When 80% of your buyers prefer receiving emails, ramping up your cold email outreach efforts to reach your quota quicker makes perfect sense. It’s simple logic. If you cast your net wide enough by sending many cold emails, you will catch more prospects.
The problem? During this economic downturn, your prospects are less likely to buy new products or software. This means that they are less likely to respond to offers from sales emails and will promptly mark you as spam to stop receiving further communication. If that wasn’t enough, email providers like Gmail and Outlook now use better filtering algorithms. So emails that sound the slightest bit spammy (aka most bulk cold emails) will most likely end up in the spam folder.
Is there a way to send bulk cold emails that actually land in your prospect’s inbox? You bet there is. And in this blog, we show you exactly how to go about it.
What Does Sending Cold Emails in Bulk Mean?
Bulk emailing means sending a large volume of emails in a day—typically, 1000 or more to various prospects. The process is straightforward: you craft an email that most of your prospects will read and send it to all of them.
We can hear you go, “Doesn’t that make bulk cold emails similar to spam emails and therefore illegal?” Newsflash: ESPs do not consider bulk emails spam as long as they meet ethical and legal requirements—notably data privacy regulations like CAN-SPAM and GDPR.
Legal Regulations on Emails To Keep In Mind
1. The US: CAN-SPAM Act
If you're sending bulk cold emails to prospects in the US, you must look out for the CAN-SPAM watchdog. It lays out the ground rules for all commercial B2B and B2C marketing emails. If your emails are not CAN-SPAM-compliant, you can face penalties of up to $50,120 per email. Follow these guidelines to prevent this and stay compliant:
- Provide correct information in your from and reply-to lines, and also include the right routing information. The goal is to help your prospect identify who sent the message accurately.
- Add a valid postal address after your email signature.
- Include a clear opt-out message.
- Avoid using deceptive email subject lines that don’t reflect the content of your message.
- Honor opt-out requests from your receivers promptly.
- Take accountability when outsourcing email sending.
2. Europe and the UK: GDPR
GDPR is Europe-exclusive and protects the data privacy of EU citizens. While it does not directly govern cold emails, it does lay out certain rules that can affect your bulk cold email campaigns. Non-compliance can attract penalties as high as 20 million euros or 4% of your company's global annual turnover. Here's how you can send GDPR-compliant bulk emails to EU citizens:
- Ensure you have a legitimate interest, i.e., a valid reason to reach out to relevant prospects.
- Be transparent about where you got your prospect's email address and other information from. If they do not wish to receive your emails, drop them from your database immediately.
- Provide a clear and simple way to opt out of the emails.
Note: When reaching out to prospects outside the US and the UK, take a good look at the prevailing data privacy laws to ensure you follow the best practices when cold emailing.
9 Reasons Why Your Email Account Gets Blocked When Sending Bulk Cold Emails
Your emails could land up in the bin despite diligently following all the data privacy laws. Why? Because your ESPs are hard at work, monitoring email activity and looking out for spam-like or bot-like behavior too.
If an email or the sender's activity looks suspicious, they will flag the email, affecting its deliverability to your prospect's inbox. This means your prospects won't receive your cold emails no matter how you send them.
But that's not all.
If ESPs notice spammy behavior from your sender address one too many times, they might flag you. This will lower the sender reputation score—the one your Internet Service Provider (ISP) assigns to your company indicating trustworthiness. Eventually, this could get your email account blocked.
The easiest way to ensure your bulk emails reach your prospect's inbox is to avoid the ESP's scanner. And to do that, you must first know the 9 common reasons why ESPs block your emails.
1. Not Setting Up SPF, DKIM, and DMARC
If you want your bulk cold email campaign to be successful, you want ESPs to recognize you as a legitimate sender. For this, you need to set up:
- SPF (Sender Policy Framework),
- DKIM (Domain Keys Identified Mail), and
- DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance).
They are authentication mechanisms and validation protocols designed to stop email spoofing, spam, emails, and phishing.
Here's what happens when you don't set them up correctly:
- Without SPF, ESPs cannot identify if your email server is authorized to deliver emails. This would mean your emails don't seem legit and can be flagged as suspicious.
- DKIM provides a digital signature, guaranteeing the integrity of your messages. Not setting it up opens doors for spoofers to send fraudulent emails on your behalf.
- DMARC is used along with SPF and DKIM to act as an additional security measure. It helps you set up a policy for failed checks and can generate email performance reports. Once again, your emails risk sliding into spam or being blocked if you fail to set this up.
2. Many Recipients Marking Your Emails as Spam
When many recipients mark your email as spam, your ESPs will flag your sender address. This lowers your sender reputation and email deliverability rates, and the ESP will likely block your account. Let us explain how this can happen.
Say you send mass emails to promote your new product. Now, if your emails are not engaging, relevant, or personalized for your prospects, they will find it unsolicited and hastily reach for the spam button. This can happen due to several reasons:
- Your email copy isn’t targeted to the right prospects
- Your subject lines aren't enticing
- You've used the same cold email template for every prospect with zero personalization
- You don't have the recipient's consent
3. Sending Too Many Emails Too Quickly
ESPs closely monitor your email-sending pattern to identify suspicious or spammy behavior. So, sending too many emails at once can raise red flags.
They might suspect your account of engaging in spammy practices or attempting to overwhelm recipients. In response, the ESP might block your emails to maintain a smooth email ecosystem and protect their users.
4. Not Setting up a Custom Tracking Domain
When sending bulk emails, you want to track the campaign’s performance. This is where tracking domains come in. Custom tracking domains are your unique domains or subdomains that help you track link clicks, open rates, and conversions to measure the success of your cold email campaign.
If you don't set up a custom tracking domain, you're likely tracking your cold email outreach with a shared tracking domain. As this domain is shared, if someone uses it for a spam campaign, it will ultimately affect your reputation and might lead to your account being blocked. Not to mention your email spam filters will pick up on it, given they don’t match the domain you used to send the email in the first place.
5. Not Adding an Unsubscribe Link
What do your prospects do when they don't want to receive your emails? They unsubscribe.
But what if they don't find the unsubscribe button? They move to the next best option: marking your email as spam. And we know what happens when multiple users mark you spam. Your account gets blocked.
If this wasn't bad enough, you're also failing to comply with CAN-SPAM and GDPR, which can land you in added legal trouble.
6. Having a High Bounce Rate
Often your emails won't reach your prospect's inbox because your prospect's email server rejected them. Such instances are called bounces, and the emails bounced emails. Your ESPs track your email bounce rate or the number of emails that bounce back in a certain period to get cues about the reliability of your email address.
Now, there are 2 types of bounces.
- Soft bounce is when the email bounces because of a temporary issue like a technical glitch or a full mailbox.
- Hard bounce is when the email doesn't reach the recipient's inbox due to permanent reasons like an invalid domain name or non-existent email address.
While soft bounces can usually be resolved, too many of these can alert ESPs that something’s wrong, landing your email campaign in trouble.
How many is too many? According to Ryan Mckenzie, co-founder & CMO of Tru Earth, “A high bounce rate for B2B bulk cold emails can vary depending on several factors, but generally, any bounce rate above 5-10% is considered high.”
7. Bulk Emailing Without Warming Up
With your new email account, you're tempted to send 0 emails to 100 or more emails quickly for bulk cold emailing. Guess who also sends cold emails this swiftly? Spammers.
ESPs looking out for unusual activity will flag your account if you do this, leading to your emails being relegated to the dreaded spam folder or worse, your account getting blocked.
To avoid this, warm up your inbox or gradually increase the number of emails you send from a new email account. This will help your email providers get accustomed to your email activity and help you avoid the spam filter.
8. Lack of Email Personalization
When you're sending 1000s of emails daily, it can be daunting to send personalized emails every single one. This makes it tempting to use a generic template and pray it works. If you're doing this too, you'll likely miss the mark, sending detached, irrelevant, and less engaging emails.
When your prospects receive a few such emails from you, they'll begin to recognize it. This means your open and click-through rates will take a back seat, and prospects may opt out of future communications or mark you as spam. With low engagement metrics and high spam complaints, your sender reputation will plummet, encouraging ESPs to block your account or flag you as a potential spammer.
9. Not Targeting the Right Prospects
Another reason your email account gets blocked when sending bulk emails is reaching out to the wrong or inactive prospects. This could be because of 2 major reasons:
- You're not segmenting your subscriber list: Without proper segmentation, you risk reaching out to prospects uninterested in your content. This can lead to lower engagement and higher spam complaints, alarming the ESP.
- You're not running regular hygiene checks to flush out inactive recipients and organize your prospects lists: These can be prospects who haven't engaged with your emails for a long time, or email addresses that no longer exist. Sending emails to these prospects affects your performance metrics and increases your email bounce rate, leading to a potential account ban.
Now that you know the pitfalls you must avoid, let's look at some bulk email best practices to run successful outreach campaigns without upsetting your ESP.
7 Things You Should Do To Send Bulk Cold Emails Without Getting Blocked
1. Authenticate Your Domain by Setting Up SPF, DKIM, and DMARC
Add a touch of authenticity to your emails by setting up SPF, DKIM, and DMARC. This indicates your emails are genuine and boosts their credibility. Here’s a quick rundown on how these authentication methods work.
With SPF, your domain lists out the email servers allowed to send messages using the domain. Your recipient's email servers can cross-check if any new email with your domain name is from your company and decide whether to send it to spam.
While SPF helps recipient email servers decide emails from which addresses are authentic, DKIM confirms authenticity. It allows domain owners to “sign” emails from their domain, confirming the sender's authenticity. This digital signature uses cryptography to verify that the email came from the domain.
Like two-factor authentication, SPF and DKIM work together to prove the authenticity of an email address to your recipient's mail servers.
Now, a few emails you sent from your domain may fail SPF and DKIM authentication. DMARC tells your recipient's servers what to do on receiving such emails. Administrators can also access DMARC reports to understand which emails were marked as spam despite being legitimate. This can help them change their domain’s DMARC policies.
Note: If you're using an active business email account, your email may already have SPF, DKIM, and DMARC set up. If not, your domain administrator must set them up in the domain's DNS settings. The easiest way to do this is to contact the DNS provider. Some web hosting platforms also provide tools to upload and edit DNS records.
2. Warming Up Your Email Address Before Bulk Emailing
Targeting 1000 emails a day? Warm up your inbox or increase your email activity gradually to avoid getting flagged by the ESP.
To warm up your new account, you can send 10-20 emails to friends, relatives, or colleagues and ask them to open your emails, reply and engage with them. This will do 2 things:
- Makes your email behavior seem normal to your ESP, and
- Signals that your email is valuable to your ESP, building sender reputation.
Then, you can gradually increase the volume of the emails over time. Remember, it takes between 8 and 12 weeks to warm up your inbox.
3. Adding an Unsubscribe Link to Your Emails
Not all your prospects are eagerly waiting to hear from you. Sending your emails to such prospects would mean lower email engagement, which could impact deliverability. Providing an unsubscribe link in such a case could help you weed out these prospects (and help you play by GDPR and CAN-SPAM regulations, of course).
So, make sure you add the unsubscribe link to the bottom of your email in a format that is clear, legible, and easily understandable.
4. Setting up a Custom Tracking Domain
As we mentioned earlier, a custom domain can help your email seem more authentic to your prospects (and your ESP). So, how do you set one up?
Well, the set-up process changes a bit depending on the email software you use and your ESP. But the general process involves the following steps:
- Creating a subdomain
- Creating a CNAME record on your domain provider’s hosting panel
Now, depending on your email tool, you will need to update the host and target fields to activate the subdomain.
5. Personalize Your Email Content
You might think sending personalized emails takes away the biggest benefit of bulk emailing, saving time. But the trick to sending a personalized, cold, bulk email is personalizing just enough.
Most email tools can help you attain first-name and company name personalization already. But to connect with your prospects, you want to use information that every prospect will relate to, but this information should be generic enough so multiple prospects can relate.
One way to do this is to segment your prospect list and create different messages for each group. You can also be creative and go beyond common personalization practices like using the recipient's name and adding information specific to their industry or interests or pain points.
6. Build an Email Sequence to Target Prospects
If you’re reaching out to prospects via cold email, there’s a good probability you’re using a sales email sequence, in which you draft a series of sales emails and schedule sending them to your prospects to book your meetings. But did you know that email sequences could help you deliver bulk emails more effectively?
By creating a series of carefully crafted and timed emails, you can nurture relationships and provide valuable information to the right prospect at the right time. In short, it fosters engagement and prevents triggering spam filters. Here's how:
- When prospects actively open, click, and engage with your messages, it shows the ESP that your emails are legit, preventing suspicious activity.
- An email sequence gives you more control over the volume and frequency of emails you send out. Spreading them strategically helps you avoid coming off as a spammer.
- An effective email sequence is tailored to the interests of your prospects. When they receive targeted and relevant emails, they are less likely to mark you as spam.
An email sequence software automates your cold email sequences and takes manual email outreach off your hands, leaving you free to focus on closing more deals.
7. Maintain a Regular Email Sending Limit
Different ESPs have different daily limits for sending emails. For example, Gmail's free account lets you send up to 500 emails daily. This limit is 2K for Google Workspace and 10K for Office 365. Additionally, Office 365 also has a per-minute limit of 30 emails.
Exceeding this limit will automatically block your email account. So, it's best to not completely exhaust your daily quota to avoid coming off as a spammer.
How Can Klenty Help You Send Cold Emails at Scale Effectively?
Sales engagement platforms like Klenty provide a one-stop solution to plan, execute, track, measure, and optimize every aspect of the sales campaign. You can also use the tool to send bulk cold emails to your prospects.
- Verifying Email Lists
We arm you with an in-built email validation tool to ensure your contact list is accurate and up-to-date. This prevents email bounces, improves email deliverability, and strengthens your sender reputation.
- Personalization at Scale
Klenty allows you to hyper-personalize every bit of your emails using Liquid Templates and its video personalization feature. On top of that, its Delivery Window feature helps you deliver emails during those times when prospects are more likely to see them.
- Improves Deliverability
With Klenty, you can boost your email deliverability with custom domain tracking, controlling daily email volume and frequency, and a custom unsubscribe link that fits your brand's personality.
Master the Art of Bulk Cold Emailing
Sending outbound cold emails at scale can be tricky. You must abide by the law, dodge common pitfalls, and follow best practices to stay off your ESP’s spam radar. But with the right cold email automation tools, you can master the art of bulk cold emailing like a pro.