How To Reduce Your Email Bounce Rate

Image courtesy of renjith krishnan at
Posted on Feb 17th 2015

A high bounce rate is bad news for any email marketing campaign. Not only does it mean a high percentage of your messaging is not reaching the people it’s meant to, it can also tarnish your sender reputation and damage the deliverability of future campaigns.

What exactly is email bounce rate?

Bounce rate simply refers to the percentage of emails you send out to addresses on your contact list that are ‘bounced back’ by the recipients’ mail server. There are two kinds of email bounces:

  1. Hard bounce –this occurs when an email cannot be delivered at all, often because of an incorrect email address
  2. Soft bounce –the email cannot be delivered because of a temporary problem such as a full inbox or an unstable connection with the recipient’s email server.

So what can be done about a high bounce rate?

While it’s difficult to eliminate bounces completely, these tips will help you improve your email deliverability to make sure more of your marketing messages reach your guests’ inboxes, where you need them to be.

1. Use an Opt-In Process

Asking for permission to send your guests marketing messages is the number one way to ensure high deliverability rates.

Implementing a double opt-in or email verification step for your guest contact lists may cost you a few potential signups, but it will result in better deliverability rates for the life of that list. Remember, building a list of contacts who are actually interested in your property and will be receptive to your messages is far more important than your total number of subscribers.

Even if you prefer not to use a double opt-in system, it’s always good practice to send new signups a confirmation email. This will help you immediately validate new contacts, while offering a positive introduction to your brand experience.

2. Personalize Your Subject Lines

You probably already know that emails with personalised subject lines are more likely to be opened, but did you know getting personal in the subject box can actually impact deliverability too?

Email clients’ spam filters are on the lookout for large batches of incoming emails with the same, generic and overly promotional subject lines. By adding your guests’ names to your subject lines, you demonstrate your commitment to the best, personal customer service, while reducing the likelihood that your emails will be identified as spammy by the email servers.

3. Offer Plain Text & HTML

Email servers prefer it when there is both a plain text and HTML option for the messages you send.

Although most email platforms are able to automatically convert HTML messages into plain text, for some platforms you have to actively enable the plain text feature, and this is easily overlooked.

For this reason, you should always offer both plain text and HTML versions of your emails to guests, and double-check before sending to ensure that the two versions match.

4. Be Consistent and Timely

If you’re leaving long gaps between each email, there’s a good chance a significant portion of your contact data is no longer accurate. All contact lists eventually go out of date, and an increase in hard bounces is a sure sign of a stale, no longer relevant list.

You should be keeping in touch with your guests as often as you produce interesting, helpful content. As a guide, aim to contact them at least every other week to keep them engaged with your brand and ensure your database is up to date.

5. Monitor Your Sender Reputation

Email servers keep a watchful eye on the IP addresses that are sending out undesirable, spammy content. Brands with a reputation for sending this kind of content are more likely to have their messages blocked; in fact a poor sender reputation is one of the most common reasons for a high bounce rate.

Do you keep track of your resort’s sender reputation? If not, see how your domain scores for free at SenderScore now.

The tool calculates reputations on a rolling, 30 day average and it can sometimes take months to correct low scores. However, if you start implementing the best practices above, you can turn your reputation around and create messages that get seen and engaged with by your guests.

There’s no way to completely eliminate email bounces, but if you maintain an up to date, permission-based list, personalise subject lines and contact your guests regularly with engaging updates and information, you give your content the best chance possible of beating spam filters and getting seen by the people that matter.

How do you manage your resort’s sender reputation? Let us know in the comments below!


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