by Ula Chwesiuk May 20, 2022

When sending an email campaign, your emails not reaching the recipients’ inboxes is the worst-case scenario. If your emails do not get far, it means they have bounced. Many different reasons will cause an email to bounce. There are also different categories of bounces known as soft and hard bounces. The first type applies to temporary deliverability problems usually caused by an overloaded email server. In this case, your email service provider will try a few more times to send bounced emails. Hard bounces happen because of permanent delivery failure when, for example, an email address is invalid or outdated. You should take care that the percentage of bounces is as low as possible. It’s impossible to reach 0, but 2-5% is a healthy and accessible range. Here are some steps you can take to improve your delivery rate and learn how to reduce your email bounce rate.

Table of contents

  • How to reduce email bounce rate?
  • How to reduce email bounce rate?

    Start collecting contacts with a good sign up form

    To start from the beginning, we should talk about collecting contacts to which you want to send emails. One of the best ways to do this is by using a sign up form or web form. These forms allow people to input their information and email address. There are a few crucial elements of great forms including clarity, simplicity, interactivity and powerful incentives. To make sure that you collect relevant and valid sign-ups and prevent bots from spamming your sign up forms, you've got to implement a good captcha system.

    Use double opt-in contacts only to reduce email bounce rate

    It is highly recommended to use double opt-in contacts only. This requires new subscribers to confirm their sign-up by clicking a link in the confirmation email. This way you will be sure that the contacts you collect are correct and want to receive emails from you. If you're not sure what the difference between double and single opt-in contacts is. You can also create double opt-in web forms with Elastic Email.

    Clean up your contact list before sending an email campaign

    A lot of bounces occur simply because your list of contacts is outdated. If your list is old (more than 6 months since you sent to it), then it's highly likely that many of the addresses have gone stale, been closed or are otherwise inactive and will cause you to see a lot of No Mailbox bounces. You can start cleaning your contact list by deleting inactive addresses and those that haven’t opened your emails for a long time. Also, you may consider using a list-verifying service to detect irrelevant contacts. As an example, you may wish to use our Email Verification Service.

    When updating your contact list, you should also remember that there’s a chance that your emails won’t reach one’s inbox because of spelling mistakes in the address. Most obvious spelling mistakes often can be found in the name of well-known domains, like Gmail or Hotmail, so pay attention to whether they are written correctly.

    Also, you may find role addresses in your email list. Role addresses, such as or, do not belong to a single person, and they are usually internal company addresses. It also means that are not meant to receive marketing emails from the outside. Make sure that your list does not contain role addresses as they most likely did not sign up to your list and are often turned into spam traps.

    Your first campaign shouldn’t be a way to “clean” your list!

    You should not treat your Email Service Provider as your list cleaner. It can cause problems both for them and for your account. As we’ve already mentioned, you can consider using an actual list-verifying service instead. If you send to a poor list, you risk both an account suspension and damaging your own sender reputation. Your next campaign may then experience even more blocks as recipient servers reject your mail.

    Send a confirmation campaign to non-engaged contacts

    If you have an old, non-engaged email list, you may consider sending a confirmation campaign. This type of email campaign will help you verify whether the email addresses on your list are still valid and still want to receive emails from you. Your recipients will have a choice to either unsubscribe from your list or to consent to remain on it.

    Verify your sender domain

    This point may seem complicated and very technical, but it is easy to do and can help you reduce the email bounce rate and improve your deliverability. A verified sender domain is a domain that gives your Email Service Provider permission to send emails from it. This means that even though your emails are being sent by the provider’s servers, they are using your domain as the "from" address.

    Make sure your email doesn't look like spam

    Even though it seems obvious, you should always make sure that spam filters won’t judge your emails as spam. Unfortunately, these filters change systematically as spammers get more and more crafty.  That is why you should constantly check if your template remains up-to-date and hasn't taken on any characteristics that make it seem like spam. The less your emails look like spam, the lower your email bounce rate will be.

    You can use tools like Mail Tester to help you stay on track or understand what changes to format, wording, links or content will make sure your emails aren't treated as spam.

    Schedule your emails

    They say that consistency is key to success and sending emails is no exception. When you set up a certain schedule for sending emails to your subscribers, they will remember that they agreed to receive messages from you. You should always adjust the frequency of emails to your contacts’ engagement and needs. Also, if you have a regular campaign agenda, not only your subscribers but also the recipient servers will know to expect mail from you.

    Manage your sender and account reputation

    As you can see, there is plenty you can do to reduce your email bounce rate. If you follow the above-mentioned recommendations, your account and sender reputation are bound to improve. Yet, it's important to value and understand that your account reputation can influence what IP pool your account sends from. That’s why if you ever see a bounce because of an IP with a reputation issue, review your account reputation and take these steps to help protect and keep sending IPs in good standing.

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    Ula Chwesiuk

    Ula is a content creator at Elastic Email. She is passionate about marketing, creative writing and language learning. Outside of work, Ula likes to travel, try new recipes and go to concerts.

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