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Don’t be ashamed of batch and blast emails

Author's avatar By Expert commentator 01 May, 2017
Essential Essential topic

Batch and blast aren't pretty, and there are better email tactics. But nothing gets you more bang for your buck.

I don’t intend this to be a sales piece but I feel you need to know a little about myself and my company before you read this.

I work in marketing for an email service provider and my company preaches the value in sending sophisticated emails.

Now I’ve told you that, I have something to get off my chest. Something that would appear to contradict the opinions of my industry peers and perhaps, on occasion, that of my own company.

Here we go: although I think sophisticated emails are great, I think a ‘batch and blast’ style of emailing is better.

Yes, batching and blasting emails (the act of mass marketing through email) is great. I highly recommend it. Do it for all it’s worth. Seriously.

You will never, ever find a greater ROI rate in any other marketing effort than a well optimised batch and blast email routine. I mean it.

You name it – TV, social, SEO, paid search, print, your website, etc. – if you’re looking for results, I guarantee your time and money won’t be better spent anywhere else.

Let’s look at the facts: it takes on average 2-3 hours to build and send a half decent batch and blast-type email. You pay (relatively speaking) a small amount to your ESP for each email to be sent. And, if they’re half decent, you get a half decent conversion rate. But because at this point your investment is so low, your ROI is phenomenal.

I mean it. It’s why the DMA claim an average email ROI of 3,800% and Econsultancy found email to offer the highest returns of any marketing channel.

Realise this and you’ll get the email bug. You start to optimise your batch and blast emails; the design, the time you send, your CTA copy and your conversion rate jumps a little – pushing you ROI even higher.

Then you realise that if you send more, you can make more. So you start playing around with how often you email your list. Eventually, you reach the optimal send volume that doesn’t begin to negatively impact your brand and your unsubscribe rate.

You’re now making serious money from what is still batch and blast email. And you want more.

You might try your hand at behavioural targeting, where you tactically resend emails to engaged non-openers. This means you again start to convert a few more people from each campaign.


At this point, you might realise that if you ramped up your list growth, your gains will naturally increase too. So you optimise and incentivise your sign up process.

Then, undoubtedly, you hit your batch and blast plateau. You just can’t get the numbers any higher. You’ve tried it all and it just doesn’t go any further.

Your ROI from email at this point is through the roof. And so is your income from the channel.

So now what do you focus your time and money improving?

There’s SEO, paid search, social… or, you could stick to email. But this time, not batch and blast. Sure, keep milking that cash cow for all it’s worth. But, on top of this, you can start targeting the other people that your batch and blast efforts just don’t reach. Adding more people to your conversion pot.

At this point, you can start investing more and creating your own set of targeted and automated campaigns, triggered off the back of website interactions, store visits or any other customer touch point.

Because these emails are sent at the right time and contain much more targeted content, they will work better. But the technology to enable this will cost you (relatively speaking) much more in terms of both time and money. Your ROI from this will be very healthy, thanks to a boost in conversion rate, but your investment level is no longer tiny. Which means the ROI for the sophisticated part of your emails won’t be phenomenal. It will just be good or great.

Don’t get me wrong, sending sophisticated emails will give you far greater potential increasing your income but – from an ROI perspective – there’s nothing wrong with batch and blast emails. Especially when your team has limited resource.

So my point is this: it’s time for our industry to stop making batch and blast a shameful practice. Everyone does it, because everyone knows it actually works well. Incredibly well, in fact.

But it will only take you so far. When you do inevitably reach that point of batch and blast plateau – and perhaps only when you reach that point – that’s the time to start investing in sophisticated emails. Because sophisticated emails are the next best thing.

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