Sending marketing emails to your customers from Outlook, or any other personal email service provider, may seem innocent enough. No harm, no foul, right? Actually, it’s quite the opposite. Not only does it violate major laws, it can have some negative effects on your business, too.

We sat down with a few of the brilliant minds that help run SnapRetail to learn more about the potential repercussions of using a personal email account rather than an email marketing provider to promote your business.

We took their advice and broke it down into four important categories. Here’s what they had to say:


  • CAN-SPAM (for marketers in the US) and CASL (for marketers in Canada) are laws that help to protect consumers from receiving unwanted commercial messages. Your personal email account does not give your recipients a way to opt out of your email communications. This is a direct violation of both CAN-SPAM and CASL laws. And when you violate these laws, you are at risk of losing your ability to email.


  • Your marketing emails will lack the professionalism that an email marketing service can provide and your store’s brand integrity can suffer.

  • The way that Outlook displays emails is completely different than most other email platforms. If you build a marketing email strictly through Outlook the chances are very good that it will look very messy in your customers’ inboxes if they are using other email services.

  • Outlook and other general email service providers do not easily provide the ability to insert dynamic content, which means you cannot personalize your emails with customer information such as first name and birthday.

  • Customers are more likely to perceive your email communications as SPAM and delete them immediately if you send emails to customers promoting your business through your personal email account.


  • If someone were to request to be removed from your email list, you’d need to keep track of that outside of your email.

  • You lose the ability to have customers sign up to receive your email communication through a signup form on your social networks and websites.

  • Sending large quantities of email from free email services could get your identified as a SPAMMER and have your account shutdown.

  • Using an email marketing service is the easiest and most effective way to minimize and support list management efforts.

  • Outlook offers limited scheduling capabilities and, in order for your scheduled emails to send, your computer needs to be on and running Outlook at the scheduled time. Not to mention, there’s no way to see a calendar of all of your future emails.


  • Measuring the results of your email campaigns is necessary to know what messages are (or are not) working well with your audience. Outlook and other general email account providers offer no reporting, so you can’t monitor your campaign results and make appropriate tweaks.

  • The lack of reporting makes it difficult to gauge how effective your email marketing efforts are.

  • Open rates and click-through rates are higher for businesses when using an email marketing service versus using a personal email account.

In short, Outlook and all of the other personal email service providers, such as Gmail, Yahoo and Hotmail, are simply tools for general emailing purposes. They are not designed to be a marketing tool and, subsequently, they are missing key features that you need in order to effectively and successfully market your business through email communications.