Creating a lead list for your email campaigns is arduous and takes time to get it right. However, investing your time and energy into creating a quality email list pays off in the long run. But you know what doesn’t pay off? An email bounce.

Email bounce example

As we like to say at LaGrowthMachine: Bounce is the enemy!

Too high a bounce rate may damage your email reputation. One that is continuously high is a red flag and may lead to your emails ending up in spam.

Soft bounces are definitely easier on the eyes than hard bounces, and that’s what we’ll focus on in this article.

But what is a soft bounce? Why is it a problem? And how can you prevent soft bounces from happening in the future?

Here’s what you need to know about soft bounces and how to handle them.

What is a soft bounce?

A soft bounce (also known as a “temporary delivery failure”) is an email that is returned to the sender due to a temporary issue, such as a mailbox full or server timeout.

Think of soft bounces as momentary roadblocks, you may be able to get around them in a few tries, and that’s why it’s important to keep track of them.

This means you don’t have to remove these addresses from your mailing list permanently.

In fact, the message was technically accepted by the recipient’s server, but bounced back due to some kind of issue:

  • Your recipient’s inbox is full
  • The domain name does not exist
  • Your email is too large
  • The recipient’s email server is down
  • Their inbox is inactive or poorly configured
  • Your email SPF or DKIM is not properly configured
  • etc.

Soft bounces are not permanent failures like hard bounces, which can occur due to a blocked domain for example.

Why are soft bounces a problem?

Soft bounces can be irritating as they are unpredictable and can significantly impact the success of an email campaign.

Receiving soft bounces means reducing the reach of your campaigns.

Moreover, if you send too many soft bounces over time, it’ll negatively impact your IP reputation and sender score.

Generally, a high bounce rate basically sends the message to your email provider that you are not to be trusted.

In turn, this affects the reputation of your domain, and we don’t want that now do we? Especially when it comes to something as important as email marketing or email automation, including Gmail automation.

Therefore, make sure that you handle them properly to maintain a good email deliverability rate for current and future campaigns.

How to handle soft bounces?

Now that you know what a soft bounce is and why it’s important to take note of them, let’s move on to how to handle soft bounces.

Best practices for reducing soft bounces:

One of the first things you should do is set up a custom email domain.

This will help ensure that your emails don’t get flagged as spam, which can lead to a high soft bounce rate.

It also gives you more control over your email campaigns, allowing you to track and monitor your emails more effectively.

Another obvious and very important thing to do is make sure that your mailing lists are made up of “correct” emails. You must do your due diligence and check them for typos, obviously invalid addresses, etc.

If you’re sure of your list’s integrity, then our best strategy for you is to try and re-send the email a few times over the course of 2-3 days.

If you still can’t get through to your recipient, it’s best to remove the address from your current list and try again at a later date.

With LaGrowthMachine, you can even account for this type of event by creating custom rules to help you better manage soft bounces.

This way, you don’t have to manually keep track of them and can get back to focusing on what’s important: growing your business.

Steps to avoid soft bounces altogether:

Alternatively, you can try some proactive measures to reduce the chances of soft bounces, such as using Double Opt-In, for instance.

Double Opt-In is a feature that requires leads to verify their email address when they sign up for a newsletter, a webinar, or any other type of email communication.

Double Opt-in example

This ensures that their emails are valid and active, reducing the chances of soft bounces. And bonus: it also helps to increase your email open rates while making sure your lead list is full of engaged contacts!

Furthermore, you need to make sure your email copy is on point, as well as on-brand. If your emails don’t look legitimate, the recipient’s mail server may flag them and they’ll end up bouncing.

If you’re using LaGrowthMachine for your outreach campaigns -and you should, our team is here for you! We provide you with the right copywriting and branding solutions to ensure that your emails don’t get flagged.

Once you fully built and set up your campaign, simply click the “Ask for campaign review” button and let us take care of the rest!

campaign example + review
Ask for campaign review by LGM

Also, beware of using spam triggers such as:

  • Words like: “opportunity”, “free”, “guarantee”, “buy direct”, etc.
  • Using ALL CAPS or All images, no text.
  • Excessive punctuation
  • Including too many URLs
  • etc.

Lastly, make sure you are using best practices for email deliverability such as a good sender reputation and a healthy IP address.

Overall, soft bounces can be a bit of an annoyance but with proper management and attention to detail, you can reduce their occurrences.

Key takeaways

Soft bounces are an unavoidable part of email sending so all in all, it is nothing to worry about – as long as it’s not happening too often.

If you are seeing a high rate of soft bounces, look at your content and make sure it’s accurate and up-to-date. You may also want to consider changing the format or frequency of your emails.

Keep in mind the best practices we laid out throughout this article and you’ll be good to go!

If you need help getting your email marketing campaign on track, we’re here for you! Our team of experts can review your strategy and provide valuable insights on improving your deliverability rates.