Basic Steps to Improve Your Email Delivery

According to Techjury, every day 306 billion emails are sent daily. Betterbounce reports that out of this figure, 31 billion emails bounce back to their senders. That means 31 billion messages never reach their intended email addresses or recipients, and the hard work behind crafting them could have been wasted.

In 2021, the number of global e-mail users stood at 4.147 billion users. This figure is set to grow to 4.37 billion users in 2023. While we must admit that email problems are part of the email marketing landscape, it hurts the marketing efforts significantly and should not be what any serious business person will want to live with.

Bounces can occur due to mistakes from the email sender. They can also be caused by the internet service provider and server related issues.

Further reading:

How to Fix Email Deliverability Problems

How to Troubleshoot and Resolve Email Problems


Let’s start with a look at why you must tae email delivery rates seriously.


Why Email Delivery Is Important

Email communication is the most widely used form of online communication today. It has its advantages and its negative side.

According to Statista, 47.3% of all emails are spam.

This value was recorded as of September 2020, and it represents a significant improvement. Only a year prior, 55% of emails were spam. Between June 2020 and January 2021, the average daily spam volume dropped from 316.39 billion to just over 122 billion.

The good news is that people still trust email marketing programs and in 2020 marketing emails got a 20.56% open rate.Recent email statistics show a 2.56% growth from 2018, where the average marketing email open rate sat at 18%.The rise of mobile makes email more accessible than ever – which has allowed the rate to make this jump.

Here are the reasons you should use emails:

1. It is Free. Most common email providers like Gmail and Yahoo offer free services allowing you to express yourself and craft your marketing messages without limitations. Because they are free, these emails attract lots of people and all messages from free providers are never trusted as they can conveniently be abused by scammers.

It should also be stated that scammers also use paid email services to increase the people could have in their communication.

2. Ease of Use. You need no technical expertise or basic knowledge to use emails. You just craft your messages and with just a click of the button, your messages are delivered to all your recipients.

3. You Can Verify and Troubleshoot Failure Deliveries. Emails will notify you if their is an address to which it could not deliver your messages and the cause of the failure will be indicated. That way, you can work to resolve the problem and resend the message.

4. It is Customizable. While it usually will come with a template, you can also customize your emails to include your company logo, signature and other attractive content lie images.

Further reading:

 Email Problems: What Should I do?

How to Troubleshoot and Resolve Email Problems


Email Bounces and How to Fix Them

One big issue with emails is if there are bounces - that is, the email is not delivered and a notification of failed delivery is sent back to you. It happens either way - can be caused by a problem on the sender's side or from an issue with the receiving account.

Most email bounces are the result of an issue with the receiving account (either permanent or temporary), or a block on the email from the receiving server.
When a bounce occurs, the recipient’s server sends a message back to the sender. It is important for email marketers to review their bounce reports carefully and make ongoing adjustments to their lists. Sometimes, it could be as simple as a mistyped email address.

Further reading:

Email Error Messages - What Do They Mean and How to Fix Them

How Did My Email Get Compromised and What Can I Do to Stop It?


Two Types of Bounces

Not all bounces are the same. Basically, we have a soft bounce and a hard bounce.

A soft bounce occurs when a temporary issue exists with the recipient’s email address. This delays the delivery of the message but does not necessarily stop it altogether. In many cases, the email server will reattempt delivery several times over a period of hours or even days. The message is only considered undeliverable if the retry period expires without a successful delivery.

A hard bounce occurs when the email message is deemed permanently undeliverable. An email address that generates a hard bounce should be immediately removed from your database so that you will not send any further messages to that recipient.

A number of different factors can generate bounces and cause issues for email marketers. Here are some of the most common:

  1. The email entered during the opt-in process is invalid. People sometimes make mistakes when subscribing to mailing lists. Other times they deliberately enter an old email address out of concerns for spam or an increase in email volume. No matter what the reason, invalid email addresses are a common source of bounces. You can largely avoid this problem by using a double opt-in procedure before adding people to your list.

  2. The sending IP address you are using has been blocked. Even if everything is fine with the message itself, the IP address you are using to send it could be blocked. This block can occur if you are suspected of spamming or email fraud or if your company has developed a bad reputation. You can avoid this problem by using quality email marketing techniques and never renting or buying prepackaged lists.

  3. The email was blocked by the server (unable to relay). Emails can be blocked by the receiving server for a number of reasons. Many servers will block messages over a certain size, emails that use the wrong format and messages that appear to be spam. Mail servers can block your email also if the “From” address might not match an account on the email server. Reviewing your messages carefully, making your images as small as possible and following best practices can help you avoid this problem. Please note that mail server may block your email also for “technical” problems that you can’t have any control over, eg. “Out of memory”, “Connection timed out” and “Resources temporarily unavailable”:

  4. The receiving server is overloaded or temporarily unavailable. Even the most robust server can only handle so much traffic. Sometimes an email will bounce due to an overloaded or unavailable server. This type of situation generates a soft bounce.

  5. The receiving mailbox is full (Quota exceeded). Few email providers allow unlimited storage. When a user reaches their predetermined limit, all future emails will bounce. Many email systems will hold those bounced emails and attempt redelivery for a period ranging from hours to days. If and when the recipient clears old messages and creates space, any cached emails will be delivered.

  6. The email has been blocked by the recipient. Individuals can block emails from senders they no longer want to hear from. If that has happened to you, a bounce will be generated.

  7. The recipient has activated an auto-responder or vacation reply. When employees go on vacation or will be unavailable, they can set up an autoresponder to tell contacts about it. If the email address you are trying to reach has an autoresponder, you will see a bounce, but the message may still be delivered after the autoresponder is turned off.

Further reading:

How to grow your mailing list ethically

How to fix error 550 no such user here


Final Words

Nothing can reduce your bounce rate to zero, but there are things you can do to keep problems to a minimum. Keeping a close eye on your bounce reports and cleaning up your list on a regular basis will both help minimize bounces and ensure that your carefully crafted messages reach their intended recipients.

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