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How To Fix High Email Bounce Rates


When reviewing your email marketing campaigns it's important to understand what all the numbers mean. While opens and clicks are straightforward, bounces can be a different story. Should you delete all your bounces? Should you leave them? Should you try to correct them? You should do all those things and more! Managing your bounces is important and we're here help you get started managing your bounces.

What is a bounce?

Before you start removing bounces you need to understand what a bounce is. A bounce is an automated message informing the sender that the email was not delivered. This means the recipient didn’t receive your email and you got an automated message telling you why. There are two categories of bounces: a hard bounce and a soft bounce. A hard bounce is a permanent reason the email was not delivered. It could be an invalid email address, an email address no longer in use, or the domain does not exist. One reason an email address may not be valid is spelling. Make sure the check the spelling of the address and correct any mistakes. For example, you may see [email protected] The email address may have been placed into your system wrong and should be [email protected] Make sure to review these hard bounces and fix any mistakes before you remove them from your system. A soft bounce is a temporary reason the email was not delivered. This can be an inbox too full, server issues, or bounces too many times message. If this is the first time you are receiving a bounce from this email address. It may be best to put them on temporary hold from sends to give them time to fix any issues. Once the problem on their end is resolved, the emails will be delivered again. Different email marketing providers (like MailChimp and Constant Contact) may have different criteria about what constitutes a soft bounce and a hard bounce. It is best to understand their provided bounce reasons so you can make the best decision about what to do with a bounced email address.

What is a good bounce rate?

A good bounce rate can vary by industry. It is best to search your industry average and see how you are doing. Constant Contact has a great chart that is updated weekly with industry averages for bounce rates. Their overall industry average is 10.12%. Take a moment and review your bounce rate, are you around that industry average, below it, or (gasp) higher? If you are higher, you need to start managing your bounces, but what does that look like?

How to fix your bounces

Now that you understand your bounces, you are ready to start fixing them. Here are some suggestions to help get you started.

1. Correct any spelling mistakes in the username (the text before the @ symbol) and the domain. Once you have fixed any mistakes, you can try sending an email to them again to see if they go through.

2. Do you recognize an email address as a frequent customer? See if you can reach out to the customer another way and update the email address. There may be an unnoticeable mistake in their username, or they may provide a better email address to reach them.

3. If the email address has been bouncing for a while, it is best to just remove them.

How to prevent future bounces

Now that you have cleaned your email list, you don’t want it to get dirty again. You want to look into ways you are collecting email addresses and where to minimize mistakes.

Switch from paper sign-up forms to online forms

Not everyone has the best handwriting, and it can be a pain to decipher what was written. Have a QR code or link to a sign-up form; a customer can use their smartphone to sign up for your newsletter. This will minimize mistakes that can cause bounces.

Use a reputable email marketing company like Mailchimp and Constant Contact

These companies have working relationships with ISP and work hard to make sure all the emails that are sent are delivered. They can also give you more details as to why an email has bounced so you can make a more informed decision about the email address.

Clean your list regularly

This helps to make sure you have a clean list, and you can spot any issues and fix them before it becomes a bigger problem.

Write quality emails

When you have a quality email that customers count out, they will be more vocal when they don’t get that email. They will help make sure their email address is correct and work to resolve any bounce reasons you see.

A high bounce rate does not have to be scary. By taking a few steps you can start to see this number lower. It may also raise your other email statistics as well.