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How to reduce email marketing bounce rates

How to reduce email marketing bounce rates

By the CEO of iContact Corporation, Ryan P.M. Allis, an email marketing expert

Managing and reducing email bounces is a crucial component of email marketing. The more emails that get through, the lower the email delivery costs, and the higher the conversion rate and return on investment will be. Bounces are generally caused by one of four reasons.

Common bounce reasons include:

1. The recipient inbox is full

2. The recipient email address does not exist or is spelled incorrectly

3. The mail server at the ISP of the end recipient is temporarily down or unreachable

4. The mail server is blocking the message due to content-based or blacklist-based filtering

On average, bounce rates are around 10%. For the first few sends, this ratio may be higher as the initial bounces are processed and removed from your list. iContact includes an automated bounce management system. The system automatically removes any email address that has bounces five times.

We decided on the number five as we wanted to minimize the chance we would remove an email address that is good but was simply full for a few weeks.

Here are some tips to help you reduce the number of bounces:

1. Includes subscription management links in your emails and encourage subscribers to update their information if it ever changes. iContact will automatically add a “Manage Your Subscription” link at the bottom of each email. Encouraging users to use the link within the body of your email if their information ever changes may be helpful.

2. Use an email marketing service that will automatically remove multiple hard bounces.

3. Use the mail or phone to update the email address of anyone who is repeatedly bouncing.

4. Remove any abuse@ or postmaster@ “spam flag” addresses.

5. Consider Using An Email Change of Address (ECOA) Service such as Return Path, TowerData, or Experian if you find that many users are changing their email address but forgetting to provide you with their updated information.

Words to Avoid Using in Your Email Message:

Act Now
All New
50% Off
Call Now
Subscribe Now
Don't Delete
Time Limited
While Supplies Last
Why Pay More
You're A Winner!
Information You
Earn Money
Double Your Income
Search Engine Listings
Join Millions
All Natural
You've Been Selected
Excessive $ or !
 No Cost
Cash Bonus
Promise You
Please Read 
As Seen On
Buy Direct
Get Paid
Order Now
Special Promotion
Save Up To








Simply using one of these words or phrases will likely not cause your message to be blocked.

Wherever possible, we would suggest using a synonym or rewording and making your best efforts not to use more than one of these phrases in the same email message.

Tip: Avoid putting capital letters and punctuation symbols, such as quotations, dollar signs, or exclamation points into your subject lines, as they tend to trigger email filters.

Following these emailing guidelines will reduce the chance of your message being blocked or reported as spam:

1. Use the above listed trigger words sparingly

2. Remove content that may be offensive to others. Content, which annoys harasses, threatens, defames, or abuses others in any way

3. Never post or disclose information about individuals under the age of 13, without verifiable parental consent

4. Avoid linking to or publishing any information about controlled substances, pyramid schemes, gambling, illegal drugs and drug contraband, alcohol, weapons, pirated materials, foul language, extreme violence, pornography, illegal goods, escort services, instructions on making, assembling, or obtaining illegal goods or weapons, information used to break copyright or trademark violations, to destroy others' property, or to harm any people or animals.

Ryan P.M. Allis is the CEO of iContact, developers of an email marketing and blogging application software (

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