What is an Email Blast? Why it’s the Right time to Move on from Email Blast!
Written by
Tejas Pitkar
Tejas Pitkar

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What is an Email Blast? Why it’s the Right time to Move on from Email Blast!

Published : May 4, 2020

Email Blast campaigns do more harm than good to your Email Marketing efforts. They also make a Marketer lose out on potential revenue which you could have got from the same subscribers if they were targeted smartly.

Yes..you heard that right!

We need to explore this concept of Email Blast to understand why they have no place in your Brand’s Email activity in 2020.

During the nascent stage of Email Marketing, when the dot com bubble was in its infancy, Email Blast may have been the primary strategy for Marketers. It may have been working back then as Email was a relatively new channel for marketing.

But now we have stepped into 2020 , where Email Blast is a bad practice for any Email Marketer to follow if they wish for more brand awareness and revenue from customers. It’s time to correct ourselves on Email Blasts.

Email Blast should now be replaced by ‘segmented targeting’ by  Marketers.

In this post we will be covering the following Email Blast topics:

  • What constitutes an Email Blast?
  • How to replace the Email Blast with a segmented campaign?
  • How does Email Blast affect your Email Deliverability?
  • What are the good practices for sending your Email Campaigns in 2020?

The following topics will cover why Email Blast should remain in the past.

What is an Email Blast?

“Email Blast” is an Email Marketing term for a high volume Email campaign that is sent to a major chunk or entire mailing list regardless of the audience’s interests in content or engagement with the brand. It is called a blast as the mailer is not targeted to any specific audience but to a massy audience.

This type of campaign targets a large audience with a single mailer. These sorts of campaigns are considered bad practice as they could result in spam Emails for a majority of the users.

This is all the more relevant now since Gmail and other ISPs have made changes in their spam filters. 

How Segmented Targeting is different than Email Blast?

It involves slicing your audience into different subsets based on their attributes which are being collected in your CRM.

Eg: A mailing list can be segmented based on:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Location
  • Behavior
  • Last ordered a product
  • Product category etc.

Then a relevant content is decided upon to target these users based on their interests and preferences.

This results in a personalized Email Campaign sent to specific users who are engaged with the Brand and have transacted for similar products in the recent past.

This results in a higher level of engagement and conversion for the Brand and helps in your Email Deliverability as well.

So a segmented campaign has the strategy of targeting a specific audience who is more likely to opt-in for your promotional offer or respond positively to your informative update.

Au contraire, an Email Blast will be targeting a mass audience who may or may not be engaged with the content being offered and hence will provide little positive engagement.

How does Email Blast affect your  Deliverability?

Negative Engagement metrics

An Email Blast campaign will be targeted to a major chunk of your mailing list. Out of these users say 25% of the users are dormant and have not engaged with your brand for the last 90 days. If you send them a generic offer campaign, firstly due to the changes in ISP filters recently, there is a possibility of the emails landing in spam automatically.

Furthermore, these users will not respond to the mailer, leading to a lower rate of opens and clicks. Major ISPs are now looking at the percentage of users actually engaging with your brand. If the number is lower than their desired threshold, they downgrade your reputation for your sending domain as well as the IP address used.

This can contribute to your subsequent Emails also landing in spam, leading to longer-term problems for your Deliverability.

An effective Sunset Policy is the need of the hour for correcting the course of your Email Program.

Random spikes in Email Volumes

Consider the scenario where your sending domain is mailing to say a 50k user monthly volume. Now all of a sudden, you are blasting an Email campaign to 500k users on a single day.

How do you think that will go down with major ISPs monitoring your delivery?

Not good…

Such high spikes in Email Volumes lead to major ISPs classifying your domain as a spammer domain. This affects your Deliverability in a bad way. The ISPs could start filtering your Emails into spam even for your active users due to the mistrust created by your sudden spikes of large volumes.

More spam = more deliverability issues.

You can check if emails from your domain are landing in Spam – Email Blacklist Tool

An onslaught of user spam complaints and unsubscribes

When you send out an Email Blast, you are essentially targeting your entire audience without caring about whether the content is relevant to them or not. Neither do they care if the audience is essentially engaged with your brand for responding to your promotional offer.

If a major chunk of your audience is not interested in your generic offer then prepare for a backlash!

The Email users of 2020 have more features to show negative engagement to ISP if they are dissatisfied with your mailers.

This leads to a high number of unsubscribes on the campaign along with a higher rate of users reporting your emails as spam.

This makes a massive dent on your Email Deliverability.

Time to return back to Inbox Land

After a heavy volume Email Blast campaign, due to the above factors, there is a high probability that your Email Deliverability might have got affected.

If your subsequent Emailers are going spam and not providing adequate open rates then it might be because ISPs may have downgraded your domain reputation. The domain and IP reputation are just an indication of how well are your emailers doing based on their deliverability and engagement.

In such cases, it takes a long time to fix these issues and get back in the good books of the mailbox providers.

The time taken to return to Inbox land could vary anywhere between 1 week to 1 month depending on the impact!

This could seriously derail your Email Program.

How to redesign your Email Program to start getting results?

#1: List segmentation to target User Preferences

Before you even start with segmentation, you need to have factual data on how your users respond to your mailers. Without this data, you will not be able to ascertain their likes and dislikes.

Once you know what part of your audience is engaged with content you wish to send, you can segment your mailing list accordingly. It is vital to collect attributes as stated earlier which could help you to slice through those users you wish to include for the campaign like:

  • Users who opened your mails till a certain date
  • Users who have added the product to cart recently
  • Users who belong to the specific location

A segmented campaign will pay rich dividends as you will be targeting a specific part of your audience who have a high probability of being interested in your product offer or belong to a certain mould of users who are the most engaged with your brand overall. This results in a high amount of opens and clicks and builds a relationship with your customers in terms of what they can expect from your brand going forward.

This benefits the Marketer in terms of good conversions and a brand indoctrination that you can build with your subscribers who can be targeted further with precision based on their predilection and other attributes that you can collect.

The more you know about your audience, the better to plan your Email campaigns. This is where your attributes will come handy for making those analytical decisions.

It would be excellent if you can collect your user preferences right at the start of your Email journey to gauge their interests and what kind of topics or products they could be interested to receive their newsletters on.

Why not Email Blast?

On the other hand, an Email Blast campaign will be delivered to the entire mailing list, whether they are interested in receiving any emails from you or not. As a result, you are essentially communicating to your audience that despite their varied interests, they will be provided with same content. This could agitate many of your users to unsubscribe or report your mailers to the spam folder.

#2: Plan the campaign calendar for your audience

Before sending mailers to your targeted audience, you need to plan and strategize on your campaign calendar for the month.

Some questions to bear in mind before you launch your Email Program:

  • What are the offers that I can target the segmented users with?
  • What are the weekly newsletters planned for this month?
  • What are the special sale offers that can be integrated into the program for the month?
  • Any brand indoctrination campaign we can run for our ‘unengaged’ base?

Once these questions are answered, you will have a good idea on the campaigns to be planned for the month. Then, you can deep dive into the kind of Email design layouts you wish to experiment for the month. It is time  to level up on your Email Design game.

Email technologies like AMP in Email and BIMI are getting introduced hence it is time to leave the static image layout of your campaigns behind and innovate on your HTML with your in-house designer. These will pay heavy returns on the interaction and engagement shown by your users.

If the campaigns are planned meticulously for your segmented audience, you will start seeing a steady rise in your website sessions as well as product conversions and ROI.

That’s every Marketer doing an Email blast…Don’t be this person.

Where Email Blast go Wrong

Email Blast campaigns are not specifically planned for any type of audience, hence they generate low interest from the subscribers. Email Blast will never be able to build or indoctrinate your brand with your customers. The campaigns are not planned and are blasted to the entire list on the spur of the moment. This greatly reduces the faith you might have built before with your previous campaigns.

Since the users targeted will also include dormant or inactive users on mail, hence the campaigns generate a low amount of buzz and are never able to rake in the numbers with transactions or website sessions.

#3: Have a strategy to maintain list hygiene

Maintaining your mailing list hygiene goes a long way in making your Email Program a success. If you have a clean mailing list which is engaged with your brand, then you will be able to interact with your audience in a better way.

The list hygiene activity starts from the very beginning of the subscription process. When a user comes to your website and subscribes to your Email Newsletter with an Email id, you should be mailing them a Verification Email to validate the user.

This will provide you with genuine Email ids for your marketing activities.

There should also be a tick box for taking approval of the user before sending them any kind of promotional activity. Social logins like Facebook, Google plus should be part of your sign-up page.

This will ensure a double opt-in process and provide your CRM with authentic subscribers who wish to engage with your brand and build a lasting relationship. Keeping this list engaged will be paramount to your marketing goals.

At the same time, any invalid, bounced email ids should be segregated and not mailed to inorder to avoid any damage to your Email Program. The Sun clearly needs to set on the inactive email ids as well in-order to provide you with supreme Email Deliverability and high engagement metrics for your campaigns.

At the same time new subscribers should be mailed regularly and brand indoctrination campaigns need to be planned for them to achieve their long term trust and customer loyalty.

Why Email Blast is unclean?

Email Blast campaign is done to an entire list of audiences irrespective of whether they are actively engaged with your brand or not. At no point in time, will your entire list respond to your campaign. Hence for the inactive email users who have not opened your emails for some time, it will be annoying to receive any kind of communication from you as they are not engaged.

As the inactive ids are most likely to receive your emails in spam or report your emails to spam, the inboxing for these campaigns dips and creates a risky situation for your Email Program.

If more such campaigns are sent then, it will soon have a detrimental effect on your domain hygiene and reputation. An Email blast campaign targets the reach of your users but suffers on Email Deliverability and engagement in the process.

#4: Send Time Optimization

Sending the right content to the right user at the right time is important to get them to look at your communication and quickly engage with it. Customizing your delivery of emails at the time when a particular user is likely to open their email box is called send-time optimization.

It improves your open and click rates and could result in an increase in your product sales. This is also an optimal way of ensuring that you are not overwhelming the users at odd times with your emails when they do not wish to check their mailbox. This should be a part of your Email strategy to retain customer loyalty and get them coming back to your brand for more.

The unpredictability of Email Blast

On the other hand, batch and blast campaigns are unpredictable and sent to all the users at the same time. It doesn’t consider the time of the day being targeted or whether the users are active on their emails at that time. This results in lower than expected engagement and creates a disconnect with your users who check your email campaign at their own convenient time which might not be fruitful for your time-bound offer.

#5: Simplify your Email Design

Very often in our frame of work, we come across beautiful campaigns that have the right images and proper CTA button positioned to attract their users. The problem is, with the design layout and HTML code.

Using single image mailers could be a deterrent for inboxing. If you want our advice, have a healthy proportion of text and images in your mailer. Major Mailbox providers like Gmail try to reward good Email design with inboxing and punish lazy Email layouts like single images with their spam filters.

Extra CSS styling and using commented code in the HTML are bad practices for creating Email campaigns that will reach your users’ inbox.

You can also use the power of text in the campaign by personalizing your emails by adding the first names of your subscribers to the content. Adding a personal touch to your campaign will delight your customers.

In our rich vein of experience, creating a simple and clean HTML design has proved vital to ensuring, Email Deliverability remains high. Using the power of your creativity and smart design features, you can do a lot more with your Campaigns. So let your imagination run wild!

One design does not suit all

Email Blast campaigns are unclear on what persona of users they are being targeted to. Also, most of the batch and blast campaigns will have a generic template possibly single image with no personalization. There would be no in-house designers who have checked the aesthetics of the mailer and hence will provide poor results. This results in the layout template getting cached by mailbox providers where a lot of users may have received them in spam.

As such, your one mailer cannot mean everything to everyone.

#6: Monitor Engagement Metrics

Engagement metrics like opens and clicks tell a Marketer about how their campaigns are perceived by the audience. The amount of unsubscribes, bounces and abuses will inform the Marketer on changes they have to make on the quality of database being targeted.

High engagement metrics will be a positive sign to mailbox providers that your Brand is engaging with the users who are interested in opening your emails. But if the number of opens and clicks are low then it will be a red flag to their spam filters.

We have tips on how to do Email Deliverability the right way in 2020.

Email Blast lower engagement and reputation

Email Blast campaigns are done to a massy audience, hence the number of users who are actually interested in the campaign will be much lower. Hence the number of unsubscribes and spam complaints could be higher for this type of campaigns. Negative engagement of any kind will send a bad signal to the ISPs and lower your sender reputation.

Final Thoughts:

Email Blast is a thing of the past. Targeted campaigns are here to stay in 2020 and beyond.

If you wish to have success with your Email Program then you should avoid the random batch and blast strategy and apply the above pointers to ace your Email game.

Get in touch with us today for superior Email Deliverability!

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Written By: Tejas Pitkar
Tejas Pitkar
Tejas Pitkar is a Senior Product Evangelist at Netcore Cloud. He likes analyzing data and diving deep to find valuable insights for marketers. He is credited for writing Industry benchmark reports and marketing leaders’ reports. He also likes to give back to the email industry with his volunteer work at the Only Influencers Diversity Committee. An #emailgeek at heart, he likes writing blogs, sharing email knowledge, and making thought-provoking videos on all things email. He enjoys hiking, backpacking, reading books, and drinking his favorite Chai, in his free time.