Thinking of CC’ing Your Subscribers? Think Again!

You have a message you want to get out to all of your contacts NOW. You’ve been meaning to get an account with an email marketing service provider, but haven’t done so yet. What do you do? Are you just going to use that carbon copy (cc) option your email service has?


Using cc to send out your emails will only hurt your email marketing efforts. Besides losing out on all the features an email marketing service can provide, you can damage your reputation as an online marketer.

Why is cc’ing so bad? We’ll break it down for you…

Violation of Privacy

When you cc people on an email, everyone can see the addresses that email was sent to. This can be a problem for a number of reasons:

  1. Some of your subscribers may use those email addresses to send their own messages to.
  2. Spammers target these types of emails when data mining. If they find yours, they may be able to collect your subscribers’ information.
  3. Even if your subscribers’ information doesn’t get abused, they’ll be able to tell you aren’t taking steps to keep their information safe.
  4. There can be a “reply all” mishap. There are plenty of horror stories about an email meant for one person getting sent to an entire group of people.
  • Takeaway: If subscribers find they can’t trust you with their information, they certainly aren’t going to buy anything from you or want to remain on your mailing list.


Are you familiar with the CAN-SPAM Act?

The CAN-SPAM Act, a federal law with a set of rules for commercial emails, requires you include a valid physical postal address, along with a clear explanation on how to unsubscribe, in every email you send out.

This information is added automatically when you use an email marketing service, but it won’t if you’re using your personal email account. This means the responsibility falls on you to remember to do this every single time.

But what happens if you forget?

  • Takeaway: If you don’t have your postal address and clear information on how to unsubscribe, you are in violation of federal law.

Substandard List Management

If a subscriber marks your message as spam, they need to be promptly removed from your list.

Email marketing services have an automated feedback loop that can identify and remove that subscriber, but not your personal email. Just like that, you’ve opened yourself up to more complaints that will negatively effect your sender reputation.

Same goes for if someone tries to unsubscribe. You’ll need to constantly be on top of your unsubscribe requests so you don’t send messages to subscribers that opted out. Processing unsubscribe requests in a timely matter is also another rule under the CAN-SPAM Act.

Another point you should keep in mind, your ability to track subscriber activity for that cc’d email will be limited. Your list may be made up of inactive email addresses not even reading your messages, and you’d never know.

Filters are becoming more strict, and messages can be filtered because of inactive email addresses and high complaints, two problems we already identified you might be having from using your regular email service.

  • Takeaway: If you don’t manage your list properly, your messages will be less likely to reach your subscribers’ inboxes, and your campaign will become less effective.

Sender Limits and Deliverability Problems

When you’re using your personal email, Internet Service Providers (ISPs) limit the number of emails you can send at a time. This will make your email marketing efforts much more time consuming. Instead of just creating one message in your email marketing service, you’d need to create multiple copies. And instead of everyone getting it at once, you’d have to send it in waves.

But the even bigger problem you’d face is having your messages end up in the junk folder. ISPs can filter messages for a number of reasons, and sending to too many people is one of them.

  • Takeaway: If you’re cc’ing a lot of people, your message can get filtered and your subscribers may not even get to see your message.

Don’t Sabotage Your Online Marketing Efforts

Beginning to realize you can be your own worst enemy? Fortunately email marketing services like ours can change this by keeping your reputation safe and your deliverability high.

If you want to get your email marketing campaign started on the right note, try an AWeber account for free for the first month. Your subscribers will appreciate it – and so will you!


  1. Tikyd

    6/20/2011 2:43 pm

    Thank you for this article. I did not know that people used cc for email marketing. In terms of deliverability, are there any stats about the average percentage of messages that are not delivered using a normal email address compared to aweber for example?

  2. Carol

    6/21/2011 8:46 am

    What are your views on BCC’ing?

  3. Ryan

    6/21/2011 9:05 am

    Great information. I get asked all the time when I am approached by a business on why they can’t just send out the emails on their own. Fine if you are only sending out a few, but the whole point of email marketing is to grow a list and keep contact with that list. If you are not able to control the amount of emails that is being delivered, or the exact times they are delivered, then all of your email marketing will be for not.

  4. Nomusa

    6/21/2011 9:06 am

    Than you for the information. Would one get the same problems if one uses the Bcc for emailing from their main email address?

  5. Jeff Wilson

    6/21/2011 12:43 pm

    A lot of good information. How awful if someone were to, “Reply to All” with a valid complaint. yeks! That’s a fast-track to total sabotage!

  6. Crystal Gouldey

    6/21/2011 2:23 pm

    Tikyd- Because a “normal email address” would include a good number of ISPs, I don’t believe there is an average for that. AWeber’s deliverability is over 99% though!

    Carol and Nomusa- BCC’ing would have the same exact problems as CC’ing. The only difference is subscribers can’t see the other email addresses the message was sent to, but all the other problems are the same.

  7. DSmith

    6/21/2011 4:21 pm

    Great point about cc’ing subscribers. My company Broadband Comparison UK are just looking into doing email marketing as we have built our email subscriber list to a size that warrants we start email marketing.

    Does AWeber send emails individually to a list to avoid this, is done as a schedule or all individually in one go?

  8. Crystal Gouldey

    6/22/2011 3:12 pm

    AWeber sends each subscriber their own copy of the email, thus avoiding the inherent problems with cc’ing. Broadcast messages are the ones you would schedule for a certain date and time, and they go out to all your subscribers at the same time.

  9. Sabrina Umstead Smith

    6/22/2011 4:53 pm

    Thanks so much for this information. It can be disturbing to receive cc’d containing you email information as people do copy and paste that list to send more information that sometimes has viruses. This was very helpful!

  10. Michelle

    8/19/2011 5:58 am

    “Filters are becoming more strict, and messages can be filtered because of inactive email addresses and high complaints, two problems we already identified you might be having from using your regular email service.” – this is worth sharing with others. Interesting.

  11. Rob Shea

    11/28/2012 8:01 pm

    Would something like this also pertain to Employers sending out e-mails to employees and including ALL of the employees’ e-mail addresses in the CC: field? By doing so, all employees listed would then have access to other employees’ e-mail addresses and our right to privacy would be violated. If this is the case, what recourse do we have against the individual who sent out the message that included e-mails of employees in our department? Thanks!