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Reduce Your Bounce Rate to Raise Your Marketing Game

May 7, 2012   |   2 min read

Knowledge Center  ❯   Blog

If your mailings to your list generate a large number of bounces, you can harm your email marketing efforts in a number of ways-by undermining your deliverability, reach, reputation, and profitability. Reducing your bounce rate, with email list cleaning being the most effective means, can significantly benefit your campaign performance.

Many companies fail to recognize the ramifications of a high bounce rate, or are too complacent about accepting high bounce rates as a normal byproduct of their email marketing campaigns. Indeed, a DemandGen survey found that “many marketers have fallen into the trap of simply sending out email blasts to everyone on their list.”

Accepting high percentages of dead email addresses that cause high bounce rates, the experts say, is a costly mistake, but one made by too many companies. As DemandGen reported, “Since email is a low-cost delivery method, many companies accept that double-digit percentages of their contact lists have switched companies, titles or jobs.”

Why should marketers be more concerned about a high bounce rate? As Constant Contact email marketing expert Michelle Keegan explains, “Because customer acquisition is expensive, and email bouncebacks could mean the loss of customers and prospects that you paid dearly to acquire.”

While the best marketers have bounce rates in the 0.5% to 1% range, Keegan cites an Association for Interactive Marketing (AIM) survey in which 77% of respondents had bounce rates up to 10%, and 23% had rates greater than 10%. The DemandGen survey found bounce rates as high as 15% to 20%.

Poor deliverability and response rates are just one problem associated with high bounce rates. With ISPS and email service providers closely monitoring email activity, a high bounce rate can negatively affect your reputation and cause you to be blacklisted.

Invalid email addresses are the root cause of a high bounce rate, and as a MailChimp bounce rate benchmark advisory relates, “Too many hard bounces are a sign of an old, stale list.”

Reduce your bounce rate by applying email validation as part of a regular email hygiene program, which will verify email addresses as they are collected on your website, as well as removing invalid email addresses from your list and correcting those that are correctable.

The savviest and top-performing email marketers, say the experts, are those who perform regular email validation and hygiene. These marketers achieve the greatest open and conversion rates while registering the lowest bounce rates.

Indeed, a SilverPop study found that top email marketing performers had a bounce rate more than four times lower than bottom performers, which the study said “indicates that top performers most likely are more vigilant about verifying email addresses before adding them to the database and about doing list hygiene to remove undeliverable addresses.”

If you reduce your bounce rate via regular email validation, list hygiene, and email appending, you will achieve a number of positive effects, including higher delivery rates, more successful marketing, and greater revenue generation.

As DemandGen relates, “Dirty databases are cleaned by appending, refreshing and de-duping information.” List refreshing, the author explains, “removes records that are out-of-date or otherwise invalid.”

On the flip side, neglecting your list has its consequences. As Michelle Keegan says, “the erosion of your house list can make a seriously negative impact on your bottom line.”

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