Email Marketing Engagement

Hard Bounces

How to improve your delivery and eliminate bounces

Bounces – they’re not as fun as they sound!

Eliminating bounces are the key to keeping a good sender reputation score, avoiding the spam folder and getting your email blasts delivered.

But how do you actually do this? That’s what we’re getting into in this week’s blog post!

What is a ‘Bounce’?

In email marketing, we refer to Soft Bounces and Hard Bounces.

Soft Email Bounces are when there’s a temporary issue delivering your mail to an inbox, however, your email will continue to try and get delivered. If after three days it keeps getting rejected (bounced) then it is identified as a Hard Bounce. Email marketers often see Soft Bounces when a recipient’s email server is temporarily offline or there is a delay on either side of the delivery process.

Hard Email Bounces refer to your email being completely rejected from the send. Your email newsletter was blocked and will always be blocked. This could be due to multiple reasons such as sending to a non-existent address, being suspended by ISPs or sending to a domain name that’s non-existent.

How Does it Affect My Email Marketing?

Managing and updating your email lists might be tedious and time consuming, but it is essential for achieving good delivery results in your email marketing campaigns.

If the Hard bounce rate of your campaign is above a certain threshold, ISPs will block your emails from being delivered.

Achieving the lowest possible Hard bounce rate is essential for the success of your email marketing because it means your emails are being delivered, read and ultimately getting the word out about your business.

How to Reduce Hard Bounces


  • Keep your email mailing list up-to-date

When customers subscribe to your service, they may enter a wrong email address or even change the address they use. Updating your email mailing lists by removing invalid addresses on a regular basis not only removes hard bounces, but also boosts your sender reputation allowing you to reliably hit the inbox when you need to.


  • Confirmation email / Double opt-in

A double opt-in system ensures that you are sending your email marketing to those who want to hear from you. It also means higher engagement with customers and better delivery rates.

When a customer signs up, send a confirmation email where they have to click a link to confirm their subscription. If your email gets a hard bounce straight away, it’s a good idea to remove that address from your list!

Possibly the best benefit of a double opt in is that it ensures you keep in line with spam law regulations such as CAN-SPAM and CASSL.


  • Include a link to update customer profiles

Include a link in the footer of your emails so that users can notify you whenever they change their email. When you get a notification, simply update your mailing list and you’d have saved yourself a hard bounce.

This allows you to be proactive with subscribers who want to stay on your email marketing mailing list while eliminating the possibility for hard bounces.


  • Test

You most likely send a test to yourself or staff of your company, but sending a test to all major email applications will allow you to check for any anomalies you may have missed.

Send a test to Gmail, Outlook and the other prominent email companies to see if your emails are undeliverable or worse – sent to a spam folder!

The Bottom Line

There are many deliverability guidelines on how to avoid the spam folder. Picking up the problem early and fixing it will be able to save your sender reputation and your sender credits!

Did you Know?

SharpSpring Mail + sends through SMTP – the leader in international delivery!

We understand that It’s all about getting to the inbox and getting your message read. That’s why our SMTP sending servers have a 98% delivery rate, the highest in the industry.

Work with the us, and we’ll worry about the rest – join SMTP and win back the inbox.

Stay tuned to the blog to find out more ways to get SMTP sender certified and take your email marketing campaign to the next level!


  • Author: maryka.burger

  • Maryka has worked across multiple industries ranging from hard news journalism to digital tech companies and advertising. She is an expert at building online presence, and offers a wealth of knowledge on digital marketing, social media and automation trends to agencies and digital start-ups.