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To Blast or Not To Blast: The Legality of Sending Bulk Emails

Segmentation is an important email marketing tool that helps you connect your brand to your customers

According to the latest Radicati Group Email Statistics Report, people will send and receive 269 billion emails per day in 2017, and there will be more than 3.7 billion email users worldwide by the end of the year. In five years’ time that number will skyrocket further, up to an estimated 319.6 billion emails sent and received by people the world over.

As that trend continues, protecting consumers from unchecked abuse of the medium has itself become a business. According to that same Radicati Group study, 17.3% of all emails sent are classified as spam–emails that are either sent out en masse, flagged as harmful in nature or are unsolicited by its recipients.

Spam: Email That’s Gone Bad

Even though companies around the world have created million-dollar businesses in an effort to erase spam from existence, it’s still thriving. Unfortunately, many people unwillingly contribute to spam’s existence by utilizing automated senders that operate far more on quantity than they do quality. That means these “bulk email” senders use purchased contact lists filled with unknowing recipients who have never agreed to receive anything from you—or, worse, were farmed through malicious means. This isn’t just a bad practice. It’s downright illegal, too. The CAN-SPAM Act, which became effective at the beginning of 2004, is a set of rules and regulations moderated by the Federal Trade Commission to help moderate the flow of advertising/sales/marketing emails in the United States.

The penalties for breaking those regulations can be steep, too—up to $16,000 per offense, or $16,000 for every single person who received that email. And each country has its own version of CAN-SPAM, many with higher fines (and some even with accompanying jail time).

But, wouldn’t it be great if your business could get just a fraction of those 3.7 billion users tuned in to your brand legally and effectively? The questions is, with that many emails sent every single day, how does one business find the right frequency to not just reach the eyes of potential customers, but have them toe-tappingly, head-noddingly consuming your content instead of sending it to the depths of their trash folder?

Segmentation: Email Marketing’s Best Friend

Marketing is all about getting to know your customers and what they love, so why would email marketing be any different? While automated programs like Mailchimp and Hubspot definitely save time and money when reaching out to large groups of people (that have all opted-in to receiving emails from you), they still require a personal touch to truly be effective.

That personalization can come in many forms, from simply using first names in subject lines (i.e., “Hey Mark, Are You Ready to Rumble?”) to providing unique content based on different demographics and interests–a fast-growing practice known as Segmentation.  

Segmentation is the fine art of personalizing email marketing content based on who is opening it. While it can be a huge undertaking, especially for companies with larger lists of users they’re sending out to, that work can pay off in spades. According to MailChimp’s latest user data, companies that segment their mailing lists are rewarded with 14.31% higher open rates, 100.95% more clicks and 4.65% fewer bounces.

Segmentation comes in many forms, and each one can bring you closer to your consumers while helping you provide a better user experience. And, this information isn’t simply useful for email, either; a greater understanding of your customer base can influence all aspects of your marketing mix and, to a larger extent, your entire business.

Not sure how to segment your customers? Here are a few of the ways you can:


Who are your customers? Where do they live, how old are they and how much money do they make? Knowing the answers to these questions can help you craft content that is compelling and relevant to the specific groups of people that interact with your brand—and attract more of them.

Past Purchases

What are your customers buying, and how much do they spend? Do they shop online or in a physical store? Offering up personalized coupons, curated recommendations and exclusive events that your shoppers will actually be able to take advantage of may introduce users to more products they wouldn’t have found on their own.

The Buyer’s Journey

Not everyone is immediately ready to buy. Some simply know they have a need, but haven’t quite recognized how to satisfy it or, specifically, what will satisfy it. Hubspot, a lead generation software suite, is full of great resources and tools for how to recognize and segment customers in each step of this journey—as well as ways to build content that is appealing to each of them. (Did you know? All of BBR’s digital content team is Hubspot certified!)

Email marketing can be scary, but it doesn’t have to be. With a good strategy and the right research, it can be an effective way to reach potential customers around the world–and provide valuable insights that can make a real impact on your marketing strategy.