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Email Basics: What’s the Difference Between CC & BCC?

The invention of email predates the internet as we know it. Even though the tool has been around for decades, there are still several terms that can be baffling for new users. Two of the most commonly confused fields are CC (Carbon Copy) and BCC (Blind Carbon Copy). While they may seem similar at first glance, they serve distinct purposes and have unique implications for email privacy. In this blog post, we will delve into the difference between CC and BCC, explore their functionalities, and shed light on when to use each one effectively. 

If you need more help with email basics, don’t hesitate to contact our team of email specialists.

CC (Carbon Copy)

CC is an email field that allows you to send a copy of the email to additional recipients. When you add someone to the CC field, all recipients in the email can see who else received a copy of the message. It’s a transparent way of including others in the conversation and keeping them informed. For example, if you’re sending an email to a colleague and want your supervisor to be aware of the discussion, you can CC your supervisor. The recipient in the CC field is not expected to take any specific action; they are simply being kept in the loop.

BCC (Blind Carbon Copy)

On the other hand, the BCC field is a powerful tool for maintaining privacy and confidentiality in email communication. When you add someone to the BCC field, they receive a copy of the email, but their email address remains hidden from other recipients. This means that the email’s direct recipients (in the To field) and CC recipients are unaware of the individual(s) in the BCC field. BCC is particularly useful when sending a mass email to a large group of recipients who may not know each other, especially when you want to protect the privacy of your contacts. 

Each recipient receives the email as if they were the sole recipient, maintaining confidentiality and preventing unintentional reply-all situations.

Using CC and BCC Effectively

To ensure effective communication and respect recipient privacy, it’s important to use CC and BCC thoughtfully. Here are some best practices to consider:

1. Use CC for Transparency 

CC is appropriate when you want to involve multiple parties in a conversation, without sending directly to multiple recipients. This is a great option for teams where multiple people are working with one client. CC’ing your team on an email can keep everyone informed while reserving the To field for clients. When using CC, just be mindful of the recipients’ privacy. All recipients can see who is CC’ed on an email, and some may not appreciate seeing a long list of people in the CC field.

2. Use BCC for Privacy and Confidentiality

BCC is ideal when sending emails to a large group, especially when the recipients may not know each other. It helps prevent recipients from seeing each other’s email addresses and maintains confidentiality. Email confidentiality is incredibly important, especially when sending sensitive information, so BCC is an important option to protect your contacts. If you have questions about email privacy and confidentiality, consider a one-on-one call with one of our email experts.

3. Use BCC for Bulk Email 

Ever want to send the same email to a large group of people, without all of them knowing that you’ve sent to a large group of people? This is one instance where BCC can come in handy. None of the To field, CC, or BCC recipients can see who has been BCC’ed on an email. This can give the appearance of one-on-one communication, with the ease of sending in bulk. If you’re a small business using bulk email for marketing, be sure to follow legal guidelines like CAN-SPAM and GDPR. Check out our guide to deliverability to learn more.

4. Consider Context and Content

Before adding someone to CC or BCC, carefully consider the relevance and necessity of their involvement. Ensure that the content of the email aligns with the recipients’ expectations and needs. If you need help developing engaging email content, consider working with an email marketing expert like the ones at Pure Firefly.

Make Pure Firefly Your Email Guides

As a new email marketer, understanding email best practices is crucial for effective communication and engagement. Pure Firefly, a trusted expert in email marketing, can provide the guidance and training needed to navigate email strategies successfully. Visit Pure Firefly’s Contact page to get in touch with our experienced team. For those seeking comprehensive training on Mailchimp and email marketing in general, one-on-one training is a great option. Our email experts are happy to share their insights backed by over 10 years of experience in digital marketing.

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