Let’s get one thing clear: deliverability is hot and trendy.
Never let anyone tell you the other way around. It’s the only way your emails get viewed, opened, and clicked on. If you can amplify your deliverability by even just 1%, it can have a significant effect on your ROI.
But hitting high deliverability rates that could make even a mailman cringe, it won’t come easy. Imagine it this way: as a B2B email marketer, you’re like the friendly neighborhood postman. Every flat that you deliver email has a guard dog (ISP).
And on some days when you have junk mail (spam) or aren’t friendly to folks on your route (poor IP reputation), these guard dogs will chase you away and only let you deliver some of your mail. There are three ways to dodge the guard dogs. These are:
Tune Lower Bounce Thresholds
When you say the word “bounce,” you might mean about fun trampolines or bounce houses. But for marketers, when an email bounces, it’s like bouncing on a trampoline except without all the fun with about 100 times the danger. Okay, I might be over reacting—but there are definitely some business risks added. To understand why, let’s first classify soft bounces and hard bounces.
Soft bounce: A temporary problem with email deliverability that can be due to an unavailable server or full inbox.
Emails that soft bounce over and over again should be stopped from future campaigns. If an email continuously soft bounced 10 times in the last 10 campaigns, it might be soft bouncing for reasons other than a temporary server issue. To keep your deliverability rate high and the risk of that soft bounce becoming something more, it’s best to stop that email for good.
Hard bounce: A permanent failure to deliver an email, usually as a result of the email address being non-existent, invalid, or blocked.
The less hard bounces, the better. ISPs prefer senders to have low hard bounce rates because it shows that you take good care of your email lists and keep them updated. Furthermore, because a hard bounced email may be invalid, non-existent, or blocked entirely, it’s a great candidate for a spam trap, which is an inactive, deliverable email address owned by an ISP to catch spammy senders.
Hitting a spam trap will surely hurt your deliverability and sender reputation, especially with a specific ISP, and could potentially put your IP address on a blacklist, an online database of spammy senders. Once your IP is in their list, you’ll find it really difficult to get your emails delivered.
So what should you act to improve your soft bounce and hard bounce rates? Use a bounce management strategy! Here’s how:
Managing soft bounces: Whether you use an email service provider (ESP) or a marketing automation solution, you should be able to set a soft bounce threshold. Oftentimes, these are set to a conservative number like 10 soft bounces is equals to a hard bounce or an email that should be stopped from email campaigns for good.
Managing hard bounces: Stop all invalid address hard bounces right away. Most email providers and marketing automation solutions can do this for you, but not all of them, so make sure that any email that hard bounces will be taken off from your list. And if you’re using an ESP where you open your email lists into the campaign from an external data source like SQL tables or Microsoft Access, be sure to regularly export all of your hard bounces and add them into a suppression list after every campaign. Then, remove them against your email database when running a list selection.