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How to Reduce Email Bounce Rate and Get Your Message Read

Julia McCoy
Wednesday, 5th Apr 2023

Not all your marketing emails will reach everyone on your list.

Around 2% of your emails will bounce, and that’s fine.

But if your email bounce rate is above that threshold, your email campaign might have a serious problem.

How do you reduce your email bounce rate to make sure your newsletters and other promotional materials are reaching their intended recipients?

The average bounce rate is 2%, which means that for every 100 emails you send, two will return unopened. It’s worth noting that each industry has its own acceptable bounce rate because different audiences have different behavioral patterns.

To get a better understanding of how to reduce email bounce rates, we’ll explore the following topics:

  • The difference between a soft bounce and a hard bounce.
  • The importance of maintaining a clean email list.
  • Best practices for improving your sender reputation and authentication.
  • How to avoid spam filters.

By implementing proven strategies in your next email marketing campaign, you can significantly lower your bounce rates while increasing open rates and click-through rates when users see your emails in their inboxes.

Table Of Contents:

What is Email Bounce Rate?

Email bounce rate is an important metric for any email marketer. It’s a measure of how many emails sent from your campaigns are not being delivered to the intended recipient.

A high bounce rate can indicate problems with the quality of your email list, or perhaps you’ve been sending too much spam and getting blocked by mail servers.

Email bounces come in two forms: hard bounces and soft bounces.

  • Hard bounces occur when an email address doesn’t exist or is no longer active. These are permanent failures that won’t be resolved until the recipient updates their contact information.
  • Soft bounces happen when there’s a temporary issue delivering emails, such as an inbox full or server error. These can often be resolved if you try again later.

Anything below the average email bounce rate of 2% is a good bounce rate.

Email bounces of 2% to 5% are not an acceptable bounce rate, and 5% to 10% means you have to take a hard look at why the majority of your emails bounce.

Don’t know your email bounce rate? Here’s a quick formula on how to calculate bounce rates.

reduce bounce rate

What Causes Emails to Bounce?

High bounce rates are a common problem for email marketers.

If too many emails bounce in your list, it can damage your reputation and affect the deliverability of future messages. To ensure successful email campaigns, it is important to identify the reasons for high bounce rates and take steps to reduce them.

1. Outdated or Invalid Email Addresses

The most common cause of a high bounce rate is an outdated or invalid email address on your mailing list. This could be because contacts have changed jobs, moved houses, or simply forgotten about their account.

It’s important to regularly check and update your lists so that all addresses are valid and up-to-date. You should also use double opt-in processes when adding new subscribers to prevent this issue from occurring in the first place.

2. Poor Domain Authentication

Another potential reason for a high bounce rate is poor domain authentication practices by both sender and receiver domains which can lead to false positives or spam filters blocking legitimate emails.

To avoid this issue, make sure you use proper SPF records, DKIM signing keys, and DMARC policies across all sending domains used in your campaigns – especially if you’re using third-party services like email service providers.

Receiving domains should have properly configured SPF records so they don’t reject incoming mail from trusted senders – also known as false positive bounces.

To reduce high email bounce rates, review all outgoing content to ensure that no prohibited items are included.

It is also prudent to constantly monitor open/click rates per ISP to identify potential issues early on and nip them in the bud before they become daily or weekly issues once you start delivering large email volumes.

How to Reduce Email Bounce Rate

A high bounce rate can negatively impact your email campaigns, as it means you’re not reaching the maximum number of people with your message. To optimize your email campaigns, here are a few steps on how to reduce email bounce rates.

1. Check Your Email List Quality

Make sure all addresses on your list are valid and up-to-date before sending out any campaigns.

To ensure that you have an accurate list, you should try double opt-in signups, verify each address with an automated confirmation email, and remove any duplicate entries from your database.

Use an email service provider (ESP) like Mailchimp or Constant Contact to verify each address as they’re added, which will help weed out bad addresses that could cause bounces when sending emails in bulk.

When sending out campaigns, all of your messages must reach their intended recipients — not just those with valid email addresses but also those who use free domains like Gmail or Yahoo. If some contacts don’t receive their messages due to filtering issues at their receiving server, then this could result in low engagement metrics for everyone else on the list.

To keep bounce rates low, make sure you segment these users into separate lists so they can receive targeted messaging tailored specifically for them instead of generic content sent out en masse.

2. Use Authentication Protocols

Verifying the sender’s identity with authentication protocols such as SPF and DKIM can help thwart malicious actors, thus preventing emails from being blocked by ISP filters and reducing bounce rates.

Keep track of sender reputation scores so you know whether or not you’re running into issues with certain ISPs blocking messages due to poor performance metrics like low open rates or click-through rates on previous sends.

For large-scale email campaigns, it’s advisable to enlist the services of a reputable email service provider like Amazon SES. This way, any delivery performance issues such as IP reputation management and blacklist removal requests can be handled effectively while maintaining a good sender reputation.

3. Monitor Your Email Performance

Regularly track how your campaign is performing by analyzing metrics like open rates, click-through rates, and spam folder placement. If you see unusually low open rates, it could be an indication of poor deliverability.

Track both hard and soft bounces so you can identify patterns in delivery failure across different providers/ISPs/countries so you can take corrective action before sending another campaign out again. This could involve segmenting lists based on geographical location or removing inactive contacts from future sends – depending on what works best for your particular situation.

4. Don’t Spam

Limit how often you send out emails within certain periods to reduce the chances of getting flagged as spammy behavior. This could result in higher bounce rates as ISPs tend to block or filter incoming messages from known spammers automatically.

To keep bounce rates low, make sure your contact list is fresh and clean. And by implementing automated processes, you can ensure that your campaigns run smoothly and on schedule.

Are your emails not going through? Find out if your email has been blacklisted.

Optimize Your Email Content

Writing better emails can help reduce bounce rates. Creating content that is tailored to your target audience’s interests and needs — instead of generic ones — will help maximize the effectiveness of any email marketing campaign.

1. Create Compelling Content

Identify your target audience and craft content that is tailored to their interests. Use language they understand and write about topics that interest them. This will help ensure higher open rates and reduce the number of recipients who mark your emails as spam or delete them automatically without even reading the content.

2. Keep it Short and Sweet

People often don’t have time to read long emails so get straight to the point. Make sure you also include a strong and bold CTA at the end of each message so that they know what action you want them to take next.

3. Grab Attention with Visuals

The top brands are no longer writing text-based emails. They are creating posters, banners, and videos to send their message across because that’s what resonates with today’s audiences.

Visuals can be used both within the body copy and the CTA to draw attention and keep readers focused on taking action.

4. Personalize Your Message

Personalize your messages by adding subscribers’ names or mentioning their interests based on past interactions with your brand. This will help cultivate a sense of connection between you and your recipients.

Speak their language, avoid jargon, check grammar and spelling, and do not overload your message with exclamation points.

Here’s a quick guide on how to write impactful emails and reduce bounce rates.

By optimizing your email content, you can ensure that your recipients will click and open your emails instead of sending them to the junk folder.

FAQs – How to Reduce Email Bounce Rate

What can a marketer do to improve the number of hard bounces in campaigns?

To reduce the number of hard bounces in campaigns, marketers should ensure their contact lists are up to date. They can do this by regularly verifying and cleaning email addresses with an automated tool or manual process.

Additionally, they should pay attention to bounced emails and take appropriate action such as removing those contacts from future mailings or correcting any typos that may have caused the bounce.

Lastly, they should monitor their IP reputation to ensure it remains high which will help avoid delivery issues due to blacklisting.

What is the best way for a B2B company to improve its email bounce rate?

The best way for a B2B company to improve its email bounce rate is by regularly monitoring the accuracy of its contact lists. Keeping track of changes in job titles, departments, and companies can help ensure that emails are being sent to the correct recipients.

Additionally, using an email verification service can help detect invalid or outdated addresses before they are used.

Lastly, ensuring that messages comply with anti-spam regulations helps avoid getting blocked.


By understanding what email bounce rate is and identifying reasons why your rates may be high, you can reduce email bounce rates and ensure the successful delivery of messages to customers.

Taking proactive steps now will help you improve deliverability and increase engagement with potential customers in the future.

Written by Julia McCoy

See more from Julia McCoy

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