Why Outlook and Gmail Are The Wrong Tools for Newsletters and Parent Notifications


We hope you’ll learn something new about email in this article, and get ideas for improving your school communications!

Just like you, we rely on Outlook or Gmail for our everyday emails. Do you know why your school district likely uses a different system when it comes to emailing ALL parents at once, such as your student information system, SchoolMessenger™ or MailChimp™? Most users are not aware of the limitations of Outlook and Gmail. Microsoft 365™ and Gmail™ are not intended for bulk email outside your domain. You may be limited to sending an Outlook email to 500 recipients or less, and Microsoft has a rate limit of 30 messages per minute (that’s slow!). Microsoft and Google provide excellent general-purpose email, but may not meet your needs when you need to notify parents of a school closure or emergency, and every minute counts. Services like SchoolMessenger™ and Appazur (with help from industry leader Mailgun.com) enable you to send many more emails, much faster! (How fast? You could send 25,000 messages per minute with Mailgun™, and large email blasts are almost always done in less than 5 minutes.) These services may also have advanced reporting and tracking features as we’ll discuss at the end of this article.

Connect SchoolMessenger + Appazur

Does your school district provide SchoolMessenger™ for email or robocalls? When you have an important message to communicate to your school community, we know you want it to be easy. It is simple to connect your Appazur app to SchoolMessenger! Your Dashboard Guide now explains the three setup steps so that your SchoolMessenger posts will automatically be sent out via your app as well. Learn more.

SchoolMessenger Alternative

As an alternative to services like SchoolMessenger™, we’ve developed our Mass Notification option, which allows you to use your App Dashboard to send emails, texts, or voice messages to all your parent contacts who have NOT yet installed their school app. We have experience sending millions of emails on behalf of schools and school districts, and we use industry-leading infrastructure partners so you can be confident your messages will reach parents quickly and reliably. Automate your phone calls, with your school phone number as the Caller ID. As more and more parents sign up for the app and choose their notification preferences, your costs can decrease! Learn more.

MailChimp or Constant Contact

If you’re using an email marketing tool like MailChimp™ or Constant Contact™ to send your newsletters, you may know that you can integrate that with Appazur too. If not, be sure to read Connect your Email List. This fall, however, MailChimp was acquired by financial software company Intuit. Therefore, you can expect the service to strongly shift focus to small business marketing, and this might be a good time to consider alternatives.

MailChimp/Constant Contact Alternative

You can create your email newsletters right in your Appazur Dashboard, just as we do for Appazur’s customer newsletter.

Outlook Focused Inbox / Gmail Priority Inbox

Are you finding that important emails end up in the “Other” tab with Outlook Focused Inbox? Focused Inbox, like Gmail’s Priority Inbox and “Promotions” tab, is designed to help recipients deal with email more efficiently, and is optional; you can go back to a regular inbox if you prefer. If you’re sending regular reminders, for example, consider encouraging staff to install their school app so they can receive push notifications.

Email Delivery Report

Ever had someone say they didn’t get your email? Ever wondered if recipients are receiving or opening your emails? Bulk email service providers provide additional analytics and other features that you don’t get with Microsoft and Google, such as open/click tracking, delivery logs, and unsubscribe handling.

You can access those analytics (provided by our service provider, Mailgun) in your Appazur Dashboard. The Report column of the Messages pages in your App Dashboard has a link (e.g. “Sent 1000/1000”) to view a detailed Message Delivery Report and see exactly how your message was delivered. From the Message Delivery Report, click the link in the Emails column, and you’ll see a detailed Email Delivery Report. It shows exactly who you emailed, when the messages were delivered, and if they were opened or a link was clicked.

Appazur takes email deliverability very seriously. We manage and monitor our spam-free sender reputation to ensure that your emails are delivered successfully. Yes, we love push notifications and text messages, but we’re serious about email too.

All trademarks are property of their respective owners. SchoolMessenger is a trademark of Intrado Corporation, and is not affiliated with Appazur Solutions Inc. Image © Ericmilos Dreamstime.com.