What is an email blast?

20 Feb 2024  |  by Joe Meade

8 min read

Email marketing is a fantastic way for your brand to keep in touch with its customers. You can send highly personalised communications based on comprehensive data, which means you can reach the right customers at the right time.

A specific email marketing strategy is the infamous email blast. We use the term infamous because many associate email blasts with negative connotations. Many assume it’s a form of spam, hitting every inbox possible (and more than likely a large percentage of spam folders) in the hope that they’ll be opened by at least a few customers who’ll find it relevant.

However, email blasts can be used as a tool for good, as well as a tool for evil. Believe it or not, despite many seeing email blasts as a lazy strategy, they can still have their place when used in the right context.

But what is an email blast and when’s the right time to send one? Are they really spam and an outdated strategy used by email marketers hoping to strike it lucky? Below, we’re going to explore the complex world of blast emails and answer several key questions to help you decide whether or not it’s the right strategy for your business.

What are email blasts?

Email blasts (also known as bulk emails, e-blasts or mass emails) are a method of sending out an email to a large group of recipients. Because they’re sent to such a wide spectrum of customers, who each have different demographics, interests, goals and browsing/purchase history, it’s more difficult to make them super personalised and relevant. For that reason, many may look at a blast email and see it as spam.

When viewing your email marketing analytics, you may notice a trend. Personalised emails sent to specific customer segments usually have far higher engagement rates than blast emails. But, that’s not to say that blast emails don’t have their place – they can be effective in certain situations.

What are email blasts used for?

While email blasts aren’t the most effective strategy to use every time your brand wants to send an email to your customers, it is useful when applied to certain campaigns. Due to a relative lack of personalisation, they’re useful for sending information that is relevant to a wide variety of customers. This could include:

  • Newsletters
  • Product launches
  • Announcements
  • Customer surveys
  • Holiday greetings
  • Limited time or flash sales

Blast emails may also be used for other types of communication, including internal company updates, fundraising campaign updates or political campaign updates.

Are email blasts outdated?

Depending on who you ask, you might get a variety of answers as to whether or not email blasts are outdated. Some will say no, many will say yes, and everyone else will likely say a variation of yes, but…

Those who say yes, but are more than likely the ones who are using email blasts in the right way. They’re unlikely to be the ones sending regular blast emails and whittling down their subscriber list in the process (which will undoubtedly be the case for those who said no). They’ll send it to make announcements that are time-sensitive and apply to the vast majority of their email list.

Email marketing is a constantly evolving industry, and some see email blasts as outdated because it’s now so much simpler to segment customers and create effective personalised email campaigns. Data from Statista found that customers spend just 10 seconds reading brand emails, which means the impersonal nature of email blasts may result in lower-than-expected engagement rates. Or worse, it could lead to customers clicking the dreaded unsubscribe link. This is why blast emails can still be used, but they should be the exception, rather than the rule.

Are email blasts spam?

The short and simple answer is, yes, blast emails can be spam. However, that doesn’t mean they are if you use them in the right context. Sending email blasts weekly, or even every few weeks, may risk your emails crossing the line and falling into spam territory. That’s because spam is usually unsolicited and irrelevant, which your blast emails could be if sent too often. But, if you send an email blast every now and then that is relevant to the majority of your customers, then it’s unlikely to be considered spam.

So long as you send blast emails in accordance with customers’ permissions, they’re relevant, have a clear way for recipients to opt-out and are compliant with compliance regulations, then you should have nothing to worry about.

What are the pros and cons of email blasts?

As with any marketing strategy, email blasts come with pros and cons.

Pros of email blasts

  • Cost-effective
  • Time-saving
  • Easily automated
  • Easily measurable
  • Great for sending information to your entire customer base

Cons of email blasts

  • Limited personalisation
  • Could be considered spam
  • Send irrelevant content to subscribers
  • Lower engagement levels
  • Compliance and privacy concerns
  • Potential damage to reputation

What is the proper way to send an email blast?

As we’ve already discussed, there is a proper way to send an email blast. It involves emailing the right people at the right time and ensuring compliance.

Below are the six steps you should take to ensure you send an email blast the right way.

1. Make sure you have a high-quality email list

It’s vital that you build your email list using customers who have opted in, or data that is covered by legitimate interest, so they know how you’ll use their data and how you’ll use it to communicate with them. This is to ensure you’re compliant with privacy regulations such as GDPR.

For more information on building an email list, read our blog post on getting started with email marketing.

2. Ensure that your contacts can unsubscribe and manage their preferences easily

Everyone has the right to change their mind, so a clear and fully functional way to unsubscribe from an email list is required. This prevents you from developing a poor reputation and falling foul of data protection laws.

3. Ensure the content in your emails is high-quality

Building an email list is one thing, but creating content that’s high-quality and relevant to your audience is imperative. Try to make your emails as engaging and succinct as possible and include a clear and simple call to action. Where possible, personalise your email, such as by addressing the recipient by their name.

4. Test your email before sending 

What’s worse than an irrelevant blast email that may be perceived as spam? An irrelevant blast email that will definitely be perceived as spam because there are issues with the formatting, links are broken and the personalisations don’t work. Make sure you test your email before sending it to catch any potential errors.

5. Monitor performance using data

Make sure to measure the performance of your email using metrics such as:

  • Delivery rate
  • Bounce rate
  • Open rate
  • Click-through rate
  • Unsubscribe rate

You can then use this data to refine your strategy for any future blast email campaigns.

6. Keep your email list updated

Once you’ve built an email list filled with loyal customers, make sure you continue to update it by removing email addresses that bounce and those that don’t open – sending emails to inactive customers could damage your deliverability.

Keeping on top of your email list also ensures you remain compliant with regulations, which is always something you should keep on top of.

But should you send an email blast?

Whether or not you should send an email blast is entirely up to you and your email marketing strategy. As we’ve already highlighted, there’s a fine line between a relevant email and one that’s considered spam. That being said, when executed well, email blasts can lead to strong engagement and – ultimately – revenue.

If you use your data wisely, you’ll have the answers as to whether you should send a blast email. Using a platform like Apteco Orbit can provide you with in-depth and actionable insights that can let you know if an email blast is worth it.

How can you get the most out of your email marketing?

Email blasts have their place when used wisely as part of your overall email marketing strategy. But, how can you get the most out of your email marketing to keep customers loyal so they want to spend their money with you? Below are just a few tips to consider to help boost your email marketing return on investment.

  • Build a list of customers and prospects with a genuine interest and that are more likely to engage with what you have to say.
  • Avoid clickbait – nobody likes clickbait.
  • Keep subjects short (around 50 characters, or 8 words) so they’re not cut off and you lose half your messaging.
  • Include a clear and easy-to-follow call to action above the fold so your customers know exactly what you want them to do and how they can do it.
  • Don’t fill your marketing emails with information. Keep them short, concise and clear. Keep the number of typefaces used to a minimum and ensure images and graphics aren’t intrusive and are mobile-friendly.
  • Include a signature in your marketing emails even if the sender isn’t an individual. Not only does this look more personal and professional, but it can also help with engagement rates.
  • You should allow recipients to contact you to unsubscribe easily - The ICO requires that you offer an unsubscribe link in your emails, allowing recipients to opt-out quickly.
  • Ensure that your emails are authenticated - Gmail now requires that your emails are authenticated, following best practices to ensure recipients can trust the email content you send is actually from you.
  • Personalise your emails as much as you can. While this might have limitations when it comes to email blasts, it can make all the difference.
  • Make sure you use A/B testing to help you determine the kind of subjects and CTAs your customers are likely to engage with so you can keep doing more of what works.
  • Ensure the tone of voice of your email matches that of your website, social media, texts, radio ads, TV ads, brochures and more. A seamless omnichannel approach is vital for improving the customer experience.

For more information, our blog post on getting started with email marketing includes plenty of information for those new to sending marketing emails.

Improve your email marketing with Apteco Orbit

Now that you know the email blast definition and how it can be an effective part of your email marketing strategy when used properly, why not give it a go to keep in touch with your customers? Learn more about Apteco Orbit’s email marketing capability to help you create an effective and streamlined email marketing strategy.


Supercharge you email marketing
Joe Meade

Group Marketing and Communications Specialist

Joe joined the Apteco marketing team in 2021. A large part of Joe's role involves coordinating regular partner and customer communications, events and exhibitions, monthly marketing reports and website development. Outside of work, Joe spends his weekends either watching or playing rugby.

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