Email Marketing

Hard Bounce vs. Soft Bounce Emails: What's the Difference?

Email marketing is a mighty tool for businesses to talk to their audience, share info, and promote products. But not all emails reach their targets.
Bella Ward

Email marketing is a mighty tool for businesses to talk to their audience, share info, and promote products. But not all emails reach their targets.

Some emails bounce back, and this happens for different reasons. Knowing the difference between hard bounces and soft bounces is essential for email marketing. This article will discuss two types of bounce emails, why they happen, and how to manage them for better email marketing.

What Are Bounce Emails?

Before we dive into hard and soft bounces, let's make clear what bounce emails are. When you send an email, it goes through different servers and networks to reach the receiver's inbox.

If the email cannot be delivered, it will bounce back to you, the sender. The error message also gives you the reason why the email couldn't be delivered. These errors fall into two types, hard bounces and soft bounces.

In email marketing, understanding the distinction between hard-bounce and soft-bounce emails is crucial. A hard bounce happens when an email cannot reach its destination due to an invalid address or other permanent issues, impacting your email marketing strategy and subject line effectiveness. On the other hand, soft bounces result from temporary problems like a full inbox or issues with the recipient's email client. These bounces can affect your click-through rate and hinder your efforts to connect with your target audience.

Keeping a clean contact list, optimizing sign-up forms, and making use of advanced features can help reduce bounces and enhance your email marketing success.

It's important to ensure that your marketing emails don't end up in the spam folder, as this can negatively affect your overall number of emails reaching the right audience. So, whether you're sending transactional emails or promoting a new blog post, mastering the art of managing bounce emails is key to successful lead generation and personal email engagement.

Hard Bounce Emails

A hard bounce happens when an email can't be delivered to the receiver's inbox permanently. It's usually because of an invalid or non-existent email address.

Hard bounces aren't about temporary issues. They mean a big problem is stopping your email from getting where it needs to go. Here are common reasons for hard bounces:

Hard Bounce Emails

Email Address Doesn't Exist: The most common reason for a hard bounce is that the email address doesn't exist or has a typo. It can be because someone made a mistake when signing up or unsubscribing from your emails.

Domain Doesn't Exist: Sometimes, the receiver's domain (like their company's domain) doesn't exist anymore, leading to a hard bounce.

Email Server Blocks You: Email servers stop certain senders or domains because of past issues. That leads to hard bounces for any future emails.

Blocked Email Address: The receiver may have marked your email address as spam or blocked it, making all your emails hard to bounce.

Hard bounces are a problem for your email marketing. They hurt your sender's reputation and make your emails less likely to reach the inbox. Email providers view hard bounces as a sign of a poorly maintained email list that may bother recipients.

Soft Bounce Emails

A soft bounce is the opposite - it's a temporary issue that stops your email from reaching the inbox. You can usually fix soft bounces, which allows your email to reach the receiver later, unlike hard bounces. Here are common reasons for soft bounces:

Inbox is Full: If the receiver's inbox is full, new emails will bounce until there's space.

Server Problems: Sometimes, the receiver's email server has a hiccup, preventing email delivery.

Attachments Too Big: Your email attachment might be too big for the receiver's server or mailbox.

Content Triggers Spam Filters: If your email content appears like spam, the email may soft bounce and not receive delivery.

Soft bounces are usually less of a worry than hard bounces. They usually solve themselves or need a bit of action to fix. It's important to address soft bounce problems to ensure your emails reach the intended recipients.

Why It's Important to Understand the Difference

Understanding the distinction between hard and soft bounces is crucial for achieving success in email marketing campaigns. We call it a bounce when we cannot deliver an email.

This knowledge helps individuals improve their mailing lists. They can focus on active and valid email addresses. As a result, their email marketing campaigns become more successful.

Why It's Important to Understand the Difference

List Health

Recognizing hard bounces helps you keep your email list clean by removing invalid or non-existent email addresses. This makes your list better and your sender reputation higher.

Sender Reputation

Sending emails to invalid addresses can harm your reputation as a sender. Additionally, it increases the likelihood that email providers will mark your emails as spam.


Solving soft bounces ensures that your emails reach the people you want to talk to. Ignoring soft bounces can hurt your email marketing.

Customer Experience

Sending emails to addresses that don't exist or have typos gives people a bad experience. They might get frustrated, and you don't want that.

Using Resources Wisely

By knowing why emails bounce, you can spend your time and money better, dealing with problems that stop email delivery.

How to Deal with Hard Bounce Emails

When you come across hard-bounce emails, it is essential to take immediate action. Hard-bounce emails occur when the sender receives messages that are permanently undeliverable. Here are steps to handle hard bounces well:

How to Deal with Hard Bounce Emails

Remove Invalid Addresses

Look at your email list regularly and remove email addresses that always hard bounce. This makes your list healthier and your sender reputation better.

Check Email Addresses

Use tools or services that check email addresses during signup to see if they're valid.

Update Subscriptions

Let your subscribers change their email addresses and encourage them to do it if their address changes.

Respect Unsubscribe Requests

If someone wants to stop getting your emails, let them. Don't keep sending emails to them, or they might mark you as spam.

Clean Your List

Regularly clean your list by removing people who don't engage with your emails. This not only stops hard bounces but also makes your email campaigns better.

How to Deal with Soft Bounce Emails

Handling soft-bounce emails is a crucial aspect of email marketing. Soft bounces occur when an email is temporarily undeliverable to the recipient's inbox.

There are various reasons why this can occur. There are several examples of email delivery issues. These include a full mailbox, a temporary problem with the recipient's email server, or the email being marked as spam. Here's how to fix soft bounces:

How to Deal with Soft Bounce Emails

Keep an Eye on Bounces

Watch your email bounces and see which emails always soft bounce.

Try Sending Again

Some email platforms try to send emails that soft bounce again. Let them make more delivery attempts.

Smaller Attachments

If big attachments cause soft bounces, think about making them smaller or giving download links instead.

Contact Recipients

In some cases, telling people about the soft bounce issue can help them fix the problem on their side.

Check Your Content

Look at your email content to make sure it follows email standards and doesn't look like spam.

Check Your Content

Keep People Engaged

Make sure your subscribers stay interested in your emails. Engaged subscribers have fewer soft bounces.

By addressing bounce issues promptly, you improve email marketing, maintain a good sender reputation, and ensure customer satisfaction.'s Role in Managing Bounce Emails

At, we understand the vital role that email marketing plays in businesses' lead engagement strategies. Our software helps manage bounce emails, making your email campaigns more effective.

Our AI email writer tool creates customized cold emails that enhance the recipient's experience and minimize the likelihood of triggering spam filters. This, in turn, reduces the chances of soft bounces.

On the other hand, our email warmup feature is an essential component for maintaining a good sender reputation. We improve your email reputation by gradually sending more emails, ensuring they go to the main inbox. This process reduces the number of undelivered emails. This reduces the number of undeliverable emails.

Our unlimited email outreach helps you stay in touch with your leads and manage bounce rates effectively.

Our features help you find and connect with potential leads, while also reducing bounce rates. This means that your email marketing campaigns are more likely to reach your intended audience, improving your overall email marketing success.'s Role in Managing Bounce Emails

Prevention is the Best Solution

In email marketing, it's important to focus on stopping hard and soft bounces instead of handling them later. Emails bounce when they are not successfully delivered to the recipient's inbox. An email permanently rejects a hard bounce when it has an invalid or non-existent address. Soft bounces occur when an email is temporarily rejected, typically due to problems such as a full inbox or server issue.

Preventing bounces should be a top priority because they can negatively impact your email deliverability and sender reputation. When emails bounce, it signals to email service providers (ESPs) that your email list may contain outdated or invalid addresses. Here are some prevention tips:

Double Opt-In: Make new subscribers confirm their email addresses through a double opt-in process. This helps reduce typos and wrong email addresses.

Clean Your List Regularly: Every so often, go through your email list and remove people who don't interact with your emails. This stops both hard and soft bounces.

Use Email Verification Tools: These tools check email addresses in real time to make sure they're valid when people sign up.

Pick Good Email Software: Use a trusted email marketing platform that can help you with bounces and show you how your email campaigns are doing.

Keep People Engaged: Talk to your subscribers often to keep them interested and reduce bounces.


Understanding the difference between hard and soft bounce emails is crucial for effective email marketing. While it's essential to recognize and address bounce issues, the prevention of these issues is equally significant. This is where comes into play.

We can assist your business in reaching the appropriate audience and achieving marketing goals. We achieve this by utilizing AI-powered cold emails, personalized icebreakers, and enhancing your sender reputation.

As a result, your business will experience consistent growth. This will lead to consistent business growth. is your partner in optimizing email marketing for maximum results and boosting your overall success in the B2B landscape.

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