We all know that one person who loves to give advice, but the results from that advice may not be greatest.
If you don’t have solid evidence to back something up, how do you know that it really works?
Sometimes, you have to take advice from others with a grain of salt. This is especially true when it comes to info on the internet.
And online advice about sending mass emails.
It doesn’t take long to find some bad advice on the topic, and lucky for you, we’ve compiled it in one place.
When it comes down to it, the number one goal of sending mass email from any platform is to make sure your message makes it to the intended recipients’ inboxes.
And that they interact with what you’re sending their way.
If you’re planning to send out mass emails at all, steer clear of this bad advice.
Embed a bunch of images or videos
You’ve probably heard that your emails need to be snazzy with pretty pictures in order to keep readers engaged.
And it’s true – emails with images and video get tons of clicks more than they do without them.
But you have to be really careful, here. Don’t get too carried away with adding in visuals.
Embedding is pretty much the same as attaching the file to the message. Spam filters scan for large attachments when deciding whether an email is “spammy.”
This is bad news because if your message never makes it to the inbox, it was a waste of time.
You can embed images or video, but make sure it’s no more than 25% of the total message content.
Be sure you’ve included alt images and a title for the image, and don’t put anything vitally important on the message (in case it doesn’t display).
Shoot for something like this email, from Sumo:
Notice how small the image is in comparison to the rest of the message? This is what you want your mass emails to look like.
Once you’ve added in an image or two (without going overboard), you might think you’re in the clear to hit send. But you want to pay attention to the fields you’re entering addresses into first.
Use the “to” field for addresses
We’ve all received an annoying email from a well-intentioned friend, teacher, or relative who has information that needs to get to a large number of people.
And that person puts everyone’s email address in the “to” field. If you’re on your phone, you have to scroll forever to get to the actual message content.
If you put people’s email address in the “to” field, everyone else who opens the message can see it. That’s pretty much a violation of their privacy.
You just gave everyone’s email address away to anyone who received your message. And anyone that notices isn’t going to be very happy.
Instead, use the “Bcc” field to hide the recipients.
But there are more advantages to using the “Bcc” field than just privacy.
Send to your entire contact list
It would save a bunch of time if you could just send one message out to every single one of your contacts. And you’re right.
But most email service providers have a mass email limit to the number of messages you can send in a 24-hour time period.
Outlook, for example, doesn’t technically impose a limit per se, but they do have a limit on network bandwidth. This is something to keep in mind when sending out attachments.
And if you’re using a corporate Exchange account, your administrator sets limits and caps for your mailbox and the total number you can send out.
This is to prevent spam emails, so you need to avoid going over your daily limit to avoid getting into trouble.
Your account is suspended until further notice if you go over your limit.
Divide your contact list into different demographic groups and stagger your schedule or use different email addresses for each group.
You should also research to make sure the targets are relevant.
Or you could try sending emails to undisclosed recipients. Here’s how.
- Open up your “Contacts” folder
- Add a new contact
- Type the words “Undisclosed recipients” into the “Full Name” textbox
- Enter your email address in the E-mail box
- Click Save & Close.
- Then, write out your message.
- In the “To” field, send to “Undisclosed recipients.”
- Add in the email addresses of your desired recipients in the “Bcc” field.
Once they receive your email, they’ll only see the term “Undisclosed recipients” rather than the email address of everyone you sent it to.
Take a look at this YouTube tutorial if you need a visual guide for using undisclosed recipients.
Once you’ve guarded everyone’s privacy, you’ll want to look into some different formats to get the best results. Here’s how.
Try a lot of different formatting options
Your gut might tell you to experiment with different types of emails to see which formats get the most opens.
But most email services pre-filter emails. Ever had an important email be filtered into a spam or junk folder?
If you’re going to send out promotional emails, use different sender addresses for every format so that every email you’re sending out doesn’t go straight to “junk.”
Also, don’t mix formats in one message. For example, don’t offer a promotion inside a social update.
And be sure to limit the number of links in the message. The more links, the more likely an email service provider will automatically flag it.
So be careful with your formatting options. And while you’re at it, be careful about your list of addresses too.
There are some huge implications to purchasing your contacts. It’s a huge no-no, and here’s why.
Buy a third-party list of addresses
This seems like a quick fix, and if you’re looking for contacts you’ve probably read somewhere online that this is a great idea.
But it isn’t. Do not do it. It’s the easy way to get a list, but it’s wrong on so many levels. Here’s why.
There’s no way to verify they are a match to your area of interest. If they’re not, they won’t open your messages. If they don’t open your messages, you become labeled as graymail or spam.
Plus, it’s bad for your reputation. And there are serious legal implications. Too many spam reports could cost you up to $16,000 or more due to the CAN-SPAM act.
Only send messages to people who have actually opted-in to your mailing list. But make sure your emails aren’t boring.
Slap a boring subject on it
You already know that writing email subjects can be hard.
Throwing a generic subject line into an email and sending it out to your entire contact list can be pretty tempting.
But if your subject line doesn’t actually compel your recipients to open the message, they’re just going to ignore it.
And you might get labeled as a graymail sender, directing your emails directly to the graveyard.
Be thoughtful when you’re coming up with subject lines.
Try to think outside of the box and create something clever that will pique the reader’s curiosity so that they just have to open the message.
Just check out this one from Evernote:
It’s intriguing, short, creative, and more interesting than half of the subject lines that probably flood your inbox every day.
Apply the same creativity to personalizing your messages, too.
Save time by keeping it generic
Everyone wants to feel special.
If I can tell that an email has been sent to the masses, I pretty much delete it immediately. You probably do, too.
Amazon hits the nail on the head with this technique through their recommendation emails based on your shopping history.
The more personal you can make your message, the more likely the reader is to engage with the content.
It makes them feel like more of a human and less of a target of your latest marketing campaign.
You have a reason for sending your email. But you’re never going to meet your goal if no one opens the email (or clicks once they’re inside)
And there are tons of ways to personalize email messages, like with Mail Merge.
Even just using someone’s first and last name can score you some huge results.
After you’ve spent some time personalizing your emails, you have to re-engage your contacts, or your work (and time) will be all for nothing.
Despite what you’ve heard, following up is one of the most effective things you can do when it comes to mass email.
The follow-up isn’t important
You might think that mass email is as simple as hitting send and being finished.
But re-engaging your email list with follow-up emails is almost as important as sending them the first email.
It’s hard work, though. And it might take a few tries to actually hear back.
According to HubSpot, there are four main reasons to send a follow-up email:
- When you need more information
- To request a meeting
- To catch up with someone (or re-engage with a customer)
- To say “Thank You”
Here’s when HubSpot says you should send out follow-up emails.
- 24 Hours
Thank you follow-up email or after a meeting or conference.
- 48 Hours
After submitting a job application.
- 1-2 Weeks
Follow up on a meeting request or after no response regarding a job offer.
- Every 3 Months
To catch up with a connection.
Use email tracking to keep an eye on who has opened emails or not, or who has or hasn’t responded.
Even though you’re contacting them more, you don’t want to tell your whole life story in your emails. Leave room for mystery.
Give all the info up front
It can be tempting to write emails that include every detail of information any person could ever ask on a particular topic.
But when you do this, you’re giving away too much too soon. And you’re wasting your time sending all of that text to someone who may not be interested in the first place.
Plus, tons of people read emails on a mobile device, where long emails are going to look even longer.
You’re also turning people off to you and all the great things you have to offer, because who wants to read an email that’s ten million words long?
According to The Storyteller Marketer, your email shouldn’t be more than 100 words. If it’s longer than that, you’re gonna need to re-write it. And here’s why.
- Shorter emails reduce the chances of the reader becoming distracted.
- Shorter emails will show the reader that you respect their time.
- Shorter emails are more persuasive.
You may think that it’s easier to write shorter emails, but don’t be fooled. It’s actually harder to tighten up your writing than it is to get carried away with wordiness.
Here’s a great example of a short, concise, and easy-to-read email from Grammarly:
This email takes the phrase “keep it simple, stupid” to an entirely new level.
The email as a whole is only three sentences long. And it gets a huge award for brevity: it’s only 30 words total.
Here’s another great example from TapInfluence:
It’s simple. It’s short. It gets straight to the point. This is what you should strive for.
It’s hard to know what advice is good advice across the web.
And unless something is backed by research, you can’t really trust it.
Your ultimate goal of sending mass emails is to get messages into people’s inbox so that they move further down the funnel.
So steer clear of adding in tons of images and video that clog up the size of your emails.
Use other fields besides the “To” field to keep people’s information private and avoid any kind of daily sending limit.
Segment your messages and try different formatting options, but never buy your contacts from a third party. Earn them.
Avoid boring and unoriginal subject lines and never be generic. You want to add personal touches so that people trust you.
And never give away too much too soon.
If you avoid this bad advice when it comes to using mass email, you’ll see huge improvements on clicks, opens, and engagement.
If you found this article interesting, you can complement it with our analysis of how HubSpot compares to ContactMonkey, whether you should consider Slack for internal comms, or our article about internal comms lessons to learn from Spotify.