What does it mean when an email “bounces”? How do popular email marketing solutions like Constant Contact, MailChimp and SalesNexus manages bounced emails?
When B2B sales teams begin email marketing, there are a lot of “mysteries” and bounces can be one of the most difficult to sort out. A typical sales team’s email marketing efforts can be paralyzed by the uncertainty.
One of the most frustrating experiences for most salespeople is when they load their contact list from Outlook or their CRM into the email marketing system and send out their first email, they can find that a surprisingly high number of bounced emails. Why? Often, the sales team loses faith in the email marketing system immediately.
What are the different kinds of bounces?
A hard bounce is when the receiving mail server (your customer’s mail server) says the address you’re sending to is not valid. It’s an incorrect email address.
Once a hard bounce has been recorded, virtually all email marketing systems will not send to that address again.
In most systems, including MailChimp, Constant Contact and SalesNexus, if you edit the customer’s record in the system and change the email address, the system will begin sending your emails to that new address again.
There are several different types of “soft bounces”:
- Mailbox is full (over quota).
- Recipient email server is down or offline.
- Vacation Replies
- Email message is too large.
Because all of these issues are “temporary” in nature, most systems will not immediately stop delivering to email addresses that “soft bounce”. MailChimp will continue to send to an address after a soft bounce up to 15 times, depending on whether the customer has had activity on previous emails. Constant Contact isn’t quite as clear about it but, here’s what they say on their website.
SalesNexus will continue to send to an address that has a soft bounce up to 5 times. If, after 5 soft bounces in a row, SalesNexus stops sending to the address.
In Constant Contact, MailChimp, SalesNexus and most systems, you can easily retrieve a list of all contacts which have bounced, either for a specific campaign or in general (on any campaign).
It’s a good idea to pull these lists periodically and give each salesperson a list of their customers that have bounced so that they can try to make contact via phone or other means and determine if that person’s email address has changed or if perhaps they’ve moved on and someone else has replaced them.
For SalesNexus users, here’s a document that describes how to find your bounces so you can update them.