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Published on August 16th, 2005 | by Janine Popick


Acceptable Bounce and Unsubscribe Rates

Understanding the bounce and unsubscribe rates of
 your list is as important as understanding the click and open rates. Bounces and unsubscribes are a natural part 
of email marketing and will occur even with the cleanest and most 
targeted lists. That said, for every bounce or unsubscribe you receive,
 that is one less person reading your newsletter. As a savvy marketer
 it’s important to understand what steps can be taken to reduce these
 percentages for future campaigns.

Understanding Your Bounced Email
can occur for a variety of reasons: people move, change jobs,
 change their ISPs, etc. and they don’t always remember to update their 
account information with their newsletter providers.

 frequency in which you mail can also have an impact on the number of
 bounces you receive. An average bounce back rate for a list that is 
mailed regularly (at least once per month) can range from 2% – 5%. An
average bounce back rate to a list that is mailed less regularly can 
range from 5% – 13%. In addition, we’ve seen bounce back rates for
 first-time mailing lists as high as 20 – 30%.

Here are a few tips to keep your bounce rate low:

•    Mail 
at least once per month – this helps to solidify your relationship with
 your subscriber base, especially the ones who’ve just recently signed
•    Provide offers or newsletters that your recipients will miss if they change email accounts.
•    Offer your recipients a way to update their email address and other account details somewhere on your website.
•    If 
you do get a bounced email, call or mail your customer a postcard to 
let them know their email bounced and you’d like to get an updated one.

Evaluating Unsubscribe Rates
matter how enticing your offers are, or how targeted your lists, you
 will still have subscribers who choose to opt-out of your mailing list. 
Don’t be offended, it happens to everyone. The key is keeping your
 unsubscribe rates as low as possible for the mailings that you send
out. This is often where email content is most important because a 
bored or confused recipient is one step away from opting-out.

A “good” average unsubscribe rate for a list that you communicate with regularly can be somewhere between .2% and .75%. If
 you haven’t communicated regularly to your list, your relationship with
 your recipients may become fuzzy, at least from their perspective. To 
avoid this scenario, send newsletters or offers at least monthly to 
keep your company fresh in their minds. If you tend to mail less than
 once per month you can expect to have unsubscribe rates between 2% – 5%.

Here are a few tips to keep your unsubscribe rates low:

•    First 
and foremost, only send your emails to recipients who have agreed to
 receive offers from your organization. This is a no-brainer!
•    Send offers or newsletters at least once per month so your recipients are used to receiving your email and you don’t lose touch.
•    Only 
email the content your recipients requested. Over-mailing your customers can result in list fatigue, which can in 
turn lead to an increased unsubscribe rate.
•    Most 
importantly, provide value in your messages. Be the trusted authority 
on a certain subject, continually offer great deals to your customers, 
and announce exciting news or updated product information.

Maintaining a high level of email delivery is something all
 marketers strive for, it’s what we strive for ourselves, and we see this as a two-pronged approach. First, the data collection methods must follow “best practices”
 to ensure that all subscribers have provided their consent to be
contacted via email. Secondly, companies need to align themselves with
 Email Service Providers who are experts in the fields of ISP Relations 
and Delivery Monitoring.

© 2005 – 2012, VR Marketing Blog. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

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About the Author

is the CEO and founder of VerticalResponse.

3 Responses to Acceptable Bounce and Unsubscribe Rates

  1. Tin says:

    Do bounce back mails affect the domain name?
    If yes, then what is the limit?

  2. Rishi says:

    This post has helped me from not freaking out about a few unsubscribes. Thanks for publsihing this data :)

  3. Jo says:

    The article makes it seem that the way we manage our business influences bounces – whereas infact I believe that bounces are a result of technical factors beyond our control.
    What really bothers me is when a perfectly good email address bounces. Why does this happen? And what can I do about it?
    Surely if I debounce the address it will bounce again the next time around unless some block factor is lifted . . .

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