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Why You Should Not Use Exchange Online (Outlook) for Bulk Mail for Marketing and Scheduled Customer Communication
Avoid the pitfalls of using Exchange Online for bulk marketing and customer comms. Discover the problems it can cause and explore alternative platforms.
If you are using Exchange Online (Outlook) as your email service, you might be tempted to use it for sending bulk mail to your customers or prospects. After all, it is convenient, familiar, and already integrated with your Microsoft 365 account. However, this is not a good idea for several reasons. In this article, we will explain why you should avoid using Exchange Online for bulk mailing and suggest some alternative platforms that are designed for this purpose.
If you use Exchange Online (Outlook) to send bulk mail, you need to be aware of the potential problems that this practice can cause. Bulk mail is any message that is sent to a large number of recipients, such as newsletters, promotions, or announcements. Sending bulk mail from Exchange Online can **violate the service terms and limits**, **damage your reputation and deliverability**, and **compromise your security**. In this article, we will explain these problems in more detail and provide some tips on how to avoid them.
What is bulk mail?
Bulk mail is any email that is sent to a large number of recipients, usually for marketing or advertising purposes or customer communication. Some examples of bulk mail are newsletters, promotions, announcements, surveys, and invitations. Bulk mail can also be used for scheduled customer communication, such as invoices, receipts, reminders, confirmations, and notifications.
What are the problems of using Exchange Online for bulk mailing?
Several problems can arise when you use Exchange Online for bulk mailing. Here are some of them:
- You can violate the service terms and limits. As described in the Exchange Online Service Description, using Exchange Online to send bulk mail is not a supported use of the service, and is only permitted on a "best-effort" basis. This means that Microsoft does not guarantee the delivery or performance of your bulk mail campaigns, and may block or throttle your messages if they exceed the service limits or cause issues for other users. For example, the maximum number of recipients per message is 500, and the maximum number of recipients per day is 10,000. If you exceed these limits, your messages may be rejected or delayed, and your account may be suspended or restricted. Exceeding these limits will affect the whole organisation's ability to send emails.
- You can damage your reputation and deliverability. When you send bulk mail from Exchange Online, you are using the same IP addresses and domains as other Microsoft 365 users. This means that if some of these users send spam or malicious messages, they can affect the reputation and deliverability of your messages as well. For example, if your IP address or domain is blacklisted by a third-party service or recipient server, your messages may be blocked or filtered as spam. This can also happen if your messages have a low open rate, high bounce rate, high complaint rate, or poor content quality. To avoid these issues, you need to follow the best practices for sending bulk email in Exchange Online, such as verifying your sender identity, segmenting your audience, personalizing your content, and respecting the unsubscribe requests.
- You can compromise your security and compliance. When you send bulk mail from Exchange Online, you are exposing your email account and data to potential risks. For example, if you use a third-party application or service to create or send your bulk mail campaigns, you need to grant them access to your email account and data. This can create vulnerabilities and increase the chances of data breaches or unauthorized access. Moreover, if you send sensitive or regulated information in your bulk mail campaigns, such as personal or financial data, you need to ensure that they comply with the relevant laws and regulations, such as GDPR or HIPAA. This can be challenging and costly if you do not have the proper tools and processes in place.
What are some alternative platforms for bulk mailing?
Instead of using Exchange Online for bulk mailing, you should use a platform that is designed and optimized for this purpose. Many platforms offer bulk mailing services with various features and benefits. Some of them are:
- Mailchimp - Mailchimp is one of the most popular and widely used platforms for email marketing and automation. It allows you to create and send beautiful and engaging email campaigns to your audience with ease. You can also use Mailchimp to manage your contacts, segment your audience, personalize your content, track your performance, optimize your deliverability, and integrate with other tools and services. Mailchimp offers a free plan for up to 2,000 contacts and 10,000 emails per month, and paid plans starting from $9.99 per month.
- Sendinblue - Sendinblue is another powerful platform for email marketing and automation. It enables you to create and send professional and responsive email campaigns to your customers or prospects with simplicity. You can also use Sendinblue to build your contact list, segment your audience, customize your content, monitor your results, improve your deliverability, and connect with other platforms and services. Sendinblue offers a free plan for up to 300 emails per day, and paid plans starting from $25 per month.
- Constant Contact - Constant Contact is a platform that helps you grow your business with email marketing and online marketing tools. It allows you to create and send attractive and effective email campaigns to your audience with confidence. You can also use Constant Contact to collect and manage your contacts, segment your audience, personalize your content, measure your impact, enhance your deliverability, and integrate with other tools and services. Constant Contact offers a free trial for 60 days, and paid plans starting from $20 per month.
These are just some examples of the many platforms that you can use for bulk mailing. You can compare and choose the one that suits your needs and budget best.
In conclusion, using Exchange Online for bulk mailing is not a good idea, as it can cause various problems for you and your recipients. You should use a platform that is designed and optimized for bulk mailing instead, such as Mailchimp, Sendinblue, or Constant Contact. These platforms can help you create and send bulk mail campaigns that are more effective, reliable, secure, and compliant.