Managing your email list with Simplelists

Two of the most popular reasons that our customers use Simplelists are as a listserve and for email marketing. However, these are not the only things you can use it for. We have designed Simplelists to be flexible so that you can complete a range of tasks. Here are some of the key ones.

Uses for Simplelists

Managing your email list

You can upload your email list members to Simplelists in bulk, directly from a file. If you have a lot of list members, this saves you time as you can export the list details to a file and upload it in seconds.

You can also download your list. We recognise that your email list is your property and we make it really easy for you to generate a copy of your email list. You can download your whole list of members into a file that can be opened in a spreadsheet.

Setting permissions

It is very easy to set posting permissions in Simplelists. This means that you can select who can send emails to your list. You might choose to enable this for all members, select some members, or make yourself the sole person with the permission to post to the list.

You can also moderate messages that are due to be sent to your list. You have several options: no moderation required (messages are sent straight to the members of your list), hold all messages for approval, or allow specific members to post without needing your approval first.

You might want to manage replies as well – you can select whether email replies are sent to everyone on the list or only to the person who sent the original email.

Setting posting restrictions can be useful if you permit other members to send emails to your list. This would ensure they don’t send very large emails, for example. You can set a maximum email size (in kB), remove attachments, strip HTML formatting and/or truncate messages to a specified maximum number of characters.

Finally, you may or may not want to allow your list members to see who else is on the list. Again, you have options – you can allow members to view all names and emails, allow them to see names only, or remove the ability to see names or emails.

Customise your emails

With Simplelists, it is very easy to customise your emails by including a personalised footer and a subject prefix. You can include HTML in the footer so your members can see graphics or logos. Or, you can use HTML throughout the email for complete customisation. You can also personalise your emails by inserting each recipient’s name at the start.

You can archive all your emails. When you activate this feature, all emails will be stored on a custom website so that you can access them in the future. You can set a password for the archive, if you wish.

Why use an email discussion list?

Using Simplelists – a group email manager – means you can send emails to a group of people via one email address. This is a great way to have private discussions via email in a way that ensures list members’ preferences are adhered to (e.g. how frequently they receive messages). Lots of businesses and organisations find that sharing information in this way can foster community in the workplace. This short post explains in some more detail how the service works and what benefits it offers.

Why use an email discussion list

How does it work?

First, members need to subscribe to the discussion list. They can do this on a website (see an earlier post on how to add a subscribe form to your website) or via email. It is then possible for any member to post to the whole list by emailing a particular, automated email address.

You can set permissions so that only certain members can post, or enable an approval process so that each post needs to be moderated by an administrator before going out to the whole list (read more here about how to set permissions). Normally, you would have one or more ‘list managers’ who take charge of the list and tend to have a good level of knowledge about what the discussion is all about.

Making things personal

It is possible for list members to personalise how they interact with the list. For example, they might have an email format preference (HTML or plain text), or they might want to stipulate how often they receive emails from the list. There is also the option to receive a digest summary of the latest posts, instead of receiving them individually as and when they are posted.

You can also customise the email itself, perhaps including a company logo or a directing email recipients to a bespoke landing page within your website.

Getting through

Today, most ISPs (Internet Service Providers) have limits on the number of email addresses that you can send an email to. If you exceed the number, the email will not be delivered to the recipient. If recipients report your emails as spam, this can also affect whether or not the message gets through.

Within Simplelists, you can manage your spam reporting settings to make sure your emails get through.

Other benefits

A lot of people still prefer receiving an email personalised to their needs rather than visiting a website to search for information. Over half of all internet users subscribe to at least one email list. For those with slow internet connections or who work offline at intervals, being able to download, read and reply to emails rather than interact in real time can be a real bonus.

 

A reminder of our features

Simplelists is designed to be quick, easy and simple to use. It also has a selection of powerful features for users who want more from their email management software. People who sign up to Simplelists do so for many reasons. They may want a way to manage group email discussions, use email for marketing purposes, or send regular updates and other information to list members. We are often asked what Simplelists can do, so this short post is a reminder of our features.

Simplelists features

 Manage members

  • Add members to your list You can add members to your list in bulk from a spreadsheet or .csv file. You can also easily download your list members’ email addresses to a spreadsheet.
  • Set posting permissions You can select who can send emails to your list. This can be: all members, selected members or just yourself.
  • Manage replies You can decide whether replies are sent to the whole list or just to the person who sent the original email.

Set restrictions

  • Moderate messages You can choose to hold messages for approval before they are sent to your list
  • Restrict email size You can limit the size of emails, strip attachments from emails, and more.
  • Control list viewing You can keep members’ names and email addresses hidden or let them be seen by other members.

Customise your emails

  • Add a personalised footer You can do this to personalise your email and include information about you or your company/group.
  • Include HTML You can include HTML in your emails, enabling you to customise your emails.
  • Include members’ names You can personalise your emails by automatically adding members’ names at the start of an email.
  • Archive emails You can archive all emails – they can be accessed from a custom website at any time.
  • Daily digest summaries These can be useful for busy lists. Instead of receiving emails when they are posted, members receive one email every 24 hours.

Control subscriptions

  • Set subscribe and unsubscribe options You can choose whether new members can join your list, and whether this requires approval.
  • Add a subscription form You can add a subscribe form to your website. It is fully customisable, so you can change it to match your website perfectly.

Integrate with websites

  • Brand your landing pages On all landing pages you can replace the Simplelists heading with your own logo or branding.
  • Synchronise your account with websites An API is available, which allows you to synchronise your Simplelists account with other websites.
  • Integrate emails with your domain A multiple list account can be integrated with your domain so that users receive emails from your domain, rather than Simplelists.

Automated list management

  • Notification of bounced emails When an email to one of your members bounces, you will receive a message to let you know.
  • Automatic processing of bounced email addresses List members with emails addresses that bounce emails repeatedly are automatically removed from your list, saving you time.
  • Automatic spam management If a list member marks your email as spam, they will automatically be removed from the list. This ensures that repeated emails are not marked as spam, which keeps delivery rates high.

Sending HTML emails with Simplelists

HTML emails are formatted like a web page and can include colours, graphics, tables and links. Most emails that you receive from a shop/business that you subscribe to are likely to use this kind of email. Plain text emails are more like what you might expect to receive from a friend or in a typical work email. Before sending an HTML email to your list, it is worth considering the pros and cons of HTML and plain text emails.

HTML email

HTML or plain text?

HTML emails are colourful and eye-catching. You can include your company logo and make your email look professional. HTML emails can include images and make it possible to break the email into sections that are easy to read or scan. They can also include social media buttons. HTML emails are more likely to be blocked by some spam blockers, especially if they contain a lot of HTML.

Plain text emails are small and light, which means they use less memory and open more quickly. Plain text messages look less commercial and more similar to personal emails. It has also been found that a plain text email is more likely to be opened and clicked through, which is important if you are sending emails as part of a marketing campaign.

Creating an HTML email

First, you need to create your email as a single web page. There are a few special points to note when creating HTML for email:

  • Use tables to create the layout. Avoid using margins and padding and give the table’s elements fixed widths. This prevents the email looking different in different email clients.
  • All CSS styles should be inline styles. Any CSS in the head or on external style sheets will be ignored.
  • Any images should have an absolute URL – they’ll need to be on the server so they can be sourced.

Once complete, view your web page in a browser. First, check that the page looks perfect. Right click and select all and then copy. Note that you should not copy the HTML code. Copy the content of the web page.

Send the email

Open your email client and compose a new message to your list. Simply paste the email and hit send. Your HTML email will be sent to your whole list. Simple.

You can watch these instructions in a short video here.

Group email made simple – a reminder of our features

Simplelists is designed to be quick, easy and simple to use. It also has a collection of powerful features for users who want more from their email management software. In this short post, we remind our customers of the power of Simplelists and let those who are thinking of joining us know about the range of features available.

Simplelists features

Fast setup

With Simplelists, you can set up your list in just a few minutes. You simply log into your
account and then add people to your list. All you need is their name and email address – you can add people manually or in bulk from a spreadsheet or CSV file. Once a person is added, they will appear as a list member. You can also download your list members’ details to a spreadsheet with a click of a button.

Set restrictions

You have the option to choose who can send messages to your list. For example, you can allow all members to send emails, select members who can send messages, or make sure it is just yourself that can send messages. You can also choose whether replies are sent to the whole list or just to the person who sent the original email. To ensure quality emails are circulated, you can opt to approve and moderate emails before they are sent to the list. The size of emails can also be limited, and attachments can be stripped if required.

Customise your emails

You can let list members’ email addresses be seen, or keep them hidden from other members. Other features include: the ability to add a personalised footer; send your emails in HTML rather than plain text; and personalise your emails by automatically adding details such as the recipient’s name in the email. Once sent, you can archive your emails and access them from a custom website at any time. If you have a busy list, daily digest summaries are a useful feature – instead of receiving emails when they are posted, members receive one email every 24 hours.

Customise subscriptions and integrate with websites

You can choose whether new members can join your list when they wish, or whether this requires approval. Similarly, you can set unsubscribe options, allowing members to leave your list when they choose. To allow members to join your list easily, you can add a subscribe form to your website (this form is fully customisable so you can match it perfectly to the design of your website) and you can easily replace the Simplelists branding with your own logo or branding on all landing pages (where members go when clicking on email/form links). An API is available to enable you to synchronise your Simplelists account with other websites and a multiple list account can be integrated with your domain so that users receive emails from your domain rather than Simplelists.

Automated list management

When an email to one of your list members bounces, you will receive a message to let you know. To save you time, list members with email addresses that bounce messages repeatedly can be removed automatically from your list. If a list member marks your email as spam, they will automatically be removed from the list. This ensures that emails are not repeatedly marked as spam, keeping delivery rates high.

Once your list is set up, you can email everyone on your list from your normal email address. Just send them message to [yourlist]@simplelists.com. It really is that simple. If you would like to try out Simplelists, you can sign up for a free single list account today.

New Feature – Take a Break

Some of our customers have requested a feature where members can take a break from receiving list emails rather than completely unsubscribe. We could see that this feature would be useful in a lot of situations…

For example, it’s fairly common for clubs or societies have an email list for their members – but membership of clubs and societies is rarely static – members come and go it’s not uncommon for some members sometimes leave a club and then rejoin at a later date. Rather than unsubscribe the member completely – it is possible to pause the delivery of their emails. If they rejoin at a later date you can resume the delivery of their emails in one click, rather than going through the subscription process again.

Human relationship with  computer communication timeout conceptWith this in mind we’ve listened to our customers and implemented a ‘take a break’ feature for list members. We’ve made it very easy to activate for both list managers and list members…

List Managers

Login to your Simplelists account, navigate to ‘list members’, select a member from the address book and tick the ‘pause delivery’ check-box. To restart delivery simply uncheck the box.

pause_deleivery1List Members

Visit http://archives.simplelists.com/ and if you aren’t logged in already enter your email address and you’ll be sent a confirmation email to your email address. Click on the link in the email which will take you to archives of your email lists. Simply select ‘pause delivery’ for the list that you want to take a break from. When you want to receive emails again you just click ‘resume delivery’ – simple!

pause_delivery2

Subscribe Forms – Everything You Need To Know

We’ve just completed a series of short videos on subscribe forms. These videos take you through everything that you need to know to place a subscribe or unsubscribe form on your website: adding a the form to your site, customising the form to suit your needs and styling the form to match your website perfectly…

Adding A Form To Your Website

This is very simple – just login to your simplelists account, navigate to ‘general settings’, select ‘subscriptions’ and you’ll see the code which you can copy and paste to your website.

The first short video takes you through this process step by step:

If you have a multiple list account you have a choice of different forms to use – the next video takes you through the options so that you can choose the most appropriate form for your specific needs:

Customising A Web Form

The simplelists web forms are written completely in standard HTML. This means that they are totally flexible and gives you the ability to customise the forms to suit your needs exactly. You can delete fields that aren’t needed, add new inputs and change the form from subscribe to unsubscribe – you can even write your own form entirely from scratch!

The third video shows you how to customise your form by editing the form itself:

Styling Your Form

Having a form that matches your website’s design is important when creating the image that you want. Because simplelists forms are standard HTML they can be styled using CSS which means that you have the ability to style your form any way you want. You have complete freedom to create beautiful as well as useful web forms. The final video of the series shows you how:

Which Account is Best For You?

You have a range of choices when deciding which account to use to manage your group email. In this post we’ll take you through your options but… before we start it’s worth noting that we offer free trials for both single and multiple list accounts so if you have a one-off email campaign or short-term project that requires group email management then why not use the free trial – it won’t cost you a thing!

Price and Value word made by letter pieces

‘Single List’ verses ‘Multiple List’ accounts

This choice will usually be dictated by the number of lists that you want to manage – if you manage several different email lists then you’ll need a multiple list account but if you manage one email list then a single list account is usually best. Simple stuff!

However, it’s worth noting that there are some extra features that are only available to multiple list accounts that could mean that you want to choose a multiple list account even if you only manage a single email list. One such feature is the ability to use your own domain to replace simplelists.com in your emails and for your landing pages – this enables you to brand the entire system as your own.

‘Pay As You Go’ verses ‘Unlimited Subscription’

If you are planning a one-off mailshot or have a short-term project that needs group email management then a Pay As You Go account is normally the best option.The exception is when you expect to send a huge amount of data through your account (for example, if your emails will contain large attachments). Under these circumstances, subscribing to an unlimited account for the duration of your project would be the most cost effective option.

If your email management needs are long-term or ongoing then an unlimited subscription is normally best. This is hassle free and enables you to send as much data as you want. However, if you use a small amount of data then a 10GB Pay As You Go data bundle should be more cost effective.

Pay As You Go Price Plans

All Pay As You Go price plans allow up to 20,000 list members – enough even for the biggest lists! You choose a plan based on the amount of data that you wish to send.

For short term projects or email campaigns of less than a month the 1GB and 3GB bundles are a good option – you can send approximately 48,000 plain text emails with a 1GB bundle and 144,000 with a 3GB bundle!

For long-term projects or email campaigns that last up to a year the 10GB bundle offers great value – at only $64 (£40 or €52) for the bundle that lasts an entire year this works out at just $5.33 (£3.33 or €4.33) for each month. This bundle enables you to send approximately 40,000 plain text emails per month, every month for a year!

For very large projects and campaigns the 30GB bundles offer enough data for some serious emailing with large lists.

To make things really simple we have a PAYG yearly data calculator which enables you to estimate the data required for your list – you can see it on our products page.

Unlimited Price Plans

Unlimited price plans are ongoing – you pay a monthly or yearly subscription and receive an unlimited data allowance. The subscription fee depends on the number of list members that you have – there are options for 1000, 5000, 10000 and 20000 members. The yearly subscriptions offer the best value and start at as little as $10 (£6 or €8) per month.