Hard bounce is an email error relating to the delivery of an email message. It occurs when an email server, either the sender’s or recipient’s, refuses to accept the email because the recipient’s address does not exist. This is usually caused by a typo in the address, a deleted email account, or a server issue.
When an email is sent, it passes through many different steps as it travels from sender to recipient. During this trip, if the recipient’s email address is incorrect, or if the recipient’s email server is not accepting emails, it will bounce back to the sender. This is known as a bounced email, or a hard bounce.
The most common type of hard bounce is an invalid email address. This could be caused by a simple typo when inputting the address, or a more complicated issue caused by an outdated contact list or spamming. Invalid emails can be identified quickly via the email server’s bounce back message.
Hard bounces can also occur if a user’s email address has been deleted. If a user has not logged in to their email account for a set period of time, their email address may be deactivated or removed from the system. This invalidates the email address, so email sent to it will hard bounce.
Other cases of hard bounce can occur due to server-side errors. These can include maintenance outages, DNS errors, and other technical issues at the receiving server. A detailed error message from the recipient’s server should provide information on the exact cause of the bounce.
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It is important to keep track of hard bounce rates as an email marketer. Too many hard bounces in an email campaign can risk being flagged as spam, which would result in a sharp drop in deliverability. A high rate indicates there is an issue with the contact list or campaigns, which should be investigated further.
Using email verification tools can help keep a handle on hard bounces. These services allow email marketers to check the validity of an email address before sending it, flagging up any potential issues with the address while it is still within the marketer’s control.
To ensure hard bounce rates stay low, marketers should also make sure their email lists are kept up to date. This can involve eliminating duplicates, removing any email addresses that have bounced repeatedly, and purging any old contacts that are no longer relevant. Certain autoresponders can also help to autodelete any invalid addresses that slip through the net.
Finally, marketers should make sure that their content is up to scratch. Sending irrelevant content or emails without a clear call to action can drastically reduce engagement and deliverability, so campaigns need to be tailored to the individual relationship with each contact.
When sending any email campaigns, marketers should constantly monitor the results and take action if they see any issues. Keeping an eye on the bounce rate in particular should help identify any problems quickly, allowing them to be corrected before they impact the deliverability of future campaigns.