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Hard Bounce / Soft Bounce definition

Bounce (© adiruch na chiangmai /

Bounce (© adiruch na chiangmai /

Bounce rate is something that is a little ambiguous because it can refer to many different things. However, for the purposes of this article, we are going to be discussing the hard bounce and soft bounce as it relates to email marketing. We will be defining the terms so that you can understand how to overcome them with your own email marketing campaign.

What Is A Bounce Rate?

The bounce rate, when it refers to a website, is how quickly someone leaves the website (such as pressing the back button) after they get there. It is a measurement of how well the site is designed and how good the marketer has done at drawing someone in.

What About A Hard And Soft Bounce?

But the terms hard bounce and soft bounce do not apply to the website bounce. Instead, they are part of email marketing. When an email bounces, it means that your message did not go through. Usually, the notification email that let you know when something bounced will include the date and time of the bounce, the name and address of the mail server and it could also contain an RFC code.

The soft bounce refers to an email that has been sent back for various reasons, but it comes down to that the email did not reach the recipient, but the email address was valid. So common problems for this include when an email server goes down, when an email inbox is so full that it cannot accept any more messages or when the email contains an attachment that is too large for the recipient's inbox.

The hard bounce, on the other hand, is when an email address doesn't exist at all or is invalid for some reason. The email account may have gotten deleted or you may have collected the wrong address in the first place.

openPR-Tip: But the bottom line is that you just have to remember that a hard bounce is something that is most likely permanent, so you are going to want to remove those emails from your marketing list, while soft bounce is something temporary that will likely be resolved.

How Do You Reduce Your Bounces?

So, how do you ensure that your bounce rate is as low as possible in email marketing? First, make sure that you are doing email confirmations. Do not add an email address to your list unless someone confirms from their email.

Make sure that you are pruning your list regularly and getting rid of the addresses that are being bounced. If you have a high bounce rate, it is going to affect your reputation as a sender and may have long-term consequences.

Finally, make sure that you are looking at your stats and keeping track so that you can catch problems before they actually happen. With just these three things, you should be able to reduce your bounce rate significantly and that will protect you your reputation as an email marketer for a long time to come.