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How to avoid high bounce rates…

In general you can expect about 10% of your mailings are going to be reported as bounces. If your bounce rates are considerably higher than this then there are a few things you may want to look at. It could be that your mail server is rejecting mailings from being sent due to the content in your messages or you have been blacklisted. Another explanation for why your email delivery failure may be high is that the mail server you are using is either temporarily down or it is unreachable. High bounce rates impact your campaign not only because the sender’s reputation suffers but the delivery rate to valid email addresses is slowed. For this reason it is very important to keep your subscriber lists clean.

Bounces generally fall into one of two categories, hard bounces and soft bounces. What is typically referred to as a hard bounce is a mailing that was returned by a recipient mail server. This could be because the address is either invalid or the domain name doesn’t exist or is not recognized.

Examples of hard bounces which are defined by bounce codes in Email Marketing include:

5.0.0 – Hard – Address does not exist
5.1.1 – Hard – Bad destination mailbox address
5.1.6 – Hard – Mailbox has moved
5.1.7 – Hard – Bad sender’s mailbox address syntax
5.1.8 – Hard – Bad sender’s system address
5.3.2 Hard System not accepting network messages
5.2.3 Hard Message length exceeds administrative limit

In general a soft bounce is returned because of a temporary problem having to do with the email address or the recipient’s email server. For example, even if the email address you are sending to is valid the message could still bounce if the recipient’s mailbox is full.

Examples of soft bounces which are defined by bounce codes in Email Marketing include:

5.2.0 Soft Other or undefined mailbox status
5.3.1 Soft Mail system full
5.5.3 Soft Too many recipients

You can reduce the number of bounces in your lists by including unsubscription links in your mailings, you can have Email Marketing add an unsubscribe link to your mailings automatically or through a personalization tag. Another thing you can do is add an update profile link to your mailing, Email Marketing includes an update your profile personalization tag which you can also easily insert into your mailing. Another way to decrease bounces is to have addresses removed through setting up bounce management. In Email Marketing you can set up a cron job, cron_bounce.php that will cycle through your list and remove hard and soft bounces after a set number of times. Unless you set up this cron job you will need to manually run the bounce check until Email Marketing cycles through all your mailings and removes addresses after they bounce a set number of times. Bounces will not show up in statistics unless bounce management is set up using a POP account for bounces and if no bounce management is selected all bounces will be sent to the From sender’s address.

Another good idea is to include custom fields for phone or address so that you can use the phone or mail to update the address of those subscribers that bounce. Follow this link for more email marketing tips.

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