Best Practices for Sending Mass Emails to Customers

Many small business owners can feel anxious about sending mass emails. As the team at Campaign Monitor notes, email senders frequently worry about potential typos, whether their graphics will render properly, or whether they’ve sent their emails to the wrong list entirely.

Others fear that customers will see their emails as pesky rather than helpful. Done well, however, mass emails can generate interest in your business and keep you connected to customers.

Why Your Business Should Embrace Mass Emails

Mass emails offer a number of opportunities to build customer goodwill, sustain relationships, and win over customers who aren’t on the fence about making a purchase.

Email feels right to your customers

Social media, direct messaging, and chatbots are all comparatively novel, but customers still prefer to have their commercial conversations from their inboxes.

Research shows this happens across generations, too. Even for younger customers, email provides the more appropriate context for a marketing message, says Ryan Phelan, Fractional CMO at Origin Email.

“When it comes to their friends, [teens and young adults] need an immediate response because they’re having a conversation,” Phelan writes. “But when it comes to businesses, there’s not the same immediacy so email is the appropriate medium.”

Personalized experiences

Automated mass emails can help you touch base with customers precisely when they need your business’s input.

For example, say you are running an e-commerce shop, and you have been diligently tracking customer experience data. Your data reveals that shoppers have regularly placed one type of item—perhaps a higher-ticket item—in their shopping carts then never completed the transaction.

You could send out a mass email to each of those customers with a reminder that the item’s supply is limited, or you could even reach out with a discount code.

Such relevance provides a sense of personalization that few other marketing tools can match. Personalized ads can’t do this. Most social media users likely have experienced the frustration of seeing ads for a product they just purchased. Strategic emails, however, avoid this problem.

A well-timed email shows you know what’s on the customer’s mind, and you’re ready to step in and help them through a buying decision.

Ensure Your Emails Arrive in Customers’ Inboxes

The right mass email meets recipients with a relevant message at the right time. To achieve that kind of resonance with your audience, you must understand both the marketing principles and technology that power email marketing.

Build a brand-new email list

Don’t buy a list of email addresses someone in the past cobbled together. That old email list likely will be out of date, meaning much of your mailing becomes undeliverable or lands in a spam folder.

Instead, start building a new list for mass emails. If you don’t know where to start with email list-building, check out our guide to using your online presence to generate leads. Choose an email service provider who can grow with you You will need an email marketing service provider to actually send out mass emails. Many of these providers integrate with Salesforce Essentials.

To find an email service provider that will grow with you:

  • Consider your planned volume. You may not need to send emails to 250,000 customers today, but what about a year from now?
  • Prioritize user-friendly interfaces and analytics. These will help you track and improve the performance of your campaigns over time.

Choose the right mass email format for the task at hand

Not all mass emails are identical, and different formats have different benefits.

Email newsletters, for example, can help you reach many different readers with varying interests by diversifying the type of content as well as the topics covered. Newsletters, however, can be difficult to design to fit all screens, and they tend to dilute your call to action by burying it in excessive information.

Dedicated marketing emails, by contrast, have a specific call to action and a simple layout. Further, they arrive periodically, not regularly, and can attract recipients’ attention simply by being novel.

Be an Ethical Email Marketer

The CAN-SPAM Act governs the use of mass emails in U.S. marketing. Fortunately, many of the requirements the act imposes on businesses also make good common-sense rules to follow when your goal is to communicate quickly and clearly with your audience.

Make it easy to opt-in (and out)

Creating an opt-in email list, in which readers sign themselves up to receive emails, can increase your click-through rate. An opt-in list also reduces the risk that your emails will be seen as a nuisance or sent to spam, as readers chose to have your emails sent to them.

Let the CAN-SPAM Act be your baseline for good business

The CAN-SPAM Act requires mass emails to clearly state:

  • Your company’s contact information
  • The purpose of the email
  • A link that allows users to manage the data you have on them
  • A link that allows users to read the newsletter online

These requirements aren’t merely legal obligations; they’re also good business practices. After all, on a normal day people see 5,000-plus advertisements, Hootsuite CEO Ryan Holmes writes. Your message, no matter what it is, will be competing with thousands of other messages.

Emails that quickly announce who the sender is, what their message is, and how to access recipient data stand a better chance of grabbing someone’s precious few seconds of attention.

Ask for help if you need it

While the Federal Trade Commission provides information on CAN-SPAM Act compliance, the best way to be sure you’re following the rules is to consult an attorney with experience in business email and Internet obligations. The right lawyer can also help you identify other laws that may apply to your online activities, like the European Union’s GDPR, and chart a course for compliance.

To get mass emails right:

  • Personalize the experience, and make it opt-in
  • Choose the right tech tools
  • Tailor each message to the occasion, and analyze results for continual improvement
  • Be mindful of your legal obligations

The right mass email methods can boost business, build connections, and cement a small business as an essential part of its community.

If you’re still feeling conflicted about sending out mass emails, or if you’re unsure of where to begin, Salesforce Master Solution Engineer Iman Maghroori has a helpful webinar where you’ll learn how to segment a list then send out emails in Salesforce.

Want to get started with your own email strategy? Figure out your email marketing goals and strategies with our playbook: [*Getting Started with Small Business Marketing

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