The dangers of using Outlook to send e-mail newsletters

Using Outlook for mass e-mailing can result in disaster.Why can't I use my normal e-mail program to send out my newsletter?

Normal e-mail programs (Outlook or Outlook Express - indeed, most desktop e-mail programs) can cause problems if you send an e-mail to more than 15 to 20 people at the same time.

What happens is that the e-mails all go out together and it can cause your Internet Service Provider (ISP) or other server hosting and sending your e-mail to think you're spamming. This can very negatively influence the way your mail is delivered.

Your ISP or hosting provider can block your entire e-mail address as that of a spammer and worse, can list you as a spammer. This will result in none of your mail getting delivered. You won't know, they won't inform you and you can't do much about it.

The IP address of the domain the e-mail is linked to may also be blocked. This may also negatively affect your website and you may have trouble with any subscriptions for auto responders or other lists you may be offering on your website. All in all, not a situation to get into.

If e-mail marketing is part of your internet marketing plan (and it should be!), use a dedicated e-mail newsletter and auto responder system, like the AutoMagic Mailer,  to make sure your e-mails don't get you into the spam bin. Using a system like this, you can send out smart looking e-mails safely.

Beware of sending e-mail to everyone in your address book

Another issue that can land you in hot water when using your desktop e-mail client for mass mailing is when you forward an e-mail to everyone in your address book.

Very often e-mails sent like this are sent with the best of intentions – you get an e-mail telling you to forward it and money will then be donated to a starving child, for example – but the implications can be dire.

(Side note: many of these tragic sounding e-mails – or the ones offering you a free cell phone for every 10 mails you send -  are actually hoaxes. You can check for any e-mail that you suspect may be a hoax of some sort - they keep track of the latest.)

Besides the spamming implications mentioned above, many of these e-mails are simply CC'd (Carbon Copied) to the whole address book. People can get extremely annoyed when they see the privacy of their e-mail address has not been kept and that it's been sent to numerous other people.

This may lead them to request removal from your list (and impact your business dealings with them) or they may simply list you as a spammer, with all the negative results mentioned above.

If you absolutely have to contact a few people with the same message, limit the number of e-mails you send at one time to less than 10. Also, BCC (Blind Carbon Copy) all the addresses except one (make it your own) so that the mail goes to everyone but no-one can see anyone else's address. :-)

A dedicated newsletter / mass mailing program avoids all these problems by sending each e-mail individually (very very fast) so you can send your e-mail out to literally thousands of people. It can also personalise each e-mail. (E.g Hi Thabo instead of Hi all or Dear Friend.)

So, while you may want to wish everyone Happy Holidays, make sure your message gets to them by using the right program.

If you'd like to use the power of e-mail in your internet marketing plan, take a look at Newsletters vs auto responders: what's the difference for some ideas.