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How do I know if I can use CiviMail? What are the benefits? What does it do? How is it better or worse than just the regular email part on civicrm?

I cannot quickly find any links to more info on this? Can someone provide me with some more informatioN?

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CiviMail is a mailing feature that interacts with your mail server much like the 'Email' action you mentioned. The main difference is design ability and ability to handle mass mailing campaigns to large groups of people.

Basically, if you are sending to more than 50 contacts at a time or you need to track email opens or clickthroughs - you should use CiviMail rather than the 'Email' action.

CiviCRM has good written documentation on CiviMail here: http://docs.civicrm.org/user/en/4.6/email/what-you-need-to-know/

(be sure to check out the other CiviMail sections around the linked section as well).

Edit: Bounce processing is another function that CiviMail is capable of. Processing bounces from your mailings is important to keep your sending reputation high in the eyes of other mail serves, to be sure your emails get through to people. This is especially important if you send using your own mail server and manage this yourself.

More info here: https://book.civicrm.org/user/current/advanced-configuration/email-system-configuration/

and here: https://wiki.civicrm.org/confluence/display/CRMDOC/Bounce+Handling

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    Probably worth adding a mention about Bounce management too. – petednz - fuzion Apr 25 '16 at 20:46
  • Good point @petednz-fuzion. I've made a quick edit for completeness but feel free to add - i'm not super useful on the built-in function because I never got it working (possibly because we were using Mandrill outgoing and google apps for inboxes here). We are now using the cividesk Sparkpost extension for bounce processing and that's a whole different thread :). – Eli Lisseck Apr 26 '16 at 20:24
  • Thanks. nice edit. indeed life is complicated with so many options now – petednz - fuzion Apr 26 '16 at 21:18
  • Great answer! Your related answer touches on another important feature of CiviMail: as well as bounces, it handles unsubscriptions in a manner consistent with most peoples expectations (and legal requirements). – Chris Burgess Apr 26 '16 at 23:01

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