Why can’t I do email marketing with Outlook?

Why can’t I just use outlook to send bulk emails?

Let’s start out this article on the right foot, shall we? Outlook sucks for sending marketing emails. Why? Because you are missing so many components that will make you successful.

Why can't I use Outlook to send marketing emails?

Outlook is fine for communicating with your customers and co-workers, but don’t expect it to double as a “free” email marketing tool. Here’s a list of some of the reasons Outlook won’t work for sending bulk marketing email:

  • Poor HTML!
    Outlook uses Microsoft Word to create the html necessary to send out a nice looking email. The problem is that Word’s creation of html is so bad that your email can get flagged as spam by the receiving email server which is looking for poorly formed html as a sign of a spammer. That’s right, even the quality of your html is judged by spam tools.  Use a real email marketing product that forms proper html to avoid getting flagged as a spammer.
  • No tracking of clicks or opens
    If you don’t know who is clicking and opening your emails, you don’t know who your “engaged” subscribers are. Not knowing this important fact will get your emails blocked.  How? Email receivers automagically monitor how many of their customers are opening and clicking YOUR email. And, if not enough of them are engaging with your email, they start blocking you even if these recipients are double opt-in subscribers who love you dearly, and have sworn allegiance to you as Grand Poo-Bah. You should remove subscribers who are not engaged in the last 90-120 days or so. Outlook won’t give you this info.
  • No automatic bounce removal
    How much time do you have on your hands? I have so much time on my hands that I write this blog during a time that I should be asleep.  In case that was too subtle, I don’t have any free time.  And since time is not available to me, I certainly don’t have time to manually remove every hard bounce that comes back to me, or every person that replies with “Unsubscribe” in the subject line.  That’s why I use a real email tool that handles all that for me.
  • BCC email looks like spam
    If you use Outlook to send bulk email, and BCC a bunch of email addresses, receiving email servers greet your email with a nice, cheery, “Hello, you are spam, welcome to our spam box” greeting.  It looks like spam so it’s treated like spam.

  • No authentication
    When you use Outlook to send your email, you are getting no email authentication.  What in the heck is email authentication?  These are technologies that tell the receiving email provider who you are, that you are announcing your identity and domain, and are doing so such that you couldn’t possibly be a spammer.  When you use a real email marketing tool, they provide you with authentication technologies like DKIM, DomainKeys, SenderID, DMARC, and SPF.  Sometimes you need to also have your website guy do a little tweek to your domain record, but your email marketing tool will give you instructions on how to do this.  Let’s put it this way, if you don’t use email authentication, a huge amount of your email is being blocked at this very moment.  Your email isn’t even reaching your subscribers.
  • No control over unsubscribing
    Not only do you have to manually handle unsubscribe requests, but your customers have no subscription preference center to opt in and out of the different emails that you offer.  What customers want is to see a pretty little webpage where they can check cute little boxes to indicate which bulk emails they want from you and which they don’t.  If you’re not using a real email marketing tool, your customers can’t do this, and they pout profusely about it.
  • No personalization
    Finally, using Outlook for bulk email, how are you going to send an email that has personalization on it so it can say things like:  “Dear Mikey, as a kid, Life cereal was your favorite, and now it’s Super Fiber Overblow, we’d like to offer you a 15% discount on your next order…”  Every field in red represents data from your database now being displayed as a merge field which would be automagically filled in with the information you have stored about your subscriber, Mikey. Think of how powerful this email message is instead of sending Mikey an email that says “Dear Customer, we use stupid Outlook to send bulk emails which means we can’t personalize your email even though we know your favorite cereal, and so we can’t offer you a discount on it.”  If you use Outlook for sending marketing email, you get no personalization.


Hey Mikey! He likes it!


About Nate Goodman

USA TODAY BESTSELLING AUTHOR Nathan Goodman is a freelance fiction writer and the author behind The Special Agent Jana Baker Spy-Thriller Series. "A terrorist on the loose, a country in panic, and time is running out..." FOR A FREE COPY of book one, visit the author's website.