Companies have plenty of platforms at their disposal to get their messages to the masses, but email marketing is still one of the most crucial. Emails are a reliable, affordable and efficient way to reach prospects of all types, regardless of their position in the customer journey. To be effective, electronic communications must be deliberate, thought-provoking, and relevant without being overly intrusive or spammy.
Email blasts are a commonly used type of content marketing and can be extremely engaging (or irritating, if executed poorly). When planned carefully, these campaigns can provide great ROI (return on investment) without alienating your audience. If you want to learn how to send a compelling email blast to your subscriber base, this guide will set you up for success.
What is an email blast?
An email blast is a stand-alone email message that you send to your entire contact list, or at least several segments. The goal is to reach as wide of an audience as possible with minimal investment on the front end. Also known as broadcast emails, bulk emails, or mass emails, email blasts are usually independent of targeted campaigns and more urgent in nature.
The message within an email blast is usually promotional, such as enticing news about a sale or special. Email newsletters typically fall into the e-blast category as well. Email blasts may also include important news or unexpected updates that you need to communicate quickly. While seemingly innocuous, e-blasts get a bad reputation when executed poorly, so it is important to use them properly.
Editor's note: Looking for the right email marketing service for your business? Fill out the below questionnaire to have our vendor partners contact you about your needs.
Pros and cons of email blasts
There are several reasons why a business may want to deploy an email blast. The main advantage of email blasts is the ability to target a large number of people in a quick and simple way. E-blasts can provide almost instant engagement boosts depending on the content, especially when they contain action-oriented language with a sense of urgency (think "act now").
The main downside of email blasts is the lack of personalization, which can lead some recipients to feel spammed. E-blasts are unsegmented and untargeted, meaning they may be irrelevant to certain subscribers. They might feel as if they've been sent at random, and the unexpected timing could confuse or even annoy your valuable contacts. If too many folks on your list send your email to the spam folder, it could have a negative effect on your future email deliverability rates.
With so many risks at play, you may wonder if it's worth sending a single email as a blast at all. Fortunately, there are several strategies you can use to get the best results possible.
How to send an effective email blast
Let's first explore the steps in preparing the perfect email blast. Later, we will cover some best practices for success.
1. Pick a good email marketing service.
A powerful, intuitive service to help deliver your e-blasts is essential to success. Email marketing software will allow you to create a contact list, segment that list, design emails, build campaigns, and schedule delivery. Some of the most popular are Constant Contact, Mailchimp, Sendinblue, GetResponse and Drip. Marketing automation is one of the key functions of these services, making them beneficial for more than just e-blasts.
2. Build your email list.
An email list is one of the most powerful tools in your marketing arsenal, as it's a direct line to potential and returning customers. Simply put, an email list is a collection of email addresses from people who have consented to receive communications from your company. There are several ways to grow your email list, but you should never add contacts without their permission, as it violates federal regulations on email marketing.
3. Segment your email list.
While most e-blasts are not segmented, it's still a good idea to curate your contact list into groups. This will help you understand your audience while helping you increase engagement by personalizing your emails. Email list segmentation is the process of dividing your contacts into smaller groups (segments) based on related characteristics. This may include demographics such as age, location, and gender and/or metrics such as previous purchasing behavior or stage in the customer journey.
4. Select your targets.
As we previously mentioned, emails blasts are usually sent to the majority of your contacts without much differentiation. However, depending on the size of your list, it may be worth targeting your e-blasts when possible. For example, it might be a good idea to tweak the messaging and delivery time slightly to fit the different regions where your subscribers reside.
5. Develop a campaign.
Now that you've created a contact list and segmented it according to useful criteria for your company's marketing efforts, it's time to actually produce an email blast. The way you complete the email design will depend on the marketing service you use. Email templates may be available, but the messaging is what counts.
Use a compelling subject line that clearly communicates your value and invites immediate action. Keep the body copy simple and punchy, using bold text or bullet points to stand out to those just skimming your message. Impactful calls to action at the bottom should tell the reader what you want them to do (e.g., "shop now" or "sign up today") and provide a link for easy conversion. After proofreading, you can schedule the blast for delivery.
6. Analyze the email's performance.
Sending your email blast and noting the number of conversions is not the end of your mission. It's also important to examine how recipients interacted with the email's content and links to better understand the results of your team's efforts. Email analytics such as your open rate, click-through rate, and deliverability indicate levels of success as well as areas that need improvement. It is crucial to continually review this data to help refine your efforts and boost the results of your future email marketing campaigns.
Email blast best practices
When you're crafting an email blast, these practices could be the difference between conversion and spam designation:
- Be thoughtful with your messaging. While an email blast might be just a simple message, it should still resonate with your subscribers. Every email is an opportunity to speak directly to your customers and appeal to their perspectives. Craft copy that approaches your audience on their level – for example, an email to those in Generation X will likely be a little different from one you send to your Gen Z customers.
- Avoid sounding like a spammer. Email blasts get a bad rap due to their tendency to feel like junk mail, so you want to put in the effort to sound polished and professional. For example, lots of dollar signs or the word "free" may set off spam filters, decreasing your delivery rates and putting you at risk of a low sender score.
- Lead with your value-add. Remember that most people will glance at your subject line and decide quickly whether to open your email blast or trash it. Let people know what you have to offer and increase the sense of urgency to compel them to read more. Keep character counts short, and consider adding the recipient's first name to the beginning to make the message feel more personal.
- Stick to one CTA. Email blasts should be clear, concise and on-point with their calls to action. Don't convolute the copy with mixed messages or multiple requests of your audience – focus on the "why" and point the recipient exactly where you want them to be.
- Consider accepting replies. This may sound potentially overwhelming, but inviting two-way communication with your subscribers may work well over time. While it can be a lot of work to sift through replies, many of which may not be relevant, it could provide additional insights that you won't get through other marketing avenues.
- Don't overdo it. Too many e-blasts will almost certainly lead to higher unsubscribe rates and more spam designations. Be discerning about the frequency and timing of your marketing emails to maximize results and keep subscribers engaged.
How often should you send out email blasts?
Email marketing requires a delicate balance. Too many messages can frustrate recipients, while too few can send your business into obscurity. The sweet spot for your business will depend on your type of operation and the needs of your contacts.
Most companies should send an email blast at least once per month, but no more than once a week. This will ensure you remain relevant to your audience without being invasive. Consider testing different frequencies and comparing your historical email data to see how often your contact list wants to hear from you.
Statistically, the best days of the month to send marketing emails are the fifth, seventh and 12th days, especially if they land on a Tuesday or Thursday. As for the time within the workday, the hour of 8 a.m. tends to get the best results.
Email blast examples
An e-blast is best for when you want to communicate important information across segments. Therefore, they tend to perform best when used for a specific purpose, not as a general marketing tool. Being deliberate and strategic in your blast will all but ensure good results. Here are some examples of the perfect e-blast occasions:
A message letting your entire contact list know about a limited-time offer or flash sale is one of the best uses of the e-blast technique. Relying more on imagery in the body of the email to encourage clicks may pay off as well.
Here are a couple of sample subject lines perfect for a bulk email push advertising a flash sale:
- Final day – 50-75% off ends tonight!
- (First name), it's your last chance to save …
- Flash sale! Coats 50-75% off
New products or services
Announcing a new addition to your product line or adding a new service to your agency is another great use for an email blast. In this case, consider segmenting between prospective customers and existing ones to maximize effectiveness.
Try one of these sample subject lines for your next launch:
- Introducing your new favorite (insert product type)
- You won't believe what we have for you …
- (First name), are you ready for (company name)'s next big thing?
Events or webinars
If your company offers online training or in-person events, an e-blast could be the perfect way to encourage people to save the date or register. A subsequent reminder email blast could include ways the recipient can share their attendance, potentially boosting conversion.
Consider these sample subject lines when crafting an e-blast for your next webinar or event:
- Don't miss out! (Insert event name) is (insert date)
- (First name), won't you join us for (event name)?
- Last chance! Register now for (event name)
Marketing newsletters are somewhat in a league of their own, in that they tend to be more structured and in line with longer-term campaigns. However, they are still generally considered email blasts because they are usually sent to most contacts on the sender's list. They typically contain company updates, blog snippets, promotional information, or fun content such as quizzes.
Subject lines for newsletters should reflect the copy within, but inviting subscribers to engage by asking a question or offering a unique value-add tends to increase open rates.