If you’re an avid email marketer, one of the worst things that can happen is to see your emails rejected by the server. Unfortunately, this is a common issue that can happen to anyone. Email rejection can occur for various reasons, and identifying the root cause of the problem can be quite challenging. However, with the right knowledge and approach, you can improve your email deliverability and avoid getting your emails rejected.
In this blog post, we’ll explore the most common causes of email rejection, how to identify email rejection issues, the best practices for avoiding email rejection, and the steps to take when your emails are being rejected. Additionally, we’ll provide some tips on how to improve email deliverability, so you can increase the chances of your emails being delivered to your subscribers’ inboxes.
So, whether you’re a seasoned email marketer or just starting, keep reading to learn everything you need to know about email rejection and how to avoid it.
Common Causes of Email Rejection
If you’ve ever sent an email only to have it bounce back, you know how frustrating it can be. Email rejection is a common problem that can occur for several reasons. One common cause is a spam filter. Spam filters are designed to block unwanted emails, and if your email is flagged as spam, it may not make it to the recipient’s inbox. Another reason for email rejection is an invalid email address. If the email address you’re sending to doesn’t exist, your email will be rejected.
Another common cause of email rejection is an oversized attachment. If you try to send an attachment that’s too large, it can clog up the recipient’s inbox, causing their email provider to reject it. In some cases, the recipient’s email provider may also have a size limit on attachments, which can cause your email to be rejected.
It’s important to note that email rejection can also occur due to blacklisting. If your email address has been flagged as a source of spam or malicious activity, it may be added to a blacklist. When this happens, emails sent from your address may be rejected by email providers that subscribe to the blacklist.
Invalid Recipient Addresses
Typographical errors: Common mistakes like spelling mistakes, misplaced symbols or missing “@” symbols can lead to invalid recipient addresses.
Non-existent domains: If the recipient’s domain does not exist, it is impossible to deliver emails to the intended recipient. This is usually caused by expired domains, domain typos or incorrect domain configuration.
Inactive email accounts: When an email account has been inactive for a certain period, the email provider may deactivate it, making it impossible for email to be delivered to that account. This usually happens after a few months of inactivity.
Recipient mailboxes are full: When a recipient’s mailbox is full, new messages cannot be delivered, resulting in a bounce-back. This is usually the case with high-volume mailboxes that have not been emptied for a long time.
Blocked email addresses: Sometimes, email addresses can be blocked by the email provider or the recipient, which can result in emails being rejected. This can happen when emails are flagged as spam or are sent from a suspicious or untrusted sender.
DMARC and SPF issues: DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance) and SPF (Sender Policy Framework) are email authentication protocols that help to prevent email spoofing. However, misconfigured DMARC or SPF records can cause email rejection.
It’s important to ensure that the recipient’s email address is correct before sending an email. This can be achieved by double-checking the email address before sending the email. Additionally, you should regularly clean up your mailing list to remove inactive email addresses and update any email addresses that are no longer valid.
Blacklisted IP Addresses
If your email server’s IP address has been blacklisted, your emails will be rejected by some email servers. Being on a blacklist can severely affect your email deliverability, and it’s important to understand how to avoid this issue.
Here are some common reasons why an IP address can be blacklisted:
- Spam Complaints: If a recipient marks your email as spam, this can negatively impact your IP address reputation.
- High Volume of Emails: Sending a large number of emails from the same IP address can trigger spam filters.
- Sending Spam: If you or someone using your IP address is sending spam, this can get the IP address blacklisted.
- Compromised Accounts: If one of your email accounts is compromised, it can lead to spam being sent from your IP address.
- Outdated Security Measures: If your email server is using outdated security measures, it can be vulnerable to being used for spamming.
- Shared Hosting: If you’re using shared hosting, other users on the same server can negatively affect your IP address reputation.
If you suspect that your IP address has been blacklisted, you can check it using a blacklist checker tool. If you’ve been blacklisted, you’ll need to take steps to get removed from the blacklist. This typically involves identifying and addressing the root cause of the issue and then submitting a request to the blacklist provider to have your IP address removed.
How to Identify Email Rejection Issues
Check Your Email Logs: Email logs are a valuable source of information when it comes to identifying email rejection issues. Take the time to review your logs and look for any error messages that may indicate a problem.
Monitor Your Email Reputation: Email reputation plays a crucial role in email deliverability. Monitor your email reputation through various tools and services that can help you identify and fix any issues that may negatively impact your reputation.
Use Email Testing Tools: Email testing tools can help you identify issues with your email content or formatting that may trigger email rejection. These tools can also provide you with insights into your email deliverability and offer recommendations for improvement.
Test Your Emails: Before sending your emails to your subscribers, test them to ensure they are reaching the inbox. Use a reputable email testing service to run a test and identify any issues that may result in email rejection.
Monitor Your Email Analytics: Pay attention to your email analytics, such as open and click-through rates, bounce rates, and spam complaints. If you notice any sudden drops or changes in these metrics, it may indicate an email rejection issue.
Check Your Email Logs
One of the first steps in identifying email rejection issues is to check your email logs. Email logs contain detailed information about the delivery status of your emails, including any error messages that may indicate why your emails are being rejected. Look for specific error codes such as 550 or 554 which indicate that your email has been rejected by the receiving server.
Make sure to review both the outbound and inbound email logs. Outbound email logs show you the status of emails that you have sent, while inbound email logs show you the status of emails that you have received. This can help you determine if the problem is with your own email server or with the receiving server.
If you’re unsure about how to access your email logs, contact your email service provider for guidance. They can help you locate and interpret the information in your logs to identify the root cause of your email rejection issues.
Monitor Your Email Bounces
If your emails are being rejected by the server, it’s important to monitor your email bounces. A bounce is when an email is rejected by a recipient’s mail server and returned to the sender. Monitoring your bounces can give you valuable information on why your emails are being rejected.
There are two types of bounces: hard bounces and soft bounces. A hard bounce is a permanent rejection, typically caused by an invalid email address. A soft bounce is a temporary rejection, usually caused by a full mailbox or a temporary issue with the recipient’s email server.
You should monitor your bounces regularly to identify patterns or trends. If you notice a sudden increase in bounces, it could indicate an issue with your email list or delivery practices. Addressing these issues can help improve your email deliverability and reduce the risk of rejection.
Best Practices for Avoiding Email Rejection
Keep Your Mailing List Clean: Always ensure that your mailing list is up-to-date and that you remove inactive subscribers. This will help to reduce the number of bounces and complaints, which can trigger email rejections.
Follow Email Marketing Best Practices: Stick to best practices when creating your emails. Use a clear and concise subject line, personalize your emails, and include a clear call-to-action to avoid spam complaints and email rejections.
Authenticate Your Emails: Ensure that your emails are properly authenticated with SPF, DKIM, and DMARC. This will help to prevent your emails from being flagged as spam and rejected by email servers.
Keep Your Email List Clean
Remove Inactive Subscribers: Regularly remove inactive subscribers from your email list. These subscribers have either stopped engaging with your emails or have provided invalid email addresses, leading to higher bounce rates and email rejection.
Verify Email Addresses: Verify email addresses before adding them to your email list. This can be done through a double opt-in process, where subscribers confirm their email address by clicking on a link in a confirmation email. This helps to prevent fake email addresses and typos.
Monitor Spam Complaints: Keep an eye on spam complaints from subscribers. Too many spam complaints can lead to your email domain being blacklisted and your emails being rejected by email servers. Provide a clear unsubscribe link and make it easy for subscribers to opt-out of your emails to reduce the likelihood of spam complaints.
Use a Reputable Email Service Provider
Choosing a reputable email service provider is one of the most important steps in avoiding email rejection. Make sure that the service provider you choose has a good reputation and is known for delivering emails to their intended recipients.
Reputable email service providers also have features such as email list management, email authentication, and delivery monitoring that can help you avoid email rejection issues.
Additionally, using a reputable email service provider can help you stay compliant with email marketing laws and regulations, which can further reduce your risk of email rejection.
Authenticate Your Emails with SPF, DKIM, and DMARC
SPF (Sender Policy Framework) is an email authentication protocol that verifies the sender’s IP address. It checks if the incoming email was sent from an authorized server or not. This protocol helps to detect and reject emails with spoofed addresses.
DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail) is another email authentication protocol that adds a digital signature to your outgoing email. This signature verifies that the email came from an authorized source and hasn’t been altered in transit. DKIM also helps to prevent phishing and email spoofing.
DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance) is a more advanced email authentication protocol that combines SPF and DKIM. It provides an extra layer of protection against email spoofing and phishing by enabling email receivers to verify the sender’s identity and decide how to handle failed messages.
Using all three protocols together can significantly reduce the likelihood of your emails being rejected or marked as spam by email providers. Make sure to properly set up and configure these protocols for your domain with the help of your email service provider or IT team.
Steps to Take When Your Emails are Being Rejected
If you are experiencing email rejection issues, here are three steps you can take to resolve the problem:
Check your email logs: Review your email logs to identify any specific issues that may be causing the rejections. Look for error messages and try to identify the root cause of the problem.
Contact your email service provider: If you are unsure about the reason for the email rejections, reach out to your email service provider for assistance. They may be able to provide more information and help you resolve the issue.
Follow best practices for email delivery: Make sure you are following best practices for email delivery, such as keeping your email list clean, using a reputable email service provider, and authenticating your emails with SPF, DKIM, and DMARC. These steps can help improve email deliverability and reduce the likelihood of rejections.
Check the Rejection Error Message
If your emails are being rejected, the first step is to check the rejection error message. The error message will provide important information about why the email was rejected. Look for words like “blocked“, “spam“, or “blacklisted” to identify the issue. Understanding the reason for the rejection will help you determine the appropriate steps to take to resolve the issue.
If the error message is unclear or does not provide enough information, try contacting the recipient’s email service provider for more details. They may be able to provide additional information about the rejection and offer guidance on how to resolve the issue.
It’s important to note that different email service providers may use different error messages, so it’s important to familiarize yourself with the specific error messages used by your own provider and those of your intended recipients.
Verify the Recipient Email Address
One common reason for email rejection is an invalid or non-existent email address. Make sure you are sending emails to a valid and active email address. You can verify the email address by sending a test email or by using an email verification service.
It is also important to ensure that the email address you are sending to is not on your email provider’s blacklist or spam filter list. You can check this by contacting your email provider or by checking your email logs.
Another important step is to ensure that the recipient email address is spelled correctly and that there are no typos. Even a small typo in the email address can cause the email to be rejected or bounced back.
Contact Your Email Service Provider
If you have exhausted all other options and are still experiencing email rejection issues, it may be time to contact your email service provider. They can help you investigate and identify any underlying issues that may be causing your emails to be rejected. It is important to provide them with as much information as possible, such as the error message you received and the steps you have already taken to try to resolve the issue.
Some email service providers offer additional services, such as dedicated IP addresses or email authentication support, that can help improve email deliverability and reduce the likelihood of rejection. Be sure to ask your provider about these options if you are experiencing ongoing issues.
Remember, a good email service provider should be a partner in your email marketing efforts and should be able to provide you with the support you need to ensure your emails reach your subscribers’ inboxes.
How to Improve Email Deliverability
Keep Your Email List Clean: Regularly clean your email list by removing inactive or invalid email addresses, and avoid sending emails to purchased or scraped lists.
Optimize Email Content: Write engaging and relevant subject lines and email content that encourages recipients to open and interact with your emails. Avoid using spam trigger words and phrases.
Authenticate Your Emails: Authenticate your emails with SPF, DKIM, and DMARC to improve email deliverability and reduce the risk of your emails being marked as spam or rejected.
Monitor Your Email Deliverability: Monitor your email deliverability and track email metrics such as open rates, click-through rates, and bounce rates to identify any issues and improve your email performance.
Monitor Your Email Engagement Metrics
Email engagement metrics provide valuable insight into the success of your email marketing campaigns. By monitoring these metrics, you can identify areas where your campaigns are performing well and areas where they need improvement. Here are four key metrics to track:
- Open rate: The percentage of recipients who opened your email
- Click-through rate (CTR): The percentage of recipients who clicked on a link within your email
- Bounce rate: The percentage of emails that were undeliverable and returned to the sender
- Unsubscribe rate: The percentage of recipients who opted out of receiving future emails from you
By tracking these metrics, you can determine which types of content and subject lines are resonating with your audience and adjust your email marketing strategy accordingly. You can also identify inactive subscribers who haven’t engaged with your emails in a while and try to re-engage them with targeted campaigns.
In addition to monitoring these metrics, you should also segment your email list based on engagement levels. This allows you to send targeted campaigns to highly engaged subscribers and re-engagement campaigns to inactive subscribers.
Overall, monitoring your email engagement metrics is crucial for improving your email deliverability and maximizing the impact of your email marketing campaigns.
Test Your Email Content and Design
Subject line: Your subject line is the first impression that your recipient has of your email. Make sure it is clear and concise, with relevant information that entices the reader to open it.
Body content: Keep the body of your email simple and easy to read. Make use of headers and bullet points to break up the text. Use language that is appropriate for your audience and avoids spam trigger words.
Design: Make sure your email design is visually appealing and mobile-responsive. Test your email across different devices and email clients to ensure that it looks good and is easy to read on any screen.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the possible reasons for email rejection by the server?
There could be several reasons why your emails are being rejected by the server, including spam filtering, email authentication failure, and incorrect recipient email address.
How can I check the rejection error message?
When your email is rejected, the server will send an error message back to you. You can check the error message to determine the reason for the rejection and take necessary actions accordingly.
What should I do if the email rejection is due to spam filtering?
If your email is being rejected due to spam filtering, you can try to improve your email content and formatting to make it more legitimate and less spammy. You can also try using a reputable email service provider.
What are some email authentication techniques that can help prevent email rejection?
SPF, DKIM, and DMARC are email authentication techniques that can help prevent email rejection. SPF verifies that the sending server is authorized to send emails on behalf of the domain, DKIM authenticates the email message itself, and DMARC provides a policy framework for email authentication.
How can I monitor my email deliverability to avoid rejection by the server?
You can monitor your email engagement metrics, such as open rates and click-through rates, to gauge your email deliverability. You can also test your email content and design to ensure it is engaging and legitimate. Using a reputable email service provider and authenticating your emails can also improve your email deliverability and prevent rejection by the server.