The purpose of every email marketing campaign is to make sure that your message is read by your target audience, and that your recipient takes a favorable action (either visit your website, call your business phone, purchase a product etc.)


It can be frustrating when you discover that your email recipients are not acting on your calls to action because they never received your email. That means you have wasted time, effort and resources designing and crafting an email message that was never read because your emails bounced.


When an email bounces, it means the recipient never received that email. The percentage of emails that bounced over the emails sent is called a bounce rate. For example, if you send a bulk email to 100 people, and 20 people didn’t receive that email, you have a bounce rate of 20%.


Now there is a difference between bounce rate and open rate. People might receive your emails and choose not to open it. So if you sent a newsletter to 100 people and only50 people read it, you have an open rate of 50% Got it?


It isn’t unusual to have bounces from your newsletters, but when your bounce rate is too high, then you have a problem.


So how do you know if your bounce rate is too high? Take a look at Constant Contact’s industry standards below.

Business Type Bounces Rate
Accommodations (ex. hotel, inn, B&B, campgrounds) 8.94%
Accountant 6.82%
Animal Services 9.78%
Art, Culture, Entertainment (ex. galleries, museums, musicians, theatre, film, crafts) 9.02%
Automotive Services 7.97%
Child Care Services 8.80%
Civic/Social Membership (ex. associations, chambers, clubs) 2.71%
Consultant, Training (ex. marketing, management) 11.11%
Education – Primary/Secondary (ex. elementary, middle, and high schools) 9.00%
Education – Higher Education (ex. colleges, universities, trade schools) 7.65%
Financial Advisor 13.42%
Fitness Center, Sports, Recreation (ex. yoga studio, bowling alley, gym) 9.38%
Fitness/Nutritional Services (ex. personal trainer, wellness coach) 4.35%
Government Agency or Services 9.00%
Health & Social Services (ex. hospital, elder care, adoption services) 9.75%
Health Professional (ex. physician, dentist, chiropractor) 9.65%
Home & Building Services (ex. construction, HVAC, landscaping, design) 14.64%
Insurance 3.54%
Legal Services 11.47%
Manufacturing and Distribution 11.80%
Marketing, Advertising, Public Relations 9.11%
Other 7.00%
Other – Non-profit 10.19%
Personal Services (ex. dry cleaning, photography, housekeeping) 5.20%
Professional Services 9.14%
Publishing 7.82%
Real Estate 14.18%
Religious Organization 8.36%
Restaurant, Bar, Cafe, Caterer 9.56%
Retail (ex. brick and mortar and online) 6.91%
Salon, Spa, Barber (ex. nails, tanning) 14.43%
Technology (ex. web developer) 12.60%
Transportation 10.95%
Travel and Tourism (ex. limo driver, tour guide, reservations) 9.51%


If your bounce rate is higher than your industry standard, you have some work to do. Even with the above industry standards, it is advisable to keep your bounce rate lower than 10%.


To lower your bounce rate, you need to first know what causes an email to bounce. Here are 4 possible causes

  1. Your email service provider: If you’re using a free email provider like Yahoo or AOL for your email marketing campaigns as your from email, it is likely that your emails will bounce. This is because of the DMARC (domain-based message authentication and conformance) Policy put in place to prevent fraudulent emails. So, supposing you’re sending an email campaign from a yahoo account, but you’re using an email marketing company like Constant Contact or MailChimp, your email may still bounce because of the policy. It is advisable for you to use your organization’s email server (e.g as your from email when sending out newsletters
  2. Old email list: Sometimes people change jobs and no longer use their email from their previous place of employment, or people just create new accounts and abandon their old ones. Campaigns sent to these sort of emails will bounce.
  3. Your recipient’s box is full: Here’s another reason why your emails might get bounced. Once our recipient’s email box is full, your emails will continue to bounce until the recipient clears his/her inbox. This means this sort of bounce is only temporary (temporary bounces are called soft bounces)
  4. Your recipient is on vacation: Another example of a soft bounce. When the recipient’s is on vacation, his email server may be offline for that period and will cause your emails to bounce until the recipient is back online.
  5. Email too large: If your email is too large, it may cause it bounce. So sending heavy files is not advisable when you are running an email marketing campaign.



What you can do now to lower your bounce rate

From the listed causes above, you already have an idea of what you can do now to reduce your bounce rate. Here are 3 things you can do now to keep your bounce rates low.


  • Brand your from email: As mentioned earlier, it is important for your sender email address to be hosted by your organization’s server and not a free email service provider like Yahoo or Gmail.
  • Clean up your email list: Do this as often as possible. Remove hard bounces from your email list and work on re-engaging old subscribers. It is also advisable NOT to purchase any email list ,but to build your list of subscribers.
  • Keep an email schedule: Keeping a consistent email schedule will not only lower your bounce rate, it will also help in increasing your open rates.


Practical Email Marketing

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