Anyone who has an email address probably knows how popular mass emails and e-newsletters have become. Yet, despite what your clogged inbox may tell you, mass emails are still a highly underutilized marketing tool.
Here at Speak, we know from experience that bulk emails can have great impact for many businesses. In fact, that's why we have our own bulk email service called Mass Mail that clients can run through their websites on our content management system, SiteWrench.
However, we also know that mass emails aren't automatically successful. To create a successful email campaign, you'll need a solid strategy and some well-designed templates.
You also need to recognize the benefits and challenges that come along with sending e-blasts. So let’s dissect the ins and outs of bulk email together, so you can begin using it in the most efficient way possible and ultimately grow your business with it.
The Benefits of Mass Email
We'll kick things off by talking about the pro's to sending mass emails. These are the reasons why you should consider implementing a mass email strategy for your business.
Reach a large audience inexpensively
One of the core advantages to using bulk email is that you can get your message out to a large group in a short amount of time, for free (or very inexpensively). From a value standpoint, that is tough to beat.
If you've ever sent printed direct mail, placed an ad in a publication, or done any traditional advertising, then you know how expensive it can be. Dollar for dollar you will be hard-pressed to find a means of reaching your customers for less time, money or effort than you can with an e-blast.
Direct access to your customers
With the advent of smartphones that enable people to check their email from anywhere, mass mail has given marketers a great power: direct access to their customers' pockets.
We've all been there, sitting peacefully, when suddenly we hear our phone buzz in our pocket.
We try our best to ignore it... but it persists: "Hey there, looks like you have an email. Why not drop whatever you're doing, and check me out?" Resistance is futile. You know you're going to check it.
We all experience this at some point - but as with all great power, it also requires great responsibility. More on that later.
Better insights with e-blasts
When you send out printed direct mail, or put an ad in the paper, it becomes difficult to really know how many people actually saw your promotional piece. To measure the effectiveness of that advertisement, you might need to set up a campaign-specific phone number or ask people how they found you when they do get in touch.
With bulk email, you have greater insights into what is happening without that extra effort of going back to measure. You can automatically track how many people your email was sent to, how many actually opened it, what buttons or links they clicked on, how much time they spent looking at the message, and more!
All of this data, over time, allows you to identify trends with your customers, and to establish a strategy that will help ensure that your mass email attempts only get more effective over time.
The Challenges with Bulk Email
Of course, mass email campaigns are not all sunshine and roses. For all of the good that they can do, there are a fair share of hurdles and stumbling blocks you need to beware of.
Mind you that despite the negatives, you still have the advantages listed above, so taking these negatives into consideration should not deter you from utilizing the tools available. But, as Confucius never once said: "Knowing the drawbacks up front will only help you later."
Your email might not get opened
I know, I know. That's a pretty big stinkin’ drawback. If someone isn't even going to read your email before they delete it, what's the point of putting the effort into it?
Well... there is strength in numbers, and even more strength when strategy is involved.
It is definitely very possible to run email campaigns strategically, so that you can minimize the amount of people deleting your email before it even gets read. Ultimately, you need both components (strategy and numbers) for a successful campaign.
If you send out an email with a coupon to 1,000 people on a random Tuesday, maybe 150 of them will open it, and of those 150, a fraction will result in new business. However, if you strategically send your email with a coupon to 5,000 people (which requires almost no extra effort apart from acquiring the leads), on the morning of your busiest shopping day… you are likely going to see a lot more success with that.
One email likely won't yield a big surge in new business
Your best bet is to adopt a mindset that says, "If I get one sale out of this, then it was worth the effort." I'm NOT saying set the bar so low that you have zero expectations whatsoever. Rather, it's important to go in with realistic expectations.
Think about your own experience with promotional emails. How often do you open and read them? How often do you delete them automatically? How often do you go through the extra trouble of unsubscribing to a list?
Take note of when you find yourself clicking an email, and figure out what piqued your interest.
Harness that knowledge into your own campaigns, and you will be on the right track to winning with bulk email.
Email formatting is finicky
So, now we're gonna talk a little bit about the technical aspect of things. Let's assume that you decide to give mass email an honest go. You get a hot new template designed, write amazing copy, cross your t's, dot your i's, and finally hit send.
Boom...just like that, 5,000 people have your email sitting in their inbox. 5,000 people just got a ding from their phone saying "Hey there…Looks like you have an email. Why not drop whatever you're doing, and check me out?"
Excited, you get home and fire up your trusty old PC, open Outlook, and eagerly check your email to see what your customers are all looking at. Unfortunately, what you see on your screen looks NOTHING like what it looked like when it was designed.
In fact - it looks bad. Embarrassingly bad. Suddenly, you're sweating bullets, hoping that it looks better on everyone else’s screen than it does on yours. What went wrong?
The fact is, it's difficult (but necessary) to create an email that looks the same for everyone opening it. Although creating mass email templates that look universally great across all platforms and devices is tough, there are tricks to doing so, and Speak can help!
Email typography choices
I would be remiss as a designer if I didn't at least mention design. Many creatives will validate the argument that good typography can make or break a design.
Typography has been in the spotlight in recent years, and with evolving web browsers, we now have more options than ever when it comes to type styles. Unfortunately, email viewing software is antiquated.
What that ultimately means is, all of the great advances that we have available to us for designing websites are not always available in our email templates. This provides a unique challenge with creating well-designed mass email templates, because we are restricted to a very small number of fonts that we can reasonably rely on being installed on everybody's device.
This doesn't mean we have no options. There are some tricks we can employ to get around this - but it is very possible (and probably even likely) that your mass email campaign is going to look slightly different to different people (and that's okay).
Email software isn't a web browser
One of the biggest mistakes that designers make with mass email templates is assuming that we can do everything in mass email that we can do with websites. Unfortunately, this is not true.
This is not to say that it is impossible to create beautiful, compelling mass email designs. We just need to approach it with a different mindset than we approach web design.
Most email softwares require old coding methods
To code a mass email template that looks consistent across various email platforms, we need to use a lot of old coding methods. While I always recommend avoiding what is considered "poor practices" by today’s coding standards, there will most likely need to be some compromise. Fortunately, Speak has you covered, because we're fully prepared to go back to the basics when we need to.
Go Ahead, Start an E-blast
So, there you have it: the pro's and con's of mass email campaigns. I am aware that it seems like there are a lot of drawbacks to sending mass emails - but I promise that it's really not that bad, especially if you have a professional to help you learn the ropes.
Our email experts here at Speak are ready to help you get around a lot of the potential pitfalls with e-blasts. I am confident that with a little bit of invested effort, we can help you create a truly impactful bulk email strategy and well designed mass email template that are easy to maintain and will ultimately create movement for your business.
Are you interested in partnering with our digital marketing team to come up with your own mass email strategy? Do you need an email template designed? Or are you ready to add Mass Mail to your SiteWrench plan?Let's talk bulk email.