Resources Hub » Knowledge base » What Do CC and BCC Mean in Emails?

Email is the preferred mode of communication in business, both internally and externally. It’s simple, straightforward, secure, and takes place in real time. That’s likely why 281 billion emails were sent daily in 2018.

But, as with all forms of communication, there are rules involved in ensuring that communication between you and your recipient is orderly and civilized.

One of those rules of email etiquette involves the use of CC (carbon copy) and BCC (blind carbon copy).

What are CC and BCC in emails?

If you’ve ever sent an email, you’ve come across two fields right next to the “To” field: CC and BCC. Simply put, CC and BCC are two ways you can include more people as recipients in an email.

What does CC mean?

In email sending, CC is the abbreviation for “carbon copy.” Back in the days before internet and email, in order to create a copy of the letter you were writing, you had to place carbon paper between the one you were writing on and the paper that was going to be your copy.

Just like the physical carbon copy above, CC is an easy way to send copies of an email to other people.

If you’ve ever received a CCed email, you’ve probably noticed that it will be addressed to you and a list of other people who have also been CCed.

What does BCC mean?

BCC stands for “blind carbon copy.” Just like CC, BCC is a way of sending copies of an email to other people. The difference between the two is that, while you can see a list of recipients when CC is used, that’s not the case with BCC. It’s called blind carbon copy because the other recipients won’t be able to see that someone else has been sent a copy of the email.

Can I automate the emailing process?

If you’re already sending emails for your blog or shop, you can easily sign up to use an email service provider (ESP), like Campaign Monitor, and automate your emails. You can separate recipients by subscriber lists, and emails automatically send based on triggers you set.

Do I need an ESP?

Email service providers streamline the process of emailing. Plus, because people check their inboxes so frequently, email is more reliable than social media or ads. If you’re looking to get the most out of your social media following, blog, online store, or website, emailing through an ESP is a low-maintenance way to communicate with the people who love your brand. Read our guide on choosing an ESP here.

How do I spend less time on email?

Sending emails for your blog or shop can be time-consuming, but it doesn’t have to be. An email platform like Campaign Monitor’s is a cost-effective way to send beautiful emails without needing any technical expertise. You can also implement automation and even track your results to make sure your emails perform well. You can try our free email-builder tool to see how easy it is. 

Does it really matter?

While you might not find yourself using these two functions of your email often, they definitely have their purposes.

When should you use CC?

The use of CC is a bit of a debate, as it functions the same as adding multiple recipients in the “To” field. What’s so special about CC?

Using CC is more a matter of etiquette than anything. The general rule is that the “To” field is reserved for the main recipients of your email. Other interested parties can be included as a CC so they can have their own copy of the email.

CCing other parties also makes it clear to all involved that the email has been seen by everyone.

When should you use BCC?

BCC has more solid uses. Here are the most common two:

When you don’t want the primary recipient to know.

A good example could be when you’re having problems with an employee. When sending them an email, you can BCC your supervisor or HR in the email so that they get a copy of your correspondence. In this case, the other team members will receive it, but your fellow employee will not see that other parties have been included in the correspondence.

When sending to a large list.

When you are sending an email to a list of family and friends that don’t know each other, for example, put their addresses in the BCC field. The email will look as if it has been specifically sent to them since there won’t be anyone listed as CCed. It also makes for a clean email, since there won’t be a long list of recipients.

Just remember: If you’re sending to your business’ mailing list, make sure you use an email platform like Campaign Monitor so that your emails don’t land in the spam folder, get opened, and look professional.

What now?

Now that you know the functions of these two features, go ahead and improve your email etiquette by putting them into practice. The CC and BCC functions are actually email sending best practices and features you should be using if you send personal emails to more than one recipient.

For more email marketing best practices for your business, read this guide to build and maintain good relationships with your subscribers.

This blog provides general information and discussion about email marketing and related subjects. The content provided in this blog ("Content”), should not be construed as and is not intended to constitute financial, legal or tax advice. You should seek the advice of professionals prior to acting upon any information contained in the Content. All Content is provided strictly “as is” and we make no warranty or representation of any kind regarding the Content.

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