How Someone Had Over a 90% Hard Bounce Rate on Just Over 5,000 Subscribers

Last week I shared what not to do with my email list. This was so compelling I thought I would share this here.

I did want to talk about a situation I ran into with a formal client. I want to use this example so you do not make this error in your business,

Taking the proactive approach is much better for your business.

I had a former client who came to me wanting to market his business. His budget at the time was reasonable ( That changed as time went on – a red flag).

He wanted to do e-mail marketing and social media marketing. I suggested he start with e-mail marketing because at the time it appeared he had a list of just over 5,000 subscribers. I explained social media its no longer post and they will come. Social Media takes a lot of work to build a large following and trust along this following.

Lets go back to the e-mail list. Right away I suggested I run the list through an e-mail validation service. I had big concerns about where The client did not want to pay for this service as he said he knew where the list came from. Personally I thought at the time it was a big mistake.

Services like Zerobounce do not cost a lot of money and are a great at what they do.

This is the second red flag with this customer. He was not taking good sound advice.

So I sent out the campaign. It was using MailChimp. The hard bounce rate was over 90%.

A hard bounce is an email that does not exist or the e-mail server rejected the incoming e-mail.

Once an e-mail address hard bounces you can not re-add the email manually. The former subscriber must re-subscribe.

To make this more interesting, the e-mails that did not hard bounce were marked mostly transactional e-mails only. In this case it means MailChimp will only send e-mails that are tied to Woo-Commerce transactions.

At the end of the day, this means the client does not have a good e-mail list. It is really that simple.

The more important thing is his domain and email address will end up on e-mail blacklists which will make it hard for him to do e-mail marketing down the rad. It is actually surprising that MailChimp did not freeze his account.

Over the last 14 years I have done a lot of e-mail marketing. I have managed a lot of larges lists – over 50K subscribers and never had bounce rates this high.

A summary of what went wrong and what should have been done:

  1. Always be sure of the validity of your email list.
  2. If you are unsure of the quality of the list, use a service like ZeroBounce to validate the list.
  3. Never purchase an e-mail list.
  4. Never just add emails to the list. In many jurisdictions, this is illegal.
  5. The only emails that should ever be on your list are those who have purchased from you or those who have opted in.,
  6. Once someone unsubscribes from your list, they must subscribe again to get back on the list.
  7. Once an email address hard bounces, they must subscribe again to get back on the list.
  8. Breaking email list rules can be breaking local laws. This could result in high fines or even more.

I have only shared this situation with you so that you do not make this mistake or do the wrong thing doing e-mail marketing. Your e-mail list is the one thing you own and control in addition to your website. Use it wisely.

If I can help in anyway, please email me at

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