Email blasts are the pulse of any email campaign. They’re what keep information circulating, and they’re crucial in maintaining connection and engagement between your brand and your customers.
However, as any modern marketer worth their salt is aware, email marketing has come a long way since old-style batch’n’blast tactics. These days, peppering your audience with a hefty email blast is a surefire way to carve out a niche for yourself in the world’s spam folders.
So, what’s a high-volume mailer with a sizeable target audience to do? On the one hand, email is the single most effective way of reaching and engaging with customers and leads. On the other hand, bulk mailshots are almost universally frowned upon (and can be illegal under certain circumstances).
If you’re confused, don’t worry. This guide should help to navigate you through the things to consider (and to avoid!) before you click ‘send’.
Respect Your Audience
We’re going to start with the basic message that all of what we’re about to say boils down to: you have to respect your audience.
In a moment, we’ll start going through what constitutes bad and good high-volume email practice. What you’ll notice is that Bad practices are almost universally those which deceive, interrupt, talk down to, or generally disrespect recipients. Conversions are, of course, important (we’re not chatting to our customers just for the sake of it, no matter how lovely they are!) – but if you start thinking of your audience as a selection of targets and objectives rather than as the nuanced humans that they are, you need to adjust your mindset.
Successful high-volume emailing is all about treating each individual recipient with the craftsmanship and respect due to them as humans. Doing so benefits everyone involved. Recipients receive content which is valuable to them and which makes them feel valued. This in turn makes them far more likely to engage with your content and (ultimately) to convert.
How do you bring in that touch of value and respect when you’re emailing to hundreds or thousands (or hundreds of thousands) of people? We’ll go into that in a bit. But first, the Don’ts:
- Pester old email lists - It’s highly unprofessional to send emails to those who have not solicited them. You may have email lists hanging around from years ago, and it may seem like a great idea to try and warm up those old leads. Don’t do it. If your emails even make it past the spam filter, they will come across as the marketing equivalent of that person you vaguely know from way back who messages you out of the blue years and years later because they want you to join their dubious pyramid scheme. It’s weird and a bit skeevy. Plus, as we mentioned, it could be illegal. Make sure that all your email lists are totally clean and that everyone on them has opted in to receiving emails from you.
- Don’t bait - For some reason, clickbait still (sort of) works on social media at large. But that is very much not the case with email. Even if a recipient opens a click-baity subject line (which they probably won’t), all that will happen is that they’ll roll their eyes at the content and consign all future communications from your brand to Spam. Not the best way to build a relationship with your customers. Usually, however, they won’t open bait mails at all. Why? Probably because they look inherently dodgy. The concept of cyber security tends to be more established in people’s minds around email, so the virus-wary won’t open anything which doesn’t look 100% legit. And nobody could argue that clickbaiting is a legitimately respectable tactic.
- Don’t send generic content - This is where a lot of high-volume mailers trip up. When you’re sending tons of emails, it’s hard to avoid the trap of generic content. But it really, really does not work, and it definitely won’t endear you to your subscriber base. Bulk email is not easy to personalize, however, and that’s a problem. Personalization, relevance, and timeliness are vital in the world of modern email marketing, and these are something that conventional bulk mailing is having a hard time to deliver, though not completely.
So, what’s to be done?
- Segment tightly - If you’re using a sophisticated email marketing platform, it’s possible to slice your email lists into ever-tighter segments based on a number of previously impossible factors. Alongside more general demographic, interest, and behavioral criteria, you can segment according to functional deliverability. This matters, because there are technical as well as creative elements to landing in inboxes, and bulk batching inevitably fails to address this aspect. By utilizing a range of different delivery vendors, Email Marketers ensure to match segments to the vendor most appropriate to their situation (as well as personalizing in a multitude of other ways).
- Keep up to date with what your segments are engaged with - The best high-volume email campaigns are those in which each segment is receiving information which is relevant and valuable to them. Segmentation and personalization are great to a certain degree, but you can take it to the next level by doing some deep research into the things which are really engaging your segments and incorporating these into your campaign strategy.
- Automate - Strange though it may seem, automation is more effective for high-volume segmented email blasts than it is for bulk batches. Setting email triggers is a great way to keep up to date with your subscribers and to provide them with the information that they need when they need it. Using automated campaigns based on triggered events which are personal to the individual (for example, staying in touch with subscribers by sending out an automated birthday message on their birthdays) is a fantastic way to add that personal touch on a wide scale.
To do it properly, however, you need to drill down into your segments and find out which ‘triggers’ they will respond to the most. There is also the option to automatically update data fields based on a recipients interaction with your email campaign, e.g. if a recipient clicks on an area in your email content, the data field will automatically update to document the activity. Read more about this here.
- Data dive - Bulk emailing presents a bit of a problem when it comes to data usage and analysis. It’s often hard to separate the useful data from the noise surrounding it. With advanced segmentation and analytical aids, however, it is easier than ever to draw useful insights from your campaign data. Which you can then use to make your next campaign even more tightly targeted, personal, and engaging.
The most important factor to remember is to always respect your audience and be customer-centric in your approach to email marketing.
For more insights on high volume mailing, check out our complete guide