Using Triggers to Handle Bounced Messages

Tracking bounced messages is a good way to monitor the health of your list. You can take the ostrich approach and just ignore them and keep pounding away at your list, but if you keep that up for long, you will begin to be known as a spammer, and your deliverability could suffer.
Never fear! There is a great little-known alternative built into Infusionsoft called Triggers.
In order to be a good Infusionsoft citizen, it is important to note that when you get dinged by the big ISPs, Infusionsoft gets dinged, which means your fellow businsess owners get dinged.

There is an extensive list of email statuses that Infusionsoft knows about, and you can create very granular actions to handle not only each one, but the number of times each bounce type has happened.  Here are the things Infusionsoft tracks:

  • soft bounce – message too large
  • bounce – no email address
  • transient bounce
  • general bounce
  • mail block – general
  • mail block – known spammer
  • mail block – relay denied
  • mail block – spam detected
  • soft bounce – dns failure
  • undetermined
  • subscribe request
  • challenge-response
  • unsubscribe request
  • auto reply
  • hard bounce
  • soft bounce – general
  • mail block – attachment detected

Let’s take a look at how to set these up.

First, log into your Infusionsoft app, hover over Setup and click on Misc Settings (get familiar with this link, there are lots of goodies here).

Create a Bounced Mail Trigger

Create a Bounced Mail Trigger

Click on Template Settings in the left navigation, and then choose the Triggers tab at the top.  You’ll see a drop down in the upper right hand corner – you first have to choose When an Email Bounces from that list (it will be the only one there) and then click on Add Trigger.

You can capture any of the statuses listed above, and set a threshold.  For instance, if you wanted to create a Task for any email that had bounced 3 times, you would choose hard bounce as the bounce type, select at least from the next drop down, and enter the number 3 in the final box.

Then you select the action you want to fire when the condition is satisfied.  Ideally there would be a few more options, such as a means to automatically re-send a specific email in the event of a mailbox full bounce.  With that limitation, there are a few things you could do.

  1. Blank out Emails – For this one you would choose Set a person field to a specific value in the actions drop down, and choose all of the email fields on the contact record and set them to blank.  This is not a good idea, since you might be throwing out good addresses along with bad.
  2. Create a Task – You can create a task for yourself or for an administrator to follow up on the offending address.  This is a more manual step, but would allow you to handle the one-offs.  Your task could ask the recipient to try contacting the person via phone to get a real email, or simply setting their address to non-marketable so you don’t continue to send to it.
  3. Send an Email – Similar to a task, just create an email template that describes the bounce type that you’re trying to catch, and choose a recipient to send it to. Creating a message like this for your spam complaints is a great way to make the feedback feel more personal and real.
  4. Create a Fulfillment Report – If you don’t want to handle them one at a time, you could create a fulfillment report with all of the addresses and deal with them in bulk.  If you’d like to learn more about this option, keep reading – instructions are at the end of this post.

Since you can make an http post as one of your trigger options, you can completely automate the handling of any type of bounces. We have a solution that lets you configure what you want to do to a specific address in the event of any type of bounce. You choose the type of bounce, and whether you’d prefer to blank out the email or simply set it to opt-out. To learn more about this option please drop us a line.

Creating a Fulfillment Report

I’m going to walk you through how to create a report that will let you process your bounces in bulk. We’re going to assume that you don’t want to kill the bounces right away, because the hard bounce may not be 100% accurate. We’ll say you’re going to have a three strikes and you’re out policy.

First Hard Bounce Action

First Hard Bounce Action

First, we’ll create two rules to handle the first and second bounce.

From the Triggers tab, choose When an email bounces and click on the Add Trigger button.

I’m going to choose hard bounce and then exactly 1 time.  From my action, I choose Apply / Remove Tag and select a tag from the Email Status category called First Hard Bounce.  Click on the Save Trigger button and your first rule is all set.

I’ll repeat this step again, except this time I’ll selet exactly 2 times from the frequency indicator. I’ll add a tag for Second Hard Bounce this time, and in order to keep things tidy, I’ll add a second action to Remove A Tag for the First Hard Bounce.

Now for the exciting part.

I’m going to create a third trigger – this one does three things: removes my second tag, adds a Third Strike tag, and adds the person to a follow up sequence called Remove Hard Bounces.  I’ll want this trigger to fire if the email address has hard bounced More than 2 times.

Create New Follow Up Sequence

Create New Follow Up Sequence

The first two steps should be simple for you by now, but let’s walk through the third one.  In the third action for this trigger, choose Start / Stop a Follow Up Sequence.  We’ll create this one on the fly – it will create and deliver a fulfillment report.

Since it doesn’t exist yet, click the Create a New Sequence link indicated by the green arrow to the right.

 

 

 

Name your new sequence

Name your new sequence

Give your new sequence a name, description, and a category.  We are going to name this one Remove Hard Bounces.

 

Click on the Create the Sequence button and then you should be able to save your triggers.  We’re done here now, we just need to configure the follow up sequence to generate a list of contacts to send out for processing.

Once you have saved your triggers, hover over Setup in the top navigation, and choose Follow-Up Sequences from the menu. You should see your new sequence at the top of the list.  Go ahead and click on it to add some steps.

Send Fulfillment List

Send Fulfillment List

 

In the drop down, choose Sends a Fulfillment List as the action.

We’ll assume you don’t already have one of these set up, so leave the radio button selected that says I’m going to create a new fulfillment list template.

Configure your fulfillment report

Configure your fulfillment report

Since part of the goal here is to handle these in bulk, and since a few day’s delay isn’t going to be a deal breaker, we’ll batch them to only be sent once per week.  Choose “X” days after the PERSON IS ADDED to this follow-up sequence from the drop down, and leave 0 as the days to wait before executing.

 

I’m a mean SOB, so I am going to send this report on Monday every week to give my assistant the very glamorous job of cleaning up the bounces.  Check the Always run this step on a certain day of the week or month box, and pick the day you want it to be sent.

Leave Active selected, and click on the button labeled Save and Create the Fulfillment List.

In this screen you’ll set up the specifics for what you want to include in your report.

Go ahead and give the template a name – I’m calling this one Clean Up Bounced Messages.  You can leave the default fields selected unless there are specific ones that you need to add or remove.

Configure your fulfillment template

Configure your fulfillment template

In the Processing Information section you can fill out who you want the email to be sent from and to, along with a subject and body.  In this case, I’m going to assume that you’ve done the hard part, which is work out what should be done with these names, and who should be doing it.

 

Mark your template as ready to send, and Save the template.

You should now be all set, and every Monday morning the hard bounces will be sent over for processing.  It takes a little time to set up, but you’ll keep your list clean and that makes your metrics much more accurate.  After all, what good is it if you have a list of 10,000 contacts but you have no way of contacting half of them?

 

By | 2014-08-26T12:15:02+00:00 June 10th, 2011|Categories: Infusionsoft|0 Comments

About the Author:

Andy Michaels started off a process guy, working for Accenture for nearly a decade designing systems for Fortune 500 companies. Tech was always a hobby though, and he taught himself to code "for fun." Life threw him a curve in 2001, and after beating cancer he lost his taste for the suit-wearing, cubicle world and decided to slow things down a bit. Now he works from home, so don’t be surprised if you hear a dog (or three) barking in the background while you’re on the phone with him.