Why Ignoring Bouncebacks
Can Ruin Your Email Success
By Derek Gehl
If you use email, chances are you have seen a “bounceback” message in your inbox. You get one whenever you send an email to someone and then — for whatever reason — their server rejects the message.
The “bounceback” message usually contains the original email you sent, as well as an explanation as to why the message was rejected.
There are two types of bouncebacks you need to know about:
Type #1: Hard Bouncebacks
A hard bounceback occurs when you send a message to an email account that no longer exists. The account has been closed for some reason, so the mail server that hosted the account will send your message back, notifying you of this change.
Hard bouncebacks are particularly common when you send mail to free email accounts with providers such as Hotmail, Gmail, and Yahoo. That’s because many people use these free accounts as a secondary or disposable account for random newsletter subscriptions and such.
When the volume of email to their free account gets too high, people often shut it down, create a new one, and move on.
But unfortunately — if they forget to send you their new address — you’re stuck with an email address that no longer exists!
Type #2: Soft Bouncebacks
A soft bounceback occurs when you send an email to an account that is still valid but is temporarily unable to receive email. The most common cause of soft bouncebacks is when an email account is too full or the server that hosts the account is temporarily down.
Why You need to Manage Your Bouncebacks
Because soft bouncebacks are generated when an email account is still valid, you don’t need to remove them from your email list. Where you want to focus your attention is on hard bouncebacks.
In order to maintain the highest deliverability, you need to constantly remove hard bouncebacks from your email list.
If you continue to send email to addresses that are no longer valid, the ISPs (Internet service providers) that previously hosted those addresses may consider you a spammer — and block ALL the email you send to any other email accounts they host.
For example, let’s say I have 1000 @yahoo.com addresses on my email list and over a period of 6 months 100 of those email accounts are closed and become invalid.
If I still continue to send email to those invalid accounts, Yahoo will assume that I’m a spammer sending unsolicited email to random accounts — and they will block any emails I send to the 900 remaining valid accounts.
The process of managing your bouncebacks is called “list hygiene.” In order to get the highest amount of email delivered to your subscribers, you want to stay on top of your list hygiene and remove email addresses from your list as soon as you get a hard bounceback after sending to them.
Automate the Process
As your list grows, you’ll want to invest in some software that will help you categorize and manage your bouncebacks.
Most email software packages or services provide this feature. If yours doesn’t, then it’s probably time to upgrade!
Don’t Forget to Follow up and Get the New Address!
If you do get a hard bounceback from a previous customer, be sure to follow up with them via phone or even snail mail to get their updated information.
All your customers are valuable and you don’t want to lose a single one from your list! The time you invest getting their updated email address is typically time well spent.
Remember, this is just one step in maintaining a clean email list that gets the best deliverability.
For an in-depth look at how to get the absolute highest deliverability and response from all of your email campaigns, please visit: www.marketingtips.com/emailsecrets