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.

Explore your Listserv now
Get a free one-month trial today