Why you should not send bulk email from your PC

The importance of newsletters / bulk email as marketing tools is well established. Other forms of bulk email, such as promotional mailers and surveys have an equally important role to play in your marketing efforts.

If you are sending bulk email campaigns using your everyday email client, then please think again! You could be doing more harm than you know.

I’d like to give you an overview of why it isn’t a good idea to send bulk emails via your everyday email client, such as Outlook/Mac Mail or webmail, such as Gmail/Hotmail and why using a bulk email platform is a much better idea.

Compliancy

The international and South African legislation with the most impact on email marketing practices of companies in South Africa is:

  1. CAN Spam Act of 2003 (USA)
  2. European Privacy and Electronic Communications Directive of 2002.
  3. Electronic Communications and Transactions Act no 25 of 2002;
  4. Consumer Protection Act 68 of 2008;
  5. Protection of Personal Information (PPI) Bill (B9-2009)

Marketing via email without contravening the laws that regulate email marketing is crucial. If your IP addresses or domains are blacklisted by ISP’s (Internet Service Providers) or international Anti-Spam groups your deliverability drops remarkably. In terms of South African legislation you can also be prosecuted for not complying with the relevant legislation.

So what should you do to ensure you are compliant, follow best practice and protect your sender reputation?

  1. Ensure you provide the consumers on your email database with a reliable and easy to use opt-out mechanism. If your subscriber opts out on one of your direct communication channels he should be removed reliably from all of your databases. It is the company’s responsibility to ensure that a consumer’s details are removed from all future direct marketing attempts.
  2. Keep record of and upon request provide the recipient with details of where you obtained their information. Keep a record of all recipients that opted out of receiving email marketing messages, and ensure that they are not sent any future communication.
  3. The CPA makes provision for the establishment of a “Do Not Contact“ registry. Although not yet active, once this is available your email system will need to query this registry on a regular basis and preemptively block all sending to addresses on this list.
  4. Spell out all terms and conditions of service – as well as conditions for any promotions or competitions – in clear and uncomplicated language. Provide a simple summary of the applicable terms and conditions and then also provide the full long winded legal explanation as well. Make sure there is nothing unexpected hidden in the full terms and conditions that is not highlighted in the plain language summary. Provide an easy to find link to the terms and conditions of any offer.
  5. Only send out direct marketing messages in the allowed time periods. Direct marketers are prohibited from contacting consumers during the following times:
    1. Sundays and Public Holidays
    2. Saturdays before 9am and after 1pm; and
    3. All other days between 8pm and 8am.

Complying with the above best practice is hardly possible making use of your everyday email client. At best the time and effort required to perform this “manually” would severely burden the sender.

Using a quality bulk email solution ensures that you are able to effortlessly comply with the stipulated requirements.

Deliverability

One word: SPAM. We have all experienced the frustration of receiving unsolicited emails. Many tools have been created in an attempt to combat it. Disgruntled recipients can now report any email they receive as SPAM, which results in the sender’s IP address and/or domain being blacklisted. That means not being able to send any emails until this is reversed – not something that is easily accomplished.

If you send email from your everyday email clients you are at greater risk of being reported. Using a third-party service such as Rocketmailer avoids these risks, as they are whitelisted with all major ISP’s and have various controls (checking spam scores, proofing your newsletter and checking the validity of links) in place to ensure optimal delivery rates.

Server Load

An everyday email client is great for sending and receiving individual emails. However, it is not designed for sending large bulk email campaigns.

If you compose and send an email to a large database using Outlook you will place strain on the server which handles your outgoing email. Effectively all the emails will be queued for delivery, resulting in slow delivery rates of not just your emails but also those of all other senders making use of the server. To counteract this, most ISP’s (Internet Service Providers) have controls in place to prevent customers from sending out too many emails in too short a period of time. They can achieve it by setting email send limits on a per day, per hour or per number of recipients basis. Any emails exceeding this setting total will be discarded.

Most ISP’s view breaches of send limits in a very serious light and will most probably suspend your email flow or slap you with an additional bandwidth charge if repeat offenses occur.

Most bulk email solutions make use of multi-threading, which allows for multiple deliveries simultaneously. This ensures that you are able to deliver thousands of emails in a very short space of time.

Brand consistency and appearance

With multiple email clients utilized worldwide, the appearance of emails will vary considerably. In other words, the way in which you viewed it when composing the message in your everyday email client might differ vastly from the way in which the recipients email client renders the email. The way that the appearance might be affected varies and includes stripping or resizing of images, publishing links in the email body, altering font  or sizing and various other issues which could alter the email.

The obvious result is that you’re not getting your message across in the professional manner that you had hoped for, and in some cases the brand damage and adversity created can have serious implications on your bottom line.

Making use of the template editor in Rocketmailer, allows for much more consistent rendering of your emails across all email clients. Rocketmailer also incorporates a feature whereby the email can be viewed online.

Tracking your campaign success

Tracking your campaign’s success is not possible using an everyday email client as it is impossible to find out if someone has opened the email or clicked a link within the body of it. Utilizing a reputable bulk email solution will enable you to view and export a detailed analysis (showing bounces, open rates, click tracking etc.) of your campaign after sending, giving you the insight to manage your database, responses and future campaigns effectively.

Data Management and Security

Using your everyday email client or spreadsheets to manage your subscriber and/or campaign response data is at best an arduous task. Now imagine losing that data if your PC fails!

By making use of a bulk email solution you can be safe in the knowledge that your data is secure, only accessible by authenticated means and is available wherever you have web access. Intuitive and easy to use tools allow for hassle-free data management within the platform.

ROI

There exists a perception among some individuals and businesses that making use of a bulk email solution is a costly exercise and for this very reason they continue to utilize their everyday email client for this purpose.  Yes, it may cost a tiny bit more, but the benefits far outweigh the costs.

Because of the intuitive nature and ease of use of the Rocketmailer solution, time spent creating an email campaign is significantly reduced and as such drives productivity. The features inherent within the platform ensure that your campaign will have a much bigger reach and success rate when compared to your everyday email client campaigns.

In closing, it should be realized that email marketing is not just about getting your product offers in front of consumers’ eyeballs. It’s also important to provide consumers with brand interaction that’s both valuable and enjoyable. In order to ensure good results from your email marketing, it’s imperative to use a quality bulk email solution.

Please contact us if you want to find out more about the Rocketmailer bulk email solution, or email marketing in general.

Hermanus Huisamen | director of business development

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