Despite many advances in telecommunication, email remains the most preferred means of communication. It serves most needs internally and externally thanks to its simplicity, security, and straightforwardness. Most importantly, it is instantaneous. Over 280 billion emails are reported to have been sent in 2018 alone with that number expanding to over 306 billion in 2020 when most of the world was working from home.
The ease of using email notwithstanding, etiquette is highly appreciated when it comes to ensuring communication is logical, systematic, and civil. The most common among these is the use of CC and BCC. Typically appearing on one side of the recipient box, these are short forms of ‘carbon copy’ and ‘blind carbon copy’.
What do CC and BCC do?
These fields are present when you are defining the recipient of your email. Flushed right in the ‘To’ field, Cc and Bcc appear as clickable links that open text boxes. Their function is to enable you to add more recipients to your email.
What does CC do?
As previously established, CC stands for ‘carbon copy’. It originates from pre-internet days when, to duplicate a letter you were sending out, you would typically place a carbon paper between the original letter you were writing, and the blank one below it. The pressure input of your pen against the paper and carbon would cause your writing to be duplicated. So in essence, when you CC in an email, you are simply sending out more than one copy of your email.
‘CCeed’ is the term used to indicate that the email has been addressed to more than one recipient. If you are the one receiving a CCeed email, you can view the list of all other people that have been copied.
How is it different from BCC?
The blind carbon copy or BCC is similarly a way of copying your emails to other people. Unlike the carbon copy, however, you cannot see the list of recipients who were copied in the email. It is referred to as ‘blind’ because no recipient will be able to see any other addresses that have received the email. It offers a higher level of discretion which is desired in corporate settings with cascading levels.
Is automation possible with email?
For owners of blogs or e-commerce sites where emailing is already a feature, they can easily and conveniently sign up with an email service provider (ESP) to help automate emails. Email management features are offered in some abundance and they include the ability to sort out recipients based on your predefined lists and set triggers to automatically send emails when certain actions are performed.
Will I need An Email Service Provider?
ESPs introduce convenience and structure to your emailing process. A lot of value is still attached to emails despite the proliferated use of social media. And because people are more engaged with their inboxes than ever, you can maximize your social media marketing efforts, blogging and e-commerce ventures by using an ESP for your email management. It perhaps offers the most hassle-free way of engaging your audience and connecting with people who are in tune with your brand.
How do I email faster?
Setting up emails for your website, or store can be frustrating. It requires a time commitment and a bit of technical know-how. With an email platform, however, you get a time-efficient, money-saving alternative to send well-crafted custom emails without doing any kind of coding. As you get an automation feature as well, you can create easy workflows, and keep track of your email performance with different metrics to see how each of your campaigns performs.
Do you need them?
Most users send one-recipient emails and rarely need to copy anyone. Regardless, these functions remain accessible because they serve a vital purpose.
When do you need CC?
Whereas CC offers a way to add recipients to your email, the same can be done by including the same addresses in the ‘To’ field and separating them with a comma.
Why should you use CC then?
It all has to do with email etiquette. The unspoken rule is that ‘To’ be only used only for the most important recipients of your email. Any party that has a secondary receiving role is Cceed so they can be privy to the ongoing communication and have their own personal copies of it. The function also allows all recipients to be aware of all the parties who have received the email.
What of BCC?
The use of BCC is more deliberate for these two reasons.
- You do not want the main recipient to be aware of sent copies.
A prime example is in a company setting when dealing with employees. If there are performance or disciplinary issues with one of the workers, you can email them, but then BCC their manager or HR so they are in correspondence. The employee will perceive the discretion of the email, but in reality, you have established communication lines with other relevant team members.
- You have a large emailing list
When emailing a large list of recipients that are strangers to each other, like your friends and family, you can BCC them instead. They will have the impression that you have only emailed them, as no other addresses will appear in the email. It also makes the email tidier, as unlike CCs that display all receivers, however many, the BCC with its hidden recipients, appears cleaner.
Don’t forget to use an email platform when sending emails to your mailing list. This simple move will enable your emails to reach their intended inboxes, instead of being flagged for spam. They will also look more professionally done.
With the functions of CC and BCC having been well elaborated, you can now confidently use them in your emails and as a result, improve your etiquette. They are among the best practices in email sending and allow you to exercise discretion by letting you decide who sees the other recipients of your emails.