Love ‘em or hate ‘em, email blasts are still a thing.
Whether you’re launching a new product, announcing a massive sales campaign, or promoting your new book – you’re most likely going to start with an email blast.
Better yet, you’d start with an email campaign.
Is there a difference? – you may ask. We’ll talk about this in a moment.
You’ll also learn about the best practices you should follow when sending your email blasts and examples for you to get inspired by.
What is an email blast?
When someone says they’re going to send an email blast, they usually mean that they’ll send an email message to a large number of recipients, all at the same time.
Many marketers (myself included), upon hearing the term email blast, still imagine something similar to the following message:
Side note: This is my reaction to these kinds of emails:
That’s because, at least in the past, email blasts:
- Were sent to as many people as possible, no matter if the sender had the right permissions for these types of campaigns,
- Were mostly used on an ad hoc basis. They were not part of a larger strategy aimed to build a long-term relationship with the audience,
- And it didn’t matter who was on the receiving end, what mattered was the number of clicks the campaign would generate.
Email blasts were very much like spam.
But as language evolves, so has the understanding of the term email blast. These days, many marketers use it interchangeably with the term email campaign.
I, however, still see them as two slightly different things.
And since Google tends to show different results in SERPs for both of these terms, in this post we’re going to treat them as two separate things.
Key differences: email blasts vs email campaigns
So what is the difference between an email blast and an email campaign?
Naturally, as an email service provider, we’re going to be referring only to the situation where the sender has the right to communicate with their recipients (permission-based marketing).
In theory, email blasts are:
- Sent to the entire email list,
- Not targeted or personalized,
- Sent at the same time, no matter where the subscribers are located.
Now, again, in theory, email campaigns may be:
- Sent to a single or multiple segments,
- Personalized to reflect the recipients’ preferences or needs,
- Sent according to the recipients’ time zone or in response to their past behavior.
This is, however, only in theory.
As a matter of fact, our recent studies still suggest that 53% of email marketers send the same message to all their recipients.
In other words, most email marketers still send out email blasts.
So is there any better way to run your email communication?
There certainly is.
Below, we’re going to provide you with several tips on how you can do this.
For more email blast best practices, consider reading our email marketing best practices article.
1. How to send an email blast
First off – how do you send an email blast so that it generates high engagement and a positive ROI?
The three key elements to this include choosing the right audience, the right set of tools, and keeping the goal in mind.
Here’s what we mean:
Choosing the right audience
Rather than buying an email list (or even renting it), you should build one instead.
Organically built email lists have many advantages over databases that you can scrape or buy online. They generate higher returns, help you maintain strong deliverability, and, well, are legal
You can learn more about this from one of our previous articles, where we compare purchased email lists to the organic ones.
Now, how do you build an email list?
The answer comes down to having three things in place:
- Driving traffic onto the page where the form’s presented
- Something to offer in exchange for the email address
- Testing different list building methods
Since these are all rather broad topics, it’s best that you check out these three posts that focus on them individually.
In addition, you may want to read this post where we explain the process of how you can build an email list using lead funnels, from start to finish.
But, building an email list isn’t all there is to making your email blasts effective. You also need to make sure to keep your database clean and your contacts engaged. Otherwise, your messages won’t generate the results you’re hoping for, or even worse – they may be landing in the spam folder.
Let’s consider what it takes to keep your communication engaging.
Based on the data from the Email Marketing Benchmarks report, we can see that emails that beat the average results in terms of open and click-through rates tend to have one of the following characteristics:
- They’re personalized, i.e., the content is tailored to meet their recipients’ needs.
- They contain visual or engaging content, e.g., videos.
- They’re often automated, which means they reach the email recipients at the optimal time.
While employing these tactics doesn’t guarantee instant success, it can definitely help you increase your email campaign engagement rates – and put you ahead of your competitors, too.
One example of a company that maintains high subscriber engagement by running A/B tests and personalizing their email campaigns is a lead generation agency called Submission Technology.
To learn more, read the full case study where they share the tips and tactics they use to achieve click-through rates that are 121-149% higher than the average results in their industry.
These results aren’t something outside of a typical marketer’s reach.
Let’s take personalization, for instance.
In the example of Submission Technology, they’re segmenting their audience and delivering personalized email campaigns based on their users’ gender.
For an ecommerce brand, this should be a relatively easy tactic to apply.
Similarly, you could segment your audience based on their purchase history or engagement level.
You can actually achieve this pretty easily using the engagement score feature in GetResponse.
The system automatically identifies and scores your contacts’ activity based on their interactions with your emails. The score is represented by the number of bars, 1-5 shown under the contact’s name in the Search Contacts section of your account.
This is what it looks like when you’re looking at one of your contacts lists:
To create a segment using the engagement score, all you have to do is select the right set of conditions, e.g., contact details > engagement score > is equal to > highly engaged.
Once you’ve created your segment, you can present them a more personalized offer or use them to create a Lookalike Audience when creating your Facebook ads.
To learn more about this feature, check out our FAQ page.
And this is only one example of how you can divide your audience into separate groups. Here are more ideas on how you can segment your contacts, based on the type of business you’re in.
Circling back to what I’ve mentioned before about making sure your content’s engaging, here’s an email blast example that follows this practice rather well.
You’ll find more inspiring examples in our roundup post on the best email marketing campaigns.
Choosing the right set of tools
Whether you’ve already built an email list or are about to start one, you’ll need a technological partner to back you up.
Your email blast service or email service provider (ESP) plays an important role when it comes to building and maintaining strong deliverability.
The ESP usually takes care of various processes like bounce and complaint handling, managing the unsubscribe requests, delivering your messages, contacting the ISPs, authenticating your communication, and providing you with analytical reports.
If you aren’t currently using any providers or you’re considering switching, GetResponse can help you run your email campaigns effectively.
Keeping the end goal in mind
In email marketing, as is the case with other marketing channels, it pays off to keep your end goal in mind.
What is that you want your email blast or campaign to achieve?
Click-throughs to your site? Resource downloads? Product orders?
The answer to this question should guide you when designing your messages.
It should dictate what you’re going to include in your subject line, the preheader, the copy, and most importantly – in the call to action.
All of the components of your message should point your audience towards the action you want them to perform.
Ideally, you’ll have one primary call to action. This way, it won’t compete for attention with other buttons or text links.
If this isn’t realistic in your case, make sure to keep it the most prominent one.
You’ll want to test this approach, but usually, it’s best to limit the number of options you present to your audience. By offering too many options, you may be thinking you’re providing them value, but in reality, you’re pushing them into the paralysis by analysis state.
Here’s an example of an email message that offers just one primary call to action button.
2. What is the best time to send an email blast?
This is one of the most frequently asked questions when it comes to running email marketing campaigns.
In my opinion, generalizing that your entire audience will open your email blast at a certain time or day of the week is not the right approach.
Consumers are all different, and they change their behavioral habits depending on the situation they’re in.
So here are the steps I propose, in this specific order:
- Rather than picking the ideal time for everyone, use an algorithm that’s going to adjust the email sending time for each of your contacts individually. In GetResponse, this feature is called Perfect Timing.
- If you’d rather choose that your email blast reaches your audience at a specific time, go ahead and analyze this report to pick the most optimal hour.
Once you’ve selected the appropriate time slot (10 AM and 2 PM seem to be the most promising), send your email blast using the Time Travel feature.
Similarly to Perfect Timing, it’ll adjust the time of the sendout for you, but this time only to make sure that the message reaches your audience at a specific hour according to their time zone.
Email blasts, broadcasts, campaigns – it doesn’t matter
As long as your campaigns are purely permission-based and you’re following the email marketing best practices the naming is a secondary thing.
So, go ahead and start preparing your next email campaign.
And if you need help with that, just check out the guide we’ve prepared below.