Hard Bounce Vs Soft Bounce Whats the Difference and how to reduce it?

Boost Inbox Logo Maria Oscar
December 12, 2023
Group of girls looking out for the mail wearing The green suit

Email bounces are a common issue in email marketing, and understanding the differences between hard and soft bounces is crucial for improving your email deliverability and maintaining a good sender reputation.

In this blog post, we'll discuss the Email Bounce Types – A comparison between Hard vs Soft Bounce, their causes, and tips to reduce your email bounce rate.

What is email bounce?

When you send an email, there is always the possibility that it will not reach its intended recipient. This is referred to as an email bounce.

There are many reasons why an email may bounce, such as an invalid email address, a full mailbox, a server outage, or a spam filter.

Hard bounces and soft bounces are Email Bounce Types

Hard bounce vs. soft bounce

Hard Bounce

A hard bounce is a permanent delivery failure.

It means that the email address is invalid, does not exist, or has been blocked by the recipient's mail server. A hard bounce indicates that there is no possibility of delivering the email to that address in the future.

Causes of hard bounces

Some of the common causes of hard bounces are

Soft Bounce

A soft bounce is a temporary delivery failure.

It means that the email address is valid, but the email cannot be delivered at the moment due to some issues on the recipient's end. A soft bounce indicates that there is a possibility of delivering the email to that address in the future.

Causes of soft bounces

Some of the common causes of soft bounces are:

What is the email bounce rate?

Email bounce rate is a metric that measures the percentage of emails that were not successfully delivered to recipients. This is an important metric in email marketing because a high bounce rate can negatively impact the sender's reputation and deliverability.

The formula for email bounce rate is:

Email Bounce Rate = (Number of Bounced Emails/Total sent Emails) x 100

Five Tips to reduce your email bounce rate

To reduce your email bounce rate, you need to implement preventative actions to avoid both hard and soft bounce categories. Here are some tips to get you started:

1. Clean and Maintain Your Email List Regularly

Regularly cleaning and maintaining your email list is crucial to improving email deliverability and reducing both types of email bounce rates.

a. Use double opt-ins:

Implement a double opt-in process for new subscribers to confirm their subscription, reducing the chances of invalid or fake email addresses.

b. Segment your list:

Divide your email list into different categories based on factors like engagement, location, and interests. This allows you to target specific groups with tailored content and reduce the chances of sending irrelevant emails.

c. Manage bounce rate:

Monitor your bounce rate and take action to reduce it, such as removing bounced email addresses or updating your email list.

d. Remove duplicate addresses:

Check your email list for duplicate addresses and merge or remove any duplicates to avoid sending multiple copies of your emails to the same recipients.

e. Correct typos and syntax errors:

Review your email list for typos, syntax errors, and inconsistencies in email addresses. Update the information as needed to ensure accurate delivery.

f. Remove inactive subscribers:

Periodically clean your list by removing inactive subscribers who are not engaging with your emails. This can help maintain a healthy list and improve your overall email deliverability.

g. Implement re-engagement campaigns:

Run targeted re-engagement campaigns for unengaged subscribers, offering them the option to update their preferences or unsubscribe from your list. This can help you re-engage inactive subscribers and reduce your bounce rate.

By regularly cleaning and maintaining your email list, you can improve your email deliverability, reduce your bounce rate, and ensure that your emails reach your intended recipients.

2. Utilize Email Authentication Protocols

Email authentication protocols are standards that help verify the identity and legitimacy of your email sender. They help prevent your emails from being rejected, blocked, or marked as spam by the recipient's mail server.

Some of the common email authentication protocols are:

• Sender Policy Framework (SPF):

This protocol allows you to specify which IP addresses are authorized to send emails from your domain. It helps prevent spoofing, where someone pretends to send emails from your domain.

• DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM):

This protocol allows you to sign your emails with a digital signature that proves that your emails are authentic and have not been tampered with. It helps prevent forgery, where someone alters the content or headers of your emails.

• Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance (DMARC):

This protocol allows you to set policies on how the recipient's mail server should handle emails that fail SPF or DKIM verification. It helps prevent phishing, where someone tries to trick your recipients into clicking malicious links or providing sensitive information.

By implementing email authentication protocols, you can enhance your email deliverability, reputation, and overall performance.

Additionally, utilizing the Boost Inbox email warm-up tool helps reduce your email bounce rate, ensuring that your emails are delivered smoothly and avoiding rejection or blocking by the recipient's mail server.

This proactive approach also minimizes the risk of being marked as spam or blacklisted by the recipient's mail server.

3. Optimize Your Signup Process

To optimize your signup process and reduce your email bounce rate, consider the following methods:

a. Verify your email domain:

Verifying your email domain helps your emails pass security checks of your recipient’s email, reducing the chances of being blocked and resulting in lower bounce rates.

b. Get permission from potential subscribers:

Ensure that you have explicit permission from your subscribers to send them emails. This helps in maintaining a clean and engaged email list, reducing the likelihood of bounces.

c. Do not buy email lists:

Avoid purchasing email lists, as they often contain outdated or invalid addresses, leading to high bounce rates.

d. Be consistent in sending emails:

Establish a consistent sending schedule to keep your subscribers engaged and maintain a healthy sender reputation, which can help reduce bounces.

e. Avoid sending emails that look like spam:

Craft your emails carefully to avoid triggering spam filters, which can lead to higher bounce rates.

f. Let your subscribers decide the content they want:

Offer subscription preferences to your subscribers, allowing them to choose the type and frequency of emails they receive. This can help reduce disengagement and subsequent bounces.

By implementing these methods, you can optimize your signup process and reduce your email bounce rate, leading to improved deliverability and engagement with your subscribers.

4. Craft Engaging and Relevant Content

Crafting engaging and relevant content not only helps reduce both types of email bounce rates but also ensures that your emails reach their intended recipients successfully.

Here are some tips to help you create content that sticks in the inbox and resonates with your audience:

a. Personalize your emails:

Personalize your emails to make them feel more relevant and engaging to your subscribers.

b. Focus on the reader:

Write content that addresses the needs, interests, and pain points of your subscribers, making it more likely for them to open and interact with your emails.

c. Use a mix of content formats:

Incorporate various content formats, such as text, images, videos, and infographics, to cater to different preferences and keep your subscribers engaged.

d. Be consistent in messaging:

Maintain a consistent tone, style, and messaging across your emails to build trust and brand recognition with your subscribers.

d. Test and optimize your content:

Use A/B testing to experiment with different subject lines, content, and call-to-action (CTA) to determine what works best for your audience.

e. Provide value:

Create content that offers valuable information, insights, or solutions to your subscribers' problems, making your emails more likely to be opened and engaged with.

f. Avoid spam triggers:

Ensure that your content is not overly promotional or uses aggressive sales tactics, as these can trigger spam filters and result in higher bounce rates.

By crafting engaging and relevant content, you can reduce your email bounce rate and ensure that your emails reach your intended recipients, leading to improved deliverability and engagement with your subscribers.

5. Monitor and Analyze Bounce Reports

Monitoring and analyzing bounce reports is essential for reducing your email bounce rate. Here are some tips to help you effectively monitor and analyze bounce reports:

a. Regularly review bounce reports:

Take the time to review your bounce reports on a regular basis to identify any trends or issues that may be impacting your email deliverability.

b. Adjust your email marketing strategy:

If you notice a high number of bounces related to a specific campaign or type of content, consider adjusting your email marketing strategy to address the issue.

c. Monitor changes in bounce rate over time:

Use a line chart to monitor how your email bounce rate changes over time, and adjust your strategy if you notice a steady increase in bounce rate.

By monitoring and analyzing bounce reports, you can gain valuable insights into the health of your email list and make informed decisions to reduce your email bounce rate and improve your overall email deliverability.

Email bounces are inevitable, but they can be reduced and prevented with the right strategies and tools. By understanding the comparison between hard bounce vs soft bounce, and following the tips we shared in this blog post, you can reduce your email bounce rate and boost your email marketing success.

If you are Ready to Slash Your Bounce Rate? Discover Boost Inbox!

What to read next

Yes, Boost Inbox is designed to cater to businesses of all sizes and industries.

Absolutely! Boost Inbox is compatible with most major email service providers.

The warmup process duration may vary depending on your email volume, but it typically ranges from a few days to a couple of weeks.

Yes, Boost Inbox offers dedicated customer support to assist you throughout the warmup process.

While it's possible, it's best to start the warmup process from the beginning with Boost Inbox for optimal results.