How email bounces (in small doses) are actually helpful
Fewer things are more annoying than receiving a bounce back email when trying to send a message to your subscribers. Your intended audience is deprived of the content you've worked hard to create, and in some cases you can't do much about it.
Before you get too frustrated, keep in mind bounces aren't always a bad thing. In fact, we've identified several silver linings.
Let's go over some quick facts about email bounces.
An email bounce means that your email did not deliver successfully to its intended recipient. There are two types of bounces: soft and hard.
Soft bounces are temporary delivery failures. This can happen when a subscriber’s mailbox is full, a subscriber’s server is down, or your email is too large. After a number of soft bounces (the number depends on your email server), soft bounces are considered hard bounces.
Hard bounces are permanent delivery failures. This happens when an email address is no longer active or doesn't exist. Since hard bounces can affect your overall deliverability rate, you will want to remove them from any email lists you have. Luckily, Campaign Monitor (the tool OneAffiniti uses to deploy emails) ensures all hard bounces are automatically removed before your next send.
Continuing to send emails to your bounces can damage your sending reputation and degrade the deliverability of your future sends. Most email marketing platforms will report your bounce rates so you can keep track of them. For reference, industry standard is around 2%.
Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s move on to the potential benefits of bounces.
Email bounces are an opportunity to update contacts.
Bounces offer an excellent opportunity to add value to your email lists as a whole. Let us explain:
If a bounce occurs because your contact left a company, this is an opportunity to get to know their replacement -- especially if the employee who left was integral to your relationship with that company.
If your contact changed companies, you can message them on LinkedIn and possibly get them plus others at their company to opt in if your contact chooses to continue the relationship.
As you can see, sometimes a new contact can be the key factor in converting a prospect into a customer.
Email bounces are an opportunity to re-evaluate your signup strategy.
The key to successful email marketing is emailing subscribers who want to be on your list— plain and simple.
Adding a subscribe button to your website, Facebook page or checkout process is a great way to capture subscribers who are genuinely interested in receiving your email communications (see also our unsubscribes blog post). Since "join our email list'' isn't very enticing and doesn't provide any context to what they'll be receiving, be clear about what it is you're offering. For example, try "sign up today to receive new product information" or "join our mailing list to receive special offers".
Email bounces force you to scrub your lists and send emails regularly.
Ever wonder why most email providers suggest you clean your lists before sending mass emails? It's because email lists go stale quickly. Subscribers may change companies or email addresses (as mentioned above) or simply lose interest, so an unsubscribe is a great reminder that you may need to scrub your list.
By sending emails on a regular basis (i.e. at least once a month) you can ensure that your bounce rate will stay relatively low over time. Also, by sending emails regularly, you build brand awareness – which translates into higher engagement and ROI. Don't believe us? Check out Campaign Monitor's email marketing stats for 2019 here.
Essentially, email bounces are a regular part of email marketing. While a bounce may not be your desired result, it provides an opportunity to scrub your lists, optimize your email marketing program, and even meet new subscribers!
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