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Handymailer - The award-winning Bulk Email Marketing Software
Mass mailing, HTML email newsletter delivery, and bulk email marketing campaigns - You can accomplish these tasks with ease
Handymailer is an efficient group email and bulk email marketing software for companies, ezine publishers and professionals, as well as individuals, to communicate with their customers, subscribers, and other email contacts effectively.
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Bulk Email Marketing Articles & Tips
14 Quick Tips on How To Reduce Email Bounces
By Loren McDonald

If you are an active email marketer, managing and reducing your email bounces (see definition below) has never been more critical. Actively managing your bounces can reduce your email delivery costs and increase conversions/transactions - improving the ROI of your email campaigns.

Here are 14 quick tips to help you manage and reduce bounces:

Clean Your Lists: Whether manually or via a list-hygiene service, check for incorrectly formatted addresses, invalid domains and typos (i.e., alo.com).

Consider Using An Email Change of Address (ECOA) Service: With many companies experiencing email address churn of 2.5% a month, an ECOA service could pay huge dividends. Return Path, a leading ECOA company, reportedly receives 1,000,000 email address changes a month.

Confirm Email Addresses: Send an auto-reply confirmation when a user subscribes, registers or makes a purchase. If that message bounces, you can attempt to correct it right from the start. Additionally, you may want to consider requiring a second email address line (in your online forms) that confirms the correct address was entered.

Include Subscription/Account Management Links in Your Emails: Make it easy for your customers and subscribers to update their email addresses by including a link in your emails to your Web site account/subscription management page.

Prompt Customers To Update Information: When a customer is completing a transaction in the shopping cart, for example, prompt them to verify and update information - particularly their email address.

Use the Mail or Phone to Update Information: If you have postal addresses or phone numbers for customers/subscribers with bad email addresses, consider contacting them via mail (such as a postcard) or telephone.

Monitor Delivery Rates By Domain: Track your open and bounces rates by major domain, such as AOL, Hotmail, Yahoo, Earthlink and others. If one is significantly different than the others, or your experience a sudden change, you may have a filtering or blacklist problem.

Monitor Blacklists: Regularly check the major spam databases and blacklists to ensure you or your email provider has not been added. Click here for a list of spam blacklists and here to check your DNS against MAPS and SPAMCOP, two of the more popular black list databases. (You will not receive a bounce message as a result of a blacklist, even though the email has not been delivered.)

Understand and Monitor Spam Filters: Get to know the more common things that most spam filters, including Microsoft Outlook's Junk Filter. Click here to see a list of many of the major spam filters. Also, click here to view the terms reviewed by Spam Assassin one of the more popular spam filters. (Spam filters also will not generate bounce messages.)

Remove "Spam Flag" Addresses: These are often added maliciously. Examples include: abuse@somedomain.com. postmaster@somedomain.com and nospam@antispam.net.

Pretest Your Emails: Prior to distributing your email to your entire list, send a test to yourself and others (make sure you include all the major email services used by members of your list).

Understand How Your Email Provider Processes Bounces: Gain a thorough understanding of how your email provider classifies and handles soft and hard bounces - and manage accordingly.

Monitor Changes Among ISPs: After mergers, financial troubles and other announcements, many users of a particular ISP may decide to switch to a different account or ISP for their email. Consider sending an email to members of your list with the domain name in question, asking them if they would like to update their email address and other information.

When All Else Fails, Suppress or Delete Recurring Bouncers: Determine an appropriate bounce suppression/deletion strategy for your email program. With the EmailLabs application, hard bounces are automatically put into your Trashed list and will not be included in any ensuing message distributions, unless they are moved back into your active list.

Defining Soft and Hard Bounces

A soft bounce is an email message that gets as far as the recipient's mail server (it recognizes the address) but is bounced back undelivered before it gets to the intended recipient. A soft bounce might occur because the recipient's mailbox is full, the server is down or swamped with messages, the message is too large or the user has abandoned the mailbox. Most email service providers will attempt to deliver the email regularly for a few days. If it is still undelivered, it becomes a hard bounce.

A hard bounce is an email message that has been returned to the sender and is permanently undeliverable. Causes include invalid addresses (domain name doesn't exist, typos, changed address, etc.) or the email recipient's mail server has blocked your server. Servers will also interpret bounces differently, meaning a soft bounce on one server may be classified as a hard bounce on another.

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