Guide to improving email bounce rate and the overall performance of your email campaings.

Email Bounce Rate: How to Reduce It In 9 Effective Ways

Lilit Yeranyan

Table of Contents

Imagine a situation when you have prepared a really cool gift, and somehow, your package wasn’t delivered to the right place. That’s quite disappointing, right?

Now, imagine you build outstanding link building outreach campaigns with great offers, but your messages don’t reach recipients’ inboxes. You will be frustrated in this case, too. 

So, what should you do? In the first case, I guess, choose a reliable package shipping company. But in the second case, you definitely should keep an eye on and reduce the email bounce rate.  

Research by MailerLite proves that the average email bounce rate is 0.48% across each industry. Keeping email bounce rates low ensures higher deliverability and guarantees your important messages will actually land in your potential link building partners’ inboxes. 

So, keep reading the article to discover the email bounce rate and ensure your campaign’s success.

But first, let’s discuss what email bounce rate is.

What is Email Bounce Rate?

Email bounce rate is an important metric that calculates the percentage of emails that don’t reach your target email leads inboxes. The messages you send bounce back and don’t get delivered for several reasons you must find and solve.

The important thing to keep in mind is that the email bounce rate defines the success of your email campaigns, including link building outreach. A high email bounce rate is a sign that your outreach messages for link building don’t reach your potential link building partners’ inboxes. 

On the other hand, a low bounce rate will ensure that your messages are delivered and that you can reach your link building goals.

Ok, now we know what email bounce rate is, but what are the types of email bounces you should know and try to decrease?  

Types of Email Bounces: What You Should Know

There are two types of email bounces: hard and soft.

Soft email bounce

Soft email bounces are less harmful because they are caused by temporary delivery issues. The recipients’ inboxes can be full, or their email server may not work for some time.

It’s worth noting that in the case of soft bounces, your email can eventually reach people’s inboxes after several retries or with the next email that service providers automatically send.  

Although soft bounces are less harmful than hard bounces, you should fix them, too. It includes ensuring your emails don’t have any spam triggers. Another tactic is testing and finding the best time to reach your audience. That’s why you must monitor these addresses carefully. 

Remember, a soft bounce can turn into a hard one,  so you need to take the necessary steps to avoid that scenario. 

But wait, we forgot to talk about what exactly hard bounces are.

Hard email bounce

A hard email bounce is more permanent and harmful and is a sign of a bigger delivery problem. You may message an invalid email address or an outdated and fake domain.  

A high hard bounce rate is a clear sign that your email list is not healthy, and you can really harm the sender’s reputation.

So, can you do anything at this stage? Of course, you can:  When you discover these hard-bounce email addresses, you need to remove them from your email list as soon as possible. Also, implementing email authentication protocols can be quite a smart decision at this stage.

Ideally, you should try to reduce all types of email bounces. But what is the ideal bounce rate that you should try to maintain?

In the next part, we will find the answer to that question.

What is the Ideal Email Bounce Rate?

In the ideal world, you should try to keep your average email bounce rate below 2%, as it signals that your email content is non-spammy and relevant.

If your bounce rate is higher than usual, let’s say 3%, it’s not okay, and there is something to think about. But if it is 5% or higher, you should dedicate all your efforts to checking the health of your email list and cleaning it as soon as possible. 

Now that you know what an acceptable email marketing bounce rate is, it’s time to discuss how to calculate it.

How email bounce rate is calculated

Calculating your email list can actually be quite a simple process. The email service provider you use should give data about the bounced email addresses. All you need to do is divide the number of those bounces by the number of total sent emails. 

The formula looks like this:

Bounce rate = number of bounced emails ÷ number of sent emails × 100.

Let’s say you send 1000 emails, and out of those, 2000 emails get bounced. You can calculate the email bounce rate in this way: 200 / 1000 X 100 = 2%

As you already know, 2% is close to the ideal rate. But what should you do when you discover the bounce rate is high? The first thing you need to do is to discover the causes of email bounces. Only by doing it can you come up with effective solutions to get an ideal bounce rate.

So, it’s the perfect time to talk about why your email bounce rate is high.

Why is my email bounce rate so high

There are several common causes of email bounces; learning them in detail will be one of the first steps to avoiding them.

  • Your email content has some issues

Your email messages may bounce if your email content includes some spammy words or if the formatting is suspicious for spam filters. The latter can be related to overusing certain HTML tags and images or including aggressive text styling.

  • Email addresses in your list are invalid

Invalid email addresses are the most common reason for email bouncing. These addresses do not exist or are outdated, so your messages will definitely bounce. Or when you have typos in your email address, your messages won’t be delivered again.

  • There are some technical issues

Sometimes, the causes of email bounces can be temporary technical problems when the email server is under maintenance or temporarily down. So, your potential link building prospects haven’t received your message yet. But you can send a message again later, or you can organize automatic email re-sending.

  • Your address is blocked by the server

The recipient’s email server might have blocked your email address because they probably marked your email domain as spam and don’t want to receive messages from you. To avoid this case, you need to verify your domain and ensure that your message is free from spam-like content.

  • The recipient’s inboxes are full

If a recipient’s inbox is full, your emails will bounce back. You can again try to deliver your message later when the recipient has cleared space in their mailbox.

  • Your email is too large 

If your email is too big for the recipient’s server, it will definitely bounce. Email services have their own set of limitations on email size, and these limits can vary depending on a few factors. 

So, checking the current size limits is always a good idea. Also, avoiding large links will be a smart thing too. As a final step, you can break your message into several small emails while trying to be as concise as possible.

After discussing so many things about email bounce rate, you may wonder whether it really affects your business and whether keeping it low is worth your attention.

How Email Bounce Rate Affects Your Link Building Outreach

Many industries rely heavily on email communication, and link building isn’t an exception. In fact, it’s one of the main channels for communicating with clients and link building partners. 

Low email deliverability  

A high bounce rate can also hurt deliverability. When your link building outreach messages don’t deliver where they should, it negatively affects your link building efforts and minimizes the effectiveness of your link building campaigns. So, you need to use reliable tools for email outreach to ensure accurate targeting and keep a healthy sender reputation.

Ineffective communication

The core of successful link building is focusing on relationship-based link building and effective communication. If your emails regularly bounce, it becomes harder to establish and maintain these relationships, making it impossible to secure valuable backlinks for your clients.

Your company’s reputation will be hurt

Consistent high bounce rates can damage your link building agency’s reputation as a sender. Email service providers may consider you a low-quality sender or associate with irrelevant content, making it harder to get your emails into recipients’ inboxes.

The conversion rate will be lower

Maybe you are trying to effectively target your link prospects, but your emails aren’t reaching them due to high bounce rates? If this is the case, converting them into link building partners is almost impossible. Lower conversion rates mean fewer successful link building collaborations, which means you will fail to improve your clients’ SEO performance.

Limited data insights

To improve your link building outreach campaigns, you need data on how they perform so that you can make necessary changes. Without reliable data on email delivery and engagement, it will be harder to unlock improvement opportunities and effectively fine-tune your strategies.

To mitigate these effects, it’s essential to monitor and manage your email bounce rate regularly. 

It’s already a no-brainer how important reducing a high email bounce rate is. And now, it’s time to answer the biggest question: how to reach a goal.

How to Reduce Email Bounce Rate In 9 Ways

Research done by Aria proves that 31% of marketers run outreach campaigns to build links to a new piece of content for up to 4 weeks after launching it. So, imagine how important it is for them to ensure their messages are successfully delivered to their link prospects’ inboxes and won’t bounce back. 

Let’s finally learn how to reduce the bounce rate.

Use email authentication

Your main goal is to have a low email authentication rate and ensure your emails are delivered to your link building partners’ inboxes, right? So, first and foremost, you should authenticate your email system. It will prove that your email message is from a legitimate sender. 

You should incorporate important email authentication protocols. The first one is SPF, which ensures that you are sending an email from an authentic server. It minimizes the chances of being marked as spam and bouncing.

DKIM ensures email authenticity with digital signatures and adds an extra portion of security. It verifies whether mail is legitimate․ Moreover, you can also implement the DMARC policy, which suggests what to do with mail that isn’t legitimate, handling failed authentication. 

Following all these email authentication steps will prove your email’s legitimacy and can reduce email bounce rates.

Using EasyDMARC to check a website's domain.

As you can see in this picture, this email domain is connected to email security protocols and there aren’t any issues found. This way you can be sure your message will successfully reach the right place.

Choose a reliable email service provider

The email service provider you choose for your email campaign plays a huge role in the success of your email marketing efforts. It includes reducing email bounce rate as well. 

So, how to choose the right email service provider for your business:

First, check whether your email service provider has best practices for email deliverability in place. It should have tools for email authentication and email list-cleaning features as well.

Not to mention that the email service provider you choose to use should have reporting tools or analytics dashboards that provide bounce rate data. This data includes information on both hard and soft bounces, helping you improve email deliverability by monitoring the health of your email lists.  

Regularly clean your email list 

Are you familiar with the feeling when you clean your office desk from unnecessary papers, and suddenly your productivity improves?

The same goes for improving your email campaign efficiency. In the case of your email list, those “unnecessary papers” are inactive accounts. So, you need to clean it regularly to maintain a healthy email bounce rate. 

The first thing you should do is clean and remove bounced email addresses. Because if you continue to send emails to those addresses, you will damage your email sender’s reputation. This is an example of a bounced email that shows that the address you sent your message to wasn’t found, so you definitely need to remove this address from your list. 

Message showing address not found while cleaning an email list.

Some users change their email addresses over time or just stop using them. It’s important to spot these and update or remove them. In the next step, you can verify and validate the existing email addresses with the help of email verification tools. You can also send confirmation emails to recipients, asking them to confirm if their email addresses are correct.

You can insert smart chips in your Google Doc, and thanks to it, you can check whether your email addresses are valid and correct.

Using the Smart Chips option in Google Docs.

These email list cleaning procedures will ensure a low bounce rate.

Avoid lengthy text and overlinking

Being simple and concise wins in many cases. So you should keep your link building outreach short and sweet and include only the most important points in your emails. 

Long email content may bounce because the recipient’s server refuses to let the email pass through. As we already mentioned, being familiar with the acceptable file size is essential to reduce your email bounce rate and landing in the user’s inbox.

Definitely don’t add too many links to your message. Here is a great example of this type of message. Not only does it include only important links, but it is also quite short and swift.

An email example showing how to create a pitch for link building.

Stay away from spam words and phrases

One of the common causes of email bounces is them being marked as spam. According to Statista, in 2023, nearly 45.6 percent of all emails worldwide were identified as spam.

So, one of the main things that you should do is avoid using those spam trigger words in your content. When you write subject lines for cold emails, avoid spam trigger words.

 Here are some examples of these words: “Urgent,” “Limited time offer,” “Now,” “Save big,” “The best,” and “Click here.” Money-related words like “100% free” and “Cash Guarantee” are also on this list. You should avoid including dollar signs ($$) and overusing exclamation marks as well.

You can use Mailmetor spam checker to detect spam words. In this case, the overall spam score is poor because highlighted words are related to money or create a sense of urgency. This spam checker “doesn’t like”  shady words as well, which typically make misleading promises or promote aggressive marketing tactics. 

Using the MailMeteor Spam Checker free tool to check spam words in an email.

Another way to add credibility to your link building outreach and avoid being in an email spam folder is to add an email signature to your message. Plus, don’t forget to include your company’s address and or other important information in the email footer.

Lastly, adding an unsubscribe button can reduce bounce rates by allowing recipients to opt out, ensuring better email deliverability.

Speaking about opting out. Let’s dive into the topic in the next point.

Use double opt-in forms

We already spoke about how important it is to clean your list from invalid or inactive addresses. Well, using double opt-in is one of the most effective ways to reach that goal.

The double opt-in process is basically about asking subscribers to verify their emails when signing up for your email list. You include these new leads after they click the confirm button.

This is a great way to ensure that your email address is correct and without typos and that there are contacts who are really interested in your list. 

You can even automate double opt-ins to streamline processes and eventually build a healthier and stronger email list.

Keep consistency in sending emails

Having a regular sending schedule will benefit your email campaigns in many ways. First, it can help boost the open rate, as people expect your messages. 

This, in turn, can lead to improved engagement and open rates and can relevantly reduce bounce rates. It all helps establish trust with email service providers and reduces the chances of your emails being flagged as spam.  

So, deciding on a schedule for your link building outreach and following up regularly with potential partners can be critical for maintaining consistent communication and ensuring outreach success.

Remember why regular communication goes a long way. All the messages you send after your first interaction should be relevant and add some value. This is an important step for avoiding spam reports and, as a result, reducing email marketing bounce rate.

Analyze the list of the most common bounces

Only by understanding the core of problems can you solve them. This is true for reducing email bounce rates as well. So, you need to build a list that includes addresses that cause the highest bounce and start to analyze them. You should understand the reasons for bouncing, whether it is due to invalid email addresses or other technical issues.

Next, take the necessary steps and remove those emails from your email list to boost deliverability. Lastly, look for patterns or common factors of high bouncing to avoid it in the future.

Do A/B testing and make improvements

Without having clear data in your hand, you can’t have an idea how your email works. So it’s important to do A/B testing to uncover how your emails perform among link building partners.

This process includes sending two different versions of the same messages to the chosen group. You can test different parts of email content. For example, by testing different subject lines and finding the ones that perform best, you can boost open rates and lower bounce rates.

A/B testing will allow you to check whether the email is clear for your potential partners and if they consider it engaging. As a result, having this important information, you can ensure a low email bounce rate.

Key Takeaways

How to make your email list healthy and strong is a broad topic, but now let’s wrap up all important points about bounce rate:

  • Email bounce rate is a metric that measures the percentage of messages that don’t deliver to peoples’ inboxes and bounce back.
  • There are hard and soft email bounces.
  • Your outreach emails’, including those for link building, ideal email bounce rate should be below 2%. 
  • It’s vital to reduce the bounce rate to boost your link building outreach effectiveness and protect your sender reputation.
  • Using authentication protocols and regularly cleaning your email list can help to reduce the high bounce rate of your link building outreach emails.
  • Using a double-opt form, having a regular sending schedule, and doing an A/B testing can minimize bounce rate.

Follow these steps to have strong and healthy communication with your email leads.
And also, wait for more helpful and informative articles.

FAQ about email bounce rate

Should the email bounce rate be under 1%?

Yes, ideally, the email bounce rate should be under 1%.

What is a good bounce rate for Gmail?

A good bounce rate is below 2%, showing that most emails are successfully delivered.

Does bounce rate affect SEO?

Yes, bounce rate can affect the SEO bounce rate. It is not a direct ranking factor but impacts user engagement and time spent on the site.

Should I delete emails that bounce?

Yes, you should delete bounced emails to keep your email list clean and maintain your sender reputation.

What is the difference between bounced and blocked emails?

Bounced emails are temporarily rejected, usually due to server issues, while blocked emails are permanently rejected, often flagged as spam.

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