Understanding and reducing hard bounces

Understanding and reducing hard bounces 2023

Understanding and reducing hard bounces 2023

Are you having trouble with delivering emails? You’re not alone. It can be tricky and makes you exhausted.

You did everything properly, but you still don’t know why your email bounces. An email bounce means your email wasn’t delivered and marked with a “return to sender” letter. There are various reasons for that. Now it’s time to analyze each case and help you to solve this problem by learning the difference between a soft bounce vs. hard bounce email.

Soft bounce vs. Hard bounce email difference

So, we generally determine two types of email bounces, soft bounces vs. hard bounces email. Let’s learn further about these two bounce types, one by one.

What is a hard bounce?

A permanent failure of email delivery is a hard bounce. It means that the email address will not receive an email. This happens when your email address:

  • is invalid, doesn’t exist a typo (example:@gmial.com instead of @gmail.com)
  • has blocked your emails from being delivered
  • has been deactivated (for example: when someone leaves a company or abandons a free email account).

Most email service providers clean your email list and take care of this for you, but still, it’s worth looking into your specific ESP’s practices to confirm this process is set up.

But, if you’re managing bounces manually, you could delete the email addresses. However, we recommend deactivating them or adding them to an email suppression list as part of your list of hygiene practices. 

What is a soft bounce?

In addition, a soft bounce is a momentary email delivery error. However, even when an email can’t be delivered this time, a server will try again a little while later. So waiting is sometimes all you need to do.

When a recipient’s inbox is full, one or both parties reach a limit, or a message is deemed too large to be accepted, an email bounces softly.

The meaning of soft bounce is a temporary bounce. At the same time, the delivery of your current message was unsuccessful, and you may be capable of sending another email to that address after that. On the other hand, it could be bouncing because:

  • Too many people have marked your emails as spam.
  • You’ve been put on a block list.
  • The recipient’s mailbox is full.
  • The email account has been temporarily stopped.
  • Unexpected errors or outages at the receiving mail server.

Temporary bounces might not need immediate intervention because they normally go away independently. But it would be best if you regularly watched them. 

Causes of hard bounce

There are numerous causes of hard bounce emails. The most typical ones are listed below in more detail:

No recipient is present

This error means the email address you entered is invalid. A hard bounce would also result if someone removed an email address after leaving a particular organization. 

In addition, be sure you didn’t write your recipient’s address mistakenly. Furthemore, your email verifier will help you to validate that an email address exists and can receive emails.

Verifying email addresses before contacting a new recipient will avoid bounces and protect your sender’s reputation. Net Promoter Score – NPS software assesses customer loyalty for a company’s brand, product, or services. Many companies use NPS as their customer relationship management (CRM) strategy. It’s easy to calculate.

Your email was blocked by a server

Modern email servers reject numerous emails because they appear to be unwanted. Also, they occasionally delete valid emails without hesitation. The reason for this may be several:

  • First, ensure SPF, DKIM, and DMARC are configured because the wrong authentication frequently plays a part. 
  • ISPs consider historical behavior when deciding whether or not to accept an email to enhance the user experience. A server might decide to reject emails before they reach an inbox, for instance, if you constantly send them, but your receivers never bother to open them. It’s a good idea to manually delete inactive contacts from your email lists.

If none of these work and your emails continue to bounce, it may be helpful to seek assistance. But, again, your ESP could give you direction and hold a few issues.

Mailbox is full

Each mailbox has a set amount of data for receiving and outgoing emails. Thus, each new email will probably bounce once and for all when the limit is reached. However, some service providers might attempt delivery a few days later, which would be a gentle bounce.

Also, try contacting the recipients in another way if you are receiving such alerts. 

Challenge-response error

Challenge-response error is of a slightly different cause. Some people install an extra firewall designed to verify senders. Unfortunately, those are sometimes pre-configured by email providers as well.

You’ll automatically receive an answer when you email one of these contacts. Generally, it will direct you to deliver a response or take a specific action to demonstrate your legality as a sender. Your email will be delivered as soon as you do that. Your email will bounce if you ignore this message, and a few days go by.

You can only prevent it by, well, succeeding in the challenge.

Wrapping up

Since you now understand the terms “hard bounce” and “soft bounce” email and how they differ, you can check bounce information in your email campaign report and keep a close eye on your bounce rate to ensure your emails are sent to the intended recipients. 

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