Cold Email · · 5 min read

Email Bounced Back? Here's Why.

If an email bounces back, identify whether it's a soft or a hard bounce. From there, you can start troubleshooting to fix the issue. Here’s how.

email bounced back

Email marketers often experience emails bouncing back after being sent. It isn’t productive for any campaign. If this keeps happening, our email accounts might get flagged as spam.

We need to troubleshoot and find the issue at its roots. To help us find what we’re trying to fix, first we need to understand:

  • What exactly is a bounced-back email?
  • The main reasons why an email bounces back.
  • How to prevent email bounce backs.

What Exactly is an Email Bounce Back?

An email bounce occurs when an email doesn’t reach its destination. There are two types of email bounces—soft and hard bounces.

Soft Email Bounce

Soft bounces are temporary. The bounce can be due to recipients having a full inbox or when mail servers experience outages.

Hard Email Bounce

A hard bounce occurs when an email address is permanently unreachable. The reason is often due to recipients deleting their email accounts or if the address is incorrect or doesn’t exist.

Why Are Emails Hard Bouncing?

why emails bounce back

There are often three simple reasons why emails bounce back. The good news is that it’s an easy fix. So, if you want to reduce bounce rates, consider the following factors:

You Didn’t Validate the Email Addresses

Leads aren’t always truthful regarding the personal information they share online. But, in most cases, it’s due to an honest typo when filling up forms.

Validation remedies both. Use email validation tools to streamline and automate this time-consuming process.

The Recipient Blocked You

Sometimes, leads just automatically block emails from people they don’t know. There will also be times when email service providers block your incoming emails when your emails are flagged as spam enough times for service providers to take notice.

You Triggered Spam Filters

Email service providers can automatically block emails that trigger their spam filter. Billions of spam emails are sent daily, prompting the use of artificial intelligence to snuff them out.

So whether you intended to or not, try avoiding spam trigger words in all parts of your emails.

The Email Address Doesn’t Exist

Have you got a fake email address? It happens to the best of us. It’s an immediate hard bounce when you’re trying to send to an address that doesn’t exist.

That’s why email validation should be part of the standard operating procedure of all email marketing campaigns.

Why Are Emails Soft Bouncing?

soft bouncing emails

Soft bounces are often temporary issues that fix themselves over time. You can also fix it with minor tweaks. If you’re experiencing soft bounces, look into the following:

The Recipient’s Inbox is Full

The chances of this happening are unlikely. However, there will be rare cases where you receive error messages like “mailbox full.” Your recipients will get a message that prompts them to free up space, or else they can’t receive or send messages.

Emails Have Large Files Attached

Most mail providers limit the email size their users can receive. Even if you can send emails with large files, recipients can’t get them. Think of high-resolution images or videos. Before attaching, optimize or compress the images.

Temporary Suspension

An email account can get suspended for several reasons, such as exceeding their server's daily limit for sending or receiving emails. Organizations can also suspend email accounts, requiring admin assistance to recover.

Server Issues on Recipient’s End

Server issues usually resolve themselves. Your email service provider will attempt to send your email a few more times and stop if it continues to bounce. From this point, all you can do is wait it out.

Preventing Email Bounce Backs

how to stop emails from bouncing back

Most bounces are out of our control. But we can also optimize and improve our emails to ensure email deliverability. Here are some steps we highly recommend:

Perform Email Warm-ups

One of the most effective ways to improve deliverability is by performing email warm-ups. It’s building a reputation for an email address and helps improve sending limits.

Email warmups are usually done organically by sending and receiving emails daily or through automation.

Confirm Opt-ins

Newsletters or subscriptions are excellent for nurturing leads. But you can’t send it to the wrong addresses. Sending opt-in confirmations for your newsletters fixes this issue right from the start. Initial confirmation emails must reach your leads first, ensuring the validity of the address.

Clean Your Email List

With intuitive email marketing software, you can easily find and clean your email list to improve bounce rates. Remove the emails of leads that don’t respond or bounce. People can also be too busy to unsubscribe or forget. If that’s the case—do it for them.

Check Your Subject Lines

The reason for your emails going to spam could be the subject lines. It’s the first thing your recipients will likely see and something that can get your emails straight to spam. To help you out, we’ve curated a list of subject line templates you can use on your next campaign.

Segment Your Audience

Always send personalized and relevant emails to the right people. For example, sending emails about “how-to” guides for your product can be effective for end users. Meanwhile, content on logistics and cost savings might be better for a company's decision-makers.

Send Emails With Your Business Domain

Free email services like Gmail can work. But, using an email address with a business domain improves the legitimacy of your email.

A/B Test Email Campaigns

Remember, high bounce rates aren’t a “cause” but an “effect.” There might be underlying issues you’re not aware of. The best way to snuff these out is through A/B testing your campaigns. Compare subject lines, call-to-actions, or intros to find what works and what doesn’t.

Key Takeaways

Bounced emails aren’t the end of the world. But, if they consistently happen, issues could need solving fast. Here are some quick reminders to help you out:

  • Emails can either hard bounce (permanent) or soft bounce (temporary).
  • Always perform email warmups to improve deliverability.
  • Remove emails that hard-bounced.
  • Validate emails to ensure correct contact information.
  • Use analytics to make data-driven decisions.

Instantly has you covered if you need an email marketing tool to help you improve your bounce rates. With unlimited AI-powered warmups, scaling campaigns become a breeze. Start a free trial today!

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