We all hate spam, but sending e-mail blasts is often a smart business practice. The key is not to be a spammer, but to send relevant messages to people who recognize your name as the sender. Messages like this aren’t spam at all, and learning how to send e-mail blasts that get results will be time well spent.
There are a lot of issues involved in this topic, and I’ll try to cover them all in series of posts. Here’s a list of the topics I’m planning:
- BCC mail vs. personalized messages
- Software tools for sending personalized messages
- Using Outlook’s signature function to create easy-to-use standard messages
Today’s post focuses on BCC (Blind Carbon Copy) messages vs. messages that contain the recipient’s name in the body copy of the message.
When using the BCC format, the “To” line that appears in the recipient’s inbox says “Undisclosed Recipients.”
On the face of it, “undisclosed recipients” sounds secretive and slightly ominous, but in reality, we see this all the time, and my guess is that this phrase is barely noticed by the person receiving the message. If the subject line is relevant, and especially if the person receiving the message recognizes your name as the sender (in the From column), the BCC format is a fast and effective way to get your message in front of a large number of people.
In fact, let’s slow this down for a minute, and look at these two items: (1) a relevant subject line, and (2) recognition of your name as the sender.
People who claim to be experts on these issues say that a relevant subject line is the most powerful tool you have to get your message opened. A close second will be whether or not the person receiving the message recognizes you as a relevant business associate. If the recipient doesn’t know who you are, the subject line has to carry the whole burden of getting the message opened.
I send a lot of e-mail blasts, and from experience, I know that subject lines make a huge difference. The problem is that I write subject lines for sales messages about database software for recruiters, not subject lines that a recruiter would use to get a message opened by a candidate or hiring manager.
Nevertheless, here are some suggestions, based on my experience. The key concept is relevance. This means nothing flowery, vague, or “clever.” Find a way to get to the heart of the matter, using just enough words so that most or all of the subject line will be seen, even if the recipient does not have a lot of screen space allocated to the Inbox. As a rule of thumb, try to limit the subject line to a half dozen or so words. You can always test it in your own inbox to see how it looks.
Here’s an example: If you’ve done a search in RESUMate to find potential candidates for a specific job and want to send an e-mail blast for the purpose of getting an e-mail reply or a phone call, write a subject line like this:
QA Director Needed: Southern California
If the recipient of this message has any interest in this job title in this location, there’s a good chance you’ll get the message opened. If the person recognizes you as the sender, the odds go up.
In this example, I would include a bulleted job description in the body copy, or at least a very brief summary of why this job is exceptional, why it will likely be filled quickly, and why this company is a great place to work. You’ll also want a simple call to action, such as asking for an e-mail or a phone reply today.
I personally send a lot of BCC messages, and think that for most purely functional messages, this is a good format choice that can certainly give you the results you’re looking for. Certainly in terms of speed and ease starting from a RESUMate search result, this is a great choice. With the search result on your screen, this BCC format mail can be “out the door” in just a few seconds (assuming of course you’ve already created the subject line and message). For detailed instructions on sending BCC messages from RESUMate, see Topic 5 on the Training and Documentation page at our website.
There are times, however, (such as using an e-mail blast for new business development purposes), when the personalized format may be the more appropriate choice. Personalized mail takes a bit longer to set up, but it’s really not at all difficult.
You can use a combination of Microsoft Word and Excel to send the message, or one of many low cost software programs (starting around $100) that are designed to do exactly this function. Then there are web-based services, such as Constant Contact, that also do this job for a very inexpensive monthly fee. I’ll review these choices in the next post.