Welcome to our comprehensive guide on email soft bounces. As an expert in email deliverability, we understand the importance of maintaining a healthy sender reputation and maximizing engagement with your subscribers. In this article, we will explore what email soft bounces are, how they differ from hard bounces, why they occur, and provide valuable tips for managing and reducing soft bounces. By implementing the strategies outlined in this guide, you can optimize your email campaigns and ensure your messages reach the intended recipients.

Section 1: Email Soft Bounces Explained

When you send an email campaign, you may encounter different types of bounces. A soft bounce occurs when an email message is temporarily rejected by the recipient's mail server but has the potential to be delivered successfully in the future. Soft bounces are typically caused by temporary issues, such as:

Recipient's mailbox full: If the recipient's mailbox is full, the mail server may reject the email temporarily. Once the recipient clears their mailbox, subsequent emails will be delivered successfully.

Temporary server issues: Sometimes, the recipient's mail server may experience temporary issues or be undergoing maintenance, causing the email to bounce back. In such cases, the email will likely be delivered successfully in subsequent delivery attempts.

Content filtering or throttling: Certain spam filters or email security measures may temporarily reject the email due to specific content triggers or rate limiting policies. Resolving the triggering factors or adjusting sending frequency can help overcome these soft bounces.

Soft bounces are different from hard bounces, which are permanent delivery failures due to reasons such as invalid email addresses or blocked domains. Soft bounces, on the other hand, indicate temporary issues that can be resolved to ensure successful delivery.

Section 2: Managing and Reducing Soft Bounces

Now that we understand what email soft bounces are, let's explore strategies for managing and reducing them:

1. Monitor bounce rates:

Regularly monitor your email bounce rates to identify patterns or sudden increases in soft bounces. This helps you identify potential issues and take corrective measures promptly.

2. Clean your email list:

Regularly clean and maintain your email list to remove invalid or inactive email addresses. Use email validation tools or services to verify the deliverability of your subscriber list and remove addresses that consistently generate soft bounces.

3. Segment your audience:

Segmenting your email list based on subscriber engagement, preferences, or demographics can help you tailor your content and reduce the likelihood of triggering spam filters. By sending relevant and targeted emails, you can improve deliverability and reduce soft bounces.

4. Optimize email content:

Avoid using spam-triggering words or phrases in your email content. Be mindful of using excessive punctuation marks, excessive capitalization, or misleading subject lines. Optimize your email content to provide value to your subscribers while adhering to best practices.

5. Maintain a healthy sender reputation:

Sender reputation plays a crucial role in email deliverability. Ensure your email authentication protocols, such as SPF, DKIM, and DMARC, are properly set up to establish trust with receiving mail servers. Monitor your sender reputation and promptly address any issues to minimize soft bounces.

Section 3: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1: Are soft bounces harmful to my email deliverability?

Soft bounces, in isolation, do not significantly impact your email deliverability. However, consistently high bounce rates, including soft bounces, can raise red flags with email service providers and affect your sender reputation. It's essential to monitor and address bounce rates to maintain optimal deliverability.

Q2: How can I differentiate between soft bounces and hard bounces?

Email service providers typically provide bounce reports that distinguish between soft bounces and hard bounces. These reports contain specific bounce codes and messages that indicate the reason for the bounce. By analyzing these codes, you can determine whether the bounce is a soft bounce or a hard bounce.

Q3: Should I remove subscribers who generate soft bounces?

Soft bounces should be monitored and addressed promptly. If a subscriber consistently generates soft bounces over an extended period, it may indicate an invalid or inactive email address. In such cases, it's advisable to remove or re-engage these subscribers to maintain a healthy and engaged email list.

Q4: Can I re-send an email that soft bounced?

It's generally recommended to avoid immediate re-sending of emails that have soft bounced. Give the recipient's mail server some time to resolve the temporary issues that caused the bounce. If the issue persists, you can consider sending the email again after making necessary adjustments.

Q5: Is it possible to completely eliminate soft bounces?

While it's challenging to eliminate soft bounces entirely, you can take proactive measures to reduce their occurrence. By following best practices, regularly cleaning your email list, and monitoring bounce rates, you can minimize the impact of soft bounces on your email deliverability.


Email soft bounces are temporary delivery failures that can be resolved with appropriate actions. By understanding the causes of soft bounces and implementing the strategies outlined in this guide, you can effectively manage and reduce their occurrence. Regular monitoring of bounce rates, list cleaning, email segmentation, content optimization, and maintaining a healthy sender reputation are key steps to enhance your email deliverability and engagement. Remember, addressing soft bounces is crucial to maintaining a strong email marketing strategy and building long-term relationships with your subscribers. Start implementing these strategies today and enjoy improved email campaign performance!