Julian Canlas

Julian Canlas

UK Marketing Assistant

Email blast is bad. There, we said it. Email campaigns should never be unsolicited, but helpful and responsive. They should be careful and resourceful – not lazy and unfocused. Emailing, in general, should never seem aggressive.

Unsolicited B2C cold emailing campaigns are now illegal in Europe (thanks GDPR). And should you even try them, notice your sending reputation drop faster than your eye can blink.

Today, the average customer is sophisticated, and doesn’t only want a personalized experience (although this is still important); they love emails that help them realize their wants and needs.

To help you achieve company objectives, here are some slick up-to-date tips on creating more sophisticated email marketing campaigns that customers want to read and click.

A visual representation of multiple email blasts in Harry Potter
A visual representation of multiple email blasts in Harry Potter

 

Let’s face it. You’re probably older than 13, not a wizard/witch/made of magic and can relate more to the Dursley’s terror of getting unsolicited (e)mails than Harry’s delight. Evanesco, email blast.

Author’s Note: 

So let me clarify some things up:

Mass email campaigns ≠ Email blast

There is an important distinction to be made. From product announcements to press release emails, mass email campaigns are still important in any well-functioning marketing strategy. There is no denying this.

Most importantly, I don’t consider them as email blasts, specifically because they are not grounded in dodgy sending practices. Mass email campaigns, done well, relies on lists with good hygiene, on good sending practices, on good content and design, etc. Mass email campaigns will always be segmented, even when they’re sent to everyone because this “everyone” excludes opt-outs, inactive emails, and any other person out there that might not be relevant to campaign targets.

The term email blast is getting more associated with irresponsible sending practices, purchased lists that contain dud contacts, and content that triggers spam filters to hell and back. These still happen in places with less robust policies on compliance and email sending. This is the version of the term that email marketers want to distance themselves from, worldwide. And legitimately so.

 

1. What is an email blast

Email Blast
A Halloween pumpkin rotting at the sight of an email blast

 

An email blast is one email sent to a lot of people. This email would not target particularly anyone, let alone a segment of people.

This email would be devoid of personality – a flavorless thing. If this email was a type of food, it’d be chicken breast, without the protein. If this was a drink, it’d be water that dehydrates. If this was waste, it’d be plastic trash… you get the picture.

Nowadays, no one likes being the victim of an email blast. So while this is a great piece of email history – and a great trivia to spurt out in email geek parties – email blast is an ancient practice that no efficient email marketer does anymore, because it doesn’t work.

2. Why should you stop sending email blast marketing campaigns

Today, when there are email apps that allow emails to be more personalized and data-driven, sending out an email blast is lazy and outdated, and could indicate that you’re not taking your email marketing seriously.

The ROI on email marketing may be high, but you might lose money if you use an email tactic that lowers your email subscription and deliverability. Your sending reputation is your digital credit. If your IP has bad sending reputation, all your digital actions might be labeled as untrustworthy and spammy. Not good for marketing.

Lisa Simpson talks about email blasts
Lisa Simpson talks about email blasts

3. 4 tips on how to send better and cleaner email campaigns

3.1 Grow your email lists organically

There are many ways to organically grow your email lists. You could use social media, include subscription widgets and pop-ups on your website, include a newsletter opt-in in your emails, create multichannel campaigns that encourage subscription… if you just flex your creativity, the sky’s the limit (unless you hire a skywriting service).

3.2 Segment your email lists

Segmentation divides your contact list into smaller groups based on a set of traits. This can be a great personalization technique to deliver relevant emails that subscribers want to see based on their interests.

At Mailjet, we have advanced segmentation features for data-tracking. These allow you to track the effects of segmenting your contact lists in real-time. To really jumpstart your segmentation, we also have an API integration with Segment so that you can see the effects of creating subgroups that are relevant (or not).

It’s no secret that segmenting your lists can increase email click and open rates. But segmentation needs to be correct in order to work well. Whether this is on gender, age, location, industry, or email behavior, you need to be data-driven but person-led in your segmentation tactics. It pays to know how to segment your lists but you already need to be sending the right emails, with the right content, at the right time(s) in order to be effective. Done well, segmentation can increase not only open rates but actual revenue.

3.3 Send personalized email campaigns

Sending out personalized email campaigns is the bread and butter of modern email marketing. You want to take advantage of the plethora of services that both automate and personalize your email campaigns. Personalized email campaigns perform better in open and click rates than their bland counterparts. And who wouldn’t want to see that you’ve done that extra mile in including their name in your emails?

For example, at Mailjet, we have personalization features that allow you to fill in various types of property information. You can also use our API integration with Zeta to segment your contact lists into relevant subgroups that get the right content on the right time. As we have already covered on our article on great newsletter examples, Really Good Emails simply but elegantly does name personalization quite well.

3.4 Follow email marketing best practices

Adapt a customer-centric email design that highlights your products
While it is always best to design marketing campaigns that customers would love to read and scroll through, they also love to discover. Holistic Marketing has written a great article on the importance of creating emails that are helpful and customer-facing, with great examples.

Add an unsubscribe link
Including an unsubscription button or link to your emails is mandatory in Europe, but it’s also best to do it elsewhere, too. This is because people who don’t want to get your emails anymore will tend to avoid reading your future emails, or, worse, flag you as spam.

Ratio text/images
Sending out well-optimized emails for as many email clients as you can will, well, ensure that everyone receives your emails in the same format. Our friends at Litmus created an excellent guide on optimizing background images. At Mailjet, we agree and like to keep our design responsive.

Create emails that render well across multiple email clients
Arguably, the most important thing in email marketing is ensuring that your emails are sent in the way you intended them to be. Unfortunately, as there are 50+ email clients out there, rendering for each can be a daunting, complicated task. Our MJML templating language simplifies this task by (1) simplifying HTML allowing you to code much more efficiently and (2) getting regular updates that ensure your design and coding remain responsive.

4. Get creative

Of course, there are also tons of other stuff you should be following in order to really improve your email campaigns. You could add inspired .gifs on your emails. You could also add rich media if you know how to code for emails – always a banger. You can also improve your subject lines by adding emojis.

This list is endless.

Tweet us @mailjet if have ideas on doing things other than an email blast.