Reduce Email Bounce Rate (6 Easy Steps You Have To Take)

Learn how to reduce your email bounce rate, and improve email delivery rate today! The 6 steps strategy, created by email deliverability expert to stop your hard and soft bounces.
Updated on:
February 6, 2018

Only 6 Steps To Take To Tackle Bounced Emails

High bounce rate, 3 simple words with the power to annoy any and every email marketer. I'm sure you know high email bounce rate can permanently damage your email reputation, your email sending account can be suspended or closed. 

Over the past few years I have provided advice for thousands of businesses worldwide, including Fortune 500 companies, on how to reduce email bounce rate, achieve 99%+ email delivery rate, improving inbox rate and maximising their sales. 

I'm now sharing this simple 6 steps strategy with everyone for free to help you eliminating your bounce rate. There are simple steps in this guide that clearly explains how you can achieve 99%+ email delivery rate and finally become bounce free.

I Guarantee You Will Achieve 99%+ Email Delivery Rate With This Strategy!

If you follow my advice outlined in this post, you will achieve 99%+ email delivery rate, guaranteed!

If you have followed all steps and advice in post and still had higher than 1% bounce rate, one of HuBuCo’s support colleagues will investigate your bounce rate, and if any improvement areas found, will advise how to further improve your email delivery rate.

HuBuCo provides this investigation for free as your guarantee.

How To Reduce Email Bounce Rate?

By major email senders the acceptable email bounce rate is around 5%, but ideally you should keep your bounce rate below 1%.

The only way to improve your email bounce rate, and keep it under 1% if you follow this whole post.

6 steps to follow:

  1. Have a good subscriber list
  2. Make sure subscriber emails exist as they subscribe
  3. ‍Write quality emails
  4. ‍Authorise your email sender
  5. ‍Verify old email lists

Keep reading, I will explain all 6 points in details.

What Is The Difference Between Soft Bounce And Hard Bounce?


Bounced emails are emails that couldn’t be delivered to the recipients. 

These undelivered emails are every email marketer’s worst nightmare, especially when you have hygienic email lists. 

Most of us are likely to experience this when sending out an email campaign. It’s such a frustrating feeling when you send out a great email and it does not get delivered, and on top of it, you can get suspended or kicked out from your email sender. 

Ideally, your bounce rate should be below 1% otherwise you may acquire a poor email sending reputation, which can seriously affect your present and future email campaigns. 

Depending on the reason why the email couldn’t be delivered there are 2 main categories of bounced emails:

  • Hard bounces – permanent delivery problem
  • Soft bounces – temporary delivery problem

First, let’s start with the basics and explain the two different types of bounces; soft and hard. 

Soft bounces occur due to temporary deliverability failures, such as poor IP reputation, spam, and authorisations issues. 

Whereas, hard bounces occur when you try to send an email to an address that does not exist. 

Now, most email marketers will recognise the deliverability issues I referred to above but for those of you who don’t, I’m going to break them down so you have a broader understanding.

How To Reduce Hard Bounces?

Hard bounce is when an email couldn’t be delivered due to a permanent delivery problem. This typically happens when the recipient email address doesn’t exist.

To avoid hard bounces, you need to use an email verification service to remove your invalid email addresses form your list..

I strongly recommend to use HuBuCo’s email verification system to avoid hard bounces, because HuBuCo's accuracy is much higher than most email verifiers. 

Email verification prices depend on how many emails you need to verify, find out more here: email verification prices

How To Reduce Soft Bounces?

Soft bounces occur due to temporary reasons, that can be fixed and get the emails delivered. 

Internet service providers (ISP’s) use email filters to decide if an email can be delivered to the recipient at all, and if yes should it be delivered into Inbox or Spam.

These email filters scan through each email from top to toe, and analyse every information in it. Email filters try to determine if it is a legit or a spam email, and to find out if the recipient is likely to be expecting an email from you. 

They check:

  • the sender’s reputation, and mainly the IP’s reputation the email was sent from,
  • if the email sending application / IP is allowed to send emails on behalf of the sender,
  • the recipient’s previous behaviour (open, delete, unsubscribe, mark as spam) when receiving email from the same sender,
  • is the email subject in line with the email content,
  • any spam keywords in the email e.g. “make quick money”,
  • is there an unsubscribe option in the email,
  • is it a single email or it has been sent in bulk,
  • formatting, pictures, coding, headers…

Soft bounces can happen for many reasons, but the most important reasons are:

  1. IP reputation issue: The IP the email was sent from has bad email sending reputation, hence the email is rejected.
  2. Spam content: The email subject or content is spam-like, and the recipients' email filter did not accept the email.
  3. Authorisation issue: The email sending application is not properly authorised to send emails on behalf of the sender.

How To Improve Email Bounce Rate? The 6 Steps

If you want to learn how to reduce email bounces, you need to follow all 6 steps. They are all an important part of this strategy.

1) Have a good subscriber list

‍A Good Email List Starts With Opt-In Subscribers

Opt in subscribers: Achieving high email delivery and inbox rates really begins when you acquire new subscribers. 

They all have to be 100% opt in subscribers, who have provided their contact details, and agreed that you can contact them in the future. 

If your subscribers didn’t opt in to be on your mailing list, they will mark your emails as spam, that damages your email sending reputation… 

And you know where that leads, it will cause you soft bounces…

Manage subscribers: Once you have added your subscribers to your mailing list and started sending them emails, you must remove from your list the following email addresses:

  • Unsubscribed
  • Complaints / marked you as a SPAM
  • Hard bounced
  • Didn’t open any of your emails for 3 months (recommended)

Tip: if your email sender application doesn’t separate hard and soft bounces, download all your bounces, verify them in HuBuCo’s bulk email verification. Any email addresses returned as OK by HuBuCo can be kept on your lists, but remove the invalid ones. Also take action to reduce your soft bounces.

2) Make sure subscriber emails exist as they subscribe

verify email addresses in real time
Catch Invalid Emails As They Subscribe On the Spot

Make sure that your subscribers’ email addresses exist before adding them to your mailing list. 

You need to verify your subscribers emails before adding them to your email list.

If you don’t check the email addresses before you send them the first email (even before sending them a confirmation email), you will have a significant hard bounce rate.

You have a couple of options here:

  • Daily / weekly upload your new subscribers into HuBuCo’s bulk email verification application, and get your new list verified before uploading them in your email sending application.
  • Recommended: Integrate HuBuCo’s real time email verification API into your lead page / sign up page to capture invalid / temporary emails instantly and to notify your subscribers on the spot.

At this point (when your subscribers subscribe) I recommend keeping OK, Catch All and Unknown emails on your email list. Definitely remove / don’t add Invalid and Disposable emails to your email list.

3) Write quality emails

write quality emails
Write Emails Your Subscribers Want To Read

Your email content must be something your recipient wants to read. 

Including your subject line, email content, pictures must be interesting for your readers. 

Use easy to read fonts, colours. Also, it is wise to check your readability score e.g. on Hemingway App. Make your emails easy to read.

Interesting and easy to read content increases the chances of recipients reading your emails, and decreases the likelihood of them marking your emails as spam. This means you have a better score when the recipients' server filters your email.

Writing a good email is always a work in progress. You need to keep checking how well they perform. Check open rates, click through rates, unsubscribe and complaint rates, and keep adjusting your email until it is just perfect.

ISP content filters scan every aspect of an email, therefore, it is vital that you create good email content. You must make sure that your subject line and content are consistent and not misleading. Lastly, avoid using spam trigger words in your emails, for example, ‘earn’, ‘free’, or ‘buy now’, however, this also depends on the context in which you use these words.

Here are some tools that can help testing the spammyness of your content.

4) Use a bulk email sending application with a good IP

Bulk Email Marketing Tool With Good IP
Poor IP Reputation Is The #1 Reason For Soft Bounces

Delivering an email and delivering an email campaign are 2 different fields, and requires different emailing applications. 

While e.g. Gmail is a great tool for sending emails, including hosted business emails, it is not a bulk email sending application. 

You cannot just BCC your contacts and send them out. If you do that they will land in SPAM folders or bounce back. Choose an email marketing tool to send your email campaigns.

Ideally all bulk email sending applications track all your emails and provide you reports showing which email has been delivered, opened, etc. 

The ones that bounced they should give you sub-reasons for the bounce. Also tell you who marked your email as spam. But these are basic features only. A great email marketing tool will also offer reputation management and automated messaging services.

Once you have chosen a bulk email marketing tool, make sure your emails are being sent from a good IP address. 

I recommend you test your campaigns every single time on before sending them out. If you are scored down for anything, fix it before sending your campaign in live. 

This tool also shows you the IP your email was sent from. Check the IP on SenderScore. If the IP scores less than 95 out of 100, you are going to experience email delivery issues. Either get a dedicated IP with good reputation or choose another email sending application.

Dedicated IP’s have the benefit that its reputation will not be damaged by others, however, you have to send emails consistently.

Here are some tools to test your domain’s and IP’s reputation.

5) Authorise your email sender

Authorise Your Email Sender
Never Send An Email Campaign Without Correctly Set SPF

Even if you have the best email list and write the best emails on Earth, you will still have bounced emails if you don’t authorise your email sending application to send emails on your behalf. 

e.g. You want send your marketing emails form MailChimp. To do this you need to make it public in your domains DNS that you authorise MailChimp to send emails on your behalf.

You have to do this even if you are sending emails from your own email server.

Never send an email without SPF set up correctly. 

Your email sender can help you setting SPF and DKIM authorisation correctly. Don’t send your email campaign straight after your DNS just has been updated. Bear in mind, when you make any changes to your domains DNS it might take up to 72 hours to fully propagate.

You can learn here how to set SPF and DKIM correctly.

6) Verify old email lists

Verify Old Email Lists
Remove Invalid Emails From Your Old Lists

If you have not emailed your email list for 3 months, you have to remove invalid emails from your list before sending them an email campaign. 

In 3 months – depending on your niche – 2 to 10% of emails can go bad. Such a high hard bounce rate can cause permanent damage to your reputation. 

Use HuBuCo's bulk email verification tool to verify your email lists. Upload your email list for verification here:

At this point, if you really want to achieve 99%+ email delivery rate, I recommend sending emails to OK emails only. If you want to maximise conversion, and willing to risk that you might have higher bounce rate than 1% you may want to send emails to Catch All and Unknown emails too.

Prevent Bounced Emails - Summary

Following these 6 steps will end your high bounce rate nightmare. This is a tested strategy that has helped thousands of businesses worldwide, and now it is available for free for every email marketer. I'm dedicated to change the email marketing industry by reducing all email marketers bounce rate.

6 Steps To Reduce Email Bounce Rate.

  1. Have a good subscriber list: Only add subscribers to your list who want to receive email from you, and remove those how are not interested in your emails.
  2. Make sure subscriber emails exists as they subscribe: Make sure that your subscribers’ email addresses exist before adding them to your mailing list.
  3. Write quality content: Your email content must be something your recipient wants to read.
  4. Use a bulk email sending application with a good IP: Having a good IP to send emails from are still more important than your domain's reputation.
  5. Authorise your email sender: Never send an email without correctly set SPF.
  6. Verify old email lists: If you have not emailed your email list for 3 months, you have to remove invalid emails from your list before sending them an email campaign.

99%+ email delivery rate guaranteed. Follow these steps above and I guarantee you will have less than 1% bounce rate! Do you have any questions on how to reduce your bounce rate? Leave a comment here, and I will reply as soon as possible. If you like the article, please share it, help me reaching as many email marketers as possible. Thank you

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