In Part 1 we described Simplelists’ major features that are related to managing list members, setting permissions and restrictions for members and customising your emails. In this post we’ll give you an overview of the features that are related to controlling subscriptions, integrating your list with your websites and things that we do to ensure high delivery rates.
CONTROL SUBSCRIBE & UNSUBSCRIBE OPTIONS
Manage Subscriptions - you can choose whether to allow new members to join your list or not. The choices are: don’t allow new members to subscribe, allow new members to subscribe with your approval, allow new members to subscribe independently.
Manage Unsubscriptions - you also have control over whether members can leaving the list or not. The choices are: do not allow members to unsubscribe, allow members to unsubscribe with your approval or allow members to unsubscribe independently (with this option you can also choose whether to be notified or not).
INTEGRATE WITH YOUR WEBSITES
Integrate Subscription Forms Onto Your Website - one of the best ways to increase the size of your list is to put a 'subscribe form’ on your website. This can be done by just copying a few lines of code from Simplelists and pasting it into your website. The subscribe form is fully editable so you can change it to match your website perfectly.
Brand Your Landing Pages - when people subscribe to your list they are taken to a Simplelists landing page to complete their subscription. They also access a Simplelists landing page when viewing email archives. You can use your logo/branding on this page to replace the Simplelists heading, keeping your organisation’s brand strong throughout.
Synchronise With Other Websites - one of the more technical aspects that is available from Simplelists is to allow synchronisation of your Simplelists account with other websites. An API is available which can be used to achieve this.
Integrate Emails With Your Own Domain(s) - a Simplelists Multiple List can be fully integrated with your domain, so that users send and receive emails from your organisation’s domain, rather than the Simplelists domain. We recommend you create a subdomain to do this, such as lists.yourcompany.com. For a Single List, you can create a list email address at your domain, and forward the emails to your Simplelists email address. We can also change the list name accordingly in your archive pages.
ENSURE HIGH DELIVERY RATES
Notification of Bounced Emails - bounced emails are emails that could not be delivered to members. This could happen if a member’s email address is down for some reason or no longer in use. When an email to one of your list members bounces you will receive a message to let you know that they have not received your message.
Automatic Processing Of Bounced Emails - In order to keep delivery rates high and to make it easier for you to manage your list we log all bounced emails and enable you to see them. We also automatically remove members from the list who have a bounce rate higher than 75% or more than 30 bounces.
Automatic Spam Management- most email providers now allow users to report an email as spam. If a list member reports one of your Simplelists emails as spam we receive an email from their email provider. If we receive one of these notifications the user will automatically be removed from list (both you and the user will be informed and they will have the option to resubscribe in case they have marked the email as spam by mistake). This ensures that repeated emails are not marked as spam which in turn helps your emails get through to those who want to receive them.
In recent blog posts we’ve considered two of the most popular uses for Simplelists, the ’listserve’ and ’email marketing’. However, don’t think that you’re limited to just these uses - Simplelists is designed to be flexible so that you can use it for many different tasks.
We simply have too many features to cover in just one blog post! Here we give you the first of a two part overview of the major features of Simplelists...
MANAGE YOUR LIST MEMBERS
- Upload Members In Bulk - you can add email addresses to your list direct from a file. This saves lots of time if you have a long list on a spreadsheet - just export the details to a file and upload in seconds.
- Download Your List - your list is your property and Simplelists makes it really easy to make a copy of your list. With one click you can download your entire list of members to a file that can be opened in a spreadsheet.
SET PERMISSIONS & RESTRICTIONS
- Set Posting Permissions - you can select who can send emails to your list. This can be all members, selected members or just yourself.
- Moderate Messages - you can choose to hold messages for approval before they are sent to your list. You have multiple options: no moderation (messages are sent straight to your list), hold all messages for approval or allow specific members to post without needing approval.
- Manage Replies - you can select whether replies are sent to the whole list or just to the person who posted the original email.
- Set Posting Restrictions - this can be useful if you allow other people to send emails to your list and you want to ensure that they don’t send huge emails. You can set the maximum email size in kB, remove attachments from emails, strip HTML from emails or truncate messages to a specific maximum number of characters.
- Allow/Disallow List Viewing - you may, or may not, want to let list members to see who is on your list. You have the following options: don’t allow list members to view each other, allow viewing of names only or allow viewing of names and emails.
CUSTOMISE YOUR EMAILS
- Customise Emails - you can easily customise your emails by including a personalised footer and a subject prefix. HTML can be included in the footer in order to include graphics or logos - in fact, HTML can be included throughout the entire email enabling you to completely customise your emails.
- Insert A Members Name Into Your Email- you can personalise your emails by making each individual recipient’s name appear in the email.
- Archive Emails - when you activate web archives all emails will be stored on a custom website so that they can be accessed in the future. Access to these archives can be open or password protected. You have full control over the archives with the ability to delete old emails from the archives.
- Choose Daily Digest Summaries - this option is useful for busy lists. Instead of receiving list emails when they are posted, members receive one email every 24 hours that contains all the previous day’s messages. You can allocate this option to members on an individual basis or let members decide for themselves when they sign up via a subscription form.
In Part 2 we’ll cover the major features related to subscribe and unsubscribe options, integrating Simplelists with your websites and methods we use to ensure high delivery rates.
In Part 1 we looked at one of the most popular uses for Simplelists, the listserve. In this post we’ll consider another use that is also widely used - email marketing.
WHY USE EMAIL MARKETING?
There are many forms of marketing: SEO (search engine optimistion), social media marketing (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, Google+), a good website, advertising, email marketing and more. If you are serious about your business you should be using as many of these as possible. Each has their strengths and weaknesses but it is worth remembering that it isn’t an either/or choice - ideally you’ll use almost all methods.
But we’re focusing on email marketing here - why use email marketing?
It’s direct - when you send an email it goes directly to the person’s inbox. This means that you have the opportunity to gain the full attention of the customer.
It’s targeted - you decide exactly who you will send the emails to and you can tailor those emails specifically for the people who receive them. You can send different emails to different groups of customers.
To convert visitors to customers - when people browse websites online, most don’t buy immediately from the first website they see. Most people visit multiple websites and often research the area further, gathering information from several websites and returning to buy when they are ready - maybe after several days or weeks.
But which shop will the customer return to in order to make the purchase? Often it is simply the shop that they remember. Email marketing can really help here - if people receive a timely email they’ll remember you before the competition.
To encourage repeat business - customers that have bought from you before are more likely to return. You can use email marketing to contact them directly about new offers, products or services and turn a one time customer into a regular buyer.
WHY USE SIMPLELISTS?
Simplelists makes for great email marketing, here’s why:
It’s simple - you don’t need to be a tech expert to use simplelists. Just write an email and send it to your whole list!
It’s quick - let’s face it, you have a million and one things to do when you are running a business. If it takes up a lot of time to do your marketing jobs, they’ll probably end up forgotten. With Simplelists you can send out an email to all your customers in just a couple of minutes... and that means more time for everything else.
Emails get through - there is nothing worse than your marketing emails not getting through to your customers. Simplelists have better deliverability than email clients and free providers.
Your emails are free from advertising - most free group email providers place adverts on your emails so that they can advertise to your customers. This looks cheap and can be detrimental to your business. Emails that you send via Simplelists are free from adverts.
You can send HTML emails - with Simplelists you have the option to design emails using HTML. You aren’t constrained to templates so your emails can look exactly how you like. Of course you don’t have to use HTML - you can send simple text emails too.
As you probably already know, Simplelists is a service that is designed to make group email really easy... but what are people using Simplelists for, and why?
The most common uses of Simplelists are: listserves, newsletters and email marketing. In this post we’ll look at listserves and cover newsletters and email marketing in the future.
So a listserve uses email as the method of communication between a group of people. Note the word 'between’ was used as opposed to 'to’ - listserves provide two way communication. Usually every member can write an email to the group. This makes it different from a newsletter where only a select few can send emails.
These days there are lots of different ways that a group can communicate - social media such as Facebook and Twitter and internet forums are popular. A listserve is different in that it uses email as the medium of communication - for many groups this has advantages...
Privacy - this is the number one advantage for many groups over platforms like Twitter and Facebook. A listserve is private so that only members can see the details of emails - with social media platforms the whole world can see what is written.
It is possible to adjust facebook settings so that not everyone can see posts but you are relying on every member of the group to be tech savvy enough to do this correctly - one mistake and details could be open to the public.
Also, the social media companies themselves will monitor the content and use it for advertising purposes and in some cases even sell it to third parties! Social media is definitely not the best medium to use for private communications.
Availability - everyone uses email!
These days social media is very popular but not everyone uses the same platform (some prefer Google+, others Twitter, Linkedin, Facebook, 4Square and many more). Others still don’t use any form of social media. Each platform comes with it’s own idiosyncrasies that take time to learn and master. Email is something that almost everybody is familiar with.
Another advantage of a listserve as a group communication tool is that an email is hard to miss. While you may forget to check an internet forum or a Twitter account for days (weeks?) most people are pretty good about receiving their email. Sure, it is possible to adjust the settings of a forum so that an email is sent every time a new post is made but again, you’re relying on every member of the forum to do this correctly if they are to keep track of things.
Speed - listerves are generally quick to use and focussed; it is easy to login to Facebook to check up and find that you have lost half an hour watching videos of cats! Listserves have no distractions and are therefore a much better choice for business related groups.
Effectiveness - don’t just take our word for it. This quote is from the Marketing General Benchmark Association:
"While Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are the most commonly used social media tools, they are not necessarily considered the most effective in reaching membership goals by association executives. In fact, the most effective social networking tools are considered to be those that are basically housed within the association itself, namely the association listserv (50%) and/or a private association social network (39%).”
Setting up your list can be completed in under 5 minutes and once you’ve set things up you can send an email to your list in seconds. You simply send an email to email@example.com; no passwords to remember, no login required, just send the email from your normal email address!
2) You decide who can send emails to your list:
You can make it possible for anyone on your list to send emails to the whole list - this option is great for group interaction and communication.
Or you can set things up so that only you are able to send emails to the list - this is the best option for people who want to use email as a marketing tool. For example to send regular emails or newsletters to a group of customers or clients.
You can also decide to give emailing rights to selected members of the list - this is a good choice for groups that have several people who want to communicate to the group while most members just want to receive emails.
Simplelists does not use the email addresses on your list for any purpose other than to send your emails. Privacy is a hot topic these days and personal information is worth a lot to advertisers (or worse). Many of the free group email providers make their money by selling personal data of people on the list.
4) Simplelists is free from adverts:
Another way that free group email providers make money is by advertising to your recipients on the emails that you send. All emails that you send using Simplelists are free from adverts.
Disreputable providers could land your emails in the spam folder of your customers, rather than their inbox! Simplelists has a very high deliverability rate - in fact it’s generally better than Outlook.
6) You decide how people can join to your list
You can allow members to subscribe to your list with or without your approval and the same applies for unsubscribing.
This means that you can choose to keep a check on your members by making approval necessary or save time and effort by letting people fully manage their own subscription.
7) Great for website owners:
Simplelists has a very simple form that you can use on your website to enable people to subscribe to your list - perfect for website owners that want to give visitors the option of signing up for a newsletter.
Because we’re Simplelists we’ve made it really easy to add to your website - it can be done in under a minute!
8) You’re in control of the size limit for emails:
If you have photos, videos or files that you want to share with your list it is possible to set a large size limit for emails so that the files can be attached to emails. Simplelists has no limit to the file size that you can choose - you can send emails right up to the limit that your email client will allow.
If members of your list have the option to send emails (see number 2) you may want to limit the size of the emails that can be sent.
9) Send great looking emails:
With simplelists you are not limited to plain text emails. You can send emails with HTML - this will enable you to send professional looking newsletters!
10 ) Lists can be transferred from other providers:
It is possible to trabfer your list from another list serve without members needing to reconfirm their email addresses. The transfer process is seamless and list members won’t even notice the change.