3 things to do instead of ‘sending to all’

Wanting to send to all is one of the most frequent conversations I have with Dotdigital customers who want to email their entire recipient base about a change – and usually quickly. They reach out because help is wanted to minimize the risk and troubleshoot the damage. I get it, terms have changed, a new privacy policy has been put in place, or something else has happened that you’re being told has to be communicated to everybody. I’ve been there, I understand your pain and I want to shout: there’s a better way! Dealing with the damage retroactively is not the only way to handle this situation.

A word on legalities

Before I get into the whys and hows, please note that this is deliverability advice and is meant to help you get the most from your brands digital messaging. you should always check the legalities with your legal team.

Recognize your email KPI

Before making the decision to send an email to your entire file, take a step back and consider the impact it could have. When building an email program, the goal is to hit the KPI that you are being measured on. Whether that’s revenue, getting attendees to an event, pushing forward a cause, attracting users to your app – there are many intended outcomes from sending an email. Sending to a much larger group than those that will support that KPI puts the program you have dedicated your time to at risk.

The risks of blanket email

Mailbox providers are held to their customers wants and needs – people like you and I who have email addresses, and they need to watch the positive and negative indicators closely to make sure the emails being allowed to reach the inbox are from brands that are sending wanted emails. When you send to your entire file, regardless of the status of that recipient, you run the risk of:

  • more complaints (recipients who mark a message as spam, complain to your ESP or complain to the mailbox provider)
  • high unknown users (email addresses that don’t exist)
  • sending to spam traps (email addresses used to identify senders sending with poor list hygiene or sending to recipients who haven’t given consent)

These negative interactions, which can come from sending to all email addresses in your file, can have a serious knock-on effect. Emails going to the customers that keep you in business are put in jeopardy and are at risk of going in to the spam folder or not making it to the recipient at all.

How can you accomplish your goals without the possibility of causing damage to your email program’s bottom line?

Three steps to help you through this situation:

1. Send an email to active recipients

Those who are actively participating in the email conversation with you will be interacting positively (i.e. opening, clicking) with your emails. Send them an email to explain any changes in a way that they will understand. Give them the ability to take it a step further by drilling down themselves. This shows that you respect them enough to make sure they really understand the changes that are being made.

2. Utilize segmentation

Segment recipients that are not being sent emails regularly into other digital messaging methods. Here, you minimize the risk to your deliverability. One of the benefits of using Dotdigital is that there are other avenues available to you. There are different channels where recipients may be interacting with you and more effectively reached.

3. Respect those that have actively said they don’t want to hear from you

If a recipient has unsubscribed from your messaging – don’t send them any messages. Explore other ways of communicating with those recipients. A couple of examples:

  • If you have an online account available to your recipients, use a popover that communicates to users the changes that have taken place – and requires them to click through.
  • If you have an app, ask the user to agree to the new terms before using the app again.

The bottom line

Approach the communications with your recipients/subscribers/customers as a conversation. It’s a reciprocal, two-way thing, where both parties are conversing. Why risk ending the revenue-generating conversations by sending an email to your entire database when you don’t have to? Instead, save yourself some pain and use the opportunity to communicate with your recipients in the way they want to hear from you. Make this about them.

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