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Targeted Email Blasts

By Heshy Friedman

Targeted emails are newsletters or updates that are sent via email to clients, customers, business partners, or vendors. These are often called “Blasts” since they are “blasted” out to multiple email addresses with a single click. Targeted emails provide an important way to stay in touch with your business contacts and keep you on their radar.

How does one send out these mass email campaigns? Some people foolishly try doing this in outlook, and put dozens (and sometimes even hundreds) of email addresses in their “to” list. Besides for being blocked by spam for bulk emailing, this also exposes the recipients email addresses to all other parties in the distribution list, and may place the addresses in the hands of spammers and scammers. The proper way to send a mass emailing is to use one of the many email campaign systems available. These include Constant Contact, VerticalResponse, Campaigner, EmailDirect, and MailChimp, to name a few. These systems all work together with the spam filters to ensure their emails are protected from the filters. They all require strict adherence to spam prevention policies. However, if you are sending an email or forwarding an email to a selected distribution of contacts, you can responsibly send it in outlook by adding a small group of email addresses into the BCC field (this hides it from being seen by everyone else in the distribution list). The amount of emails that you’ll be allowed to send this way depends on your hosting companies email policies.

When sending out targeted emails, there are two primary design approaches. The most professional approach is to have a custom HTML design created which reflects your company’s theme and matches your website. However, this involves more design work and requires having a professional designer set it up, as well as type in new HTML anytime you want to create a new campaign. The other approach is to select a pre-defined system template (provided by your email campaign system), and then populating your content and logo in the template. While easier to control on your own, and definitely more cost-effective, this method still lacks the full level of professionalism presented in a custom-designed HTML email.

Another feature of email campaign systems is their signup code. All of them will provide you with HTML code which you can place on your website. Web visitors can then fill in their info on your site with this code, and automatically sign themselves up on your list. The email campaign systems also provide detailed statistics of the campaigns, and you can usually see how many people opened the email, how many people clicked a link on the email, and how many people unsubscribed from the email.

Some companies will need more than one distribution list, to direct different targeted emails to specific groups of people. For example, a company may want to send a different targeted email to their customers and to their distributors. Most email campaign systems provide the functionality for this by allowing the email addresses to be classified within multiple lists.

There are several policies to adhere to when sending out email blasts. First and foremost, don’t spam! Everybody hates spam. Spam is defined as any email that comes unsolicited. Only send out your mass emails to customers who already have a business connection to you. Another way to legitimize your email campaign is by making sure to put a valid address and phone number within the body of the email being blasted. Most (if not all) of the email campaign companies require this, and they will prevent your email from going out without this. Another important practice is to make sure the information you are placing in the email campaign is relevant to its recipient. Make sure the content is informative or useful; otherwise you are better off not sending out the email at all.

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