Today, the world has become attuned to having everything done quick and easy because of digital advancement and technology. Work and entire businesses rely on technology, especially email. Email is the most basic technological feature used by employers and employees, companies and customers, to initiate contact, commerce, and sales. 

But what happens if your emails don’t make it to the receiver at all? Your campaign shouldn’t have to suffer due to technical issues. Let’s look at how email bounces can affect your market revenue and how you can fix them.

What is an email bounce? 

Email bounce backs are essentially what happens when your emails are returned to you (the sender), because they are rejected by or do not reach the intended receiver’s email server. An email bounce back stems from a technical problem, specifically related to the delivery of the email. 

This is different from spam, where the email is directly dumped into the designated folder; when the email bounces back, it never even makes it to the spam folder. 

Email bounce backs hamper sender reputations. According to Forbes, if you, as an email marketer, do not have a good sender reputation, i.e., a high sender score, it could affect all your future emails. 

Simply put, maintaining a good sender score will increase email deliverability, and indirectly impact your sales and client engagement. 

So what about email bounce backs? How do you prevent and make sure your sender score remains high? To understand this, we need to first break down the types of email bounces. 

Different types of email bounces

It’s important to know what kind of email bounce you’re facing before you can fix the problem. Generally, when your email bounces back, you are sent a delivery report stating the status of your email, why it was rejected, and what kind of bounce it is. It will include an SMTP or a Simple Mail Transfer Protocol code or error message that gives you all the information you need. 

There are basically 2 types of email bounces, permanent and temporary. 

  1. Permanent or Hard Bounce

This kind of bounce is when your email becomes permanently undeliverable to the recipient. This occurs when you have already faced several soft bounces to the same recipient, and your emails have failed to deliver one or more times. When this happens, your email id is bumped off the sending queue, and the recipient is unsubscribed from your list. 

The unfortunate part is that hard bounces are permanent, which means they cannot be fixed. When your email is hard bounced, make sure you remove the recipient from your list to avoid being blacklisted.

  1. Temporary or Soft Bounce

A soft bounce is transient and easy to fix – it happens when the recipient’s email server rejects your email. The quickest and easiest way to prevent soft bounces is email validation. We’ll go over this in the last segment of our article. 

What causes an email to bounce back?

Now, depending on the type, there are numerous causes of an email bounce. The common ones include:

  • Incorrect or fake email address of the recipient
  • The recipient has blocked your email address
  • The recipient’s inbox is full
  • The internet/email server has crashed or is down
  • The recipient’s email is inactive or has been sent too many unopened emails in a short period of time 
  • The email is too large, contains explicit or unwanted content
  • The email is considered spam or as having a virus 
  • Unknown issues

Once you identify the cause/s, you can implement a solution. 

Measures to minimize bounce rate

You need to address the quantity and quality of your email, as well as analyze the activity and passivity of the recipient with regard to your content. 

The Internet service provider or ISP will observe your domain and email bounce rates. If you have a good sender score and a low bounce rate, then it’s more likely that the emails you send in the future will reach your recipient’s inbox. If not, your access to your market base will become limited. 

Here’s how you can cut down your email bounce rate:

1. Email validation

If you’re thickly into e-commerce and email marketing, make sure your email is validated. Use APIs, correct syntax errors, and send test emails to ensure your email will reach the intended recipient. Cold emails need email validation so they don’t bounce back. 

2. Customer engagement

Drive engagement with your content. Use trigger emails to send appropriate content based on user interaction. AxiomQ has a pretty informative blog post on how to use trigger emails. 

3. Well-maintained recipient list

Clean your recipient list. If there are certain email servers that have blocked you, remove them from your list. Also, if there are some email ids that are evidently fake, for example,, you should discard them too, because sending an invalid id an email will cause it to bounce back.

4. Follow the law 

Ensure you are up-to-date with any rules and laws of the internet or service provider. Follow anti-spam and anti-virus compliances to avoid email bounce backs. 


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