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What is a hard and soft bounce, and how do I reduce the number of emails that bounce?

Managing the way you handle bounces for your Subscriber Lists has never been more important. Keeping a close eye on your bounces can reduce your email delivery costs, therefore having a direct impact on the ROI of your campaigns.

Firstly, some definitions:

A soft bounce is an email message that gets as far as the recipient’s mail server (it recognizes the address) but is bounced back undelivered before it gets to the intended recipient. A soft bounce might occur because the recipient’s mailbox is full, the server is down or swamped with messages, the message is too large or the user has abandoned the mailbox.

A hard bounce is an email message that has been returned to the sender and is permanently undeliverable. Causes include invalid addresses (domain name doesn’t exist, typos, changed address, etc.) or the email recipient’s mail server has blocked your server. Servers will also interpret bounces differently, meaning a soft bounce on one server may be classified as a hard bounce on another.

Roostermail automatically moves subscribers that hard bounce into a “Bounced Subscribers” category, so they don’t receive future campaigns.

As well as using Roostermail’s built in bounce handling features, here are some quick tips on ways you can reduce bounces even further:

1. Keep your subscriber lists clean
Roostermail automatically removes invalid email addresses as you add them, but when new subscribers sign up via a subscribe form, they may enter an invalid address. Check each list for incorrectly formatted addresses, invalid domains and typos.

2. Use double opt-in:
When creating a subscriber list, set it as double opt-in, allowing each address to be validated by the subscriber before it can be added to your list.

3. Monitor Delivery Rates By Domain:
Track your open and bounces rates by major domain, such as AOL, Hotmail, Yahoo, Earthlink and others. If one is significantly different than the others, or your experience a sudden change, your campaign may be getting caught by spam filters.

4. Understand and Monitor Spam Filters:
Get to know the more common things that most spam filters look for and make sure you avoid them in each campaign you send.

5. Test Your Emails:
Prior to sending your campaign to your entire list, send a test to yourself and others. Make sure you try and include all the major types of email clients used by members of your list when testing.

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While we would like to be able to provide an "instant signup" for Roostermail, the nature of this product requires us to be extremely careful about spam.

Therefore, we require that you work through one of our consultants when you establish your account.

Make sure you review our Anti-spam Policy before you create an account. We take spam very seriously and have a strict permission policy you need to abide by.

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