Seriously, hold on just a moment before sending that email blast to your entire contact list. Reread that sentence. Sending an email blast to your entire contact list.
Yes, you need to stay in touch with your customers and prospects. Of course, you should be sharing relevant content, news, updates, tips, and more. No, email is not dead, and is still a viable and worthwhile tool. So why the concern and note of caution?
Because every marketing activity you do (whether it’s email, social, blogs, paid ads, or anything else) needs to be done with thought and specific intent. Without that, it won’t be effective. What’s worse, sending random and unwelcome emails can hurt your brand and your bottom line.
Let’s uncover what an email blast is, the potential consequences of sending them, and what steps you should follow when emailing your contacts.
What is an email blast?
Pretty much just like it sounds, an email blast is sending an email (usually a single message) to a large group of people. They could be your customers, prospects, or associates. But it is just that, the same message, with the same offer, sent to everyone, all at once.
If you have been involved with the marketing of your business or organization for any length of time, that should raise a red flag. Not the part about sending. Not even the part about to a large group.
What should be hitting you is that an email blast, in the traditional sense, is treating every single person in your distribution list, like everyone else. People aren’t the same. Your customers will have different questions and concerns than your prospects. What encourages one person to connect, may not incentivize another.
The analogy of throwing spaghetti against the wall to see what sticks comes to mind.
Blasting out a message to the masses via email is not only bad marketing, it’s a poor use of a valuable tool in your arsenal. It also assumes that everyone on your send list has consented and is eager to receive whatever you are pitching their way.
Consequences of blasting without permission
If you are sending an email blast to your entire list, how well do you know your contacts? Do you even have permission to email them? If not, you’re taking a serious risk.
Reduced credibility and trust
You contacts are going to have different problems and questions at different stages of their buyer’s journey. This means that sending the same message to all of them is only going to really help a portion of them (at best). And the rest?
- Some will open your email blast message and realize whatever you are sending is completely useless to them at that point in time. That hurts their trust in you.
- Others may have already experienced that feeling, assume this is another irrelevant email, and unsubscribe.
- A third group may have grown tired of your random emails and mark it as spam.
- If your list includes email addresses that are no longer active, your sent emails will bounce. Having too many of these in your email blast send list can hurt your sender reputation.
These consequences don’t help to position your business as an expert in your field, as a reliable source, or a trusted business. And that can greatly reduce your credibility among customers and prospects.
Risk of being blacklisted
This is probably the greatest risk to a business who regularly uses an email blast as a method of communication. Being blacklisted means that your IP address, domain, or email account has been flagged as a source of spam. When that happens, your emails won’t get delivered.
There are several triggers that can lead to your email getting blacklisted, including:
- A sudden surge in the volume of emails you send out.
- Many email recipients report your email as spam.
- Your bounce rate is higher than the acceptable limits.
- Your email content contains words and phrases that are commonly used in spam.
While getting your emails removed from a blacklist is possible, the process can be long and arduous. So respect for your email database is always the best bet.
How to send an email blast — the right way:
So does all this mean that you should no longer send emails to large groups of contacts at the same time? Not at all.
What it means is that you should do so with intent and planning ahead of just casually hitting send. And it means you should have a process for sending strategic email campaigns instead of a mass email blast.
Understand your audience
Start by understanding and defining who your audience is. You may serve a wide variety of customers, and they won’t all have the same pain points, questions, timeline, or requirements.
A direct approach with one contact who is ready to purchase may feel pushy to another who is just beginning to understand they have a need for what you offer. How can you find out how and when to approach prospects at different stages? Start by developing buyer personas.
Define your strategy
Now that you know who you will be sending your emails too, what do you want to communicate with them? This involves mapping out your customers’ buyer’s journey as well as developing a solid strategy for the content and information you want to share with your audience.
Sending a random email blast misses the opportunity to share targeted content with your prospects (as well as your loyal customers) that answers the logical questions they have as they progress from awareness to that final decision stage (and beyond to a long term relationship).
Check out these articles to learn more about this process:
Segment your audience
As you learn more about your audience you will want to set up and define some clear segments.
We described an email blast as a non-targeted approach of sending the same email message to all members of your contact lists. Targeted email marketing is sending customized email messages to specific audiences that are personalized based on the recipient’s needs, wants and/or behaviors.
Plan your email marketing based on what questions your audience is asking at their various stages of their buyer’s journey, and also who they are and what they care about. This will help you develop more personalized emails and treat your audience like the individuals they are.
Read this article for more tips on creating targeted emails:
Far too often, companies fall into the trap of purchasing or data mining their email lists. The last thing a company should ever be spending money on is a purchased contact list. Data mining (scouring the internet for names and emails of contacts) is equally wasteful and damaging.
If a contact has not willingly provided you with their contact information, you do not have permission to send them an email, let alone an email blast. Invite contacts to share their information and engage with you, don’t just take it.
Want some ideas on how to naturally grow your contact list? Check this article out:
Share the right content at the right time
The last tip focuses on when you should be sending emails. With your content strategy in hand, begin to map out what content matches each phase of the buyer journey and who would benefit most from that information.
In B2B marketing, you will naturally have different roles that play a part in the buying process. Make sure information intended for the decision maker isn’t being targeted at the influencer. Likewise, don’t send the guide that’s intended to seal the deal to a new contact just beginning to understand their need for your product or service.
Sending an email blast is quick, easy, and broad in reach. But it’s definitely not strategic, organized, or targeted.
Email is just one tool in your content marketing and communication arsenal. Blasting your contacts with emails or even throwing out a bunch of content on your website, hoping someone reads it, rarely produces results. If you want to see real gains from your email marketing efforts, planning will serve you much better than blasting.
Download our free guide, Content Strategy: The Missing Piece in Your Digital Marketing Plan, to learn more about developing a successful digital marketing and content strategy.