Daily digest summary emails

A daily digest summary is an email containing a compilation of new emails sent by members of a list. This can be a handy function to avoid clogging up members’ inboxes, reducing the number of emails they have to scan each day. To receive an email digest, members will need to opt to receive it. In this short post, we explain how to set up daily digest summaries with Simplelists.

Daily digest summary email

Pros and cons of email digests

Daily digest summaries can be useful for busy lists. Instead of receiving emails when they are posted, Simplelists list members can receive one email every 24 hours. This prevents members becoming inundated with emails when discussions are active and allows them to pick and choose which email discussions are more important for them to read, at a time that suits them.

It can sometimes be tricky to ensure optimum formatting of digest emails, when the original emails are pulled automatically into the digest. The digest needs to be appealing to read and easy to navigate. It can also be a challenge to decide which information should be included in the digest. Too much or too little information may have the same effect as being inundated with individual emails – members may simply delete it.

An easy-to-digest digest

To make sure digests are accessible and appealing to Simplelists list members, most formatting is stripped from the emails, in order to create a clean, easy to follow summary. A link is included for each message, which allows members to reply back to the list. If archives are enabled, links to attachments and the original emails are contained in the digest.

Enabling digest summaries

Enabling daily digest summaries is very easy. Log in and navigate to list members in the left hand menu. In the Address Book, you can see which members receive summaries and which don’t – a cross or a tick will appear next to their name in the ‘Digest format’ column. To enable daily digest summaries for specific members, edit their details by ticking the checkbox next to their name and selecting ‘Edit’. On the Edit Members screen, you can then check the ‘Digest’ box and then ‘Update’ to ensure that they receive it (a green tick should now show next to their name when you return to the Address Book).

When adding members to your list in bulk, you can set all members to receive digest summaries. Click on ‘Add many’ in the Address Book and then add your members’ details. Before clicking ‘Add Addresses’, make sure you have checked the ‘Set added members to receive daily digest email’ box on the left.

You can watch a demo of enabling daily digest summary emails in this short video.

Using email aliases

Email addresses can be difficult to remember, resulting in mistakes when people send you an email. An alias can be used to make a straightforward replacement for a long or hard-to-remember address. An alias can also be used to forward messages sent to the alias on to another specified email address or group of addresses.

Email aliases

In simplelists, it is easy to use aliases as an effective way of grouping lists together. They can be a big time saver if you want to send a message to several lists. Here’s how to do it.

Send to more than one list

In practice, you simply send the message to the alias’ email address and it is sent to all the lists. You can also include normal email addresses within an alias – the message will be sent to them too.

Step-by-step

Creating an alias is easy. Login and select a multiple list account. Navigate to the aliases page and select ‘Click here to add a new alias’.

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Choose an email address for the alias. Note that, by default, the email address ends in your simplelists domain. Enter the email address(es) of the lists you want the alias to be forwarded to. In the screenshot below, we have added three lists: customers, employees and managers. A normal email address is also included. Click ‘Update’ to complete the process.

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Editing an alias

You can edit the alias details by selecting the one you wish to edit on the ‘aliases’ page under ‘Your current aliases’.

Some things to be aware of

It is important to know that, when using an email alias, it can sometimes be the case that it is harder for email recipients to know where the email has come from, especially if they have not received an email from the alias address previously. You should therefore make sure that it is still clear who the sender is and how they can ‘opt-out’ of receiving similar messages in the future, if they wish (read our earlier posts on good email etiquette and what information you can include in the email footer).

If the recipient has not received an email from the alias address before, it is also important to be aware that spam filters may be more sensitive to these emails than those sent to your familiar member list address(es). Another one of our posts on making sure your emails don’t get sent to the spam folder will help to avoid this happening.

These minor issues aside, it is also interesting to know that you can use an alias to reduce the chances of your data being compromised. By using a hard-to-guess alias as a password recovery address for your many online accounts, it can be more difficult for hackers to compromise your data.

Keeping email marketing out of spam

A recent study carried out by ReturnPath estimated that only 79% of emails sent by legitimate email marketers (i.e. emails sent to people who signed up to your list) reach the inbox. Spam filters are becoming more and more sensitive, to ensure that non-legitimate, spam emails don’t get delivered. It is important to follow a simple set of rules to ensure that your list members receive the emails they have signed up for.

Email spam

Build a good email list

The most important thing you can do to ensure that your emails get delivered to the inbox is to ensure that the people that you are emailing want to hear from you. It is not advised to buy or rent email lists that you can’t trust the source of, and it’s important that your list members have opted-in to receive your list. The most common way to opt-in is to subscribe to a particular mailing list, either via a website or a social media link. If people visit your website (regardless of whether they purchase something), they tend to be interested in the information you are providing. You can include an email sign-up box on all pages, allowing users to join your list. A ‘soft opt-in’ is is when a customer has bought something from you and, on this basis, you assume that they might like to receive information about other products/services. They might also have opted in ‘softly’ if they have been given the option to refuse to receive communications from you and they chose not to select this option.

Ask your recipients to add you to their contact list

Getting emails delivered to the inbox is pretty much guaranteed if your list members have added you to their address book/contact list. You can ask them to add you to their contacts in the first welcome email that you send them when they sign up to receive your messages. It’s also a good idea to remind them in the body of other emails that you send.

Take care with your subject line

The subject line of your email will also affect the likelihood of your email making it to the inbox.  We have considered how to write a good subject line in a previous post – the key message here is that your subject line should not be significantly longer than 35 to 50 characters because the longer it is, the more likely it is that it will go to the spam folder.

Make it easy for them to unsubscribe

This might sound like a strange one but making the unsubscribe link prominent can actually help overall deliverability to your list. It is much better if your recipients choose to unsubscribe, rather than marking your email as spam. Email service providers such as Gmail, Hotmail and others keep track of spam complaints and may penalise you for it, affecting how many of your other emails get delivered. By making it easy for your list members to unsubscribe, you minimise the risk of the email service provider blocking all the emails you send.

Finally, it is important to understand that there are laws governing the sending of emails to a list – you can read more about email spam and the law in one of our earlier posts.

Why email is still alive and kicking

Email marketing campaigns are used by the majority of companies to advertise their products, share their news, or invite their subscribers to take part in activities/events. A campaign is a ‘call to action’ with varying objectives and, recently, there have been several questions raised about the effectiveness of email as a method for engaging and motivating your contacts.

In this post, we look at why, despite the rise of social media, email marketing remains an important and effective marketing tool.

Blue keyboard key Contact us, web business background

People tend to prefer email

More than 200 million emails are sent every minute. It is perhaps no surprise that email is still a very heavily used means of communication for consumers and organisations alike. It allows you to open your mail at your leisure, rather than receiving a phone call or text, and direct mailings can often be thrown straight in the bin if not immediately relevant. A 2015 study carried out in the US found that 72% of American adults say that they prefer companies to communicate with them by email, rather than by other means. A high percentage (91%) of respondents also said that they like to receive promotional emails from organisations that they already do business with.

It has advantages over social media

Email marketing allows you to send relevant and insightful content to a group of people who have knowingly and willingly subscribed to your list. Over-enthusiastic marketing using social media can lead to you losing followers, especially if you bombard them with too many posts/adverts. With social media, you are relying on your followers to see your posts, yet if they only access their accounts at certain times of the day, you may get missed in their already-busy feed. It is also hard to target your marketing on social media when all your followers see all your posts. An email can be opened when it suits the recipient. In addition, most users of the internet are also email account holders, whereas only 70% have a social media account.

It is an easy way to reach mobile customers

Email marketing remains an easy way for organisations to reach their list members on mobile devices, without having to invest in new technology and/or software. A 2014 study carried out by shop.org found that just under 50% of retail email messages were opened by customers on their smartphones, and about 20% on tablet devices.

You can target your list to get better results

Simply building a list of email contacts can be a waste of time. Instead, it is worth investing your efforts in segmenting and targeting your list so that you have engaged readers who want to open your email and read what you have written. For example, you do not want to send information about the latest sale in women’s clothing to your male subscribers. If you don’t target your emails well, you are likely to see high ‘unsubscribe’ rates.

 

Uses for Simplelists – Part 2: Email Marketing

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.

Email

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.