First off, when we refer to Bulk Emails in this article, we are simply referring to distribution of an email message to multiple recipients. This can mean anywhere from 5-10 people in your personal address book – to as many as 10,000 or more people who have subscribed to your online e-zine. It is not my intent in any way to promote unsolicited email marketing – commonly referred to as SPAM.
I do believe, however, that proper use of bulk emails, such as opt-in newsletters can be quite effective and used ethically as a marketing tool. My suggestion therefore, would be to always use a targeted approach when utilizing emails in your marketing efforts.
Is it Legal to Send Bulk EMails?
Absolutely, as long as you follow some specific, yet reasonable, parameters found in most legislation regarding these practices. While this article is not intended to be considered legal advice, the basics of most of the legislations state that you if you use basic good conduct such as; not “hiding” who you are, don’t hijack other peoples mailservers and always be sure to include a method for receivers to be removed from your email list, you shouldn’t have any legal problems.
Most of us are aware however, that while certainly legal – sending unsolicited bulk email is not always received positively. The most common complaints come from those receiving unsolicited or untargeted email marketing letters. These are usually for products or services that they have absolutely no interest in and have not requested, so they are justified in their distain at receiving these emails. Some of them are simply a nuisance, while others are outright rude and unethical… so there are some obvious concerns about the ethical and socially acceptable use of bulk email.
What Are The Difficulties Involved In Sending Bulk Email?
The so called ‘bad news’ about sending bulk emails is potential set-up costs, cost/time involved in finding your potential audience or subscribers and the pitfalls of going about either the wrong way.
As for as reducing set-up costs, you can always go “the easy way” – setting up an email account and sending your email to: “undisclosed recipient”, then pasting your list into the “cc” or “bcc” field. Very easy, very amateur, but it does work… for awhile.
Here’s why this will be a short-lived and potentially damaging method of marketing.
If you send bulk email this way, what happens is that you are sending all your mail through your internet service provider’s (ISP’s) mailserver (the computer that handles your server’s email) or web hosting server. If you are sending a large volume of mail it can actually ‘clog’ up ALL of their mail accounts OR they will eventually get complaints from the recipients of your ‘loose cannon’ emails. Either way, ISP or hosting service quickly terminate accounts (like yours!) that cause either of these events.
Not only that, but you are using a tactic called ‘negative advertising’. You are helping people remember your name… because they now have a negative image of you! (Not the kind of image most of us want!)
Secondly, how are you going to get acceptable email lists to send to? Ok, so somebody once told you that you could acquire a “perfectly legal” bulk email list for only $89.95! Won’t that reduce the complaints? In short, NO. The phone book is a “perfectly legal” list – it doesn’t mean that everyone want what you’re selling – or to get your unsolicited emails either! The sheer numbers on these lists will get you more negative advertising than positive entries in your checkbook!
Another downside to attracting all this negative attention is that there are many people out there just waiting to give you a ‘taste of your own medicine’… AKA: flames and email bombs. (Angry recipients may send ‘flames’ – emails containing a blue streak of advice on what to do with your emails, or ‘bombs’ – vast quantities of email or gargantuan files that can effectively clog up your ISP’s or hosting’s mailserver… possibly causing your account termination.)
How to Bulk Email the Smart, Ethical and ‘Safe’ Way?
With the help of specialized software you can successfully utilize bulk email to market and inform your target audience or subscribers.
“Why would special software keep me from getting in trouble with my ISP… isn’t the bulk email still going through them since my Internet dial-up connection is still to them”?
Not necessarily, some bulk email software will actually “act like a mailserver”. That means that, instead of sending your emails through your ISP’s or hosting’s server, you are in essence using your own instead.
Some software is even able to do sophisticated work-saving functions like; mail merge, screening for flames or email bombs, automatic distribution of online newsletters or other types of periodicals. They may also run autoresponders, deliver “on request” file attachments, automatically manage subscriptions and unsubscribe requests for your newsletters or e-zines and handle many other routine tasks for you.
Features to Look For in a Bulk Email Program
While any software would be somewhat helpful, you will want to be getting the most reliable, efficient and helpful program for your money. Below is a list of features that we have found to be invaluable in our email management for ourselves and the clients whose newsletters and marketing we manage.
– Can act like a mailserver
– Can provide 10 or more SMTP IPs
– Can manage mailmerge functions allowing you to send a form letter that is ‘personalized’ to each individual recipient. (If it can do the same with its autoresponders, then all the better).
– Can manage “subscribe” and “unsubscribe” requests automatically for you.
– Can be scheduled for automatic follow ups.
– Can handle multiple lists, newsletters and autoresponders.
– Can help automate and keep your lists ‘clean’.
– Can help protect you from flames and email bombs.
– Automatically transfer your “leads” contacts to your “customers list” when they purchase from you (thus avoiding sending promotional material for products they already own).
Is There Software Available That Can Do All These Things?
Yes! There are several email marketing services which provide the users to send large amount of emails including:
I’ve tested these service out. I personally like Emailserving. I found that other seem to be more limited in their potential.
If you have any comment about sending bulk emails, please feel free to comment this post.