I’m often asked what is the best way to send out bulk email – e.g. email newsletters – to distribution lists.
Many businesses I know simply use their email client, such as Outlook or Outlook Express, to send bulk emails. They create the email and then put the distribution list of email addresses in the bcc field. By doing this recipients don’t get to see the entire distribution list. Whilst this approach is acceptable if you’re only mailing to a few addresses, once your distribution list starts to grow it becomes difficult to manage and, more importantly, you could run into trouble with your email service provider.
Email Service Providers frown upon bulk email because it clogs up their servers and it could be spam. Many service providers will disable your account if you persist in bulk email.
So what’s the best way to send bulk email if you have a distribution list that you regularly send mailings to? The answer is an online bulk email service. There are numerous services you can choose from. The service I use is called Campaign Monitor (www.campaignmonitor.com).
With Campaign Monitor you can set up emails as either plain text, or html if you want to include images and formatted text. Templates are provided to help you create your emails. Alternatively, you can create html emails using an html editor such as FrontPage, and then import them. You can also personalize them by, for example, adding the recipients’ names on a salutation.
Distribution lists can be as big as your want. When you’ve sent out your mailing, Campaign Monitor automatically manages your distribution lists for unsubscribes and bounce backs. You can also get statistics about the number of recipients who’s viewed the emails.
You do have to pay however. You can set up an account for free but you have to pay for mailings sent to more than 5 recipients. A mailing to 1000 subscribers will cost $14 (the service is run from the US) but this is a small price to pay to make your email marketing campaigns and newsletters look professional.