@tahoo.com? It’s time to check bounces.

@tahoo.com? It’s time to check bounces.

When I send an issue of Books & Whatnot to your inbox, I use a program called Campaign Monitor. I also use Constant Contact on a daily basis for several of my clients. It’s when I look at campaigns and all of the open rates and click throughs involved that I’m reminded of the differences in various email marketing service providers.

Today we’re going to tackle bounces.

First, do a little research to see how your email marketing service provider handles bounces. This can usually be accomplished by Googling something like, “How does MailChimp handle bounces?” Some service providers automatically monitor and remove hard bounces after a set number of campaigns. Others just leave them for you to fix.

To see which addresses have been bouncing, look at the reports for some recent campaigns. Most providers identify both hard bounces and soft bounces for each campaign. If an email address is in the soft bounce column, do not rush to remove that address from your list. It could be that the recipient’s inbox was full, or there was a temporary glitch. You can look at a series of bounce reports to see if an address has repeatedly made the list, or you can often look at the activity (or inactivity) for one specific email address. 

You might also see that every recipient from university.edu bounced, which means the organization probably bumped up security. Instead of removing the recipients, send a note to IT and ask them to add you to the approved sender list.

Also look for email addresses that might have been entered manually. Sometimes obvious errors–like a .com extension instead of a .net or something like @tahoo.com instead of @yahoo.com–will make the cause of the bounce obvious.

It should be noted that emails that bounce do not negatively affect your open rates. You see, emails that are not delivered cannot be opened, which is why this number is not included in the open rate percentage. So why clean up this list? Just because your open rates aren’t negatively affected does not mean you can’t positively affect them with corrected email addresses. Because emails that are not delivered cannot be opened.

Beth Golay

Beth is a reader, writer, marketer and Books & Whatnot founder. Even though she knows better, she's a sucker for a good book cover and will positively swoon if a book is set in appropriate type. @BethGolay