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Email Bounce Handling Through Your Email Service Provider

People that choose to send their email through an email service provider (ESP) generally do so for the convenience of having a “hands off” email program.

The benefit here is that it’s all “done for you” - including handling your email bounces - and there’s nothing to manage.

The downside is that you’re probably losing hundreds, even thousands, of valid subscribers without even knowing it. (More on that in a second)

With most ESPs, you’re likely to only get the following email bounce statistics:

  • Hard Bounces
  • Soft Bounces
  • Technical Bounces

However, this doesn’t really give you any helpful information and it certainly doesn’t help you correct any problems.

What’s even worse is that this causes you to lose VALID subscribers.

Let’s say you send out a 4 part email sequence for a marketing partner, and that marketing partner’s URL happens to be on a blacklist... Well that could cause email addresses to “soft bounce”. After a soft bounces (generally 3 or 5), your email service provider conveniently removes these folks from your list.

NOTE: With MOST email service providers this number doesn’t reset. So, if you had a subscriber that had a full mailbox 2 days in a row, and then you sent a single email promotion out 3 weeks later that had a blacklisted URL, that person could be removed from your list simply because they hit the threshold.

One of the primary reasons they don’t provide detailed information on bounces is because in many cases, you’re sharing IP addresses with 100s, even 1000s, of other mailers and one or more of them may cause an IP address to have problems with it’s reputation or even be temporarily blocked.

Sure, the ESP will go ahead and correct the problem quickly, but you’ll never know that there was a problem or why it occurred...

And if you contact the Email Service provider to ask them about “missing” mail, you’re not likely going to get them to tell you that they had to correct problems on one or more of the IPs you're mailing through.

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