How to Reduce Email Bounce Rate and Improve Deliverability

After all the sweat, blood, and tears you gave to craft a valuable email for your subscribers, it’s finally time to hit the send button. But, after you send them, a large chunk of your subscribers end up not getting it. Can you even imagine the horror?

Bounced emails aren’t a new kid on the block when it comes to email marketing. Whether your subscribers no longer have access to their emails or the email server is under construction, it happens.

The higher the email bounce rate you have, the higher chances it’ll hurt your email deliverability. According to a study, the accepted benchmark for email bounce rate is around two percent. It means for every 100 emails you send, it’s normal to see two emails be returned to you. Meanwhile, if you see your email bounce rate is over five percent, it’s time to bring that number down to a healthier range by taking some actions.

Fortunately, reducing the email bounce rate doesn’t have to be a head-scratcher. Here are some powerful ways to make sure your emails land smoothly in your subscribers’ inboxes.

1. Update and Clean Your Email List Regularly

One of the most common reasons your emails bounce is that a subscriber no longer has access to the email account. In this situation, you can avoid it by updating your email list regularly. It doesn’t mean that you have to remove email addresses from that list and build a new one from scratch regularly.

It’s about getting rid of inactive users and subscribers who never opened your emails to keep your list healthy and active. This way, it’d be much easier for you to focus on the subscribers who really have an interest in your brand and email campaigns. Below are some handy ways to constantly update and clean your email list:

  • Request feedback on every email you send so you know which email address worth keeping in
  • Ask your subscribers to let you know if anything changes with polls or forms.
  • Request another opt-in for the least-engaged subscribers.
  • Make it easy to unsubscribe so the unengaged subscribers won’t have to report your emails because the process is too difficult.

2. Avoid Alerting the Dreaded Spam Filter

A report shows that 80 percent of daily emails are spam, resulting in an estimated 140 billion spam emails sent every single day. So, it should come as no surprise that your bounced emails end up in subscribers’ spam folders. The reason is that the spam filter detected your emails as spam and might even unconsciously be falling into them.

Without you even knowing, you might’ve included some content or even phrases on your emails that trigger the spam filter to identify you as a spammer. Broken images, too many links, inappropriate terms can easily put the spam detector on red alert. Emails that are poorly structured and have terrible formatting can also end up in the spam folder.

Here are some actionable tips to prevent emails from going to spam and maximize your email deliverability:

  • Use a trusted IP address to send your emails.
  • Always warm up a new IP address slowly with a low send volume before sending many emails at once with it.
  • Pay attention to your email format, content, and layout. Always avoid including spam-related elements and try not to put all the content in one email.

3. Use Your Verified Own-Custom Domain

Consider investing in an own-custom domain that represents your organization and avoid using free domains like Gmail or Yahoo. Not only does custom domain make you more professional and authoritative, but it also helps you tell the receiving email server that you’re a legitimate sender — which can make it easier for your emails to reach subscribers’ inboxes.

After you get your own custom domain, it’s crucial to authenticate or verify it. Domain authentication helps you verify that the domain used in your email address is all under your control. That way, it can prevent others from sending emails on behalf of you without your permission, helping you protect your subscribers from phishing scams, attacks, and spammers.

There are three primary methods of email authentication to reduce your bounce rate:

  • Sender Policy Framework (SPF). It’s a mechanism that specifies specific servers/ hosts authorized to send an email for a domain on your behalf.
  • Domain Key Identified Mail (DKIM). It uses an encrypted signature to verify if the email sender is who they say they are. It also gives the key to the recipient to check back your DNS records.
  • Domain-Based Message Authentication Reporting and Conformance (DMARC). It compiles the signals from SPF and DKIM to accurately identify whether an email is authorized or not.

4. Rely on A/B Split Testing

Not all emails perform and are created the same. Some of your emails might give you a better result than others. That’s why you need to test out which subject lines, CTA buttons, email copy, content your subscribers engaged in the most with A/B split testing.

To do an A/B split testing, you should create two versions of an email to see which one performs best and see if it helps you reduce your bounce rate at all. With the comparison, you’ll get solid insight into which areas you need to double down on or need some improvements in.

Here are some elements you need to pay attention to while performing A/B testing so you can steadily improve your email quality and minimize the bounce rate:

  • The length of subject lines
  • Word order
  • Email content
  • Visual content (including infographics, photos, explainer videos, etc.)
  • Call-to-actions buttons or text

Wrapping Up:  Keep Track of Your Email Bounce Rate and Deliverability

A higher email bounce rate won’t only hurt your overall email deliverability but also hurt your reputation as a sender. If you don’t pay closer attention to your email bounce rate and deliverability, you’ll see a decrease in engagement levels, open rates, lower click-through rates — which all can lead to a lower number of sales.

Hopefully, the best practices mentioned above give you an understanding of how to create emails that reach your subscribers’ inboxes so you can reap all the benefits you deserve from your email marketing campaigns. Best of luck with your next email marketing campaign!

Author:
Andre Oentoro is the founder of Breadnbeyond, an award-winning explainer video company. He helps businesses increase conversion rates, close more sales, and get positive ROI from explainer videos (in that order).

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