Why you should stop sending bulk emails and newsletters from your regular email program
I sometimes run into non-profit groups and small businesses which are still tracking their email newsletters manually. They are sending out email bulk messages, sometimes with an attached pdf newsletter, with multiple people in the BCC field. When people let them know they’d like to be removed from the list, they manually remove them.
This method is not effective for many reasons:
- Most of those emails will not reach their intended recipient. Your email service in some cases won’t sent them out, but as well the recipient’s email server will see too many other recipients in the TO: or BCC field and reject the message. These measures are part of ongoing efforts to prevent spam.
- It’s very time consuming to manage. Every time you send this email out you generally have to do it in several individual batches to get it through, and when an email bounces back to you or someone asks you to remove them from you list, you have to deal with those one by one as well.
- It can get your email domain flagged as a spam sender, which means that some of your other addresses from the same company will have trouble getting through. It can be difficult to restore this reputation once it is lost.
There are some very easy ways to move to a simpler way to send out bulk emails. They involve using bulk email sending services like Mailchimp or Constant Contact or hiring someone like me to format send out your newsletter for you.
A fairly easy and inexpensive way to change how you send your newsletter to make it more effective is to use a service like Mailchimp. Most people still using the batch send model are wanting to keep simple, so I’m giving some bare bones information for beginners below. There can be a lot more to this once you are comfortable – beginning with making the messages more attractive, personalizing messages, and sending different versions of your information to different groups of people. I can help you with that, but here are the basics below to get you started.
How to Begin using Mailchimp, for Beginners
At it’s very simplest, you:
- Sign up for an account (If you have less than 5000 email addresses to send to, it’s free) with Mailchimp.
- Add your existing email addresses into their ‘audience’ section. This only has to happen once. Sometimes people need my help with this, but there are also some fairly straightforward instructions.
- Start a new ‘campaign’ (which is what they call an email) and fill in the boxes as requested.
- Put your usual message into the ‘design’ part of the email. You will have to upload your pdf file if you want to continue using that. Again, sometimes people need help with this the first time.
- Send a test message to yourself (not required but advised) to make sure you haven’t forgotten anything.
- Send it out.
Mailchimp has a step by step process you work your way through to send out emails (campaigns). It takes a bit longer than sending out a single email, but a lot less time than sending out hundreds or thousands in batches, and your list members are much more likely to actually receive them.
Some tips for beginners
Mailchimp will add an unsubscribe link and your info and address at the bottom of each email. This means that anyone who wants to stop receiving your emails can click on the link and press a confirm button to be automatically removed. You can’t remove this feature. If you try to, they will add it back in. You probably don’t want to anyhow, as it allows people to remove themselves from your list if they want to stop receiving your emails, which, by law, you have to let them do (and is the right thing to do anyhow…). Once they remove themselves, they can add themselves back in to your list, but you cannot re-add them.
Keep in mind that Mailchimp is a marketing company. They will always be showing you new features or trying to upsell you to their premium service when you first log in. Some beginners find this overwhelming. You can ignore all of these marketing messages and just skip to the things you want to do.
A form can be put on your website that allows people to add themselves to your newsletter list. It should take most web designers about 15 minutes to implement. Here are MailChimp’s instructions on where to find the code to paste into your website for this purpose.
You can design very pretty branded email templates in Mailchimp, which I would be happy to do for you, allowing your emails to be both pretty and effective. It’s a good idea to have and use a nice template for messages, to layout your messages nicely in the tools and to add images to your emails. One thing to note is that images will not always show up in your recipients’ email program, and your lovely email will not always look the same in their inbox as it looks in yours. For privacy reasons, many email programs turn off the display of images in emails, and there is nothing you can do about that. So make sure that any information you wish to convey in your email is provided in text form, even if it is also in an image.
For more advanced help including branding your newsletters, training staff, linking Mailchimp with your online store or website, more complex imports of email addresses, marketing to different groups within your list, personalizing messages, or dealing with stale email lists, I can help. I can walk you through doing all of the setup, or just take care of it for you. Email me at or call 604-813-7674
Photo by Jean Gerber on Unsplash