How does Bulk Email work?
- Preparing a Bulk Email involves two processes — building the list of client emails and building the eMail-merge Template. Once these processes are complete the email will be ready to send:
- Paste your list of emails into the Contacts window.
- Click the Parse button. Your emails will be checked for errors — correct emails will be checked ready to send, invalid emails will be unchecked.
- Click the SMTP Settings tab. Enter your Email Subject and Server details.
- Click the Body HTML tab. Choose the Email Sample you want, then edit the HTML to show the text and links you want to appear.
- Click the Groups Tab. Set the email limits to be well below your email server provider's limits.
- Click the Test button to send an email to yourself to verify its accuracy.
- Click the Send button to send a copy of the email to all your checked recipients.
How do I enter my Contacts?
The text field below is where you enter your emails. Once entered, these emails will be examined and filtered (called parsing) into the table on the next tab. Bulk Email will remember the contents of this list, even after quitting the application.
Type or paste your space-delimited (or tab-delimited) email addresses into the text box above, one per line, in one of the following formats:
- EmailAddress only
While you can keep all your email addresses in Bulk Email, you may prefer to keep your lists in separate spreadsheets, pasting in the details each time. Most spreadsheet paste in rows in tab-delimited format — Bulk Email can handle this, but please check your client email data for errors before sending your emails.
You may decide to paste in only the email addresses (e.g. email@example.com) or both an email address and the person's name (e.g. M.Smith@royce.com Mrs Marie Smith). Once you have pasted in your email addresses (and optionally their names) then click the Parse button. This will attempt to extract the four main fields from what you have entered (the email address, salutation, first name and last name). If there was any problems with any of the fields the row will remain unchecked and an explanation placed in the Comments column. You may decide to send your email to the valid contacts, or fix the problem and Parse the text box again.
Note that the Parsing operation will attempt to correct any issues with the text such as setting the email address to lower case, filling in the Salutation (if it is missing) and setting the name fields to Title case. Just because you may have a field, such as Salutation, doesn't mean you have to include that data in your emails — you may ignore all field data except the email address itself.
Once the emails have been parsed, it is a good time to see if any email addresses are unchecked. Fix the error in your original email list then click the Parse button again. You may need to repeat this a number of times until all errors have been resolved. You may choose to disregard the error message and check that email's checkbox anyway, but this is not advised!
Set On (and Set Off)
Highlight a range of email addresses then click the Set On (or Set Off) button to change their checkbox setting. This may be useful where many emails pass the parsing test, but you only want to send to a subset of emails. If an email is unchecked, even if it is error-free, then it will not be sent an email.
How do I Export my Contacts?
Export to XLS/CSV/Tab-delimited
Click on the Options button to export the data in the currently visible email list — this may be useful to keep a permanent record of the list. Note that the headings are exported as well as the list data itself.
- Choosing XLS/XML will export the list as an XML format file, but with an XLS extension so that it will be opened within Excel — Excel may give a warning message on opening the file. Alternatively, you may rename the file extension to .XML and open the file in another application.
- Choosing CSV will export the list as a comma-separated-value file. Each field is separated from one another with a comma (,). Normal text will be surrounded with double-quotation marks, but numbers will not have any quotation marks. CSV files are easily imported into spreadsheets and databases.
- Choosing Tab-delimited will export the list with each field separated with a tab-character. Tab-delimited files are easily imported into spreadsheets and word-processing tables, plus they take up the least space.
Can I limit how many Emails a Contact gets (so I don't bombard them!)?
Within the Limits tab you are able to control whether an email will be unchecked based on a set of simple criteria:
- You can set the email address to be unchecked if it exceeds the number of emails sent within a given time frame. Since Bulk Email keeps a record of any emails sent to each email address, when you parse your emails, Bulk Email counts the number of emails it has sent within the set number of days and will uncheck the email if the sending rate exceeds the specified number. This is useful so you stop yourself accidentally sending emails to your contacts too frequently. If you legitimately need to send emails to these contact then either manually check their checkboxes in the list or click the Previous button and delete the record of their previous emails (not preferred).
- Ignore — you can set Bulk Email to uncheck all emails that contain any of the specified text within the email address (it does not check the salutation, firstname or lastname fields). Click the Option button to add, remove or export your search text. This may be used to stop emailing non-personally identifiable email addresses such as info@, noreply@, sales@ or server@. If you make a change, you will need to click the Parse button again for this to take effect.
- Include — you can set Bulk Email to uncheck all emails that do not include the specified text in their email address (it does not check the salutation, firstname or lastname fields). Click the Option button to add, remove or export your search text. This may be used where you want to target only a select range of contact such as .org, rollsroyce, .edu or .co.uk. If you make a change, you will need to click the Parse button again for this to take effect.
What do I do if someone Opts-Out of my emails?
With the Opt-Out list you can place here any contacts who have said they no longer want to receive any emails from you. Type or paste in any emails into this list, one per line. When you parse your email addresses it will uncheck any email addresses that exactly match those in the Opt-Out list.
If this list becomes excessively long then click on the Sort button. This will not only sort the list of email addresses alphabetically, but will remove any duplicate entries.
If a person wants to result receiving your emails, then simply delete their entry from this list and click the Parse button again.
How can I look up Previous Email Campaigns?
The Previous tab show you two reports:
If the list gets very large you can use the search box above to filter the list. Type any text you want in the field then click the OK button. Only those rows containing that text in one of its fields will remain, the rest will be removed. You can perform multiple searches this way. To restore the original list, either choose the report under the Options button or click the OK button with the search field empty.
- By default, it shows you a summarised and sorted list of all email addresses that you have ever sent emails to (not just those if your current list). For each email address it summarises the total number of emails ever sent to this email address, the name of that latest Bulk Email, the date of that last Bulk Email and the number of days since the last email.
- Alternatively, you can click on the Options button and get a report listing all Bulk Emails sent to every contact. You may want to export this list periodically as a permanent record of all your sent emails.
I have a bunch of emails in a document — how can I extract them?
The Extract tab contains an editable field above and a read-only field below. You can paste any text you want into the field above such as from a Word document, a spreadsheet, a PDF or a web page.
When you click on the Extract button all email addresses will be extracted from the list, sorted, de-duplicated and displayed in the list below. Click on the Clipboard button to copy the new list of emails to your computer's clipboard, ready for pasting into your email list.
An Email Bounced — can you tell me why?
The Bounced tab contains an editable field above and a table below. If you receive a bounced email and are not sure what it is telling you then paste the full email contents into the text field above. Click on the Explain button to attempt to decipher the meaning of the rejection from the email body text.
It will attempt to show you the level of seriousness of the error i.e. if the email will not be allowed to be passed on or not, a guess of the cause of the email bounce, and explanation of what you can do to remedy the situation for this email and finally a list of any emails extracted from the error message.
Note that it is possible to paste in the error messages from multiple emails at once.
By far the largest causes of emails bouncing are:
- The email address has been removed, maybe due to the person leaving the company
- You have been sending too many emails at one time and all emails (even legitimate ones) are being rejected from your 'From' email address. You may need to wait 24 hours before you can send your emails again. Check your setting and ensure you are sending emails well below the limit of your mail service provider (say half), change your From address or call your mail service provider and tell them what you are trying to do.
How do I set up my Email Template?
When your client email list is ready, click the Template button to open the eMail-Merge template window. The window is divided in two: the tabbed settings on the left and a preview of the email template on the right. As you change the settings, often the template preview also changes. If you quit Bulk Email, all your changes will be automatically saved. If you wish to manually save you will need to click the Options button.
A number of template fields can contain personalised values and usually have a popup menu adjacent to the field where you can add your choices. Ensure your cursor is positioned where you want the template field to be inserted, then choose the field value from the popup menu — that popup menu item will be added to your field.
There are four personalisation fields: «Salutation», «FirstName», «LastName» and «ClientEmail». Please don't change the text within a merge field, otherwise the data will not be able to be merged.
Note that not all fields support personalisation — for instance there is no point inserting «FirstName» into an address field. Also, personalisation is only relevant when sending Individual emails. You will receive a warning if you try to send group emails while your template contains merge field values.
In addition to supporting name and address merging, Bulk Email supports the merging of up to ten variables of data. They are designed to allow templates to be designed with complex HTML by experts, with novice users only having to change the plain text in the variable field to complete the email layout. Any text within these fields will be merged when sent as Individual emails.
The Settings tab is where we change the underlying email components so it is able to be sent. It comprises:
- An ID field showing a popup list of the names of any previously saved Bulk Email templates. You can revisit previous Bulk Emails by changing the value of this popup list. This may be useful to reload some old template settings. Note that it only loads template data and has no affect on your client emails. It doesn't save your current settings, so if you want to save any latest changes to your current template then ensure you save the template first (via the Options button) before you reload a template. It is also advised that you create a duplicate template for each new Bulk Email sent.
- A Description field where you can describe why this Bulk Email was sent and to whom. This description does not appear anywhere on the email itself.
- The email's Subject field. Note that this field can contain all personalisation fields using the adjacent popup menu. When an individual email is sent the merge field will be replaced with the value for that email address, name and variables.
- The Host Name is an optional field showing a list of sample email providers and ISPs. If you change this popup menu the Server fields below (but not the Password) will change to those deemed suitable for that service provider's email published needs — you are encouraged to update these settings. It also shows the sending limitations for that service provider under the Groups tab. It is recommended that you change this setting once then leave it alone.
- The SMTP Server field contains the internet address of your service provider's SMTP server. This will usually be smtp.ISPName.com, mail.ISPName.com or similar. Do not use the pop.ISPName.com variation since the POP server is only for receiving email messages while the SMTP address is used for sending emails. Note that even though you may receive your emails through a certain email provider (e.g. iCloud) this doesn't stop you using a different service provider, such as your ISP, as your SMTP server.
- The Port number was traditionally 25, as this supported unencrypted emails. More commonly today all email is encrypted when it is sent, and the port numbers supporting encrypted emails may be 446, 465 or 587 depending on the mail provider. If you are having trouble sending your emails, then try one of these numbers, or contact your mail provider.
- The Secure SSL check box and popup allow you to determine if your email is to be sent as a secure email or not, and if so, what protocol it will use. It is advised to keep the checkbox checked and the popup menu set to 'Default' as this is the most compatible, but feel free to change the settings if advised by your mail provider.
- The Username and Password fields match the settings for the SMTP server. This can get complex — if your email is on iCloud, but you are sending your email via your ISP's SMTP server, then you either need to put your ISP's username and password details in here or leave these two fields blank (some ISP's don't require a username and password since they know who you are anyway). If you are sending via your mail provider's SMTP server then you will need to enter your mail provider's username and password here. Note that most mail providers require you to enter your full email address as your username (e.g. JoeBloggs123@me.com, and not JoeBloggs123). For security reasons the password field shows up as bullets.
- The Recipient, CC and BCC fields allow us to set how the email will be addressed to the recipient. Recipient is the main receiver of the email. The CC Recipient is a Carbon-Copy recipient, meaning that they are not the main recipient, but are receiving a copy of the email for their information. All recipients can see who are the Recipients and CC Recipients. The BCC Recipient is a Blind-Carbon-Copy recipient, meaning that they still receive a copy of the email for their information, but none of the other recipients can see that the BCC Recipient details. In previous years it was best to send bulk emails using the BCC Recipient field out of courtesy, but often BCC emails are seen as conduits of spam emails, so use Individuals emails in preference to BCC Recipients where possible.
- The From and ReplyTo email addresses inform the recipient who sent the email and to whom the email will be addressed if the user attempts to reply to your email. Most times you will want to leave the ReplyTo email field blank, so reply emails will be sent to the From email address, but larger organisations may want to direct all replies to a common Sales or Help Desk email account. It is recommended that you do NOT use your normal email account to send bulk emails — if your Bulk Email address becomes blacklisted then you will not be able to send or receive your normal emails! Create a separate email account for sending and receiving Bulk Emails and for receiving opt-out requests.
- The Created and Modified fields inform you the date and time this Bulk Email was created and last modified. You cannot change these dates.
What is the Body Plain text and do I need to care?
By default the Body Plain tab shows the same HTML text stripped of its HTML formatting. This means you only need to create one email body. While it is possible to uncheck Based on Body HTML and write up the email twice, it is an excessive amount of work and risks introducing inconsistencies.
If you do decide to allow the editing of the Body Plain text, then the option to insert the personalisation merge fields (such as first name and last name) and variables will become available.
What is an Unsubscribe Link and why do I need it?
It is a legal requirement in most countries that Bulk Email contain a link the recipient can use to unsubscribe from your email. If you receive unsubscribe requests you must abide by them and add the recipient's email into the Opt-Out list. Most anti-spamming software will raise your email's spam-level if it does not contain an unsubscribe link. The best way to allow recipients to opt-out is to have a PHP script on your file server to receive the email address since you can request other information such as the reason they want to opt-out. If you don't have access to these services then please add the following line to the bottom of your Bulk Emails:
How do I add file Attachments?
The Attachments tab lets you add files to your email. When received, these files will usually show as icon at the bottom of the recipients email and can be copied to the user's hard drive. It is not recommended that you add attachments (especially large attachments) to emails where the recipient is not expecting the attachment as it may slow down their email.
Click the Add button to add an attachment. Highlight the file you want to attach then click OK. The attachment will appear in the list above. Don't move or rename the attachment or else it will not be included with the email.
To remove one or more attachments, highlight the attachment in the list then click the Remove button.
You may add as many attachments as you want, but note that most mail servers have a limit of about 10 MB for the total capacity of an attachment and the email text. Emails exceeding the limit will usually be rejected.
Please consider instead, placing your files onto a file server and placing a link in your email. This will make your emails transfer faster and cause less issues with your contacts.
Can I send my emails Individually or as a Group?
The Groups tab allows us to configure three areas:
- Personalising our emails per recipient
- Grouping our emails to reduce the total number of emails sent
- Limiting the rate at which our emails are sent so they are not flagged as a spam
Choosing the Individual Emails button will cause all emails to be sent with only one recipient each.
If you have an existing relationship with your recipients then it is acceptable to personalise your emails using the email-merge fields in the Subject and the Body HTML. If you don't have an existing relationship with your recipients then it is advised that you not add personalised content — you can still send the email as an Individual email. Personalised emails will have their recipient's personal details merged into the email at the time of sending.
Since only the recipient will see their email it is recommended that you place their email address in the Recipient field (and not CC or BCC else your email be flagged as spam).
In general, Individual Emails are preferred over Group emails, even if you are not merging in any personal details.
Choosing Group Emails, whether in lots or all-in-one, will address each email to more than one recipient. Sending Group emails is useful where your email provider has a limit on the number of emails that can be sent, but not the total number of recipients — unfortunately this is very rare.
If you want to limit the number of recipients per Group email then click the Group email in lots button and set the number of maximum number of recipients to go in each email.
If you want every recipient to be placed into the one email (however many there are) then click on the Group emails all-in-one button. This is not recommended in case you try to add hundreds of recipients to one email as it will very likely be rejected and your account locked.
Send up to
Check to Send up to button to control how fast Bulk Email sends you emails. Most email providers have a very low limit on the number of emails and recipients you can send to per hour and per 24 hour period. The most common limit is about 100 recipients per hour and it doesn't matter if they are sent in 100 separate emails or in one email.
Since these quotas are so low and sending each actual email is very quick, it is advised that you send Individual emails (whether personalised or not) and set the number of emails and recipients per hour to be well within your mail provider's limits. If your limit is 100 emails and recipients per hour then set the limit on both emails and recipients to about 90 each (so you can still send 10 emails per hour from this account with your normal mail program). When Bulk Email sends your emails and reaches this limit it will pause automatically for one hour before sending another batch of 90.
This way you can keep well below sending limit. You do not want to risk going over your sending limits — at best your emails may begin bouncing back or your email account may be locked for 24 hours, at worst your email account may be blacklisted so you cannot send any emails even if they are below the limits, until you are un-blacklisted.
Bulk Email writes into its database what emails have been sent immediately after they have been sent. This allows you to keep a record of recipients to ensure you don't send them emails too frequently. It also allows you to know who received (or didn't receive) emails should the Bulk Email be accidentally shut down. In this case open the Client Emails window, click the Previous tab and choose List all emails from the Options menu.
Setting a number in the Delay field causes a delay of that number of seconds between when each email (whether Individual or Group) is sent by Bulk Email. Some mail providers (such as gmail) try to detect spammers by seeing how frequently the emails are separated, even if you are below your quota. If you emails are sent with no time delay then these emails may be delayed on the servers by a few hours.
Since the limit is usually the number of recipients per hour, you could set this value to ten seconds and still not cause an overall delay.
How can I manage my Campaigns?
Duplicate, Save and Delete
- Choose Duplicate to make a copy of the currently viewed Bulk Email. There is no limit to the number of Bulk Emails you can create, so it is recommended that you duplicate the current Bulk Email after each successful sending so that your current setting won't be accidentally overwritten.
- Choose Save to force the saving of the current Bulk Email settings. Your settings are normally only saved when you quit the application.
- Choose Delete to remove the current Bulk Email. Please note that this information cannot be retrieved. Ensure you perform an export of your Bulk Emails which will contain a copy of the text data.
Why would I want to Listen to my Emails?!
Unfortunately spelling and grammar mistakes are very common in emails. Getting Bulk Email to speak the Body Plain version of your email aloud is a good way to find errors in your email by speaking the text whereas you might have missed the error visually. Choose Speak Body Plain Text to speak the email. If a portion of the Body Plain text is highlighted then it will speak that text. If nothing is highlighted in the Body Plain text then the whole text field will be spoken.
Clicking the Cancel Speaking will stop the speaking, if it has not reached the end of the email.
Can I Preview my Email in a browser?
Click the Options button to preview your Bulk Email in a different browser. Once your Bulk Email has been written, it is recommended that you ensure it is viewable in a web browser. You may choose to view your Bulk Email through the built-in mini-browser or using your computer's default browser. This may allow you to discover size or drawing issues that were not previously apparent.
Can I send a Test Email first?
Click on the Test button to send your Bulk Email to a single address. It is highly recommended that you send a test copy of your Bulk Email to yourself for testing. This will allow you to ensure the Bulk Email displays in an email window correctly and that any links and buttons are operational. There is nothing worse than having to recall an email or send a second correct email due to errors in the first. Test, test then test again!
When you send a test email the personalisation email-merge values will remain generic, but the ten numbered variables will be fully merged.
What happens when I click the Send button?!
Click on the Send button to begin sending your Bulk Email to all your checked clients. Once you are confident that the Bulk Email is fully tested then click Send. Bulk Email will warn you of any problems with your email (e.g. empty variables) or your clients (e.g. sending too frequently) then confirm that you really want to begin sending. Once you click OK the sending will commence.
Note that once the sending of your Bulk Emails begin, you cannot retrieve sent Bulk Emails. If you are sending Bulk Emails to many clients then you may be able to click the Cancel button to stop sending any future emails. You may then need to view the Previous tab in the Bulk Email Clients window to see what emails have been sent.
Where can I get additional Help?
Click the Options button to view expert advice on sending Bulk Emails. Because of the problem with spamming (almost 70% of all emails), sending bulk emails can be problematic for the unwary. While we have tried to provide you with as much help as possible to let you send emails to your family, friends, colleagues and clients, there is more advice and even legal issues you need to be aware of.
There are three web pages you can open to learn about Spam:
- The Wikipedia web page describing what spam is
- The Wikipedia web page describing what the legal requirements are regarding the sending of unsolicited emails e.g. you MUST allow recipients the ability to opt-out.
- The Spam Assassin web page describing what techniques you should use to reduce the likelihood of your emails getting flagged as spam