This post was contributed by Bharti Jain, Senior Content Writer at Clearout

Email marketing can be a profitable online marketing technique, but it’s not an easy feat! Creating the perfect email campaign can take a lot of effort and hard work — imagine the level of disappointment if you find out that some of your audience didn’t even receive the email because it bounced back as soon as you sent it!

Bounces are an inevitable part of email marketing, but you have the power to bring your bounce rate down to a lower level. Here are the major reasons that emails bounce:

  • Wrong email address: The email sent will bounce back if the recipient’s email address is invalid
  • Invalid domain name: Nonexistent domain name
  • IP reputation: Sending emails through an IP with a bad sender reputation can result in email bounces
  • Email server: The recipient’s email address can block email delivery
  • Spammy content: A subject line or body of the email containing spam elements can lead to emails being caught in spam filters.

2% or lower is considered an acceptable email bounce rate. A higher rate means you need to follow these 8 tips:

  1. Authenticate your domain
  2. Avoid using free sender domains
  3. Consider using double opt-in
  4. Clean your email lists regularly
  5. Test and segment your email lists
  6. Create engaging email content
  7. Use a good Email Service Provider (ESP)
  8. Maintain analysis of email deliverability and performance

8 ways to lower your bounce rate

1. Authenticate your domain

SPF, DMARC, DKIM are the three major methods of email authentication — but research shows that approximately 80% of users still use domains without such policy.

Domain authentication prevents negative security alerts from going to recipients. It has a positive impact on the email deliverability rates and sender reputation, which ultimately reduce the email bounce rate.

2. Avoid using free sender domains

Make sure that you have a professional domain before launching an email marketing campaign. Using free email domains, like ‘gmail.com’, can increase the chances of being marked as spam, which can hurt your email sender reputation and increase your email bounce rate. To pass the DMARC policy check, use your business domain instead of Yahoo, Gmail, AOL, etc.

3. Consider using double opt-in

Use double opt-in to reduce the number of scam or fake signups. The difference between double opt-in and single opt-in comes down to whether subscribers have to confirm their subscription to your emails (double opt-in) or whether they’re signed up right after submitting their email addresses (single opt-in). The advantage of double opt-in over single opt-in is that you’ll know the email address is from a valid, monitored inbox.

Double opt-in is highly recommended for companies who aren’t primarily focused on audience growth, or who have had low open rates or abuse complaints in the past.

4. Clean your email lists regularly

One of the most dependable and trusted ways to reduce email bounce rate is by maintaining the hygiene of your email database. The way unhygienic food can get you ill, an unhygienic email list can kill your whole email marketing campaign.

Regular cleanup of email databases ensures active users stay on the list, higher deliverability rates, higher open rates, and lower bounce backs, ultimately building a strong sender reputation. There are multiple bulk email validation tools present to identify the valid and invalid email addresses.

5. Test and segment your email lists

Personalization of emails works 6x times better than sending out generic emails — people love a personal touch.

Example of an email drip sequence:

  1. A welcome email introducing yourself and your product
  2. If the prospect replies, the next email should respond to their response
  3. If the prospect doesn’t open your email, send a reminder with an attention-grabbing subject line
  4. If the prospect opens your second email and still doesn’t respond, send them a deal they cannot resist

Establishing segmented communication ensures that your email lands in the recipient’s inbox, which can improve the performance of your email campaigns.

6. Create engaging email content

Content plays a major role in the success of your email marketing. Do you open every email that lands in your inbox? Do you open an email with a boring subject line? How many seconds does it take you to close an email if you don’t like the design or the beginning of the email doesn’t give you a clear picture?

In short, focus on the content. Make sure that it’s short, sweet, and to the point. Otherwise, prospects may start deleting your emails without even opening them — or marking them as spam, which can hurt your sender reputation and even get your address blocked permanently.

7. Use a good Email Service Provider (ESP)

Some ESPs (like ActiveCampaign!) integrate with email validation tools like Clearout. Using an ESP for an email marketing campaign without prior verification of your contact list is a risk and can lead to a suspension of your account. Make sure to verify your email list before sending your campaign. Damage to your sender reputation takes time to recover and, in future campaigns, you may face a higher bounce rate.

8. Maintain analysis of email deliverability and performance

A smart campaigner knows ‘what hasn’t worked today, may work tomorrow;’ therefore, continuous analysis and A/B testing of your campaigns can help you update your email marketing as needed.

Keep a constant eye on the bounce rates, open rates, complaint rates, and response rates. The longer the issues go undetected, the more likely it is that you will get a bad sender reputation, negatively impacting email deliverability.

I have a high bounce rate! Where do I start?

In most cases, people ignore the verification of their email database because they don’t realize the impact of sending emails to wrong addresses.

The usual attitude I come across is, “Even if 20%-30% of the email addresses are invalid out of the database I have, I will still make a profit.” They don’t realize that the “20%-30%” is enough to damage their sender reputation. If you are one of these people, start with verification of your email database.

Otherwise, all of the steps mentioned above are equally important — make sure you follow all of them before sending out your next email marketing campaign.

Bharti Jain is a senior content writer at Clearout. Earlier involved in the finance field, now she has completely switched towards content writing and content marketing. Together with writing articles, she is interested in creating vlogs and demo videos and designing social media content.