Email list hosting service & mailing list manager

What Is A Listserve Group?

Posted on Mar 16, 2023

Business woman thinking what is a listserve group

Are you searching for an efficient, effective and straightforward way to communicate with your team members, students or email subscribers?

Listserv groups might be the answer you’re looking for.

What is a Listserve group and how does it work?

Listserv is a type of email service that allows you to communicate with large groups of people easily and effectively.

By sending an email to one address, a Listserv will automatically distribute a message to all the email addresses that are within an assigned list.

Listserv is actually a trademarked term, owned by L-Soft.

L-Soft were the company behind one of the earliest Listserv group email communication tools. However, Listserv is now broadly used as a term to refer to any type of list-based group email technology.

There are many different applications of Listserv.

If you’re looking to send email marketing messages to your list of subscribers, Listserv can help you do that. You can set up one-way lists (sometimes known as announcement lists) where only administrators of the account can send emails to all members.

But one of the most valuable benefits of Listserv is the ability to encourage collaboration and build a community amongst your subscribers.

By setting up a two-way list (sometimes known as a discussion list) the recipients of your email can reply and have their responses sent to all other members of the list. This makes Listserv great for clubs, universities, and work teams that need an easy way to keep in touch and collaborate.

Another great thing about Listserv technology is that it’s really simple to set up multiple lists. This makes it highly effective for the segmentation of email marketing databases and makes it easy to create lists for different teams within an organisation.

What is a Listserv used for?

Businessman gesturing with hands asking what is a Listserv used for

Listserv is an easy, effective and affordable option if your organisation wants to communicate with groups of people via email.

You don’t need advanced technical skills to get up and run with Listserv. This makes it a favoured solution across many sports clubs, charities, and educational establishments looking for a solution that’s easy on the finances and is also simple to manage and maintain.

Many enterprise-level organisations also use Listserv as a way to communicate across teams or even reach large numbers of subscribers with their promotional emails.

Collaborative uses of Listserv

One of the most common uses of listserve is for collaboration and discussion between groups of people within a company or an organisation.

Some practical examples of a how Listserv can be used for collaboration and discussion include;

Project management

Listserv is a great way to encourage communication discussion between different team members that are working on a project. It can be used to share project updates, help ensure that everyone is on the same page, and prevent miscommunication.

Brainstorming and idea generation

A Listserv can also be effective in helping groups of people share ideas and feedback within a team.

Sharing ideas via email in a Listserv group can sometimes be more inclusive than having an in-person brainstorming session.

Certain members of the group might feel uncomfortable with public speaking, but more comfortable having the time to type up their ideas and edit them before sharing.

Resource sharing

Listservs can also be used to share documents, spreadsheets, and links to other resources that other members may find valuable. This is often one of the most effective uses of Listserv within educational establishments.

Announcements and broadcast use of Listserv

Another common use of Listserv is for sending announcements and email marketing messages.

For example, a charity may want to send a broadcast email to its subscribers letting them know about recent fundraising efforts. They wouldn’t necessarily want a group discussion about this, so they would use an announcement list rather than a discussion list.

Announcement lists are also commonly used for email marketing, where organisations can send emails to different segments of subscribers to raise awareness, drive traffic to their website and ultimately increase sales.

Listserv VS Distribution List: let’s clarify

Balance scales clarifying listserv vs distribution list

Many people confuse the terms ‘Listserv’ and ‘distribution list’. But the difference between the two is actually quite distinct.

Listserv is the name often given to list-based group email technology. A Listserv sends emails to different lists of subscribers.

A distribution list is a name given to a list of email subscribers.

So in summary, Listserv is the name of the technology that sends your emails. A distribution list is the list of people to whom a particular email is sent.

How to create a Listserv: 3 simple steps

Personal aspirations and goal of how to create a listserv

Modern Listserv solutions are typically cloud-based and very user-friendly and intuitive. This makes it easy for anyone to access and get up and running.

Choose an efficient Listserv software

Choosing the right Listserv software is an important decision that can impact the success of your email communication strategy.

There are a variety of different Listserv solutions, all with their own different features and benefits. You need to choose the one that is right for you, and your organisation’s needs.

If you’re new to Listserv technology, we’d recommend looking for a solution that is easy to use, allows you to personalise messages, supports HTML email, and has effective archiving capabilities.

You’ll also want to consider the customer support that is available on each solution to help you get the most out of the platform.

At Simplelists, we offer a free trial so you can try out our features and benefits before making your final decision.

Set up your lists

Once you’ve chosen your Listserv provider, it’s time to set up your different lists.

It’s worth nothing that most Listserv solutions will need you to verify that you have all the correct opt-in permissions for any email addresses you upload.

If you’re setting up email marketing lists, consider creating a one-way ‘announcement list’. Think carefully about segmentation. Most Listserv solutions allow you to create unlimited lists. This gives you a lot of opportunities to become really granular with your targeting, but it also needs to be manageable!

If you’re setting up different teams within your organisation and hoping to encourage collaboration, you’ll want to set up two-way ‘discussion lists’.

It’s worth remembering that your team members might not be familiar with Listserv technology, so you might want to put together a quick guide on how everything works.

CSV imports are probably the most common way to bring your data into a Listserv, and are supported by all modern Listserv software providers. Some providers may also link with your CMS or Data Management Platform, to make bringing in data even easier for you.

Put your Email Marketing Strategy into place

Once your lists are in place, it’s time to create your emails.

Most modern Listserv software supports HTML emails. So, if you’re using Listserv for marketing, you’re able to send promotional emails that look eye-catching and professional.

If you’re using Listserv for two-way communication, you’ve got a variety of different options for the moderation of messages from your list members.

It’s possible to set up your Listserv so an administrator has to approve any emails before they reach everyone.

How you approach these settings really depends on the nature of your organisation. Having an administrator approval of messages prevents any irrelevant or inappropriate messages from reaching the group, but it also slows down any real-time collaboration.

Explore Listserv yourself, with a one-month free trial of Simplelists

If you’re searching for an easy and effective way to improve communication with team members, students or subscribers, Listserv could be the solution you’re looking for.

Whether you want to reach a wide number of people with email broadcasts or build collaborative communication amongst different teams - Listserv technology can support you.

There are a variety of different Listserv solutions available, and it’s important that you choose the one that is right for the specific needs of your organisation.

But if you’d like to experience the benefits of Listserv yourself before making a decision, sign up for a one-month free trial at Simplelists.

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3 Major Types of Mailing List

Posted on Feb 27, 2023

Photo of a business woman making an announcement in front of a computer with a megaphone

What is a Mailing List?

A mailing list is a collection of email addresses from people that are interested in receiving updates via email from an organisation.

How you choose to engage with the subscribers on your mailing lists really depends on the requirements of your organisation.

Some organisations use mailing lists for marketing purposes. They might send targeted email newsletters or promotional emails to help raise awareness or drive sales of their products or services.

But mailing lists can also be used to prompt discussion amongst subscribers and build a sense of support and community between the members of your list.

In this short article, we’ll look at some of the common usages of mailing lists and the different ways of using them within your mailing list manager.

What is the purpose of a mailing list?

By working with a mailing list in your list manager, your organisation can reach a large group of interested people with a single email.

Broadcasting to mailing lists can often be a cost-effective way for organisations to deliver an email marketing message to their target audience. Email marketing often has an attractive return on investment (ROI) compared to other marketing channels.

Depending on the quality of subscriber data you have within your mailing list, you can also personalise your email marketing communications and create a more relevant experience for your customers.

This can improve engagement and generate leads and sales from your broadcast emails.

But mailing lists are not only useful for email marketing.

They can also be used to generate discussion between members around a particular topic.

Two-way discussion mailing lists enable subscribers to reply to emails. It’s also possible for replies to be sent to all other subscribers.

This can help with collaboration and the sharing of knowledge and resources and can also help to develop a sense of community between the members of your list. The use of two-way mailing lists can also help businesses gather customer feedback and insights to help improve their products and services.

What are the different communication settings with a mailing list?

There are a number of different configurations that you can use with your mailing lists on your mailing list manager.

1. One-Way Announcement (Broadcast)

If you choose to set up a one-way mailing list, only your organisation can send messages to the subscribers.

Subscribers are not able to reply to or initiate a conversation with you, and there is no ability to generate a group discussion with other members of the list.

A one-way list is ideal when you have a message you want to communicate but don’t want a discussion around it. Examples of the practical use of one-way mailing lists include:

  • A promotional email from a clothing business, advertising their winter sale.
  • An email newsletter from a solicitor, which includes current news from the legal world.
  • A customer service notice from a broadband company advising and apologising for outages.
  • An email from a charity providing an update on their fundraising efforts.

2. Two-Way Discussion

Another type of mailing list is the two-way discussion list.

This is where both your organisation and your subscribers are allowed to post messages that will reach other members of the list.

Two-way discussion lists are typically used for encouraging conversation and collaboration. Examples of two-way mailing lists include:

  • An internal team within a business, who need to discuss an ongoing project.
  • Volunteers within a charity who need to collaborate on an event.
  • Students who have signed up to a particular module and want to share resources and ideas.
  • Members of a book club who want to share their thoughts on the books they read.
  • Athletes within a sports club who want to share schedules, training plans and upcoming events.

3. Moderated Two-Way Discussion

The third type of mailing list is a moderated two-way discussion list.

A moderated list is almost identical to a two-way list, except a moderator within your organisation will review all the user generated messages before deciding whether they will be sent to all subscribers or not.

This helps you maintain a level of control over the content and the quality of the messages being sent to your subscribers, whilst still enabling communication and collaboration between members. The benefits of running a moderated mailing list includes:

  • Avoiding off-topic or irrelevant messages
  • Avoiding spam, and making sure that subscribers aren’t abusing the list to promote their own products or services.
  • Avoiding inappropriate or offensive messages and making sure the conversation remains positive and respectful.

Are you ready to engage with your mailing list?

A mailing list can be a powerful tool for helping organisations communicate with their audience.

Whether you are looking to raise awareness, drive sales or build a sense of community, a mailing list can help you achieve your goals.

With a variety of communication settings, you can adjust your mailing list strategy to suit the needs of your organisation.

If you’re curious about the benefits of engaging with your mailing list, sign up for a free one-month trial of the Simplelists mailing list manager


Benefits of email discussion lists

Posted on Jan 30, 2018


We provide a group email manager that allows you to send emails to a group of people using one email address. We think using a group email list is a good idea for a range of reasons, including the ability to have great private discussions that are delivered to group members effectively in a manner customised to match to the preferences of each person receiving messages. Many organisations like to foster community and information sharing using email discussion lists - while discussions are usually straightforward when everyone is in the room, things get more complex when everyone can’t be in one place at one time. In this post, we explain how an email discussion list (or 'listserv’ works) and what benefits it offers to its members.

group email manager

How it works

People subscribe to a discussion list (normally online - see how to add a subscribe form to your website) or via email. Any subscriber can then post to the list by simply emailing a specific, automated address. Permissions can be set so that only certain people can post to the address, if that is most suitable, or to ensure that all messages are held for approval (moderation by an administrator) before being distributed to the list. A list manager (one or more people) is normally in charge of the list and tends to be knowledgeable of the topic that the list discussion covers.

Personalising the process

Subscribers can also personalise their experience with the list - perhaps a format preference (plain text or HTML), how often they receive emails and whether they receive a digest summary of the latest posts (rather than receiving them all individually as separate emails). It is also possible to customise how the email looks, incorporating a company logo or pointing users to a bespoke landing page that is part of your own website.

Ensuring the message is delivered

It is well-known that most Internet Service Providers place limits on the number of email addresses that you can send an email to. This means there may be a cap on the amount of data that you can send in one go. People can also report emails as spam, even if they signed up to the list, and this can affect deliverability. A group email manager can manage your spam reporting and make sure that your emails are delivered.

Who else benefits?

Email discussion groups can reach a range of people who  might not otherwise have access to an online discussion. Anyone who can send an email can take part and many people prefer receiving an email in their inbox to visiting a website to search for updates. Some research has found that over half of internet users subscribe to at least one email list, which is a lot more than those who subscribe to social media platforms. Emails are also preferable for people who have limited access to the internet, or slow internet connections. The discussion doesn’t rely on real-time participation and emails can be downloaded, read and replied to while offline.