eMail Bounces: Make it an Opportunity

eMail Bounces: Make it an Opportunity

Alli Campofranco

Three silver linings of bounces (in small doses).

Let’s face it: There are few things as aggravating as an email bounce. You need your subscribers to see a message, and you can’t deliver that message to them.

Before you get too frustrated, keep in mind a small number of bounces are a common and expected part of email marketing — people change jobs and email addresses. Like unsubscribes, bounces aren’t all bad in small doses (2% or less). In fact, we’ve determined three ways to take advantage of bounces.

What’s a bounce?

Before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s go over the definition of a bounce. There are actually two types: soft and hard.

Soft bounces are temporary delivery failures. This can happen when a subscriber’s mailbox is full, a subscriber’s server is down or your email is too large. After a certain number of soft bounces, email addresses are determined to be hard bounces.

Hard bounces are permanent delivery failures. This happens when an email address is no longer active or existent. There is no reason a hard bounce should be on your list, so Extu ensures all hard bounces are automatically removed before your next send.

Now that we’ve covered the technical terms, let’s move on to the potential benefits of bounces.

1. It’s an opportunity to meet new contacts

If a bounce occurs because someone left an organisation, it is important to know his or her replacement— especially if the employee who left was integral to your relationship with that company.

You can determine if a contact changed jobs by doing some research on LinkedIn or ringing the company. When you call, say you want to ensure the contact is still receiving your thought leadership emails. Perhaps the email address you have on file is incorrect?

If you determine the contact did leave the company, ask if you can speak to the new contact. This is an excellent opportunity to set up a meeting and build a new relationship. Sometimes a new contact can be the key factor in converting a prospect into a customer.

2: It could be a sign to re-evaluate your signup strategy

The key to successful email marketing is emailing subscribers who want to be on your list— plain and simple.

Some marketers incentivise subscribers to sign up for their list by offering free Wi-Fi or the chance to win something. This leads to people offering fake or invalid email addresses; they want the Wi-Fi or free prize, but they don’t want your emails.

Instead of forcing people to join your email list, allow customers or prospects to check a box to sign up for email marketing. Do you offer great content? Early access and exclusive promotions? Highlight the value of your email marketing and be clear on what’s in it for them. Just stating “Join our email list” isn’t going to cut it anymore — that’s not helpful or incentivising for subscribers.

3: It forces you to send emails regularly

Ever wonder why most email providers won’t allow you to send to email lists that are over 2 years old?

Email lists go stale quickly — in as little as six months. This goes back to the fact that people change jobs, email addresses and interests.

If you send emails on a regular basis (say, once per month), you can ensure that bounces happen in low numbers over time. You also ensure you stay top of mind and build brand awareness. This, in turn, leads to higher conversions and higher ROI.

Email bounces are an undeniable part of email marketing. While a bounce may not be your favorite result, it is an opportunity to meet new contacts and optimise your email marketing program.