How to avoid the dreaded "Send To All" email breach

Have you ever hit “Send to All” when you didn’t mean to? Or have you ever send an email to multiple people and put their addresses in the “cc” line instead of “bcc” line?

Massive stress, right?

Apart from the breach of privacy that the email content may be, sharing clients’ email addresses leaves them open to all sorts of privacy violations including spam and of course, feeling vulnerable. If you have made this mistake, or fear making this mistake, this is how you can completely avoid the possibility, as well as fulfilling your data protection obligations.

What is a Mailing List?

A mailing list is simply a collection of email addresses saved into a message sending platform in such a way that privacy can be protected and various marketing data can be tracked. This might be tracking open rates, click throughs to your website or product, purchases, bookings and unsubscribe rates. 

Who Uses a Mailing List?

Everyone with a website. People who want to sell you something in the future. Community creators. Teachers, leaders, influencers. Therapists!

Who Receives Mailing List Emails?

Everyone with an email account. If they annoy you, but you want to stay on a list for promotions and news, you can set up a filter in your email account to skip the inbox and go to a folder you can name “Mailing Lists” or “Read Later” and then you can check in when you have some free time. 

Mailing List Mistakes

I have made several, although I am sure I still have plenty to make as I am very early in my mailing list career. 

The very first mailout I ever sent from PPP had a broken link in the first sentence and everybody clicked the broken link instead of the functional ones later on. Very embarrassing. Especially for someone who considers herself to have superpower level proofreading and editing skills! I recommend sending test emails in advance of any mailout. 

How are mailing lists relevant to client work?

I have a mailing list of current clients. Every couple of months, I send a practice update or reminder.

In October, when clients started coming into the office with coughs and colds in order to avoid paying cancellation fees, I sent out my Illness Policy. I let them know they could always switch to working online and ever since, as soon as they feel a bit under the weather, they avoid the office and we do our sessions online.

I also like to remind clients that if they have administrative or scheduling queries they can contact my assistant for quicker answers on those topics.

I also send my upcoming holidays, trainings and seminar dates in advance via mailing list. If you are thinking to yourself, well, we can just bcc from email or send individually without setting up a mailing list, you are right.

However, if you accidentally input email addresses in the cc bar, or click on the wrong email address, you could easily breach someone’s privacy. The mailing list keeps you safe from that very common and easy error.

Permission from Clients

On my Contact Details form, I include a section requesting permission to contact clients via SMS, Email, telephone, secure video conferencing and newsletter or mailing list. This gives me signed permission and then they are added to the list. This is necessary in order to comply with privacy legislation. 

If clients do not want to hear from me anymore, they are able to unsubscribe at the bottom of each email. 

Avoiding Unsubscribes

My clients will usually mention receiving the practice newsletter and if not, I check in to make sure they acknowledge the information it contains. These are the guidelines I follow when using a mailing list platform to communicate with my clients:

    1. I discuss upcoming holidays and practice updates in sessions and consider my mail outs as written notice clients can refer to when they need to look something up e.g. for scheduling purposes
    2. I limit my client newsletter mail outs to one per quarter or 2 months at most frequent
    3. I only write relevant new information or reminders. I do not advertise, market or send any generic information

Let Us Know What You Think

If you would like to include a mailing list in your practice procedures, you may wish to purchase a Contact Details Form which obtains your contents permission to contact then in this way.

If you have feedback on our website, mailouts and blogs, please drop us a line so we can adapt and respond.

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