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E-mailing 6000 existing customers

I need to e-mail 6000 of my existing customers; how?



1:27 pm on Dec 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I've got a list of 6,000 e-mail addresses (in text format) of customers that have purchased goods off of me in the past year and I want to write a quick e-mail thanking them all for their support over my first year in business and to wish them happy Christmas.

I only want to mail them once and although I could use mailing list software, I don't want it to look like they're on a mailing list (this is extremely important as I don't want it to look like I'm spamming my own customers).

Ideally, the e-mail would look as though it was sent to that one person alone.

This really is going to be a one off (excluding next Xmas of course) - I'm not asking your advice on how to spam people!


1:41 pm on Dec 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

To be perfectly honest, I donít read the well-intended messages that I get thanking me for doing business. There is so much junk mail, I just delete what I know is current business.

I would check with your ISP to make sure that they donít shut you down for doing a mass emailing. They are taking a lot of heat and might not give you a warning.



2:11 pm on Dec 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

There are lots of bulk e-mailing programs that could handle this very easily - GroupMail and MAch5 e-mailer both work from the desktop, and there are several other web-based programs like Vertical Response.

I agree that your customers may not really appreciate the thought. If you do send this out, make sure it is clear to the customers that they can opt out and receive nothing further from you.


2:16 pm on Dec 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

You should put a coupon for x% off in this message. Don't spam them with useless stuff, they won't read your message the next time.


2:19 pm on Dec 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

I wouldn't send them a non-essential email either.

The conversation could continue though, because there are situations in which mass emailing is a good idea. One such time is that of a manufacturer product recall (particularly in regard to safety). Although it has never happened to me, it would be interesting to know how to do this without being penalised by your hosting service for this. And in an emergency, it may be useful to know how to do this in advance instead of a mad panic at the time!

But I still stick by the statement: Unless the email is useful communication, don't send it. Useful communication does not include advertising, marketing, research, etc... as it is the customers viewpoint you should look at: only send it if you think they'll view it as useful.


2:27 pm on Dec 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

My personal thinking was that many users would have ordered and then forgot the company name so when it came to reorder they weren't sure of the address to head to. By sending this e-mail would just be a friendly reminder that we're still here.

Something just saying Happy Christmas would I believe impress a number of my customers, although the point is well taken that some people wouldn't like it which is why it would be made clear that it was completely one off.


2:47 pm on Dec 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

We send a non sales happy holiday card every year. Don't kid yourself that customers don't appreciate it. They do, ALOT. I wish I could let you read the replys we get from our customers when we send it.

It may seem like junk mail to you, but lots of people don't even know that bulk senders exist. They think it's a very personal touch and they appreciate that you took the time to thank them and wish them a happy holiday. They don't think it is pointless, and the holiday email has the lowest opt-out rate of all the emails we send.

Customer retention things like this can affect your bottom line as much as any sales thing you send out.


2:58 pm on Dec 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

you have to be careful too, though... I currently get around 20-30 merry christmas messages per day ON OTP OF REGULAR SPAM.

could I care any less how personal or well meant they are? Hardly!



3:01 pm on Dec 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

In the past, I would have agreed with you that it's a nice jesture to send holiday greetings, but today hmmm it all depends on how much spam each person is getting. This has been the spammiest year so far. In 2001, only about 7% of email was spam. Today, it's over 50%. Those who don't get much of it may think your note is nice, but the others could very well consider you as a spammer even though that's not your intention.


6:27 pm on Dec 21, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

if you have ssh access just call your php or perl script from the commmand line:

php sendMails.php

You could also call it as a background job if it takes too long or schedule it with a cron job


12:18 am on Dec 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I managed to create a copy of my mailing list CGI script with the full list of e-mail addresses ever given rather than just those used on the official mailing list. Of course, I used a problem to remove duplicates first of all before sending out the mailing and I managed to remove the line that added the option to opt-out of the list as I donít tend to use this particular list again.

I did state to all customers that it was a completely one off mailing and although I didn't receive a significant number of hits as a result (which was not the aim of the mailing, nor did I expect it), I did receive the following.

** Out of 6000 people mailed I received back the following **
- 2 people requesting to be removed from the mailing list despite my reminder that it was a completely one off. I do plan to send one back, personally addressed and written just confirming that it was a completely one off and they won't be disturbed again.

- Several phone calls wishing me and my staff a happy Xmas.

- Dozens upon dozens of e-mails wishing all of us a happy Xmas, thanking us for the mailing and wishing us best luck for the coming year.

It would appear that there is still room for a company that is very customer oriented to e-mail their customers as a completely one off and receive good results. The responses that have been received from this mailing have been so good that several of them will be printed and used as testimonials.

There is of course a vast difference between wishing existing customers a genuine Happy Xmas and spamming them aimlessly and somewhere along the way I believe that several of you have forgotten the difference.



12:40 am on Dec 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

>somewhere along the way I believe that several of you have forgotten the difference.

Not at all sure why you feel that way. Just looked to me that people here were trying to point out to you that many users get so many e-mail messages - spam and otherwise - that non-essential messages are often not appreciated.

You had good results, and that's great.


4:55 am on Dec 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Thanks for the feedback. It's nice to know that type of thing works well.

One thing I would mention though is unless all your customers are Christians, it's probably a good idea to stay as PC as possible. Ok, ok, this is pretty fresh in my mind because I just wished a jew a Merry Christmas (D'oh! a reflex: she wished me a Merry Christmas, by the time I returned the wish I realized how silly it was). Although most people will just laugh it off, it could annoy some that won't bother to tell you they won't bother shopping at your site anymore.

Oh... and 2 removal requests out of 6000 mailings is pretty remarkable; I would have imagined it would be closer to 2%!

Happy Holidays! :)


6:28 am on Dec 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member jomaxx is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

So what if you got several phone calls and dozens of email responses? You sent six THOUSAND emails. I wouldn't say this falls within any legal definition of spam, but "spamming them aimlessly" does sound pretty close to what you did.


1:17 pm on Dec 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

He had a business relationship with them. It wasn't like he randomly pulled 6000 email addresses off the internet. They were his customers and he sent a nice card thanking them for their business. He wasn't even trying to sell them anything. It's a pretty far stretch from spam.

I think too many people are ready to pull the trigger in claiming spam.

But, I do have to say, for future refrence and your legal protection, even if you do not intend to mail a list again, make sure you add an opt-out funtion. It is now something that is required, at least here in the US, in any mass email sent.

Shannon Moore

5:01 am on Dec 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I just received a message that said "Happy Holidays" in the header and only contained a link in the message body. Right clicked and got the target of the link...sure enough, SPAM.

Depends entirely on the wording and my mood at the time, but most non-family or friend "happy holidays" emails fly into my trash faster than you can say "eggnog"!

I don't like receiving emails from commercial entities unless I've ASKED to receive email from them or am currently engaged in a transaction with them (eg. a service provider, like my web host; an open order at an ecom site, etc.)

I had to ABANDON an email address this year due to excessive spam, even with filters. I've been active online since before the Net and have never seen this much detritus cluttering up the "air"waves. So, email with care.

To Original Poster: It's not a "one time" mailing if you plan on mailing it out every Christmas. That would be why folks unsub "even though" you've told them it's a one time mailing.


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