5 Reasons Why You Can’t Send Cold Emails Using MailChimp

5 Reasons Why You Can’t Send Cold Emails Using MailChimp

We’ve had a lot of questions from people new to cold email asking if they can use MailChimp or other email marketing automation platforms (Campaign Monitor, GetResponse, Constant Contact) to send cold emails.

The short answer is: no, you can’t send cold emails from MailChimp as this is not permitted in their Terms of Use.

In this article we wanted to explain the reasons why MailChimp doesn’t allow cold emails as well as outline the best methods to send out cold email campaigns.

Let’s first begin with the 4 reasons why you can’t send cold emails using MailChimp:

Reason 1 – It violates MailChimp’s Terms of Use

MailChimp is a popular marketing automation platform used by millions of people worldwide for email marketing. MailChimp was specifically built to send marketing emails, not cold emails. This is reflected in their Terms of Use, which states:

You must be able to point to an opt-in form or show other evidence of consent for bulk email.

MailChimp Acceptable Use Policy

Since cold emails by nature are non opt-in, sending cold email using MailChimp violates their acceptable use policy.

Reason 2 – Emails sent from MailChimp come from shared IP Addresses

MailChimp sends over a billion emails a day. To achieve such a gargantuan feat, MailChimp uses an army of their own servers to send emails. This means that emails that you send from MailChimp will be delivered from an IP address assigned to a MailChimp server that is shared amongst thousands of other MailChimp users.

Most of the biggest email services such as Gmail, Yahoo, & Outlook use reputation scoring to rank the likelihood that an email is spam. Klint Finley from Wired uses the following analogy to sum up reputation scoring: “Think of it as a sort of credit rating for email senders“. Reputation scoring involves analysing the IP address an email is sent from to see if it has sent spam in the past. IP addresses who have a history of sending spam get penalised, resulting in their emails being flagged as spam by Gmail & other providers.

Since MailChimp emails are delivered from shared IP Addresses, deliverability is outside of your control & you could potentially be punished by the actions of other MailChimp users. In a worst case scenario your emails could be flagged as a spam even if you don’t have any previous history of spam & your email content is legitimate.

Reason 3 – Your emails are more likely to be labelled as “Promotions”

When categorising emails, Google will take into account a number of factors to determine if an email  is a Promotion. These factors include the number of links, if an unsubscribe link is detected, use of styling & images, as well as the use of promotional language.

Whilst these factors are easy to control (e.g. you can choose how many links are included in your email, or if you want to include images or promotional language), one factor Google uses to determine if your email is a Promotion that is outside of your control is where your email is sent from. Specifically, if your email is sent from an email sending provider like MailChimp which is predominantly used for marketing emails, Google is more likely to categorise it as a Promotion than if was sent directly from your inbox.

Gmail Inbox Categories/Tabs For Cold Email

Reason 4 – You can’t control how many emails are sent each day & when they are sent

When sending emails, MailChimp servers will break a mass email campaign up into smaller batches. After sending the first batch, Mailchimp will check to see how many recipients opened or clicked the email, or unsubscribed to then determine if the mass email campaign is from a spammer. If there are poor results from the initial batch, MailChimp will stop the email campaign or make the next batch smaller & slow down the number of emails sent each day.

Whilst this process helps MailChimp maintain their sender reputation, it also means that MailChimp users cannot control when their emails are sent and how many are sent each day. Several studies have shown that the day & time that you send cold emails will affect open rates, meaning that if you use MailChimp to send cold emails you will not be able to schedule exact delivery dates to maximise the chances that your recipients open your email.

Reason 5 – You can’t send emails to purchased lists from MailChimp

A common strategy when sending cold emails is to purchase email addresses from list provider services. Cold emails are then sent to the addresses on these purchased lists. Whilst there is a lot of discussion on whether using purchased lists is an effective tactic, with numerous articles arguing against this practice (including articles from optinmonster, vision6, & Constant Contact), the fact remains that this is a strategy used by many cold emailers.

You won’t use purchased, rented, or third-party lists of email addresses.

MailChimp Terms of Use Policy

MailChimp specifically bans the use of purchased email lists in their Terms of Use Policy, and will “suspend or terminate your account” if you are found to be using a purchased list.

So, how should I send cold emails?

Cold emails should be sent from a platform that:

  1. Was specifically built to send cold emails, where you will not be violating terms of use
  2. Sends emails from an IP address where you control deliverability
  3. Sends emails from an IP address that the major email service providers will not categorise as a “Promotion”
  4. Gives you control over when emails are sent & how many are sent each day

actionable.me is a purpose built cold email platform that ticks the above boxes, with features including:

  • Emails sent directly from your Gmail/Outlook/IMAP account, to allow you to control deliverability
  • Not sent from a marketing automation platform’s server, so will not be categorised as spam or a promotion
  • Configurable daily send limits
  • Configurable scheduled email delivery dates & times to maximise open rates

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