Mass Email - Best Practices

This document contains information about how to best proceed when sending mass emails to the campus community using your own service, DoIT WiscList, or DoIT Mass Email. By following these guidelines, you can reduce system load, prevent unintended outages, maintain a positive relationship with your audience, and reduce complaints and calls to your Help Desk.

Service Impact

Due to the large populations of Mass Email audiences, improper preparation can cause service outages and/or significant delay when sending a mailing.

  • Mailing System Considerations
    • Can the email servers handle your message?
    • Will your email take a considerable time to transmit?
    • Will it reduce the capacity of the email service in any way?
    • Are there other important communications that may be inhibited while the email service you’re using is under increased load?
  • Service Load: If your email instructs the readers to link to another service, such as My UW, Learn@UW or other enterprise applications, be aware of the limitations of those services.
    • Check the outage page for news of planned service outages around the time your email is to be sent. If it is absolutely necessary to send an email near an outage window, be sure to inform the reader that the service may not be available during a certain time.
    • Contact DoIT's Change Manager at to make sure other work on the system that you are referring readers to is not planned.
    • Communicate with the service provider. There is no better way to gauge whether or not a service can support the load that you’re referring than to ask the people in charge of that service. Diminished capacity or unpublicized issues may leave the service in jeopardy if you have not cleared a mass referral with the service provider.

      You should inform the service provider of the following:

      • Intended audience and estimated number of recipients
      • Time and date scheduled for the mailing
      • Proposed content of the mailing (call to action)

Email Content/Delivery Impact

Follow these guidelines to ensure your mailing is successfully delivered to your intended audience.

  • The best time to send mass emails is very early in the morning or at the end of the business day. Delivery time for mass email and all campus email will increase if sent during the middle of the business day.
  • Sending emails in batches helps mitigate the negative impact of mass emails (the Mass Email service does this for you).
    • Load on email services is reduced so that normal operation can continue.
    • User interaction will be spread out and reduce the likelihood of a service outage.
  • Digitally signing mass emails gives the audience reassurance the message is legitimate. Visit UW Digital ID for more information.
  • Consider the size of attachments. Sending even small attachments to thousands of people increases the processing and delivery time for all email across campus. WiscList imposes a 5MB limit per message. This includes message content and attachments.
  • Many email systems, including WiscList, impose limits on the number of messages you may send per minute, hour or day. See WiscMail Terms of Service - Throttling for details.
  • Eliminate duplicate messages by making sure you are not sending to the same recipient from multiple lists.
  • Be sure that the content is relevant to the target audience. This can avoid unnecessary support calls to the Help Desk and limit reader frustration.
  • Ask a third party to review your message for clarity, accuracy, and link functionality.

Remember that it is better to take the time to get it right the first time than to deal with the consequences of an oversight in a mass email.

Keywords:mass email communications best practices   Doc ID:28471
Owner:Josh O.Group:WiscList
Created:2013-02-04 10:46 CSTUpdated:2021-01-04 07:52 CST
Sites:DoIT Help Desk, WiscList
Feedback:  0   0