I stumbled across something I hadn’t heard of in quite some time at a content marketing seminar I was running recently.
Over lunch, one of the delegates mentioned she was looking forward to the email marketing session in the afternoon. She told a fellow attendee that she had a small list that she hoped to grow, but wasn’t really sure how she should go about it.
My ears pricked up when I heard the advice she was given, which went something like this:
“If your list is small, I wouldn’t bother with an email marketing tool. Just use Outlook and email all of your clients using the Blind Carbon Copy (BCC) function”
I try not to contradict delegates at my seminars (I believe there is no such thing as a bad idea — although some ideas are better than others) — but on hearing the advice she was given, I had to jump in, shouting across the table, “I’m sorry; you are wrong.”
Outlook is not an email marketing tool, and to use it in such a manner is, quite frankly, dangerous.
Why Outlook Is Not a Suitable Replacement for Email Marketing Software
- No Unsubscribe Link: Bulk commercial email messages MUST include instructions for the subscriber to unsubscribe. Email marketing software includes a simple unsubscribe link and manages any unsubscribe requests automatically. While it is possible to manage unsubscribe requests manually, it is a clunky process and may result in subscribers receiving unwanted emails, which will undoubtedly result in spam complaints
- No Analytics: It’s not just the carbon copy that is blind. Outlook does not allow the sender to see who has opened the email and clicked on specific lists. Analytics let the marketer see how successful (or unsuccessful) his or her email campaigns are and optimize accordingly
- No Professional Design: All email marketing providers allow their senders to create beautiful HTML campaigns with ease, which are rendered perfectly (mostly) regardless of how the subscriber is viewing their email. This is not an option on Outlook.
- Spam Complaints: If your Outlook account sent campaigns that received spam complaints, there is a very real risk that your IP address will be identified as a spammer, and you may have trouble sending any future emails from your address (including every day [non-bulk] work-related emails).
- Time Consuming and Expensive: Using Outlook or Gmail to manage your email marketing campaigns is time-consuming and could potentially damage your reputation (costing you money).
At iContact, we love small lists. And if your business wants to make a bigger splash via email marketing, we’ll help you grow your list professionally, efficiently and cost-effectively.
This abridged post first appeared on the iContact Email Marketing Blog.