Hard Bounce vs Soft Bounce in Email Marketing: How to Avoid in 2022

Email marketing can be useless if you cannot send the email in the first place. That’s why you must understand email bounce and its types. When it comes to hard bounce vs soft bounce in email marketing, you may wonder these questions:

  • What’s an email bounce?
  • How many types of email bounces exist?
  • What’s the difference between a hard bounce and a soft bounce?
  • And how to avoid email bounces?

I’ll answer all these questions about the email deliverability terms. Let’s get started without further ado.

What is Email Bounce: Why do Emails Bounce Back?

When an email can’t reach a server, it bounces. The email bounce reason is often disclosed by the server. You as an email marketer don’t want to receive these bounces, no matter the reason.

Email bounce happens when your email fails to deliver to a recipient for some reason. The reasons for that can be:

  • Your recipient’s mailbox is full
  • The email address doesn’t exist.
  • Incorrect email address
  • Spam filters blocked your message
  • The email server is down
  • The DNS record isn’t correct

And the list goes on. There are several email bounces, but I’ll dig into 7 of them and then differentiate between soft and hard bounces.

7 Types of Email Bounces

You open your email program, enter the recipient’s address and the message body, and then select “Send.” However, you receive a warning that your email wasn’t delivered.

Email bounce is a problem that might disrupt your email marketing strategy. And for that reason, you make every effort to stay away from them.

To prevent further bounced emails, you must comprehend all of their different categories.

Hard and soft email bounces are the two main categories. You can learn more about them and other email bounce kinds with my assistance. After that, you’ll understand the distinction between emails that bounce hard and gentle. Sounds fantastic?

I’ll categorize email bounces into three groups:

  • Hard bounces
  • Soft bounces
  • General bounces

General bounces are the ones that are caused by the technical limitation of the server. You’ll first learn about the hard and soft bounces and then move to general bounces.

Hard Bounce (bounce_hb)

A hard bounce occurs when an email can never be delivered. It is best to clean the addresses that result in hard bounces. Hard email bounces have the following causes:

  • Invalid or incorrect email address: 40% of email users change their address within a year or two. Keep emailing to these addresses wastes your time.
  • Fake email address: Some people don’t want to get any email from you. So they provide you with a fake email address to get something in return from you.
  • Blocked email address: It happens when the recipient’s email server stops your server from sending an email.

How to fix hard bounces? Well, you really can’t. The best thing to do is to keep your list clean and healthy. Here are a few steps that will help you prevent hard bounces:

  • Start cleaning your lists regularly.
  • Remove invalid email addresses that bounce back
  • Segment your list so you can target a specific group

That’s pretty much everything you can do to avoid hard bounces in email marketing.

Soft Bounce (bounce_sb)

Soft email is used when you momentarily can’t deliver an email. There is no reason for concern because it is simple to identify and resolve the problems.

To do it, though, you must comprehend the causes of a gentle bounce.

  • Your recipient’s inbox is full.

What you can do: It’s temporary, so you can resend the email. Just try at a different time or wait for some days.

  • The recipient doesn’t exist at all.

What you can do: You may want to check with other contact details of that person if possible. And try to target the person again to get the new address.

  • The server is down.

What you can do: Wait until the server is back to work. And if you maintain your server, solve the problem immediately.

  • The email size is heavier than what the server can handle.

What you can do: Ensure your email is not too long and doesn’t have large files.

  • Auto-reply from the recipient.

What you can do: All you can do is wait for the person to open your email.

As you can see, you can easily handle soft email bounces.

Blacklist Email Bounce

A whopping 85% of the 350 billion emails sent each day are deemed spam. This also occurs if an email server deletes or flags your messages as spam. Many factors could be at play here.

Automated programs known as spam filters are used to identify and suppress spam messages. These spam filters may occasionally mistakenly classify your email marketing effort as spam.

Blacklist email bounces are caused by the following:

  • High bounce rates
  • Haranguing content
  • Spam complaints
  • An immediate increase in email volume or email list size

What you can do to avoid blacklist email bounces:

Let’s jump onto other email bounce types now.

Transient Bounce (bounce_tr)

Transient bounce, as its name suggests, occurs when the server is still attempting to deliver your email. You shouldn’t be concerned because it’s typical.

Even if the issue continues, it normally gets better within a day.

What you can do is make sure the receiver has gotten emails from other individuals, which will increase the likelihood that they will accept your email.

Address Change (bounce_ac)

When a recipient sends an auto-reply using their new email address after changing their address, it happens.

What you can try: Incorporate the new email address into your database. Additionally, you can use our free Email Validator to see if the new email address is legitimate. Also, find out about email validation best practices.

Send a re-engagement campaign to everyone on your list who has updated their email addresses by segmenting your list according to those who have done so.

DNS Failure (bounce. df)

Email bounce caused by a DNS problem is called a transient bounce. The reasons may include:

  • DNS lookup failure
  • The hostname doesn’t exist

What you can do: Wait until the problem is resolved and try again. You can also use an external DNS provider if you cannot solve the problem.

Challenge/Response (bounce_cr)

These bounces occur when a receiver installs software that prompts you to respond to an automated message or fulfill a task. Your email won’t be distributed if you don’t correctly answer the challenge.

What you can do: There is nothing you can do to fix the issue. Removing such email addresses from your list and trying again later is the best course of action. If you can each answer in a separate way, do ahead.

Additionally, there are additional variations of email bounces. The most important ones have already been covered. Let’s now compare hard bounce and soft bounce in email marketing side by side.

Hard Bounce VS Soft Bounce in Email Marketing: What’s the Difference?

A hard bounce is different from a soft bounce in that the former is permanent and the latter is only transitory.

Hard bounces are the result of invalid email addresses. Soft bounces are also brought on by transient issues like a full inbox, a down server, or network congestion.

The bottom line is that severe bounces should always be avoided because they can harm your sender’s reputation and lead to blacklisting.

Soft bounces, on the other hand, are unimportant since they will eventually go away on their own. You can wait for the issue to be resolved before trying once more.

Soft bounces, on the other hand, are unimportant since they will eventually go away on their own. You can wait for the issue to be resolved before trying once more.

Now that you are fully informed about email bounces, it is time to put your knowledge to use. Make sure your email list is accurate and up to date first. Afterward, use our free Email Verifier to determine whether the email addresses on your list are valid.

Hard VS Soft Email Bounces: How to Avoid Them

Email marketing brings in a substantial return on your investment. But it happens when you land your emails in the inbox. For that, you must avoid all these email deliverability issues, also called email bounces.

Follow the best email marketing practices:

Use double opt-in

The greatest way to create a valuable list is through double opt-in. You may be certain of knowing exactly how many individuals are joining your email list thanks to this. As a result, it assists you in avoiding including outdated or erroneous email addresses on your list.

Maintain clean list

Some marketers build their lists by adding any email address they come across. But in the long run, doing so can provide inaccurate outcomes.

Bounces are email addresses that are incorrect or unreachable. Additionally, they have a significant impact on deliverability rates. Therefore, update your list frequently.

Process the unsubscription

As you know, adding anyone to your list is called email spamming. And it has the potential to get you blacklisted by ISPs. Always process the requests for unsubscription as soon as they come in.

Use the best email marketing software.

Your deliverability will increase and you can reduce undesired bounces by using a reputable email marketing solution.

This is because automation enables greater segmentation, which enables you to send your list’s subscribers more personalized emails.

Use an external DNS provider.

You can increase the deliverability of your emails by using an external DNS. It guarantees that your IP addresses won’t be blocked by ISPs because of any issues on their end. If you have chosen the best email marketing services, you don’t need to worry.

Test and verify your email content

Before hitting the send button, test your email content for any errors. And verify all the email addresses in your list. Following these simple tips can help you avoid hard and soft bounces in your email marketing campaigns.

I hope you love this guide to email bounce, its types, and the comparison of hard bounces vs soft bounces in email marketing. Have any questions? Drop them down in the comments below.

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