What should I do with hard bounces?

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What I do now is review them, and correct and reactivate any with obvious typos. Then I look to see if there are an unusually high number with the same domain name, which could indicate a server issue at a particular company.

But what then? If I delete them, and then the person tries to resubscribe, they will get a message saying sorry, this address can't be re-added. I hesitate to opt them out because it doesn't seem appropriate and I wouldn't be able to add them back. But if I just leave them as error status, and then they resubscribe, they're still in error status and won't get our emails anyway. What to do?
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Laurie T.

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Posted 3 years ago

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Emily Hollingsworth, Alum

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Hi Laurie -- Great question, as always. :)

Typically, my approach to error addresses would be to leave them alone. Our servers and backlogs do the hard work for you of identifying and assigning the error status to bounced addresses. I do think it's good practice to review those for easy fixes, like typos, but the majority of hard bounces are there for good reason. We can't get through to that address for some reason or another.

You're correct that signing up again does not reactivate an error address. However, if someone in error status is missing your emails, they'll like reach out and you can reactivate them! Opting them out is a good idea if you do want them to be able to sign themselves back up, but this makes it tricky to track how many people are truly opting out of your mailings. 

All that to say, it really comes down to personal preference. I'd say trust the status, but you can play around here and see what works best for you in the long run!
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Laurie T.

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Thanks, Emily!

I appreciate that these emails are automatically moved to error status, and I definitely wasn't thinking of reactivating them as a group. I have been playing with reactivating ones that successfully received at least one email before they bounced, with some good results., but other than those and typos, I have been leaving them alone.

If I do opt them out, I think I could use the opt out reports under Response to tell me who is opting out vs. who I changed to opt out because they bounced. Is that right? I could also add a note to the record to that effect via import, but that might be overkill.

Thanks for helping me think this through.
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Emily Hollingsworth, Alum

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You bet!! You're totally on the right track toward creating a review process that works well for you. :)
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Laurie T.

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New plan! If someone in error status re-subscribes, they are still in error status but they show up under recent activity/sign ups. I hadn't realized that. So my new plan is to forget about opting them out, and just reactivate anyone who shows up as a new sign-up in error status.

Just thought I'd mention it here in case it might be of help to someone else. Thanks!