How to Send Bulk Email: The Basics

How to Send Bulk EmailWith spam out of control on the web (some estimate it constitutes 70% of all email sent!), it’s getting more and more difficult for legitimate bulk email to reach its intended audience (your own loyal customers, etc). Larger barriers are going up that kill off a lot of the good emails along with the bad. To get delivered with any reliability, bulk emails today have to possess a number of special features, pass a number of tests, and avoid any of the tell-tale signs of spam.

So how do you make your bulk email clean, shiny and deliverable? If you’re trying to send bulk email from Outlook, Mac Mail or another mail program on your computer you’ll quickly discover that not only is this a terrible, time-consuming pain… a lot of your emails just won’t get through. This is where the bulk email services (otherwise known as ‘email marketing’ services) come in — iContact, Constant Contact, MailChimp, etc. They jump through all the hoops necessary to make your emails deliverable, so you don’t have to. They also have a wide range of sophisticated features and functionality that your computer’s mail program simply cannot provide (we’ll detail all of this below and in future articles). And they’re generally very reasonably priced — I think building an email list and marketing to it is one of the most cost-effective ways you can promote yourself (at our web design firm it’s one of the first promotional methods we recommend to new clients). If you want to jump ahead and try one of these services now, our best-reviewed email marketing company is iContact, and they offer a free trial. Otherwise, read on…

Your Bulk Email Gets De-Spamified

Bulk emails require a number of things to help pass through the numerous spam barriers between you and your subscribers — here are a notable few:

1) A squeaky clean sending address. Every piece of email gets sent from an identifiable address on the web. If enough people complain that they’re receiving spam from a certain source, that sending address can become ‘dirty’ or banned, making any email sent from that address very unlikely to pass through spam filters. Bulk email companies keep their sending addresses clean by responding to each spam complaint, often providing proof that the email received was actually solicited (ie, the receiver signed up for your list).

2) The ability to unsubscribe. Legitimate bulk email must have an unsubscribe link where a recipient can click to get off of your list if they don’t want any future emails from you. The bulk email services completely automate this.

3) Avoidance of typical spam language and code elements. There are a number of “trigger” words that spam filters recognize and count against you — “free”, “#1″, “bargain”, “no gimmicks”, “click here”, along with many less savory examples. Bulk email companies provide you with a tool to measure your email’s “spam score” (likelihood of getting blocked) and lets you know how to improve it for any particular message you’re sending.

Benefits Email Marketing Services Provide

Apart from de-spam-ification, the bulk emailing companies offer a range of features that save you time and allow you to market to your list in more sophisticated and effective ways:

1) Automated subscription. Someone can plop their email address into a form on your website and they’re automatically placed on your list to receive all future emails from you — you don’t have to do a thing.

2) Design Templates. If you want a spiffy design for your newsletter, these companies usually have 100′s of templates that you can use and customize.

3) Autorespondrers. We’ll talk a lot more about this in future articles… an “autoresponder” is an email you can set up to be delivered at a certain point after a new subscriber has signed up for your list. For example, you could set your autoresponder to send a “Welcome” email immediate after someone new signs on, an offer for “Widget A” a week later, an offer for “Widget B” a week after that and so on. Some people build a whole business around a long autoresponder series that gets a good response — their whole marketing strategy then becomes mostly about growing their list of subscribers.

4) Tracking. Email marketing services allow you to track each set of bulk email you send out — you can see how many people open the email, how many people click on certain links, etc. Over time this allows you to identify what’s working for you and what’s not, and greatly improve the effectiveness of what you’re doing.

5) Integration. Most bulk email companies now offer the ability to stream your email messages directly from their interfaces into facebook, twitter and other social media sites. You can also often integrate your email service with an online store platform you’re using, and get new customers directly onto your email list as they make a purchase, allowing you to promote to them in the future.

Our Short Answer…

So our short answer to the question “How Do You Send Bulk Email” is to get your list onto one of the email marketing services. If you have a long list of emails already, these companies all provide ways to import those preexisting contacts (some are stricter than others about who you can bring in — see our email marketing reviews for details on any particular company’s policy). If you’re starting fresh and building an email list for the first time, then a good bulk emailing service will put everything onto a solid foundation right off the bat.

Again, check out our reviews of bulk email companies if you’re looking to manage or build a list of contacts, sign up for our own email newsletter (top of the page) to see how we utilize our email service, and check out future articles on how to best promote yourself using email marketing.