There are two ways to send email newsletters out. One is to use your own mail program (e.g. Outlook). This method usually involves emailing yourself and BCC’ing everyone on your list in. The alternative way is to use email marketing software. You probably know about the first method and have used it yourself. How does email marketing software work though?
It’s an online service where you upload your newsletters and then they send them out on your behalf. You’ll have to pay for the privilege though. So, why would you want to use a paid service when you can do it for free from your own computer?
Email marketing software is much, much better—and here are five reasons why:
You can personalise emails through proper software. So rather than a generic ‘Dear Sir/Madam’ or ‘Hello’ you can use their name and say ‘Hi Tim’ instead. This might seem like a trivial point but it has been proven time and time again that people are more likely to respond to your email if it’s got their name on it. It doesn’t stop with names either—you can include other personal data in the email if it is part of your list. You can also target certain ‘segments’ of your list (e.g. only send the email to people in a certain part of the country).
Email marketing software companies go to great lengths to prove to the outside world that they don’t send out spam. If you try sending out bulk emails from your computer your domain could get blacklisted as spam. Thankfully, most hosting companies put a limit on the amount of emails you can send per hour and per day to prevent this happening. So if you wanted to send a few thousand emails out from your own computer you’d have to stagger them; with email marketing software you can do it all in one go.
With proper software your list management is taken care of. By law you have to give your readers the right to unsubscribe. If someone unsubscribes the aforementioned company will unsubscribe them on your behalf and prevent you ever emailing them again. If you manage the list manually and end up emailing someone who has unsubscribed they could, in theory, sue you.
Unlike sending them out using Outlook, proper email software generates statistics. You can see who opened the email—and when—as well as what links they clicked on (if any). This helps you to improve future emailers via a bit of trial–and–error.
In the grand scheme of things email marketing is peanuts. You pay according to the size of your list so the more emails you send the more you pay. That’s fine as the cost goes up proportionally to the amount of people you are contacting. So as long as you sell more than you spend on your emails, the cost is academic.
So, should you send email newsletters out from your own computer? For the reasons above I would say the answer is ‘no’. Unless you’re only sending out ten or twenty emails I would strongly advise against sending out bulk emails from your computer.