About Bounces (Hard and Soft)

Learn about hard and soft bounces and how to lower your bounce rate

Vincenzo Ruggiero avatar
Written by Vincenzo Ruggiero
Updated over a week ago

Overloop records a bounce when an email cannot be delivered to the prospect. Emails can bounce for various reasons, and, depending on those reasons, there are two types of bounces: hard and soft.

Hard vs. Soft Bounces

When an email bounces, the recipient's (prospect's) server will send you an email notification with an error message indicating the issue. Depending on whether or not that issue is permanent, we speak of a hard or soft bounce.

Soft bounce

A soft bounce happens when an email cannot be delivered to the prospect due to temporary issues. For example, the recipient's mailbox is full, or the mail server is temporarily unavailable.

This means that, in general, the prospect's email address is valid, and you can try to re-send the email later.

Hard bounce

A hard bounce happens due to a permanent failure. For instance, when the prospect's email address is invalid.

If a hard bounce happens, our system will not send emails to this address anymore.

How the bounce rate affects deliverability

A high bounce rate is bad for your sending address's and domain name's reputation.

A bad reputation causes your emails to end up in the prospects' SPAM folder. Which, in its turn, leads to low open, click, and reply rates.

It may also be the reason for your Email Service Provider (ESP) lowering your sending limits or even blocking your email account. This is why it's important to keep your bounce rate as low as possible.

How to lower your bounce rate

You can never ensure a 0% bounce rate, but there's a lot you can do to prevent your emails from bouncing back and improve your deliverability. Because yes, email deliverability is really important.

  1. Avoid purchased lists.
    As all emails are sent through your own email account, this is totally allowed, but we highly discourage you from purchasing email lists.
    Purchased lists generally contain poorly verified email addresses, resulting in a higher bounce rate and weaker deliverability. It's always worth taking the extra time to identify quality leads.

  2. Configure a CNAME for click tracking (only for account administrators): By configuring your dedicated tracking domain, you don't have to share a common tracking IP whose reputation might have been harmed by other, less careful users.

  3. Configuring your DKIM and SPF records to authenticate yourself as the owner of the domain name you send emails from.

Add bounced prospects to the exclusion list

You can also choose to add prospects to your exclusion list when an email hard-bounces or soft-bounces in Settings > Bounces & Out-of-office Replies.

If you only use email for outreach, feel free to add bounced prospects to the exclusion list.

However, if you also plan to connect via LinkedIn, avoid enabling this option to ensure these prospects remain accessible for your LinkedIn campaigns.

Did this answer your question?