A soft bounce is a temporarily undelivered email. A soft bounce means that your email has reached the recipient’s email server, but it has not been able to fully deliver, and hence you will be notified of a “bounce” in an automatically generated notification.
Soft bounces are typically less troublesome than hard bounces, as they generally get resolved in a matter of hours or days when you execute a “re-send” of your email to any emails in your list that came back with a bounce the first time.
Generally, soft bounces are caused by issues relating to the recipient’s own email account, but here is a full list of reasons, to give you a better idea:
  • The user’s mailbox is full 
  • User’s mailbox is not configured correctly
  • User’s mailbox is inactive.
  • Recipient’s email server is down or offline
  • Recipient’s email server has been sent too many emails in a short space of time
  • Email message is too large (Some email servers have file size limits for attachments too).
  • Domain name does not exist (Possible typo when the user signed up to your mailing list)
  • Email message blocked due to content (Video in incorrect format for example)
  • Email message does not meet the recipient server’s policies
  • Email message does not meet the recipient server’s DMARC requirements for authentication
  • Email message does not meet the recipient server’s anti-spam requirements
  • Email message does not meet the recipient server’s anti-virus requirements
  • Email message does not meet the recipient server’s sender requirements
  • Email cannot be relayed between email servers
  • Email cannot be relayed for unknown reasons

How do I keep my soft bounce rate down?

Your soft bounce rate can be kept down pretty easily by taking measures both before and after you begin to send emails for your campaign. Here’s some tips to help you out
Optimise your sign up form to inform readers of who will show up as the sender for your emails, and offer a double opt-in verification. If new sign ups become aware of who you are when sending, they’ll be far less likely to mark you as spam. Too many spam warnings can cause email servers to temporarily block you from sending content to other users.
As for the double-opt in, this is your way to guarantee every sign-up is at least real. A double opt-in can send the sign-up a code or verification link to their email address, and this verifies two things – Their email is active, and they are not a robot or automatically controlled email.
Some other great tips include:
  • Cleaning up your mailing list every 6-12 months, omitting any email addresses that are duplicated, look spammy, or those that have recently unsubscribed from your mailing list.
  • Stick to a content schedule – If you keep your content flowing consistently, it can give readers more understanding as to why they signed up to your mailing list. If you intend to email your contacts weekly, you should mention this in the initial sign up form too.
  • Verify your sender domain – Although this sounds technical, it’s really not. This can be done in Mailchimp, and simply ensures mail servers note your sender profile as genuine, helping you avoid being flagged as spam too quickly.

Did you know?

  • Daily deals/coupons were found to have the lowest soft bounce rate of all industries in a 2019 survey by Mailchimp, with an average of just 0.13%.
  • We recommend you offer things like coupons and free resources in your email campaigns, as readers generally take more care into offering their email address when signing up to your content.



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