Email Marketing Downfalls: Avoid Soft & Hard Bounces

Email Marketing Downfalls: Avoid Soft & Hard Bounces -

Bounces occur when an email can’t be delivered to an email address. When an email bounces, it is classified as either a soft or a hard bounce.  Below, you’ll learn about types of bounces, guidelines for bounce limits, and how to handle high bounce rates.

Types of Bounces

Hard bounces are addresses denied for delivery due to invalid emails or an unexpected error during sending. Soft bounces are recognized by the recipient’s mail server but are returned to the sender because the mailbox is either full or temporarily unavailable. Read about the differences between hard and soft bounces and how they’re handled through our system.

ISPs and Bounce Rates

ISPs have set thresholds for bounces, unsubscribes, and abuse complaints that ESPs like MailChimp , are required to enforce. If these thresholds are exceeded, it could prompt a warning, or even an account suspension.
Thresholds fluctuate throughout the year based on the incoming send volume to a respective ISP’s email domain. Because thresholds are in relative flux, and to avoid inadvertently assisting spammers, ISPs do not publicly release their threshold schedules. If you’re taking proper steps to subscribe people to your list and practicing clean list-keeping, you shouldn’t need to worry about exceeding these limits.

How to Reduce Bounce Rates

High bounce rates are often caused by lists that have gone stale, or addresses that were improperly entered or imported. Reconfirm your list to ensure your subscriber’s interest and contact information is up to date. In general, we encourage you to use best practices while maintaining your list and tracking subscriber engagement over time.

Use a double opt-in process

Implement a double opt-in process to manage new subscribers. Accounts that use double opt-in experience fewer issues than those that use a single opt-in process. When you use double opt-in, you can be certain that the email address is valid.
Actively monitor subscriber engagement. Monitor subscriber engagement to help you maintain a healthy list of subscribers, and use MailChimp tools to improve your content and win back inactive subscribers. List data such as member-activity ratings can help you track engagement.When a subscriber’s email server rejects an email, it’s called a bounce. There are different types of bounces that depend on the reason the email bounced. These details can be found in your campaign report. It’s a good idea to keep a close eye on your bounce numbers to be sure your campaigns are reaching your subscribers, and that you’re abiding by spam laws.

Hard Bounces

A hard bounce indicates a permanent reason an email cannot be delivered. In most cases, bounced email addresses are removed automatically and immediately from the active subscribers and placed in the Cleaned portion of your list. Cleaned subscribers will be excluded from future campaign sends to this list. While there are many reasons an email address may hard bounce, below are some common reasons this could happen.

  • Recipient email address does not exist.
  • Domain name does not exist.
  • Recipient email server has completely blocked delivery.

Soft Bounces

Soft bounces typically indicate a temporary delivery issue to an address and are handled differently than hard bounces by MailChimp. When an email address soft bounces, it will immediately display as a soft bounce in the campaign report.

If an email address continues to soft bounce in additional campaigns, the address will eventually be considered a hard bounce and cleaned from your list. We’ll allow seven soft bounces for an email address with no subscriber activity and up to 15 soft bounces for subscribers with previous subscriber activity before converting a soft bounce into a hard bounce. While there are many reasons an email address may soft bounce, below are some common reasons this could happen.

  • Mailbox is full (over quota).
  • Recipient email server is down or offline.
  • Email message is too large.

Why Choose MailChimp for Your email marketing campaign?

One of the features that I really love about Mailchimp is the automation options. As an entry-level online marketer, I found this to be the best way to be introduced to automation and work on content for the customer journey. MailChimp is free when you start, so I suggest you register and account and spend some time using it. You’ll always be able to move your list elsewhere before paying.

Segmenting your lists is easy, once you get a grasp on the concept of groups. The range of integrations are really beneficial along with the easy to add lists, fun and user-friendly interface, and easy to build emails.

Free accounts are limited to 2,000 subscribers and 12,000 emails a month.

Email Marketing Downfalls: Avoid Soft & Hard Bounces

Email marketing is a game changer. But, it’s not as easy as hitting ‘send’. It’s like a minefield, littered with potential downfalls. Every marketer has to navigate through these obstacles, especially those pesky soft and hard bounces.

One moment, you’re sending out a brilliant campaign, fingers crossed for a high open rate. The next, you’re staring at a bounce report that’s longer than your morning coffee order. It’s a marketer’s worst nightmare.

But, why does this happen? What causes these bounces? And more importantly, how can you stop them from sabotaging your email marketing efforts?

Let’s dive in and find out. Through this post, you’ll get to explore the murky waters of email marketing downfalls, specifically soft and hard bounces. You’ll learn what they are, why they happen, and how to keep them at bay to ensure your emails always land safely in your customers’ inboxes.

Buckle up and let’s navigate this minefield together. By the end, you’ll have the tools to avoid soft and hard bounces and make your email marketing campaign a smashing success.

Email Marketing Downfalls: Avoid Soft & Hard Bounces

Mistake 1: Uninviting and Unwelcome Sender Email Addresses

When it comes to email marketing, your sender email address plays a crucial role in determining whether your emails will be opened or immediately sent to the spam folder. Using uninviting or unwelcome sender email addresses can significantly decrease your email open rates and increase the chances of your emails bouncing.

Think about it: would you open an email from a sender address like or Probably not. These types of email addresses lack personalization and make it seem like the sender doesn’t want to engage with the recipient.

To avoid this mistake, it’s essential to use a sender email address that is inviting, recognizable, and preferably contains your brand name or a variation of it. For example, instead of using, you could use or This gives your emails a personal touch and makes them more likely to be opened.

Importance of Sender’s Name

Along with the email address, the sender’s name is another crucial factor in email open rates. When recipients see an email from an unfamiliar name, they are less likely to trust or open it. On the other hand, if the sender’s name is recognizable and trustworthy, recipients are more likely to engage with the email.

To avoid this mistake, make sure to use a sender’s name that recipients will recognize and associate with your brand. It could be the name of your CEO, a prominent team member, or your brand name itself. Using a recognizable sender’s name builds trust and increases the chances of your emails being opened and read.

Use of Recognizable Name

In addition to using a recognizable sender’s name, it’s also important to ensure that the name you choose is consistent across all your email campaigns. This consistency helps recipients recognize your brand and builds familiarity and trust over time.

Imagine receiving emails from different sender names every time. It would create confusion and make it difficult for recipients to connect the emails to your brand. To avoid this confusion, stick to a consistent sender’s name for all your email campaigns.

By using a recognizable and consistent sender’s name, you establish a strong brand presence in the minds of your recipients. This familiarity increases the likelihood of your emails being opened and read, ultimately leading to higher engagement and better overall email marketing results.

Remember, the sender’s email address and name are the first things recipients see when they receive your emails. Making them inviting, recognizable, and consistent is crucial to avoid soft and hard bounces and maximize the success of your email marketing campaigns.

Stay tuned for more mistakes to avoid in our upcoming articles!

Mistake 2: Majority of Emails Opened on Mobile Devices

Hey there, fellow marketers! Today, we’re diving headfirst into the second common mistake in email marketing: not optimizing emails for mobile devices. So grab your smartphones and let’s get started!

The Rise of Mobile Email Checking

Did you know that the majority of emails are now opened on mobile devices? In this fast-paced digital age, where our smartphones are practically glued to our hands, it’s no wonder that checking emails on the go has become the norm.

Think about it – how many times have you found yourself scrolling through your inbox while waiting for your coffee, riding the subway, or even during those dreaded commercial breaks? Mobile email checking has become a daily habit for most of us, making it essential to cater to this growing trend.

The Necessity of Mobile-Friendly Email Design

With the increasing prevalence of mobile email checking, it’s crucial to ensure that your email designs are mobile-friendly. But what does that mean exactly?

Well, my dear readers, it means crafting emails that adapt to different screen sizes, load quickly, and are easy to navigate with a touch of a finger. Nobody likes squinting at tiny text or struggling to click on tiny buttons, am I right?

A mobile-friendly email design enhances the user experience and boosts engagement. Plus, it shows your subscribers that you care about their convenience and value their time. After all, a happy subscriber is more likely to convert into a customer!

Adapt to Different Screen Sizes

Picture this: your email is beautifully designed, complete with stunning visuals and captivating content. But when your subscriber opens it on their phone, they see a jumbled mess because the email wasn’t optimized for mobile. Yikes!

To avoid this nightmare scenario, ensure that your email design adapts seamlessly to different screen sizes. Elements like font sizes, images, and buttons should scale down gracefully, maintaining legibility and usability across devices.

Speed Up Load Times

Patience may be a virtue, but it seems to be in short supply these days. When it comes to mobile email, subscribers expect lightning-fast load times. If your email takes forever to load, your readers will likely lose interest and move on to something else. And who can blame them?

Optimizing your email for mobile means optimizing load times too. Keep your email file size lean by compressing images and minimizing the use of complex HTML code. Your subscribers will thank you for the speedy delivery of your content!

Enhance Touchscreen Navigation

Remember the days when we navigated websites and emails using a trusty mouse pointer? Well, those days are long gone, my friends. With mobile devices, we’re all about fingers and thumbs!

When designing your mobile-friendly emails, make sure buttons and links are large enough to be easily tapped with a finger. Nobody wants to play a game of “Where’s Waldo?” just to find the elusive unsubscribe button. Keep it simple and allow for effortless navigation!

In this day and age, where mobile devices rule the roost, it’s crucial to optimize your email campaigns for mobile viewing. Remember, the majority of emails are opened on mobile devices, so why not give your subscribers the best experience possible?

By adapting to different screen sizes, speeding up load times, and enhancing touchscreen navigation, you’ll be well on your way to email marketing success. So go ahead and take that extra step to ensure your emails are mobile-friendly. Your subscribers will thank you, and you’ll reap the rewards!

Stay tuned for more email marketing downfalls to avoid in our upcoming articles. Until then, keep those mobile-friendly emails rolling and watch your open rates soar!

Mistake 3: Tailoring Your Message to Different Audiences

When it comes to email marketing, one of the biggest mistakes businesses make is using a “one size fits all” approach. In today’s world, where personalization is key, sending the same generic message to all of your subscribers is a surefire way to get ignored. To truly engage your audience and drive conversions, you need to tailor your message to different audiences.

Importance of Relevance in Marketing

Relevance is the holy grail of marketing. If your message isn’t relevant to your audience, it’s likely to be ignored or deleted without a second thought. CEOs have different priorities and challenges compared to end-users, and it’s important to recognize these differences. By understanding your audience and their specific needs, you can create tailored messages that resonate with them on a personal level.

Tailoring Your Message

Tailoring your message doesn’t mean reinventing the wheel for each subscriber. It simply means customizing your content and language to address the unique pain points and interests of different segments of your audience. Here are a few strategies to help you get started:

  1. Segmentation: Divide your email list into different segments based on demographics, behavior, or purchase history. This allows you to send more targeted messages that speak directly to each segment’s needs and interests.
  2. Personalization: Use personalization tokens to dynamically insert each subscriber’s name or other relevant information into your emails. This small touch can make a big difference in capturing their attention.
  3. A/B Testing: Experiment with different versions of your email content to see which resonates best with each segment. By analyzing the results, you can refine your messaging and optimize your campaigns for better performance.
  4. Customer Journey Mapping: Understand where each segment of your audience is in their customer journey. Tailor your message based on their stage, whether they’re new prospects, repeat customers, or somewhere in between.

By taking the time to tailor your message to different audiences, you’ll show your subscribers that you understand their unique needs and that you’re here to provide value. This personal touch can go a long way in building trust and fostering long-term relationships with your customers.

Remember, email marketing is all about engaging your audience and driving action. By avoiding the mistake of using a generic “one size fits all” approach, you’ll be well on your way to creating successful email campaigns that deliver results.

Now that we’ve covered the importance of tailoring your message, let’s move on to the next mistake to avoid in email marketing. Stay tuned for Mistake 4: Neglecting Email List Maintenance.

Mistake 4: Significance of Clean and Up-to-Date Email Lists

In the world of email marketing, having a clean and up-to-date email list is crucial for success. Neglecting this aspect can lead to a number of downfalls, including soft and hard bounces. In this section, we will explore the significance of clean and up-to-date email lists, as well as the benefits of segmentation and personalization.

The Importance of Clean and Up-to-Date Email Lists

Maintaining a clean email list is essential for effective email marketing. A clean list consists of active and engaged subscribers who are interested in your content. On the other hand, an outdated or unclean list is filled with inactive or disinterested subscribers, which can negatively impact your email deliverability and engagement rates.

When you have a clean and up-to-date email list, you are able to:

  1. Increase Deliverability: ISPs (Internet Service Providers) are more likely to deliver your emails to the inbox if you have a clean list. This means that your messages have a higher chance of reaching your subscribers and not ending up in the spam folder.
  2. Improve Engagement: With a clean list, you are able to target your active and interested subscribers, leading to higher open and click-through rates. This ultimately improves the overall engagement of your email campaigns.
  3. Minimize Bounces: Soft and hard bounces occur when your email is undeliverable to a recipient. By regularly cleaning your email list, you can remove invalid or non-existent email addresses, reducing the number of bounces and improving your sender reputation.

The Benefits of Segmentation and Personalization

Segmentation and personalization are powerful strategies that go hand in hand with clean and up-to-date email lists. These techniques allow you to tailor your email content to specific groups of subscribers, resulting in increased relevance and engagement. Here are some key benefits of segmentation and personalization:

  1. Enhanced Relevance: By segmenting your email list based on demographics, interests, or past interactions, you can deliver content that is highly relevant to each group. This level of personalization makes your subscribers feel understood and increases the chances of them taking action.
  2. Improved Conversion Rates: When you send targeted and personalized emails, you are more likely to see higher conversion rates. Subscribers are more inclined to respond to offers or calls to action that are specifically tailored to their needs or preferences.
  3. Strengthened Customer Relationships: By showing your subscribers that you understand their individual needs, you can build stronger and more meaningful relationships. This leads to increased loyalty and customer satisfaction.

In conclusion, having a clean and up-to-date email list is vital for the success of your email marketing campaigns. It improves deliverability, boosts engagement, and minimizes bounces. Additionally, implementing segmentation and personalization strategies can further enhance the effectiveness of your emails, leading to increased relevance, improved conversion rates, and stronger customer relationships. Don’t underestimate the power of a clean email list and the benefits it can bring to your business.

Mistake 5: A/B Testing for Email Optimization, Improving Open Rates and Engagement

In order to maximize the effectiveness of your email marketing campaigns, it’s crucial to continually optimize and improve various aspects of your emails. One of the most effective ways to do this is through A/B testing. By testing different elements of your emails and analyzing the results, you can make data-driven decisions to enhance open rates and engagement. In this section, we’ll explore the importance of A/B testing and provide valuable tips to help you improve the performance of your email marketing campaigns.

A/B Testing: The Key to Email Optimization

A/B testing, also known as split testing, is a method where you compare two versions of an email to determine which one performs better. By testing different variables such as subject lines, email copy, call-to-action buttons, and even images, you can gain valuable insights into what resonates best with your audience.

When conducting A/B tests, it’s important to focus on one variable at a time to accurately measure its impact. For example, you could test two different subject lines to see which one generates higher open rates. Once you identify the winning version, you can implement it in future campaigns to improve overall performance.

Improving Open Rates with A/B Testing

  1. Subject Lines: The subject line is the first thing recipients see in their inbox, so it needs to be compelling enough to grab their attention. A/B test different subject lines to see which ones result in higher open rates. Experiment with personalization, emojis, or urgency to see what resonates with your audience.
  2. Preheader Text: The preheader text appears right after the subject line in some email clients. It provides additional context and can influence recipients to open the email. Test different preheader texts to optimize open rates.
  3. Sender Name: The sender name plays a significant role in whether an email gets opened or not. Test using different sender names, such as a person’s name or your company’s name, to see which one generates higher open rates.

Increasing Engagement through A/B Testing

  1. Email Design: A well-designed email can captivate recipients and encourage them to engage with your content. Test different layouts, colors, fonts, and images to find the optimal design that resonates with your audience.
  2. Call-to-Action Buttons: The call-to-action (CTA) button is a crucial element of your email. Test different variations of the CTA, such as different colors, text, or placement, to determine which one leads to higher click-through rates.
  3. Personalization: Tailoring your emails to individual recipients can significantly boost engagement. Test personalized content, such as using the recipient’s name or including dynamic content based on their past interactions, to see if it improves click-through rates.

A/B testing is an essential practice for optimizing your email marketing campaigns. By testing different variables and analyzing the results, you can make informed decisions that improve open rates and engagement. Remember to focus on one variable at a time to accurately measure its impact. Continually refine your emails based on the insights gained from A/B testing, and you’ll see significant improvements in the performance of your email marketing efforts.


In conclusion, avoiding soft and hard bounces is crucial for a successful email marketing campaign. Soft bounces occur when an email is temporarily undeliverable, often due to a full inbox or a server issue. On the other hand, hard bounces happen when an email is permanently undeliverable, usually due to an invalid or nonexistent email address.

By minimizing soft and hard bounces, you can improve your email deliverability and engagement rates. To achieve this, it’s important to maintain a clean and updated email list, regularly remove inactive or invalid addresses, and use double opt-ins to ensure the accuracy of your subscriber data.

In addition, focusing on providing valuable and relevant content to your subscribers can help reduce the chances of bounces. Tailor your emails to meet their needs and interests, and avoid using excessive sales language that may turn them off.

Furthermore, optimizing your emails for mobile devices is crucial in today’s mobile-driven world. Test your emails across different devices to ensure they display properly, have readable fonts, and engaging visuals. Neglecting mobile optimization can lead to high bounce rates and missed opportunities to connect with your audience.

Overall, by paying attention to these common email marketing downfalls and implementing the necessary strategies to avoid them, you can enhance the effectiveness of your email campaigns and achieve better results for your business. Remember, delivering valuable content, optimizing for mobile, and maintaining a clean email list are key to a successful email marketing strategy.