How to Turn Hard Bounces into Happy Customers

29 January

With the advent of the visual Campaign Builder, it's easier than ever to quickly implement automated processes to support your business' needs. As an Infusionsoft user, maintaining a clean active list of contacts can sometimes be a challenge, especially for those who have larger email lists. Managing hard bounces is important so you can get their emails to your contacts' inboxes reliably and to keep your email reputation on the up and up.

You might recall from Gary Vaynerchuk's keynote at InfusionCon last year, he shared that his team reaches out to every person who unsubscribes from the WineLibrary email list and as a result, he's seen a notable increase in sales and keeps his email list clean. Email marketing expert DJ Waldow examined this post-unsubscribe strategy and suggested it's a good practice when you respect people's time and privacy. Well, you can do the same thing easily within Infusionsoft, too.

For the scope of this tutorial, we'll focus only on hard bounces, but you could apply this strategy to your unsubscribes. Just a reminder, people that unsubscribe will no longer receive automated messages, but you can still legally contact them manually or one-off email message for up to nine days after they unsubscribe.

However large your email list might be, it's a best practice to make sure that your list is free from bad email addresses. If you send an email to a bad email address, it will come back as a Hard Bounce, which basically means the email does not exist anymore. If sent emails continue to hard bounce, this can actually impact your sender reputation and inbox placement. With Infusionsoft, we will automatically detect email address that result in hard bounces and prevent those people from receiving future emails. We do this to protect the reputation of our users and to maintain industry leading email deliverability. Yay for intelligent automation!

Plus, if you have customers with a bad email address, unless you have offline campaigns running, they aren't really doing anything other than taking up space in your database.

You might be thinking to yourself, "Between all the day-to-day activities, how can I possibly stay on top of my bad email addresses (which takes a lower priority than my other tasks)?" The answer is simple: use automation!

This is an example of using an Automated Hard Bounce Email Recovery Campaign

Pictured above, I created this campaign with an Infusionsoft user recently and it was so simple and effective that I couldn't keep it just to myself. The idea is simple: If any email hard bounces, automatically trigger two phone calls to that person to try and get an updated email address. Once that has been done, you can indicate that you've obtained a good email address with a simple Note Template. If there they no longer have an active email address, you can indicate that as well and prevent a second call task from being dispatched.

You can build this entire setup in about five minutes. Seriously!

Before building the campaign, there are only two things you need to do:

1. Go to Main Navigation > CRM > Settings > Tags and create a 'Hard Bounce' tag in an 'Email Engagement' category.
2. Go into Main Navigation > Marketing > Settings > Email Status Automation and create a trigger that applies the 'Email Engagement > Hard Bounce' tag when an email bounces at least once and is a hard bounce.

Now, you are ready to go into the Campaign Builder and implement this puppy!

The first goal is a Tag applied goal. Which tag kicks off this sequence? You guessed it, the 'Email Engagement > Hard Bounce' tag we just created. So now, when the email status trigger tags them as a hard bounce, it will start this recovery campaign.

The model for the Automated Hard Bounce Email Recovery sequence

The Recovery sequence itself contains two tasks that run one week apart. Inside each task, here's a suggestion for what you can use for the Type, Title and Body:

Content for the Automated Hard Bounce Email Recovery Call Task

The second goal is a Note applied goal indicating that we have indeed received a good email address. The resulting sequence only removes the 'Hard Bounce' tag. This ensures that if their email hard bounces again in the future, this process will repeat itself. Also, by applying the note it will stop the Recovery Sequence; so if you reach them on the first call the system will not schedule a second call since the goal has been achieved.

The 'Hard Bounce Tag Removal' sequence model

Now you can go about your usual business and if an email hard bounces, you'll get a task to follow up with that person. Once you get a good email address, just update it on their record and process the note. Done! Simple, yet effective.

If you really want to take it to that next level, you can build a Hard Bounce recovery widget for your dashboard too!

Go to the Main Navigation > Admin > Reports > Task Note Report. Hit 'Start Over' to build a new report. Setup your search criteria and columns to look like this:

Search criteria and column setup for a Hard Bounce Recovery Call Report

Click the green Search button and then hit Save at the top. Name the report 'Hard Bounce Calls', then check the box to put it on your user home page and hit Save! Now, you'll never have to worry about emails that hard bounce. And you'll be the first to know when they happen and what to do.

Do you have any ideas on how I can take this campaign and kick it up a notch? Leave a comment and let me know!

Update: You can download this campaign free into your Infusionsoft account from the Infusionsoft Marketplace.

Paul Sokol
I'm Infusionsoft's mad scientist around the visual campaign builder and spend my days creating automated marketing campaigns for the masses. It is literally the most fun I've ever had!. I'm an electrical engineer by trade with a passion for music, skateboarding and life in general; I love being given a challenge and figuring out a solution!

Related Posts

At Infusionsoft, we're dedicated to a single purpose — helping small businesses succeed.

We believe in the passion and dreams of entrepreneurs. We believe they are job creators, problem solvers, innovators and the backbone of the economy.

Learn more