How to Reduce Email Bounce Rate for Cold Email Outreach?

Cold email outreach to date is one of the most effective and profitable ways for businesses to generate a healthy sales pipeline. Prospecting, writing excellent email content, and creating the perfect campaign takes a lot of hard work and effort. So you can imagine the level of stress and disappointment you would go through if some of your target audience didn’t receive the email. 

This blog is specifically meant for SDRs, sales personnel or inside sales agencies that run cold email outreach campaigns. Formulae or definitions etc are purely from a cold email outreach perspective and not meant for email marketing teams looking to lower their marketing campaign email bounce.

Email bounce is an inseparable part of cold email outreach campaigns however, it can be reduced. Email bounce rate is a metric that calculates the number of emails returned back to the sender. 

Let’s dig a little deeper and analyze the reasons for an email bounce.

What is a Bounce rate?

“Bounced” denotes the number of prospects to whom the email failed to deliver and “Bounce rate” indicates the ratio of Bounced to the total number of prospects contacted. The lower the rate the better.

(No of emails bounced / No of emails delivered) X 100 = Email Bounce Rate

For example, if you are sending 1000 emails and 20 bounce, then the calculation would be

   (20 / 1000) X 100 = 2% email bounce rate

Why is Email Bounce Rate Important?

Email bounce rate affects the overall email deliverability. A consistently high bounce rate would affect the sender’s reputation as well. The lower the sender’s reputation, the higher the chance of landing in the spam folder, even for the recipient who actively engages with your email. 

A bounce rate below 2% is considered good, while anything above 2% requires immediate action to reduce it.

This would ultimately affect the open rate, the response rate, the click-through rates, etc. There would be an overall dip in the engagement rate. 

As per the industry standard, an email bounce rate less than or equal to 2% would be accepted as a good bounce rate. Anything above 2% would be an alarming situation to take necessary steps to reduce the email bounce rate.

What causes an email to bounce?

Bounces can be in two categories:

  1. Soft Bounce 
  2. Hard Bounce 

Let’s discuss each category in detail.

Soft Bounce

A soft bounce occurs when an email is temporarily undelivered. This happens when there is an issue from the recipient’s side. While soft bounce is temporary, emails can be resent after a certain period of time. 

There are several reasons for an email to soft bounce.

  1. Lack of space in the inbox or mail server
  2. Unreachable destination
  3. The server may be down or overloaded
  4. The email size may be too large
  5. Server blocking due to poor reputation
  6. The sender’s server is being blocklisted
  7. A recipient using auto-responder

Hard Bounce

A hard bounce occurs when an email cannot be delivered to the recipient permanently. A higher email bounce rate denotes that your email list is bought, old and not being cleaned at regular intervals. 

The reasons for a hard bounce are

  1. Email id may be incorrect
  2. Failed email validation
  3. Email account suspended
  4. Email address blocked
  5. Blocking of external emails by organizations with strict security policies
  6. Policy filtering set by the recipient
  7. The server may not exist

What are the external factors that will help reduce email bounce?

Below are some external factors that would help reduce bounce. 

  1. Cleaning the Email List – Over time, the email list may get populated with inactive & hard bounced ids. It is a best practice to clean the list and keep it active and healthy. 
  2. If you witness a lot of email bounces from a specific domain. Make a note and ensure that you eliminate email from this domain during your email list clean up
  3. Content should not be spammy – Too big or too small images should not be used. 
  4. Proper segmentation of the Email List – Imagine sending a proposal for accounting software to the “Head of Content”. Improper segmentation increases the chance of being marked as spam
  5. Double Opt-In – This ensures that inactive or invalid email ids will not be added to your email list.
  6. Use verified domain – Email ids of the verified business domain should be used instead of free email service providers.  
  7. Be consistent – Send regular emails to your subscribers rather than sending all the information out altogether. 
  8. Engaging content should be sent every time.
  9. Avoid buying an email list. If done then please ensure that you run it through an email validation software.
  10. Company-owned email domains or business domains should be used
  11. Keeping an eye on the sender’s reputation score is a sales engagement software that specializes in cold email outreach with better and improved email deliverability. It also provides features such as spam test reports, email validation, detailed campaign reports, campaign soft start, prospect management, workflow automation, multichannel outreach, improved prospect response management through shared inbox and many more which helps agencies and enterprises to close deals faster. Let’s check out how SmartReach can help reduce bounce rates.

How to reduce the email bounce rate within the SmartReach App environment?

While it’s impossible to completely eliminate bounces, some practices can be followed to lower the bounce rate. The rising bounce rate is a clear indicator that there is an issue with email deliverability. It’s important to understand that multiple factors affect bounce, so you can’t address only one point and expect a change in the bounce rate.

Some tips on how to reduce the bounce rate within the SmartReach app environment:

  1. Check your SPF and DKIM status in our SPAM Test Report 
  • If SPF is missing or blanks for Office365 (Click Here
  • If SPF is missing or blanks for Google Workspace (G-Suite) (Click Here

  1. Campaign Content – Avoid using keywords that could trigger spam filters. This document contains a list of commonly used keywords and phrases that possibly trigger spam filters
  2. Send a max of 150 emails/day per sending email address. If the number of emails sent increases, the chances of getting blocked by the email service provider also increase.
  3. Maintaining a time frame between 2 consecutive mails
  4. Always start a campaign with the “Campaign Warm-up” feature. This incrementally increases your daily sending of emails. The gradual ramp-up ensures higher email deliverability
  5. Our free email validation feature automatically blocks the sending of emails that are not verified. Do not force push blocked email IDs unless absolutely sure that the email is valid.
  6. Email soft start helps improve your sending reputation thereby increasing email deliverability.
  7. Best practices for writing effective cold email campaigns have been covered in this document.

Now that you are familiar with soft and hard bounces, it would be a good practice to keep an eye on the rate and take the necessary steps to reduce it. Email outreach is a very effective and successful strategy to drive website traffic and conversions. Keeping track of email metrics would be beneficial for the salespeople and the organization.

Constantly checking your email bounce rate is a recommended practice as it would enable maintaining better email list hygiene.

So is your email bounce rate in check? Since you’ve now understood the reasons for your high bounce rates and factors that affect email bounce rate of your cold email outreach campaigns; then it wouldn’t harm to action. 

In case you need to schedule a call for a better understanding of how can help lower your cold outreach bounce rates then do book a meeting today.

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