What is a Hard and Soft Bounce in Email Marketing?

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Appedology.com | Date: November 23, 2020 | Posted by: Admin | Category: Tech
What is a Hard and Soft Bounce in Email Marketing?


Email Marketing:

Email marketing is a digital marketing strategy of sending emails to develop and maintain relationships with prospects and customers. Successful email marketing translates into leads becoming customers, and occasional customers becoming regular buyers. Although sending emails may seem archaic, with so much more elaborate technologies of chatbots, artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and, augmented reality on the rise, but it actually still is relevant and possibly the best possible strategy for your business, especially since the entire process of email marketing can be automated.


Email marketing lets businesses keep their customers updated and informed through customized marketing messages. It as one of the most cost-effective and conversion-rich forms of digital marketing today. Don’t underestimate its ability to gets your great eCommerce results.


Is email marketing dead?

Though email marketing can feel like a long shot, with social media’s exponential growth and being financially backed by companies, the imminent death of email marketing has been predicted many times. However, it’s actually quite an active marketing tool still. The success of this strategy is only hindered by a lack of relevant, engaging, and appealing content for the recipient.

Organizations often go in for the overkill, by sending out emails unceasingly. 78 percent of recipients claim to have canceled their subscriptions due to the daily bombardment of mail. To make your email work for you, ensure that your content is relevant, and include some calls-to-action for readers to click forward.

Email Marketing Terms to Remember  

After reading this part of the blog, even the trickiest Email Marketing terms will be easy to decipher

  • Email Service Provider (ESP) is a software service that helps email marketers send out email marketing campaigns to their subscribers. An ESP should host email marketing services for an unlimited number of clients and businesses around the world.


  • Marketing automation refers to the process of an email marketing software sending email campaigns to your customers and prospects based on a set of triggers you’ve pre-defined. For example, BuzzFeed automated their “4-Week Get Fit Challenge.” After a subscriber signs up for the course, they get a series of emails with tips on how to get in shape. Sephora uses marketing automation to send special offers to customers who reach VIP status once they’ve spent $200.


  • Dynamic content is content that can be displayed and triggered based on subscriber’s data. Email marketers can use gender to determine which type of content to display. A popular clothing retailer can segment data to display their men’s spring collection to male subscribers and their women’s spring collection to female subscribers. Dynamic content personalizes the marketing experience to help drive more sales.


  • Multivariate testing is a method of testing different variables in an email to find what works best. Different audiences respond better to different images, colors, copy, font, and offers, amongst other things, so marketers use this technique to determine which combinations give best results. Multivariate testing involves several variables as compared to A/B testing which checks only one variable at a time.


  • A transactional email is an automated email triggered by a purchase. Transactional emails are actually opened 8 times more than the traditional marketing messages.


  • With a good ESP, you should be able to easily edit, create, and optimize all your transactional emails. This includes automatic thank you emails after a purchase, a follow-up discount code after a purchase, purchase receipts, and even cart abandonment emails.


  • Click-through rate – CTR, measures how many people clicked on an image, hyperlink, or CTA in an email. Measuring the CTR shows how effective a particular email is. CTRs can vary, but an email is thought to be performing well with a rate of between 20-30%. If CTRs fall below this range, it may be time to conduct some tests to determine what appeals to your subscribers. An ESP should provide reporting to monitor click-through rates of each campaign.


  • Email personalization is you customizing content based on the subscriber’s data, inclusive of names, interests, desires, birthdays, and more. When emails are personalized, it’s proven to increase open rates and drive revenue by as much as 760%. Note that when a subject line includes the subscriber’s first name, it can increase open rates by 20%.


  • Email deliverability is delivering an email to a subscriber’s inbox. It is important to find a reliable ESP with a good reputation and high deliverability rates. Email marketers use email deliverability to estimate the likelihood of their emails reaching the subscribers inboxes, as opposed to running into issues like throttling, bounces, spam problems, bulking, ISPs, and more.


  • A hard bounce in email marketing terms is when an email is returned to a sender for permanent reasons. This includes things like delivering to an invalid email address for one of the following reasons:


  • Incorrect domain name
  • Sending to an email address that isn’t real
  • Recipient is unknown


Monitoring hard bounces helps get rid of invalid email addresses quickly. A high volume of hard bounces affects your deliverability rates and sets off spam filters so that email providers could potentially red flag your address.


Looking for an ESP that automatically removes hard bounces from subscriber lists, so that you won’t be penalized.



  • Soft bounces are emails that failed to deliver because of temporary reasons. A soft bounce in email marketing will occur when a file is too big or a recipient’s inbox is full. These aren’t as problematic as hard bounces, and an ESP will try and deliver these soft bounces again.


  • general bounce is the type of email bounce, where the recipient doesn’t receive your email due to the technical limitations of the server: sometimes the receiver’s firewall settings restrict your emails. This type of email bounce is safe and doesn’t affect your email account and sender reputation.


How to Prevent Email Bounce Back?

The last thing you want, is to be scrutinized for credibility or red flagged due to high hard bounce numbers. The following pointers should help in to how to fix hard bounce emails

  • Use double opt-in (customer re-types/verifies email address)
  • Clean up your email list
  • Double-check for typos
  • Authenticate your email account (using SPF or DKIM)
  • Don’t spam content
  • Maintain time frame between emails
  • Check your sender reputation score (standardized value provided to the domains)
  • Send emails consistently
  • Avoid free email sender domains (e.g. @gmail.com, @outlook.com, etc.)
  • Don’t exceed your daily sending limit


Email marketing best practices

Now that you’ve and learnt a little about what to do with hard bounces, start thinking about email marketing best practices. Drafting a perfect email will not help if you aren’t following the best practices to get your messages seen, opened, and engaged with. So remember to get personal with your readers. Customers expect hyper-personalization from brands, through only the most relevant content being sent to their inboxes. Personalization is not just adding a customer’s name in the email subject line, your team should be creating and sending personalized content, suggestions, and promotional content/deals as well. As the decade turned, naysayers have found email marketing to still be effective in 2020. And the stats prove it.


Email Marketing Current Trends and Statistics

Widespread use of emails. In 2019 according to several sources, global email users amounted to 3.9 billion users and this figure is expected to grow to 4.3 billion users in 2023. In terms of the number of emails, 293.6 billion emails were sent out in 2019 and the numbers are predicted to reach 347.3 billion by 2022. These statistics clearly show that if half of the world’s population is sending online correspondence, email marketing is definitely an opportunity that you shouldn’t be missing out on.

If your business is in the developed world, your customers are using email, and so should you, regardless of organizational size. You can reach people through email marketing 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and even through this strategy takes so little time and effort you can connect with your audience in an instant.


Email vs Social Media
  • Email; 58.0percent
  • Search; 20.0percent
  • Social Media; 14.0percent
  • News; 5.0percent
  • Company Intranet; 3.0percent

The key takeaway from the above is that across age groups and geographical locations, email marketing remains an effective way of reaching your audience. Email has a click-through rate of 3.71 percent across all industries. Moreover, the unsubscribe rate is 0.21 percent on average. With these impressive numbers, the less insightful companies focus their marketing budgets on social media although it only has an engagement rate of 0.58 percent.


Email Marketing ROIs

A well-thought-out email marketing strategy will make you money. The comparison of social media vs email marketing shows emails outshine. Did you know email marketing can bring a potential 4400percent ROI? Meaning that for each dollar you spend on email marketing, you can expect an average return of $44. The average company spends only 13percent of its marketing budget on email, even though it results in 19percent of sales, imagine the profits of a well-planned email marketing campaign. 


Consumers and Email Marketing

Consumers prefer communicating via Email with the brand they feel connected with. Content marketing distribution channels by order of importance put Email at over 90 percent, whereas Marketers prefer Email. 87 percent of marketers use emails to disseminate their content. This makes email the third most popular distribution channel, just behind social media at 91 percent and the company website or blog at 89 percent. However, you should also be aware that most consumers unsubscribe from your emails because 53.49 percent of sent emails are classified as spam. Consumers sometimes report emails as spam, because marketers get the frequency and content wrong even if the mail isn’t spam.

One way you can ensure your mail isn’t axed is to include smart personalization going beyond subscriber first names and learn how to utilize Smart Tags to make the marketing campaign more engaging.


Abandoned cart emails

Many people put items in their online shopping cart, only to then leave without completing the purchase. An abandoned cart email is a follow-up email sent to someone who added items to their cart, and got through part of the checkout, but then left the site without purchasing the items. You can work around this by sending abandoned cart emails and retrieve your lost potential for transactions.

Do abandon cart emails work? The statistic is here to back this claim up. Sending three abandoned cart emails results in 69% more orders than a single email. This type of ecommerce email is one of the most effective for boosting revenue.


Interactive Emails

Any email marketing done should create user engagement. Your email marketing campaign does not need to be limited to a newsletter. Marketers create better engagement through interactive content.

Reports have shown that adding videos to your email can increase click rates by 300%. That’s a shocking number. Smart marketing also includes sliders, collapsible menus, and GIFs to make their emails look better to customers. Also, remember that all of your interactive emails should be optimized for mobile devices.


Interactive emails are icing on the cake. Especially if you have learnt how to get emails from customers that you thought you had lost, the sky is the limit to your email marketing campaigns. Existing customers convert more often and have a higher average order rate than first-time buyers. That’s an excellent reason to try to bring them back with emails. But what does one say?

  1. Give them a Don Corleone, an offer they can’t (or wouldn’t want to) refuse. Plan a compelling offer based on what’s important to your customers. Remember, nothing grabs customer attention like a discount.
  2. Get personal by including content that is relevant to customers, such as product recommendations based on past purchases, offers that appeal to them or emails triggered by their behavior. 
  3. Reconnect with customers by sending them an email on their birthday, anniversary, their email sign-up anniversary or another special day or even particular holidays, if you are sure about the details. Whether you offer them a free gift or savings on their next order, customers will most likely engage with it.
  4. Engage their FOMO. The fear of missing out (FOMO) is real! If customers haven’t visited your site for a while, email them to let them know what’s new and get back in their sights.
  5. Ask customers to update their email preferences. Everything changes including customer’s email preferences. If customers are inactive, re-engage by sending them an email asking them to update their preferences. Let them know your emails are going unopened, tell them what they’re missing and ask them to update their preferences. Even if they unsubscribe, you get to eliminate an email address negatively impacting open rates on your campaigns.
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