunderstandings, and a decrease in the overall effectiveness of your email communication.
By regularly checking for and resolving bounced emails, you can ensure that all of your messages are being delivered and that you are able to effectively communicate with your intended recipients. This can help to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of your email communication and ultimately lead to better results.