How to Deal with Marketing E-Mails that Bounced - dummies

How to Deal with Marketing E-Mails that Bounced

By John Arnold, Michael Becker, Marty Dickinson, Ian Lurie, Elizabeth Marsten

Bounced web marketing e-mails are generally unavoidable because the causes of bounced e-mail fall outside your direct control. However, you can take some reasonably effective steps to minimize bounced e-mail.

Here we show you how to deal with bounces and when to take corrective action.

How to deal with hard bounces

A hard bounce is an e-mail that’s returned because a permanent condition makes delivering the e-mail impossible. When your EMP’s bounce report shows e-mails delivered to nonexistent addresses, your e-mail can’t be delivered to that address no matter what action you take. Nonexistent e-mail addresses are either

  • Misspelled (for example, name@hotmai.lcom)

  • Invalid (such as when your subscriber’s e-mail address is no longer in service due to a job change)

You can check your hard-bounce report for obviously misspelled e-mail addresses and correct them in your database. Most of the time, though, you can’t tell whether an e-mail address is misspelled or invalid. In those cases, you need to obtain a new e-mail address.

If your hard-bounce list is too large to contact each individual to obtain a new e-mail address, or if you don’t have any alternative contact information for the subscribers, remove those e-mail addresses from your e-mail list.

How to deal with soft bounces

A soft bounce happens when the delivery of an e-mail is delayed temporarily. Soft bounces happen because of technical conditions inherent in the technology that make e-mail delivery possible. Examples include

  • A full mailbox

  • A server that’s temporarily down

  • A software application that can’t accept the e-mail

When an e-mail address bounces for a reason that’s temporary in nature, try resending your e-mail later or simply wait until your next e-mail campaign to see whether the same address still bounces. If an e-mail address bounces repeatedly for temporary reasons, contact the subscriber for a more reliable e-mail address.

How to keep up with e-mail address changes

According to a study conducted by Return Path, more than 30 percent of your e-mail list addressees are likely to change their e-mail address each year. Because losing your entire e-mail list every three to four years isn’t going to help improve repeat business, periodically remind your list subscribers to update their e-mail addresses.

Because most people keep their old e-mail address active for a short period of time between changes, sending a subscription reminder every two to three months is a good way to ask your list subscribers to share their new e-mail address before their old e-mail address is deactivated.

If you have a large e-mail list, make sure that your subscription reminder links your audience to a secure, online form where they can update their own information and save you from replacing your selling time with data entry. Here’s an example of text you might use in your subscription reminder:

Subject Line: Subscription Reminder
Body: This e-mail is sent every other month to remind you that you are subscribed to the ABC Company e-mail list. If your contact information or interests should change at any time, please select your interests (link to interests form) or update your contact information (link to secure profile form) so that we can continue to send you valuable offers and information.