An Ode to Bouncing Around or What are bounces in Mailchimp and what to do about them

Spoiler alert : there is not so much you can do about bounces. Still, there are measures you may take and things you can learn from your bounces.

Welcome back to the show  “I use Mailchimp but I’m still not sure of what I’m doing”. Episode 2 is on ! I’ve decided to talk about learning about Mailchimp on Thursdays. Why ? Check out my Instagram post to find out !

Bounce, bounce, bounce 

I will first start by telling you what we’ll discuss in this post and why it’s important. First, the requirement for a better understanding of this episode (and making it more useful for you at the same time) is to have already sent a Campaign through Mailchimp. If you don’t know what a Campaign is, do not worry, this topic will be covered in detail in one of my future posts. In short though, it is an email you sent through Mailchimp. So if you already did, you may have had a certain problem occur. Your Report (or results) shows a number of people (and more specifically and correctly, e-mail addresses) under the Bounce segment. Bounces may be found in your Mailchimp account if you go to Dashboard –> Reports –> View Report –> Activity –> Bounced (this is 2017 version, it may change in the future).

steps bounce
Steps to find your bouncers

What is a bounce ? Bounce is a way of defining what happened to the e-mail you sent. Let’s say you sent it to Maja, Nina, Nika and Ana. Maja has received the e-mail and opened it, Nina also received it but has not opened it and Nika’s and Ana’s addresses bounced. Nika’s address bounced softly and Ana’s bounced hard. What happened ? There are two possibilities :

  • Soft bounces (you can do something about them)
  • Hard bounces (you cannot do anything about them)

In the first case, the e-mail address was found to be valid but it has not been delivered into the recipient’s mailbox due to different reasons. The reasons to this may be that the mailbox of your receiver is full (over quota), the recipient email server is down or offline or the email message is too large (Courtesy of Mailchimp official page Knowledge Base). Honestly, I don’t know why someone would try to send bulk email that is large in size but just so you know.

  • To fix (decrease) the number of your soft bounces, you may try to resend another campaign to the e-mail address that has bounced softly – that is, Nika’s address

This means that you have a temporary hiccup, you need to see if there’s a way to sort of “unbounce” the address, make it go to regular subscribers list (this may take some time, three to five campaigns I remember reading somewhere).

Now with your newly acquired hard bounces list, I do not have good news. These are e-mails that are invalid. Either the address doesn’t exist, domain doesn’t exist or the email server has blocked delivery. What to do ?

  • Remove the e-mail addresses that have hard bounced – that is Ana; she’s a lost cause to you

You need to remove them from your list. I would hate to tell you that I do not know how to do that but I don’t so here is a link that may help you : About Bounces. My thinking is to directly delete from the list but what if I mistakenly add them again later on ? The double opt-in should prevent this from happening – people subscribe to your list by themselves so there should be no problem. I am not 100% though. If anyone has an idea, do leave a comment down below. I may be missing something in my reasoning.

Inspiration for this post (besides my own experience) was this post : Sendgrid’s Bounce Management

P.s. When your emails bounce, you may manually check the writing. Sometimes a person will write the email with a space and or forget a letter (anabanana Mailchimp will not correct this by itself, you need to do it. Would anyone be interested in a post on importing to Mailchimp ? I plan to write it soon for those interested. I may send you a link on mail if you want to subscribe.

#MailchimpThursday done

Author: Ana

// Slovenian // EMLYON Business School - Msc in Global Entrepreneurship & Innovation exploring the world of social entrepreneurship & the need for personal development for entrepreneurs

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