If you have an email marketing campaign (and you probably should), you will know about bounce rates. The annoying percentage of emails that were not sent and were bounced. There are two kinds of bounce rate, hard and soft. A hard bounce is when the email was not sent because the email doesn’t exist, either because the user typed it incorrectly or used a fake address. A soft bounce is more about issues with the mail server, for example, if the user’s email inbox is at full capacity. Hard bounces are permanent but soft bounces can be temporary.
It’s frustrating when you put time and effort into a perfectly crafted email campaign to later find that less people received your email than anticipated.
At Statement, we’re always looking at insights and analytics to improve our client’s marketing campaigns, both email and other types of campaign. We’ve come up with a few tips to help you out if your bounce rate is high.
Sometimes taking a look through and Spring cleaning your contact list can be effective in reducing your bounce rate considerably. Keep an eye out for incorrect spellings or addresses that aren’t formatted properly. E.g. if somebody has tried signing up with an email address that doesn’t even have an @ symbol, then get rid of it.
Depending on the software you use to manage your campaigns, there might be a tool that you can use to automatically get rid of addresses like this. But it’s always worth casting a human eye over things as well, just to be sure.
When users first sign up to your campaign, send a confirmation email where they have to click a link inside the email to confirm their subscription. This way, you know if an email can actually be sent to them. If you get a hard bounce straight away, remove the contact before it has a negative impact on your bigger campaigns.
The only problem with this is that, in the simplest terms, it can be irritating for the user. Ideally, you want an email subscription to be easy as possible so that users don’t change their minds or decide that they can’t be bothered, half way through the subscription process. But having an extra confirmation email can be a useful way of weeding out those hard bounces before they become problematic.
If you are a business with an online shop, it can be useful to ask users to update their email addresses as part of the transaction process. By taking a recent email address, you can remove any old, unused ones and make sure that you are taking steps in your next campaign to decrease the amount of people who won’t get the chance to read your email.
Similar to the last tip, this is about your information being as up to date as possible. You don’t always have to do this on your website; you could include a few links at the bottom of your email campaign so that users can take the opportunity to change their email to a more updated one - if they so wish. You’ll already have an unsubscribe link so it makes sense to have another similar link close by for more positive account management.
This one is common sense really. It’s likely that you already test your emails before you send them out to your whole list. You probably send a test to yourself or another member of your marketing team. But what could be useful, is if you send a test to all of the major email servers. Send a test to Gmail, Outlook and all of the prominent email companies. If one of these is undeliverable or is sent to a spam folder, it’s worth taking a look into why this might be the case.
These are some of the simplest things you can do. There are a whole list of more complicated things you can do to reduce hard bounces significantly, but if you’re stretched for time and want to make a few changes to ensure that a few more people can read your emails, these tips might well do the trick.
Let us know what you think and don’t forget to share these tips on Twitter if you found them useful!
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