The Article “How to Send Mass Email Successfully: A Step-by-Step Guide” was originally published in 2019. It has been reworked and modernized for 2020.
On the surface, it seems like mass emailing is fairly simple: write up an email and send it to as many people as possible. In reality, though, that’s a recipe for failure. There are many factors that play into how to send mass email successfully.
The question is, ‘how do you go about doing it right?’
Luckily, we’ve put together a comprehensive, detailed guide that will teach you everything you need to know and guide you every step of the way.
How to Send Mass Email Successfully: A Step-by-Step Guide
Before you dive in and get sending, you need to understand the factors that can make or break your mass email campaigns. Here’s what we’ll cover:
- Sender Reputation
- Potential Risks and Hurdles
- Where to Get Contact Lists
- How to Send Mass Emails
- Creating Successful Email Content
- Tracking and Improving Your Campaigns
Your sender reputation is a score that your Internet Service Provider (ISP) assigns to you. The higher the score, the more likely your emails will be delivered to recipients’ inboxes. If your sender reputation score falls below a certain threshold, the ISP may deliver messages to spam folders, or even flat out reject them.
If you have multiple domain names and send email from different IP addresses, each one will be assigned its own sender reputation.
Several factors contribute to your sender reputation, including:
- The number of emails you send
- How many recipients flag your emails as spam
- How often your emails hit the ISP’s spam trap
- Whether you are on a blacklist or not
- Your email bounce rate
- How recipients interact with your emails by opening, replying, forwarding, deleting and clicking links within them
- Your unsubscribe rate
Each ISP has different factors it uses to calculate your sender reputation, and weights them differently, so your score might vary for different ISPs.
One key way you can get off to a good start is to warm up your IP address. ISPs will be suspicious of you if you’re a new sender that’s suddenly firing off tens of thousands of emails or more.
Rather than jumping in with both feet and sending huge volumes of email, start small (and target the most engaged audience you can) and gradually increase your volume every day. For example, make your initial send just 200 emails, then send 400-500 the next day, then 1000 the day after that, and so on.
If you have an opt-in list, use that initially, because you’re aiming for as much engagement as you can get, and as few complaints or unsubscribes as possible.
The idea is that you’re teaching the ISP to trust you.
Potential Problems and Hurdles
It’s important to understand what problems and roadblocks you might run into and have a plan in place before you get started. If you take steps to preemptively solve these problems, you’ll have a clear path to success.
Possibly the largest potential problem of sending mass email is blacklisting. A blacklist is a list of servers or domains that have been found to send spam. Being on a blacklist means that your emails may be rejected by your ISP, and negatively impacts your sender reputation.
Blacklisting occurs when your email is sent to a spam trap – an email address that may once have been valid but has been repurposed by its provider for the sole purpose of tracking spam. These are often placed on public websites, and serve as a way to identify senders who are scraping email addresses.
You also risk being blacklisted if you have a high spam complaint rate from your recipients. Suddenly sending huge volumes of email can result in blacklisting (which is why warming up your IP address is a good idea), as can bad content such as all caps, lots of body text color, over-punctuation (such as “Free!!!!”) and other formatting common to spam emails.
You can reduce your risk of blacklisting by following cold email best practices:
- Smart list management: Purchase your lists from a reputable data provider and have the data checked and verified again before you send.
- Warm up your IP addresses: If you gradually ramp up your send volumes as described above, you’ll communicate your trustworthiness to your ISP.
- Create strong content: If you create emails that don’t look or feel like spam, they’ll be much less likely to be flagged as spam.
Where to Get Contact Lists
The list that you’re sending to is the single most important factor in mass email. You need to make sure your list only contains high quality data, otherwise you’re going to end up sending to a spam trap and getting blacklisted.
You should avoid practices like email scraping (or purchasing lists generated by scraping). This is the process of using a bot that finds email addresses on the internet for you. They generally contain large amounts of bad data and spam traps, and using them is among the quickest ways you can get blacklisted.
Instead, get your lists from a reputable data provider. The data you receive will be much higher quality, more reliable and – most importantly – targeted at the right type of audience for your business.
Once you have your list, it’s crucial to have it checked and verified to weed out any bad data that might exist on the list. For example, one of the email addresses on the list may have been valid once, but has since been repurposed as a spam trap. It pays to check your list independently of the vendor, just to be safe.
How to Send Mass Email
Now that you’re armed with a high quality list, you turn to your email provider to prepare and send your campaign – only to find out that it doesn’t let you upload or send to lists over a certain size.
This is common. Most email service providers share domains across their customers, and if one customer sends to a list full of bad data and gets the domain blacklisted, that would impact all their other customers’ ability to send email as well.
To get around this, you need a mass email sending platform. Clickback is the best tool for the job – not only does it let you upload and send to your list, it automatically performs list verification and checks when you upload it. There’s no need to pay for a third-party service for that all-important step.
Every contact on your list is run through multiple filters, data and hygiene checks to remove any bad data or spam traps that could hinder your deliverability.
Once your list is uploaded, you can begin creating your email using an easy drag-and-drop email editor (or directly in HTML if you prefer). There are also a number of professionally-designed templates to get you started quickly.
As we mentioned earlier, bad content can cause your emails to be blacklisted. What’s “bad content”? There are a number of styles, formatting, links and other aspects that can cause red flags. Clickback checks your email content in real-time and notifies you of any words, formatting, links etc. that can cause your emails to be flagged as spam.
When you send mass email from Clickback, it uses its own domains and IPs, so your sender reputation remains untouched. Even if any bad data made it through all those rigorous checks, your score is safe.
Creating Successful Email Content
The best cold emails don’t come across as cold. A great sender reputation and a pristine recipient list can get your email to hit the inbox, but that doesn’t matter if nobody engages with your content.
The trick is to think of your cold email send as the start of an inbound nurturing campaign (and it might be, if your recipients opt in!). The subject line needs to be magnetic and the body needs to be compelling, not sales-y or overbearing.
For detailed strategy for writing exceptional emails, read our guide on how to craft the perfect cold email.
Tracking and Improving Your Campaigns
Once you’ve got your email out the door, don’t just forget about it. Keep an eye on how it performs and identify ways you could improve on it.
For example, if your open rate is low, you should work on your subject line. If your email is getting opened but your clickthrough rate isn’t great, that’s a sign to change up your content – maybe try putting your CTA in a different spot, or try different messaging.
Most importantly, try new things. Always be testing – compare what’s worked for you in the past to a new version, and keep what works better. Then test something new against that. And so on. You’ll consistently drive improvement.
This is one of the elements of cold email that Clickback makes easy. Thanks to its revolutionary Website Visitor Intelligence™ (WVI) technology, your website visitors are targeted, tracked, and nurtured after clicking on a link in your email campaign. This gives you valuable insight that you can use to make adjustments and experiment with future campaigns to optimize for even more conversions.
See for yourself how Clickback can help you send mass email successfully. Sign up for a free 1-on-1 demo with one of our email lead generation experts today!