Should you send email blasts: a guide

One of the earliest forms of email marketing was sending one standard email to your entire email list. These are called email blasts. 

The first email marketing campaign was sent in 1978 by Gary Thuerk – a Marketing Manager at Digital Equipment Corp, which concurrently was also the invention of an email blast (or e- blast). He sent a mass email to 400 users promoting DEC machines, which converted into a sale of $13 million. What had such a significant impact in 1978 might not be the best way to communicate with your customers today. If Gary Thuerk sent that email today, it would be classified as SPAM and might not reach the subscriber’s inbox.  

Over the years, email service providers (ESPs) have gotten more stringent in spam policies. Twenty years after Gary Thuerk sent the first email blast, data protection and email regulation laws were formed to ensure higher email deliverability. That doesn’t mean you can’t leverage e blasts. You should leverage the incredible tools your ESP provides to send an effective email blast. In this guide, we’ll look at how to send a good email blast and the different ways you can use them.

What is an email blast? 

Email blasts, mass email, or bulk emails, is the practice of sending a single email to the full or large part of your email list. The idea behind email blasts is that by sending it to a large group of people, you hope to capture a good percentage of subscribers’ attention. These emails are traditionally unsegmented and not personalized to the interests of the subscriber. Due to the lack of targeted marketing, email blasts are considered ineffective and may annoy subscribers, leading them to either mark you as spam or unsubscribing from your list. Email blasts can affect your email delivery and deliverability scores. 

Choose the right ESP that allows easy segmentation and personalization. You can make an impact with personalized email blasts that will increase engagement because you’re mailing a genuinely interested audience.

Difference between an email blast and an email campaign

Email blasts and email campaigns are often confused with being the same and are used interchangeably. There are, however, a few striking differences between the two. Here are some common and essential elements of e blasts and email campaigns that will help differentiate between them.

Email blasts

Email blasts are single emails that are sent to the entire mailing list. They usually are not personalized or targeted to suit subscriber preferences, and are sent to everyone on the list irrespective of their location or time zone.

Email campaign

Email campaigns, on the other hand, are emails currently sent to specific segments. They are personalized and targeted and have more of an impact. They’re also location and time-zone sensitive, making them more relevant to the mailing list.

Are email blasts outdated? 

Email blasts might be an excellent way to communicate with a broad audience with little effort, but an unsegmented email is an email of the past. Let’s face it; no one is interested in receiving emails that don’t reflect their choices or preference. Due to this, e-blasts can be too irrelevant to most of your email list, and they could mark your email as spam or unsubscribe. All of which spells lousy email metrics for your brand. Marketers have a whole range of advanced tools that can significantly improve their mass email strategy, but there are some problems with traditional email blasts. They’re:

Unsegmented

Since these emails are sent to the whole mailing list, they’re almost always unsegmented. The subscribers are not segmented based on standard variables, and their preferences are overlooked. An unsegmented email results in sending an email that has no value to most subscribers. 

Untargeted

Since email blasts are unsegmented, they automatically become untargeted emails. That means you’re sending people an email without considering their interests, preferences, their journey with your brand, or their needs. Untargeted emails result in higher opt-out rates because people don’t find your emails useful.

Not personalized

The purpose of sending an email is to communicate with your subscribers and guide them through the marketing funnel to make a purchase. When your email fails to do either, the email is rendered useless. You can only fulfill your email’s goals if you’re sending people what they want and addressing their specific needs. Here’s an interesting fact; transaction rates are six times higher when emails are personalized. Brands can no longer afford to send email blasts that are not personalized.

Unpredictable 

Email blasts don’t have a fixed pattern, and they don’t follow the structure of a drip campaign. These emails are highly unpredictable due to the lack of scheduling and planning, and therefore, don’t have much of an impact on people, especially if they’re a lead. 

Irrelevant

70% of millennials are frustrated with brands sending irrelevant emails, which should be a huge concern for marketers. When you make no effort to segment and personalize emails, it leads to subscribers receiving irrelevant emails. Without personalization, you’re probably sending promotional hiking clothes and gear emails to someone in their mid-50s who has never hiked. 

Untrustworthy 

When you send irrelevant emails to your mailing list, the actions they take upon receiving your email can impact your email deliverability and email metrics. If you don’t follow the CAN-SPAM act’s regulations or get marked as spammed by too many people, it can harm your reputation, deeming you untrustworthy.

 

Email gives brands the most reliable way to inform and engage with their customers. Just because we listed the faults of yesteryear email blasts doesn’t mean it’s of no use now. With the right tools and tips, you can make the most of email blasts and drive incredible results.

Sending a successful email blast

With the right strategy and marketing automation tools, you can turn an email blast into an effective form of communication that engages your audience and generates your desired ROI. Here are some crucial elements to consider if you want to send email blasts the correct way:

Have a goal

For a good email marketing strategy to work, the first thing to do is to have a goal. Email blasts are no exception to this rule. It’s the lack of a goal that ends up making your emails look like spam. Decide on what you want to achieve with your email blast. Some goals you can consider

  • Increase engagement 

  • Get clicks on new deals 

  • Boost website re-visits

  • Create awareness

  • Update about product and features 

  • Generate revenue 

By having a clear understanding of your goal, you’ll be able to communicate it through copy and design to achieve it.

Create a mailing list organically

Build an organic mailing list, even if it means starting at rock bottom. Buying a mailing list is counter-productive and does your brand more harm than good. Creating your unique email list might take time and effort, but it’ll be worth it because the subscribers are interested in getting updates from you. Maintaining a genuine mailing list yields higher returns and good email deliverability.

Segment your email list

Now that you have an organic email list, segment your subscribers based on common variables. This is the most crucial aspect of changing your email blast game. Once you segment your mailing list, you’ll send relevant information to your audience through highly targeted emails. There’re different ways you can segment your subscribers: 

  • Demographics: You can segment your subscribers by age, marital status, gender, education, employment, or income.

  • Past purchases: Another way to segment your mailing list by taking into account their past purchases and behavior. This is a great way to convert leads because it’s highly targeted. Segmenting existing customers based on their purchasing record gives you leverage because you know they already like your products, so you have a better chance of getting them to buy from you again than to find a new customer. 

  • Customer lifecycle stage: Let’s say someone recently signed up with your brand. While sending them an automated welcome email, you could also entice them with a welcome offer. By segmenting based on where they are in their journey, you can send them relevant emails that guide them further through the marketing funnel

While trying to segment your mailing list, keep in mind your goal to ensure your emails are relevant to each segment.

Choose the right ESP

Having the right email marketing automation service to create an email blast is essential. Choose an email marketing software that is best suited for your requirements and has the right capabilities to create, segment, and personalize your emails. Make sure the ESP is user-friendly, so you don’t spend too much time figuring out the software. It also helps if the automation software comes loaded with email templates that you can rebrand and use as your own.

Segment and personalize

While you broadly segment your subscribers, targeting ensures you go a step further and pick out relevant groups within the segments to send your emails. The two might seem similar, but targeting is in fact, the continuation of the segmentation process. Once you’ve segmented your mailing list, a target email campaign can help rake up several benefits for your brand. The key to a great targeted campaign is personalization. Without personalization, your emails will not be as effective as you want them to be. If you’ve followed the steps so far, you have already conquered a significant personalization phase by segmenting your customers. You can: 

  • Gender

  • Location 

  • Preferences

  • Customer type

Design email template

Keep your goal in mind while designing your email template. Your copy and email design will rely heavily on the clarity of your goals. Your goals and who you’re addressing will help you write better email subject lines that will increase your open rates, and the email copy will lead to better click-through rates. Have a simple email design template that you can change up easily using the drag and drop email builder on your ESP. A/B test your emails to ensure they are fully optimized to grab your reader’s attention.

Add a compelling call to action (CTA)

Have a clear call-to-action button that your audience can click on for more information. Every email (blast or not) needs a CTA that prompts the subscriber to perform a specific action you want. It’s an essential part of an email - without it, your goals and campaign fall flat without results.

Measure metrics and improve deliverability 

Once you’ve sent your email blast using your ESP, measure the metrics, and analyze how the subscribers respond to your email. Email blasts are generally considered spam, and therefore, affect the deliverability of your emails. But by carefully following the steps mentioned above, you can avoid this. You can monitor your open rates, click-through rates, bounce rates, opt-out rates to optimize your content. To improve your deliverability scores

  • Have a clean email list, and remove fake or unused email addresses

  • Be consistent while sending your emails, without spamming others

  • Write catchy email subject lines, but don’t use click baits

  • Send targeted and relevant emails

  • Make sure your content is engaging for your subscribers

Examples where email blasts work

Now you know how to design and send email blasts the right way. Let’s look at some places where you can use them, and examples you can take inspiration from.

Informational content

These emails are informative and provide subscribers with exclusive access to ebooks, cheat sheets, checklists, lookbooks, presentations, etc. These are used as incentives for subscribers to ensure they open your mail and are engaged with your brand.

Email newsletters

The most common form of keeping in touch with your customers is through email newsletters. They provide customers with the latest news about your brand and round up the best blogs or tips to form a daily, weekly, or monthly newsletter. The content of email newsletters must be informative and relevant and contain links to articles on your blog. This is a great way to drive traffic to your website and blog.

Company updates

These email blasts are sent to subscribers when there’s an important company update. It could also be a change in their terms and conditions policy, privacy policy, or any legal update. These keep the subscribers informed about what’s happening with the brand and gives a sense of transparency.

Survey 

When you want to know what customers think of you or need feedback, you can send a survey or feedback email. These emails help you understand customers’ pain points and improve your emails and your product. Check out this email from Ritual that asks its subscribers to take a survey so they can improve their product.

Update about new products

One of the best ways to communicate about a new product launch is by sending your customer an email. You can pack this mail with everything they’d want to know about the latest product, its features, specifications, etc. Here’s an email from Beauty & The Bear announcing their latest products. They offer a discount on subscription and highlight the advantages of using their products.

Event information

When you have a special event or webinar or online party coming up, you can share it with your subscribers via an email blast. This is an excellent way to keep in touch and provide value to your customers.

Tell subscribers about sales and discounts

A common form of blast email is sending sales and discount notifications, especially during the holiday season or festivities. Sales emails always grab customers’ attention, so you can safely send a mass email (segmented, of course). Here’s an email from Grammarly emphasizing on the 20% discount.

Update about milestones

Another email you can safely send across your mailing list is a company milestone. You just reached a milestone in your business, which calls for celebration, and you want to share the exciting news with your subscribers. This is a great way to let your customers know how well you’re doing and that you’re a reliable and trustworthy brand.

Conclusion

Bulk emailing is a great practice if done correctly. If you understand the fine line between sending an email in bulk and spamming your recipients, then you can create incredible emails. With the rise of personalization, there are a lot of ways of making your bulk communication more targeted and effective. It helps you improve your ROI and keep your customers happy.