What is a hard bounce?
A hard bounce in email marketing refers to a situation where an email sent to a recipient is permanently rejected by the recipient’s email server. This usually occurs because the email address is invalid, nonexistent, or blocked.
What are the causes of a hard bounce?
There are a variety of reasons why an email might hard bounce. Some common causes include:
- The recipient’s mailbox is full and can’t accept any more messages.
- The recipient’s email address is invalid or no longer in use.
- The message was sent to a spam or bulk email address.
- The email server was unable to deliver the message for some other reason
What are the consequences of a hard bounce?
Hard bounces can have several consequences for email marketing efforts:
- Damaged Sender Reputation: Email service providers (ESPs) monitor bounce rates as an indicator of a sender’s reputation. A high rate of hard bounces can signal to these providers that a sender is not maintaining a clean email list or is possibly engaging in spam-like behavior. If too many hard bounces occur, it could impact the sender’s reputation and lead to their messages being blocked by other email servers.
- Reduced Deliverability: A poor sender reputation resulting from frequent hard bounces can lead to emails being filtered as spam or not being delivered at all. This affects the overall deliverability of a marketer’s emails, impacting the effectiveness of email campaigns.
- List Quality Deterioration: Hard bounces indicate that an email list contains outdated or incorrect addresses. This diminishes the quality of the email list, as it means a portion of the list is not reaching potential customers.
- Increased Costs: Most ESPs charge based on the number of emails sent or the number of contacts in a sender’s list. Sending emails to addresses that result in hard bounces is effectively a waste of resources, increasing costs without providing any return on investment.
- Compliance Risks: Regulations such as CAN-SPAM in the U.S. and GDPR in Europe require businesses to maintain good email practices. Consistently high bounce rates can indicate non-compliance with these regulations, potentially leading to legal repercussions or fines.
How can you prevent a hard bounce from happening?
There are a few ways to prevent a hard bounce from happening. Make sure that your email list is up to date and has the most recent contact information for your recipients.
Use an email verification service to check the validity of email addresses before you send your campaign. This will help to eliminate any invalid addresses from your list, which can cause hard bounces.
Implement email verification during sign-up processes. This can be done using double opt-in methods where users must confirm their email address by clicking on a link in an initial email, or using real-time email validation tools that check the validity of an email address as it’s entered.
What should you do if you receive a hard bounce notification?
If you receive a hard bounce notification, it means that the email address you attempted to send to does not exist. In most cases, this is because the email address has been deleted or is no longer in use.
If you receive a hard bounce notification, you should immediately remove the email address from your list. You may also want to consider reaching out to the customer to confirm that they would like to be removed from your list.
How can you troubleshoot a hard bounce?
There are a few reasons why an email might hard bounce. The most common reason is that the email address is invalid. Other reasons include the email server being down or full, or the email being caught in a spam filter.
If you’re experiencing a hard bounce, the first thing you should do is check to make sure that the email address is valid. You can do this by using an online tool like verify-email.org. If the email address is not valid, you can try to contact the recipient to get a new address.
If the email address is valid, you should check to see if the email server is down or full. You can do this by using an online tool like Down For Everyone Or Just Me? If the email server is down or full, you might need to wait until it’s back up and running before trying to send your email again.
If the email server is up and running, you should check to see if your email is being caught in a spam filter. You can do this by using an online tool like Mail Tester. If your email is being caught in a spam filter, you might need to tweak your content or change your sending frequency to avoid getting caught.