Having a high bounce rate in your email campaign is very scary. It’s an indication that there is something seriously wrong with that last campaign and many people aren’t getting their timely emails. It’s like that scene in the movie where a person suddenly disappears and nobody knows why. The fear comes from not knowing exactly what happened to cause the issue. In this case, a high bounce rate. Like all scary movies, what we should do is investigate and find out what happened. It might turn out scarier than you think.
Check Your Contacts
The first thing to do is to look at all the bounces to see if there is a pattern to the email addresses that didn’t receive the email. Is it all from one domain? Is it all hard bounces? Hard bounces are email addresses that a sender has tried to mail to the recipient, but the inbox is not there anymore. The other type, soft bounce, is the opposite and that the inbox exists and is there, however, either the inbox is full or some type of technical reason that it was undeliverable. If there is a pattern then it will point us in the right direction to look. Sometimes there is no pattern but it doesn’t hurt to check, at least not yet.
With every email that is sent to an email address, there is a log that is generated and sent back to the sender. Known as a bounce log, or SMTP log, it tells the sender if the email was successfully sent or if it had bounced. It won’t tell us if it is a hard bounce or a soft bounce. Instead, it gives us a code. From that code, we determine if it is either. If checking your contacts for a pattern is a clue, then bounce logs are in a way evidence. Evidence can be conclusive and actionable, or we may need more supporting evidence to get a clearer picture of what is happening.
Searching for your own name is these lists that are meant for spammers is unnerving. Web sites like MXtoolbox.com or MultiRBL, search through an index of domains and IP addresses to search for yours. If you are on any of these lists, you may not be able to get your email to people who use those lists. The silver lining is that most blacklists are not forever. Normally there is a form or some type of procedure that will allow you to request to be removed. If you get removed from the list, it’s like turning on the lights in a dark and scary room.
Often times, email marketers may think that sending as fast as you can is the best thing you can do. Well, speeding in a car going 120 mph isn’t exactly safe, it’s scary in a different sense. Well, sending to as many people as you can, as fast as you can, could be a problem. Service providers like Gmail and Yahoo, have a threshold on how many emails they’ll accept in a certain amount of time. By sending too much, your emails will get deferred. Remember those bounce logs I was talking about? This status is so special it doesn’t even have a code, the log would simply tell us deferred. It means that you are sending too fast and it was no longer accepting emails at that time. Here comes the anti-hero to save the day, throttling. Throttling your emails may be the best way of reducing your bounces and getting into the inbox. Yes, it slows down your email but that’s not a bad thing.
Hopefully, you won’t find yourself in a situation like this. All you have to do is follow the best path road and don’t take any shortcuts. Taking the shortcut could land you in a nightmare that will be hard to get out of, but not impossible. If you do find yourself in a nightmarish situation with high bounce rates, these tips should help you survive and send an email another day.