What does BCC mean and when should you use it?
If you've ever sent out a mass mailing, whether through social media or via direct mail, then chances are you have come across the term "BCC" at some point. You may also know that this stands for "blind carbon copy," but you might wonder what exactly this means.
In short, the BC part of the acronym simply refers to the fact that the recipient won't receive any information about who else received their message (i.e., only those on your distribution list will get emails). The CCC portion indicates that these people aren't allowed to communicate with one another once they're removed from your distribution list. This prevents them from sending messages back and forth after being added by mistake. And finally, the last part — which many users don't realize was originally called BCC — just means that this person's name isn't included in your original distribution list. In other words, they can send emails to anyone without having access to everyone else's contact info.
So why would someone want to do this? Well, there are several reasons. For example, if you are using an autoresponder service like AWeber to manage follow-up communications with your customers, adding people into multiple lists at once could potentially cause confusion. If you accidentally add two different contacts' addresses onto the same distribution list, both of whom happen to be active members of your subscriber list, you'll end up getting duplicate messages. To prevent this from happening, it's best practice to create separate distribution groups within your account so that no more than 100 people appear under one heading. But if you need to move 200+ subscribers over quickly, this method wouldn't work well.
Another reason people might choose to BCC certain individuals is because they don't trust them enough to share sensitive information directly with others. Maybe you are trying to keep a close circle of friends together, but you don't want to reveal too much personal data until later on down the line. Or perhaps you are running an online campaign where you're looking to gather thousands of signatures and you don't want one user to sign up 50 times in order to rack up rewards points quicker. Whatever the case may be, we're going to walk you through how you can BCC specific people while still maintaining privacy and keeping the system streamlined. So let's dive right in!
How do you address BCC in an email?
The easiest way to include someone in your blind carbon copy group is by selecting them as a BCC field during the compose window. However, depending on your current settings, they might not show up automatically. If this happens, select More Options & Preferences from the top menu bar and go to Mail Setup. Make sure to check the box next to Send/Receive Messages With One Click. Then, click Edit Roles & Permissions again and make sure to tick off the boxes beside Allow Access to Contacts Only. Now, whenever you write out new emails, you will notice that your selected contacts don't show up anywhere in the body of the message itself. Instead, you will only find them listed beneath the signature section at the bottom of the email.
This works great for campaigns where you're building a large database of names, phone numbers, and email addresses. Just put every single contact you plan to collect into BCC fields, hit enter, and send out your email. Your audience will open it up, scan the first page of names, recognize who they belong to, and respond accordingly.
Now that we've covered how easy it is to set up BCCs, let's talk about why doing so comes with pitfalls.
Why BCC should not be used in email?
While BCC has its benefits, it's important to remember that it can be abused as well. As mentioned above, setting up a BCC list is pretty straightforward. Once you start including people in larger batches though, problems begin to arise. When you try to remove people from your list, you run into issues that stem from the aforementioned autoresponder feature. Let's say you wanted to delete Joe Smith from your list. Before deleting him, however, you'd probably want to notify his wife, children, clients, co-workers, etc. That's where things get tricky. While it doesn't stop Joe from receiving future emails, it makes it very difficult for you to track down everyone affected by his removal. After all, you were supposed to tell Sally Jones that her husband Jim had been removed from the list, but now she's lost touch with him entirely. How would you even reach out to people like this?
It gets worse. What if you accidentally give Sally permission to reply to people outside of your BCC group? Suddenly, she'll be able to spam all of your colleagues with promotional material, effectively ruining everything. It becomes exponentially harder to control your lists and maintain confidentiality when you start involving hundreds or thousands of people.
Furthermore, you risk violating federal laws if you fail to properly inform everyone on your list before you initiate your campaign. Without proper consent, you are technically trespassing upon peoples' inboxes and engaging in illegal activity.
Lastly, most companies today require project managers to approve large batch sends prior to hitting the button. Having to navigate around such rules adds extra time and effort. Why waste valuable employees' time when you can avoid all of this hassle altogether?
An alternative solution to creating huge lists is to split your email marketing efforts between BCC and non-BCC distributions. By limiting yourself to fewer people per email, you can focus less on managing lists and more on writing compelling emails. Additionally, you can better protect your company against potential legal repercussions since you're spreading out the number of people on your distribution lists. This allows you to grow your business faster and easier while avoiding headaches along the way.
Is it ethical to use BCC?
As long as you take care to limit the amount of people involved, BCC usage shouldn't pose any major ethical concerns. Some proponents argue that BCC usage ultimately results in higher conversions due to increased transparency, but this isn't always true. Sometimes, it depends on what kind of product you're selling and how you market it. If you sell something highly confidential, it's likely unethical to distribute it widely without letting your customer opt out. On the flip side, if you're trying to build a community of fans eager to learn more about upcoming releases, giving away early spoilers can actually increase sales.
However, if your goal is purely profit, there is no real benefit to hiding pertinent details from your audience. They're already paying money to subscribe to your newsletter, so they deserve full disclosure. Furthermore, ethics aside, if you think that it's possible to earn more profit by withholding key information, then please consider joining us over at InfoWars. We believe our content provides value for readers, regardless of political affiliation.
Do BCC recipients see each other?
Yes, absolutely. There is nothing wrong with sharing private information amongst trusted friends and family. However, it's critical to ensure that your BCCed parties stay anonymous. Otherwise, it's hard to imagine what could possibly motivate someone to participate in anything shady.
For instance, I'm currently working on a piece of software that requires participants to provide accurate proof of identity. All of my test subjects thus far seem perfectly willing to comply, yet none of them have provided me with convincing evidence of their identities. Perhaps they're afraid of retribution from their employers, families, or loved ones. Unfortunately, they haven't told me who gave them that information, meaning that I cannot offer them anonymity. Had I opted to publish their identifying information alongside their responses, they probably would have taken matters into their own hands instead of relying on my judgement.
That said, if you wish to continue participating in questionable activities, feel free to do so. Just bear in mind that you should never endanger innocent lives for minor gains unless you're ready to face serious consequences.
BCC stands for "blind carbon copy." The term was coined by American businessman, philanthropist, inventor, author, and political activist Andrew Carnegie back in 1876. It's been around since then but its usage has evolved substantially over time.
In modern communication, people often BCC others on emails where information or documents are distributed without the recipients' knowledge. This can be done either purposely or accidentally. In both cases -- purposefully or inadvertently -- the result is that only those intended to see certain messages will receive them. And just like that, the concept of BCC came into existence.
The first widespread example of BCC came from an old mailing list system called Mailing List Manager (MLM). MLM had no way of sending out newsletters to subscribers who were not already members so instead, users would send their mailings to themselves and forward them to other members as if it had come directly from the company itself. As such, this method became known as blind carbon copying because there was no indication whether someone actually received your message at all.
As more organizations began using electronic communications, the need for BCC gradually disappeared as long-established methods started fading away. However, the practice lives on today with some businesses still relying heavily on the technology. Nowadays, we have many different ways to communicate via email. Some of these include one-to-one conversations, group chats, video calls, text messaging, etc., which makes BCC less relevant than ever before. But despite being obsolete most of the times, the acronym remains popular among tech experts and internet marketers alike.
So how exactly do you use BCC correctly? How do you use BCC appropriately? What happens if you don't BCC anyone properly? Here are answers to all of these questions and more...
How do you use BCC correctly?
When communicating through any medium, knowing how to use BCC effectively comes down to two main rules:
Be specific about whom you're going to BCC. You may think that everyone who needs to know something should get copies of an internal document or important news item but that doesn't always work in reality. For instance, maybe you want to share details about an upcoming event with 100 employees but only 20 of them really care about attending the party. That means 80% of the recipients won’t benefit from receiving an update. So make sure to choose carefully and avoid broad distribution lists whenever possible.
Make sure you BCC the right person(s) within your organization. If several people need to be copied on a given email, BCC each recipient individually rather than simply typing “CC” (which stands for “carbon copy”). Doing so ensures that every individual gets his/her own version of the email. By doing otherwise, you run the risk of having duplicates end up in multiple folders.
If you must use BCC, remember to check the number of boxes available for you to select per message. Don't leave yourself room for error!
How do you use BCC appropriately?
Sometimes, even though BCC might seem irrelevant nowadays, it can still come in handy. One great example is during crisis situations. While public figures usually announce major events via social media, journalists sometimes rely solely on press releases sent straight to editors. Unfortunately, this approach leaves behind critical parties that could provide valuable insights and perspectives. To solve this issue, companies may opt to create a special BCC address specifically reserved for journalists. They can then use it to pass along sensitive announcements while protecting privacy.
Another potential scenario involves sharing sensitive data with colleagues working remotely. When doing so, executives may decide to give remote workers access to restricted areas or materials. Instead of creating separate accounts for each employee, they can assign him/her a unique password and use BCC to distribute login credentials.
But what if you forget to BCC someone? Or worse yet, what if you accidentally hit the wrong key and type "bcc" instead? What happens next depends on how well you've learned BCC etiquette and how much damage it causes. Most likely, nothing bad will happen. Still, there are instances where bcc mishaps go completely unnoticed until said user receives a spammy message he didn't ask for. Such scenarios typically occur when people aren't familiar with proper BCC practices. Fortunately, there are plenty of resources online to answer common questions regarding bcc errors.
How does the BCC works in email?
Now let's take a look at how the BCC feature functions. First off, unlike the previous examples mentioned above, the basic principle behind BCC applies to any kind of communication channel. Whether you're talking face to face, via phone call, instant messenger, SMS, etc., the underlying idea stays the same. Let's say John Doe sends an email to Sally Smith and Mary Brown. Both women will now receive the exact same message, including attachments unless John decides to add additional content. Even if John sends another email to both women separately, they'll continue seeing the original content.
However, if John adds new comments to the email after hitting Send, the changes made to the initial draft will show up once he hits Reply All. This is due to the fact that replies trigger the preview pane and thus reveal the contents of the entire thread.
That said, if John wishes to hide the rest of the conversation from Sally and Mary, he can simply click Hide Conversation. Once again, this option affects future responses added to the same thread. Therefore, if the sender chooses to do so, he can change his mind later and delete the reply altogether.
How do I BCC a mass email?
There are numerous reasons why you'd want to send out a bulk email. Maybe you're inviting participants to attend an event or launch a product, or perhaps you need to notify clients of an ongoing sale. No matter what you plan to achieve, making sure all recipients read the same thing is crucial. Otherwise, a mixup could cause unnecessary confusion.
To ensure everything goes smoothly, consider using BCC. Simply replace personal addresses with custom ones and fill out the necessary fields accordingly. Then hit Send and wait patiently for confirmation prompts to appear. Remember to double-check your email settings and preferences so you don't miss anything. Also, keep in mind that BCC isn't suitable for large groups. Using it for hundreds of recipients increases the likelihood of mistakes significantly.
If you find yourself constantly forgetting to BCC people, try setting reminders for yourself with Gmail. Go to Settings & Forward Emails and tick Enable Reminders. Next, head to Other People section and set Up Autoreply with Subject line. Choose a generic subject line and enter instructions inside the body of the email. Finally, specify the amount of days ahead you wish to receive notifications.
You've probably heard of CC, which stands for carbon copy (or hardcopy). But have you ever seen BCC or blind carbon copy before? It's one of the most common ways people send emails today, but exactly how do these abbreviations work?
We're going to explain everything about BCC so that you can get more out of this important part of modern communication — whether you're sending a mass email or just want to be sure no one gets something by accident.
CC used to refer to soft copies, meaning only those who were copied would see them. In contrast, BCC means everyone will receive the message. So why did we need another acronym at all? Because many businesses now require anyone receiving the mail to sign up with their company first. If you don't, then others won't even be able to open the message.
So, let's take a look at some examples of each type of email and learn tips for using BCC effectively.
Is it unprofessional to use BCC?
If you're not familiar with BCC yet, there may be a few questions floating around your head. For example, will your team think less of you if you use BCC instead of Cc? Or maybe you feel like including a lot of information in your BCC list because you trust certain colleagues. We'll answer both of these concerns below.
It depends on the situation, really. Some employers frown upon BCC usage due to privacy reasons. However, other companies might ask that any messages sent via BCC include contact info as well as sign-up instructions. This way, employees won't need to click through multiple pages to find where to reach HR or IT support.
In general though, if you're looking to impress your coworkers, BCC is fine! You could also opt to put specific sections of the email in different groups within BCC — say, "team members" versus "managers." That way, your recipients can choose whom they'd prefer to respond to. There's nothing wrong with making such distinctions yourself, too — especially since you can always change it later if needed.
Your bosses might appreciate being given access to BCCed emails without having to log into your account, however. Just make sure they aren't expecting updates from outside sources during business hours. And keep in mind that some workplaces still ban computers entirely, so you might want to avoid putting sensitive material in BCC.
To protect personal boundaries, try keeping your BCC list small. Also, remember that there are risks involved with opening unknown emails, so consider asking trusted colleagues to double check anything suspicious. They can report back to you if they notice anything fishy.
Another reason you might BCC your boss is if you're concerned she isn't checking her own inbox often enough. She probably has lots of pressing matters to attend to, after all.
Does someone know if they are BCC?
Of course, sometimes you wouldn't bother BCC'ing someone unless you wanted to share something confidential. Maybe you want to tell your friend that he missed his favorite TV show last night, but you don't want him to worry that his colleague saw it. Or perhaps you're inviting several guests over to dinner and don't want them to accidentally read the same invitation from dozens of friends.
Either way, once again, it comes down to setting expectations beforehand. Your recipient(s) should be told ahead of time if they weren't included in the initial group of CC'ers. Otherwise, if you forget, they might wonder why they didn't hear about it sooner.
That said, if you want to inform a person specifically, you can add them to BCC right away. Simply hit the Edit button next to their name, scroll down, and select Send Only. Then, simply write whatever you want to say. The recipient will never see the rest of the CC'ed folks.
If you have a large number of people to BCC, you may want to sort them alphabetically instead of adding them manually. You can do this under People & Groups from Settings. From there you can assign names based on department, role, etc., until you arrive at your final selection.
When should you use BCC on an email?
Now we come to the big question: When should you actually BCC someone? Here are three situations where you might want to utilize this helpful tool.
1. Sending bulk announcements
Businesses commonly use BCC for mailing lists. For instance, you might create a newsletter for all managers containing current events, upcoming deadlines, and new projects. Your staff can forward this email onto their subordinates, who can decide individually if they wish to join.
2. Social media posts
Sometimes social networks allow users to tag themselves (like #TeamXYZ), which makes it easier for followers to identify who belongs to a particular group. To prevent your feed from getting cluttered, you can post separately to various subsets of friends/followers using BCC.
Whether you run a blog or are responsible for managing a website, newsletters can help spread word of mouth among your audience. Email subscribers can easily unsubscribe if they're annoyed by constant updates, but they can't hide individual letters. With BCC, you can address every subscriber personally while still giving them the option to stop future correspondence altogether.
Be mindful of timing, though. Don't blast an update to hundreds of people at once. Doing so can cause unnecessary stress and overwhelm readers. Instead, break your news down into digestible chunks over time. A good rule of thumb is to limit your BCC count to 100 per email.
Also, bear in mind that BCC doesn't necessarily imply secrecy. Someone reading an email that was sent via BCC could assume that you meant for them to view it anyway. Use it wisely and treat BCC as a supplement rather than a replacement for proper etiquette.
4. Group chats
Chats are popular nowadays, and there are plenty of apps available to facilitate online discussions. Whether you're running a Discord server or participating in Slack threads, BCC helps ensure that no one misses out.
5. Mail merge campaigns
One effective method of increasing response rates involves merging data between promotional materials and actual forms. Consider combining RSVP cards with voter registration applications, for example, or invitations with event confirmations.
6. Mass emails
This tip applies mostly to freelancers, entrepreneurs, and independent contractors. If you handle customer service requests on behalf of clients, you may want to communicate with numerous parties simultaneously.
For example, if you sell physical products, you could send customers who haven't placed orders in a timely manner reminders via BCC. Likewise, if you're trying to book flights, hotels, car rentals, etc., you can direct potential clients straight to your booking page using BCC. Even better, you can combine travel sites, letting prospects book directly through whichever agency suits their needs best.
7. Event registrations
Anyone attending a conference, festival, convention, etc., can register for a session. As long as you provide attendees with ample warning, however, it shouldn't matter whether they received the confirmation letter or ticket itself. After all, registering for anything is optional.
Confirming reservations lets hosts plan accordingly and prevents cancellations. Plus, it allows visitors to retain proof of payment in case they lose their tickets. Most major hotel chains offer automatic reply functionality for confirming reservations made by phone, text, or email.
9. Nonprofit donations
Donors generally give money voluntarily, so they deserve personalized attention when it counts. While it may seem crass to solicit financial contributions publicly, doing so saves countless dollars spent on postage and envelopes. Plus, donors who donate regularly tend to stay committed supporters over time, so building rapport pays off.
10. Meeting agendas
Agendas contain essential details regarding scheduled sessions, speakers, presenters, meals, breaks, etc. Since everyone typically reads them prior to meetings, it's a waste of resources to distribute them en masse. Furthermore, if participants happen to miss yours, they might end up arriving late or leaving early.
11. Job listings
The job market seems unpredictable, but recruiters depend heavily on applicant tracking systems for success. Unfortunately, many recruitment platforms block links to candidates' profiles. Therefore, listing jobs exclusively via BCC ensures that interested applicants won't encounter roadblocks along the way.
12. Thank-you notes
Some companies request confirmation emails for purchases above $100. Others require receipts for nonrefundable services. Either way, it's polite to thank clients for choosing your product or service, regardless of how much they paid.
13. Holiday greetings
Greeting card stores cater to busy professionals. Many of them charge extra for shipping, so having a separate email dedicated to holiday wishes can save you money and reduce clutter.
14. Invoice templates
Customizing invoice templates takes extra effort, but it's worth it for freelancers, contractors, and startups alike. By automating the process, you free up valuable time to focus elsewhere.
15. Personalized signatures
Signatures act as virtual handshake agreements. Companies use them to convey professionalism and establish credibility with prospective clients. Of course, you don't need to go overboard with customization, but paying special attention to formatting can pay dividends in the long run.
16. Appointment reminder mails
Patients and doctors rely on appointment schedulers to coordinate visits and recover lost times. These tools usually feature built-in BCC features, meaning patients won't receive duplicate notifications.