When I first tried my hand at email marketing, I was amazed at the words I had to learn. The first few months I was learning about email marketing what words really meant.

What terms bothered me the most?  hard and soft bounce.

Sure, I know these are email delivery terms. One is bad, one is never bad. And somehow I always connect them to each other (even today, I have to check three times to make sure I’m on-point).

And I suspect I am not alone. Since hard and soft bounce rates are two important email marketing metrics you should look out for, here’s a quick guide to these two email marketing rules.

Soft bounce vs hard bounce – The Noticeable Point of Difference


Hard bounce vs soft bounce
via: cxl


you can receive two types of bounces – soft bounce/block or hard bounce. Think of soft bounces as short-term problem blocks — you do not have to permanently remove these addresses from your list. However, hard bounce invalid or non-existent addresses should be removed immediately.

Soft bounce

A soft bounce means the email address is valid and the email message has reached the recipient’s mail server. However, the most common reasons for it to bounce back are:

  • Mailbox is full (user has exceeded his quota)
  • The server is down
  • Message to recipient inbox too large

Try to continue to attempt to send these messages for up to 72 hours until the message is delivered. If the message is suspended for 72 consecutive hours, then the email provider may blacklist these addresses. (The deferred list is not the suppressed list.)

Hard bounce

A hard bounce occurs when a message is permanently rejected because:

  • The email address is incorrect or does not exist
  • No email addresses

These hard bounced addresses into a suppression list. This means that if you send a message to that customer through us, we will not even try to deliver to that address, because we know it’s not good anymore. Continuing the attempt to send to a known bad address will damage your reputation with the recipient, so we will prevent this.

How to improve your bounce rate?


Hard bounce vs soft bounce


The best way to reduce the number of bounces is to follow some key email delivery best practices. It includes the following:

Maintain a good hygiene list: Clear your list regularly of invalid emails and unresponsive ones. High bounce rates can affect the reputation of your sender so keeping your listings clean will greatly help you achieve higher email delivery rates. On the Getresponse platform, you can review and manage your bounce lists directly from your dashboard. Here, you can purge block or hard bounce after specific days and specify whether you want to forward these bounce messages via email. Learn about ESPs

Use the double opt-in: Send a confirmation email when users subscribe to your list. This way you can not only ensure that the user’s email is valid, but that they want to receive your email messages. Learn more about opt-in

Monitor your email delivery: Track your email delivery rates by paying close attention to your bounce rates and your response rates. With regular monitoring, you can catch them before potential failures occur or do more damage.

Achieving high email delivery rates can be a challenge, but not if you know the ropes. For more tips, download our best practice guide: Tips and tricks to stay away from the spam folder.

Time to pre-manage your email lists


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When there is a hard or soft bounce, it means it’s time to lift your sleeves and dig your straps. Repeatedly sending emails to highly bouncing addresses can signal to Internet Service Providers (ISPs) that you have poor listing hygiene practices.

We recommend that you review your bounce stats at least once a week. Depending on the size and scope of your email marketing program, you may want to check more often or more frequently during the peak season.

Data quality is an important metric for ISPs when deciding whether or not to spam your emails and contributes to the reputation of your sender.

Managing your email list in advance is good not only for deliveries but also for engagement. (This is a good idea to deliver.) When you send a neat list, it’s possible to send it to people who want to receive it and are engaged with your email. It was a win-win.

Hope you liked this information. Don’t forget to spread the word and leave comments. Thank you.

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