Beat the Bounces!


Bounces are a pest. You’ve spent hours meticulously designing and building your email and perfecting your subject line only to find 10% of the email addresses you’ve sent to have bounced. ‘Why is this and what on earth is a bounce?’ I hear you ask…

What is a bounce?

A bounce is classed as any email address that cannot receive an email and a ‘return to sender’ message is sent from the recipient’s server back to the sender. This has nothing to do with the recipient’s desire to receive the email (which is controlled by unsubscribing or a preference centre), it is a technical issue physically preventing your email from reaching the desired recipient’s inbox.

Below you can see the total number of selected recipients in your list. In an ideal world this number would equal the number of people who receive your email and have the potential to engage and read what you’ve sent them. However, as it’s not always possible to anticipate a contact bouncing it is unrealistic to expect everyone in your list to receive your email successfully.

What is a bounce?

Quick bounce analysis

Once your email has been sent you can examine the metrics below to determine the quality of your distribution list. ‘Sent’ is the total number of email addresses in your distribution list, ‘Reached’ is the actual number of contacts who received the email, and excludes those that ‘Bounced’. The higher proportion of your list that has been ‘Reached’ the better.

Quick bounce analysis

A low bounce rate suggests a very healthy, up to date, and well managed contact list, whereas a high bounce rate could mean there are a few issues you need to address with how you are sourcing and maintaining your lists. The StoneShot app allows you to click into and review the bounces you’ve received and try and determine what action you need to take with their email addresses.

Types of bounce

In order to improve your bounce rate, it helps to have an understanding of the different kinds of bounces. There are two main types – hard and soft. A hard bounce is a permanent delivery failure whereas a soft bounce is a temporary prevention of emails reaching a contact.

Hard bounces

A hard bounce is an email address that is not valid or is no longer being used. This could be due to a simple spelling error, a change in the contact’s domain in their email address, or it could be that they’ve left their company and their email address has been deleted.

Soft bounces

A soft bounce is when your email has been received by the recipient’s email server but was not delivered into their inbox due to a lack of space, your email failing a spam detector, or the sender name and email address being blocked. A soft bounce suggests that you’ve got a correct email address for the contact, but there’s an issue with your email or sender credentials that need to be marked as safe by your recipient.

What you can do?

It’s a good idea to regularly check the contacts that are bouncing from your email sends. In doing so you may notice trends, for example a high proportion of contacts bouncing from a particular company. This could be due to stricter email security measures being put in place by a firm and unless you inform them that your emails aren’t getting through, a large number of perfectly valid email addresses could be lost. Be aware of your bounces and keep your contact lists clean and up to date. Your email campaigns will benefit greatly as a result.

How we can help?

How we can help

At StoneShot we can help you keep your lists clean and reduce your number of bounces. We send emails to thousands of different email addresses every day and log all of the bounces that happen within the system. If you have a contact in your list that has bounced we will warn you by indicating the number of potential bounces in your distribution list. This means you can export these email addresses and investigate any potential issues with these contacts before you hit send.

How we treat bounces?

If you send a contact on your list five consecutive emails that bounce we will automatically suppress these people out as we no longer consider this a valid email address. In case an email address reaches four consecutive bounces but then successfully delivers on the fifth attempt we will reset the count back to zero and the contact will remain opted in to your list.

If you have been sending your emails to the same list for a while you may be unaware that a high proportion of your email addresses are no longer able to receive what you’re sending them. By opting out contacts that bounce five times in a row, and are unlikely to ever receive what you’re sending them, we are helping you to keep your lists fresh and up to date, and improve your reporting and spam ratings.

We can clean your lists too

To really get your recipient lists squeaky clean we also offer an additional service where we use our suite of cutting-edge matching tools to clean your list. We take your list, audit it, uniquely identify each adviser and then provide up to date contact information for them, primarily email addresses. This is done through the use of The Core. A database we manage that contains over 30,000 UK FCA-regulated advisers which we’ve integrated into our email marketing platform and the Salesforce CRM platform.

The Core enables our clients to access up to date contact information for UK advisers. As we send over a million emails a month to UK financial advisers we’re uniquely placed to be able to verify the quality of an email address before we pass it on. Not only are we looking for obviously incorrect email addresses, but we can pinpoint email addresses which aren’t in use, or which are duplicate emails for the same adviser.

Analysis of your data is free and from there we can arrange a quote to get your data up to date and of the highest quality.

Take good care of your contacts and beat the bounces!

For more information on bounces or if you would like to find out how clean your lists are then get in touch at