Discussion Lists

Should You Decide Between Social Media and Email Marketing

Should You Decide Between Social Media and Email Marketing

The Nonprofit Advantage with Social Media

Free Social Media Sites for Nonprofits – When running a nonprofit organization, don’t you agree that free is always attractive. Especially when you are working with a tight budget.  First of all Social Media, as part of your marketing mix, should complement your virtual ads, website and Facebook presence.  Social Media essentially gives all nonprofit organizations no-cost marketing potential without limits.

Here is an article you might consider reading, How to Increase Sales Using Social Media,   However, Social Media does not get the job done alone –  complement your Social presence with email marketing.

Statistically, email continues to be the most cost-effective marketing vehicle for acquiring new interest and maintaining ongoing relationships.  When you compare email marketing with social marketing channels; you find that most of these social applications require work on the readers’ part. Email lists ( Discussion Lists, Announcements, and Newsletters) place the message directly in the inbox. No work is involved other than opening the message. The email goes to the list member, the list member doesn’t have to look for it.  And email, when archived, can be searchable.

Email over Social Media has proven to:man bursting through wall

  • Attract more volunteer participation
  • Reach out to people who are supporters and not social media followers
  • Help organize big fundraisers
  • Maintain employee interest
  • Keeps lines of communication open with all facets of your organization

How do you create a good solid email campaign?

Consider:

  • Including a story, something that promotes your brand and the heart of your organization
  • Showing the results of donor dollars, what you accomplished, what you are working toward
  • Using a call-to-action that will inspire your readers to:  pick up the phone – click on a link – make that donation
  • Offering white papers, downloads
  • Sending a form to capture their interests and availability – keep them engaged with your organization
  • Create emails you can analyze with email management tools

Dundee Internet offers a multitude of email management tools including:

  • Transactional emails and automated emails. These type of emails are automatically sent in reaction to an event or a transaction. Someone makes a donation
  • Triggered email, are set up to send in response to a specific event. An event can include a simple act such as filling out a form on your website which triggers a personalized thank you email.
  • Triggered Clauses, where one or more clauses define the terms for the creation of a specific segment.  This includes, but is not limited to:
    • Dates
    • Interests
    • Purchases
    • Text
    • Survey
    • Numeric
  • List segmentation sends email to specific demographics or classifications (volunteer, donors, constituents.)

As with any business or organization, to maintain a good relationship with customers and volunteers. It is always smart to follow up with them.  This is especially true if they spent time or money with your organization.  With email marketing. you can follow-up and keep track of all email activities to measure the success of your call-to-action. Your goal may include open rates and click-throughs or how many times your email is shared with a friend. All valuable information for future campaigns.

The bottom line doesn’t overlook the best and cost-effective tool around, Email.  And at Dundee, you can set up a list for as little as $10 a month: unlimited email sends for up to 500 subscribers.

“Discussion Lists” the Only Communication Tool Before Social Media

“Discussion Lists” the Only Communication Tool Before Social Media

As a non-profit organization, communication between all departments and volunteers is key.

Timely and accurate communication can be tricky, as members may be spread over the United States and unreachable the same time you’re not.   So, just how do you effectively communicate with your group when your organization members are not in the same room, or in the same City or Country?lock and key

You might consider Group Messaging, but what about the different time zones and the information they will miss if they weren’t there at the beginning of the conversation. Facebook®? Is everyone on board to set their privacy up correctly and who wants to scroll through hundreds of messages to find an answer or ask a question?

Selecting the right communication tool for your Non-profit is important and researching all the ones available tools can be daunting.   However,  the answer is easier than you may think, set up an Email Discussion list.

How do discussion list work you may ask – with Dundee Internet Services, Inc. we set up your list to your specifications, you import all your members, (simply done with Excel or CVS file) send them a hello letter, maybe include some list etiquette and you’re ready to have your first discussion by email.

You can also invite others to join your list, from any of your websites. Once a new list member opts-in they can join the group discussion by sending an email to an automated email address. The email is then sent from our server to all subscribers on the list. Once received, members can then respond to not only the sender but the entire subscriber list, resulting in a real-time discussion from the privacy of the member’s inbox.

Discussion lists can be customized to meet your organization’s specific needs.

Features may be changed, which include but are not limited to, how to handle subscriptions, user preferences, and branding.  When it comes to subscriptions members should be able to join or remove themselves from the mailing list with ease. To accomplish this, the member can add themselves by emailing a specific email address or by go online and subscribe to your organization’s webpage.

When logging in via a webpage the new member would generate a new account by setting up a username and password. Once they are a member they can change their user preferences.  Members can decide how they want to receive these posts, they can be received as an email every time someone responds or once a day as an accumulated response.

As the host of these discussion lists, you can decide how you want them to appear to all those involved, the options can be endless. For instance, you may choose the color or even add your organization’s logo to make the list look more official or tie it into the member website. The possibilities are endless

Email discussion lists are a critical tool for the nonprofit agencies looking to reach a broad spectrum of people. A good discussion list can bring in people, from all walks of life together, to generate a conversation.  Think of how a discussion list for your Volunteers or donor can bring them closer to your cause.

Discussion lists are used for everything that needs to be acted on: from scheduling everyday tasks to collaborating with board members over any issue imaginable.  They bring people together, worldwide just as simple as composing an email.   Sign up for a free 60-day trial special and see of yourself.

not By Invitation Only – Because You Can Never Have Enough Subscribers.

not By Invitation Only – Because You Can Never Have Enough Subscribers.

Even with the many different social tools available, email is still the number one choice for online communications.  Email becomes a more valuable tool when this communication is between smaller groups, like committees and project planning teams.  These groups typically include individuals that are interested, not only in the main subject but also in specific issues that support it. One such organization that has found email discussion lists an essential tool for planning events is the Old Mill Museum located in Dundee Michigan

old millThe Old Mill Museum, a nonprofit organization, hosts various events throughout the year to support the historic Henry Ford Old Mill Museum.  To organize these events, such as the upcoming Para-fest, Old Mill Museum committee members rely on email discussion lists to organize and plan this event.  They have searchable archives from the previous years to research, they know who needs to do what and when, and all the while list members are updated on the progress of each committee, who utilize a smaller “committee” discussion list to organize their piece of the affair.   Additionally, they use their Old Mill opted-in announcement mailing list to invite the segment of subscribers interested in this event, easily selling advanced tickets and emailing discount coupons.

Why does the Old Mill use discussion lists, why not forums, which are more popular and usually free.   They do so because of all the items mention in Is Your Discussion List On All The Popular Search Engines?   (AND)  the Old Mill Museum mailing lists are used by the Staff, volunteers and as a vehicle to send announcements to interested parties.  Plus, there is privacy.  The main discussion list, intended for official Mill communication, is a totally private moderated list.  Their opted-in announcement list is open membership, because one can never have enough subscribers..

Organizations such as The Old Mill Museum, prefer communicating using discussion lists over forums for some of the following reasons:

  1. A list member can effectively filter incoming email to go directly into a labeled folder, making email more of a manageable communication tool than its forum competitor
  2. List members do not need to have several different accounts if they are interested in different subjects, or if they are on different committees in the same organization.  They just need to send an email to join or can be added by a list administrator.  Forums require a user to create an account and password, and to use that information each time they visit.
  3. A list administrator can add and/or remove a list member when needed, or the member can unsubscribe themselves.  Forums on the other hand, normally don’t readily support this behavior.
  4. Different discussions within the same mailing list can be split into various parts to cover different issues. The list member can choose to read and answer an email by topic. Forum members have to log into their Forum website and look for the discussions they are part of.
  5. Every member on the mailing list receives the conversation (they only have to choose to read it, answer it, file it, or discard it).  Forum members need to remember to visit the web forum during the week to participate.
  6. Mailing lists are flexible. Members can select the web browser of their choice, receive list email directly delivered to their inbox or log into a web interface to access the list.
  7. In additions Discussion Lists do not demand a great investment in time.  They are pretty straight forward and run on, for the most part universal commands.  Forums utilize a different type of software platforms; commands are not universal from one forum to the next.
  8. Then there’s SPAM. Forums are a more lucrative target for spammers than discussion lists because the spammer can add links to the forum site, which when picked up by search engines are indexed and listed.  This can really screw up your SEO if that’s what you were going for.

Discussion lists really don’t have the same type and level of SPAM issues that forums have.  Members are opted-in, unless you subscribe a spammer to your list, SPAM is not a normally a problem.

And one of the most important features the Old Mill Museum enjoys  while using Discussion and Announcement Lists hosted by Dundee Internet; their mailing list leaves the control to its users, while a forum locks their members in with the restricted features it provides,

If you would like to explore the advantages of having your own, private, moderated (or nonmoderated) discussion list just click on this link, fill out the form and we will set up a no obligation demo list for you.  Test it, evaluate it, use it. You’ll find its easy and your list members will love it.

Have you heard? AOL recently changed their email acceptance policy – and it could affect you!

Have you heard? AOL recently changed their email acceptance policy – and it could affect you!

Dear Dundee Internet,

What’s “uncategorized failure” all about? My posts– or, it seems, posts from anyone else using AOL–aren’t appearing in my inbox and weren’t yesterday. What’s up?

Thanks for your assistance,
Mr. Edwards

———————-

Dear Mr. Edwards,man with letter

It appears that AOL has followed Yahoo’s lead and has implemented a DMARC p=reject policy.  This breaks all mailing lists worldwide for anyone using a yahoo.com, and now aol.com, From: addresses.

AOL, recommends changing the list parameters like this:

“For mailing lists, also known as listservs, we recommend configuring reply behavior to fill the From line with the mailing lists address rather than the sender’s and put the actual user / sender address into the Reply-To: line. …”

Dundee Internet Support.

Need to know more? Contact Us

What do you think? Comments welcomed.

Are there rules when you want to put your two cents in this Discussion List?

Are there rules when you want to put your two cents in this Discussion List?

Discussion Lists are based on a group of people of like interests, using email to “discuss” their interests among one another. They are online communities without boundaries. Unlike the traditional announcement list, the discussion list facilitates two-way communication among its members as members can read all posts to the list and can reply to the topic at hand.

Internet etiquette for email discussion lists covers acceptable online behavior for group communication: from ones manners to one’s action.  In fact, members or subscribers of most discussion lists expect fellow members to follow some sort of standard set of rules, rules that have been established by the Internet Community and rules that have been established by the list they joined.

Rules are in place to keep things orderly: the greater the number of  unrelated subscribers participating in a discussion list, the greater the potential for an online disagreement. An unmoderated lively discussion group representing different points of view can turn ugly; therefore, rules of acceptable behavior should ask members to:

  • Be Polite to your fellow list members.
  • Read the FAQ and rules of this list: know the procedure to post before you put your two cents in.
  • Review the list archives (if available); so you know what’s been covered as list members typically do not like to rehash old issues.
  • Refrain from being a “me too” poster.
  • Be careful using auto responders,  a discussion list doesn’t need to be flooded with “I’m on vacation” each time a new message posts to the list.
  • Trim your replies.

Remember

List members do not have to reside in the United States; they could be from any country. Therefore, do not assume everyone will have the same reference point as you do, such as using the name of a popular TV show to make a point, comparison or idea.

Actual List Rules pertaining to a specific list you join are most likely different from List to List. A typical set of list specific rules may read like this:

  • Don’t assume all rules for all lists are the same.
  • Do not post off topic, keep your posts (questions, comments or answers) relevant to the current subject of the discussion group.
  • Do not reply to an off topic post.
  • When you are unavailable for several days, suspend your account or consider unsubscribing temporarily, from the list.
  • Sometime it really does make more sense to contact someone directly rather than post in public.
  • When you write to the list by selecting reply, wear the list editor hat. A Discussion list response email (reply) will copy everything that was included from the previous person or people.  Before you post to the group, remove all text unrelated to your response.  This includes minimizing quotations to read only the necessary text. Remove the multiple, unrelated footer.  This will avoid posting “long duplicated text” especially if your comment is only one line afterward.
  • Posting a longer than usual message? Warn the readers with a statement at the top of the mail message. Example: WARNING: LONG MESSAGE.
  • If you MUST cross post messages to multiple groups, include the name of the groups at the top of the mail message with an apology for any duplication.
  • Follow the Golden Rule: post to others as you would have others post to you.  Resist all temptations to provoke an angry response also called “flaming” other list members.
  • Occasionally subscribers to the list who are not familiar with proper netiquette will submit requests to SUBSCRIBE or UNSUBSCRIBE directly to the list itself. Be tolerant of this activity, and possibly provide some useful advice as opposed to being critical.
  • Other people on the list are not interested in your desire to be added or deleted.
  • Any requests regarding administrative tasks such as being added or removed from a list should be made to the appropriate area, not the list itself. Using the unsubscribe link is preferable for example, however

    pennies

    Putting in your two cents

    if you must email these types of requests they should be sent to the following address,xxx@lyris.dundee.net, not to the list itself.

Email discussion list services is an effective, timely communication solution, for any group of people, any time, no matter their age, status, title, location, online now or later.  And when you follow the rules the conversations flow smoothly.

Pardon me; can you pass your email without all the trimmings?

Pardon me; can you pass your email without all the trimmings?

On a properly configured discussion list an unsubscribe footer is always included; usually at the bottom of the post.   The unsubscribe footer is unique to each user and should never be included in a reply.

turkey

Need to trim

List members who are unaware of proper list etiquette may respond to a discussion list post by merely replying, inadvertently copying all the previous footers in the said discussion thread.  Therefore, the List Admin should educate their discussion list subscribers to trim their replies as a courtesy to the other subscribers.  In other words users should be trimming replies of extraneous text that is not relevant to the message topic…including the footer.

Take the case of a list member who decided to unsubscribe herself from the discussion list she on.  She replied to the post  she was reading by asking how to unsubscribe from the list.  She either did not see the unsubscribe footer, did not trust it, or wanted everyone to know she wanted to leave.  AND in her reply to the list, she did not trim off the previous footers, (or her own). Her reply post therefore, contained her unique unsubscribe link and unique unsubscribe email address.

Apparently, several people on the list clicked on her unique unsubscribe link on her behalf—to remove her from the list.   Each time the link was clicked on, the system would change her status to ‘needs-goodbye’, then send her the goodbye letter, and then change her status to ‘unsub’.  The member complained that the program was in a loop.  Common discussion list etiquette (aka Netiquette), if followed, would have prevented this from happening.

This bad habit will not only annoy experienced list users, but can also cause confusion and/or be used to cause mischief (malicious unsubscribes).  If a List Admin allows this to go on, it can also lead to declining membership via people unsubscribing because of the ‘noise level’ of the list.

Users should be taught (encouraged) to use the unsubscribe instructions at the bottom of each message if they want to be removed from a discussion list, as sending remove requests to a discussion list is common and not unexpected.  When such a public request is made the List Admin should just quietly remove the member.    In this case, the subscriber failing to trim her reply, allowing other subscribers to also attempt to remove her, compounded the issue.

Here are a few good links to sites with Netiquette guidelines and advice.  You may want to glean from these and create your own Netiquette guide for your clients.

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=netiquette&defid=1612856
(Netiquette defined)

http://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc1855
(old advice, but still relevant and the official RFC on the subject)

http://courses.cs.vt.edu/cs3604/lib/Netiquette/Rinaldi/dis.html
(another older reference by the original Netiquette guru)

http://lifehacker.com/5473859/basic-etiquette-for-email-lists-and-forums

Need a discussion list hosted?   Discussion List Services ideal for group projects and collaboration, both in and out of the office.

Converse with Discussion Lists to Keep A Head

Converse with Discussion Lists to Keep A Head

“Statistically speaking there is research that supports the fact that list subscribers worldwide, in comparison to the largest online communities such as FaceBook far outnumber all social network users” 

The first computer  Chat System was introduced in 1974.  Did you know that CompuServe offered the first online chat room (a CB Simulator) in 1980?  Chat allowed real time conversations to take place between many computer users; so popular at its inception, 30 years later it’s still widely used.  It seems people enjoy real-time online conversations, and spontaneous discussions having the option to “chat” under an alias name and avatar.  

Unlike Chat, forums have been around about 10 years longer, evolving from the computerize bulletin board (BBS) which has an interesting ongoing history in itself.  Forums can be considered a messaging system for a community.  When someone posts a message in a forum their message is normally posted under a specific “Forum Topic”.  Messages can then be viewed at a future date, read, skipped or answered.  Some forums, like Chat rooms email the ongoing conversations to their members: pretty handy.

Both Chat rooms and forums normally focus on a central theme such as a hobby or a like interest such as hiking.  If allowed, Chat room conversations can go into many directions while forums are a bit more structured.  For example, typical forum discussion (i.e. yahoo groups) allows members to select a topic they wish to read and respond to.

Similar to the forum is the discussion list, used extensively throughout the internet.  Organizations, such as IBM Rational Software has a SQA User group discussion list that requires ongoing searchable-recorded conversations; part of the discussion list structure.  This makes the discussion list more suited for their needs and more appealing than a forum because  it could be that:

  1. There’s only so much time in a day.
  2. Aside from the learning curves as different forums have dissimilar settings, quirks and rules, forums require you to go to a specific place to log in.
  3. What are you looking for; new topics, new posts or your posts? 
  4. Newbies posting more frequently than the season members on subjects that have been covered. 
  5. Some forums are not as spam free as they believe they are. 

The truth is most of us would rather receive information in our inbox rather than go find it.  Discussion list subscribers seem to prefer receiving email rather than frequenting a URL, login and search for new conversations or information. 

They aren’t lazy they’re just practical and saving time.

Discussion lists can be used by everyone. They support the exchange of ideas and cooperation among people who can be:

  1. Young or old
  2. Savvy or not
  3. Dial up user or broadband consumer
  4. Mobile or Touch Screen
  5. Reading Online or reading off line
  6. Traveling or sitting at home

Discussion lists are regularly used to foster community-building efforts, share information within an organization and facilitate conversation with customers. They are an inexpensive yet priceless marketing tool. They are an excellent way of meeting goals because they easily handle:

  1. Everyday tasks
  2. Scheduling
  3. Notifications
  4. Group participation
  5. Feedback

Discussion List Features allow them to be:

  1. Straight forward and simple
  2. Complex running sophisticated applications
  3. Private with expiration dates on membership
  4. Administrated by one, many or no one.
  5. Public or not, set up as a private online community forum
  6. Searchable by archives using the subject, date or author
  7. Flexible, where the list administrator can allow users to set their own preferences
  8. Customized and branded
  9. An easy way to integrate subscriber information with other platforms

man bursting through wall

Keep a Head with Discussion list

What’s out there?

There’s free discussion list hosting using ad supported platforms. However free usually means you’ll be advertising for their vendors and partners. Running banner ads regardless of where they are placed on the web page or in the email you’re reading, distract from messages, are unprofessional and in most cases appear as if your group is recommending the advertiser. Free means you cannot customize the look of your forums, nor have total list control over your members, and there is virtually no support for substantial integration with other platforms.

Then there are paid hosting plans. Before deciding which to use, consider the features and benefits you need, and will need for future growth. Consider all your requirements; do you need a branded discussion list, more than one list, several or one administrator, training for your staff, custom html skins, survey capabilities, searchable archives, moderated, secure from hackers, 24/7 support and total control of your members? If so, try a no cost no obligation evaluation list with Dundee Internet Services, and start talking.

8 Must have Features for Your Discussion List

8 Must have Features for Your Discussion List

Most discussion lists take the form of an online community of people brought together to discuss specific topics of interest.  Discussion lists normally have several options, such as moderated list to digests options.  Here are 8 features that your discussion list service provider  should include:

  1. Web interface for your members
  2. Membership security
  3. Fast text searching for all archives
  4. Multi-lingual
  5. Universal list server commands
  6. No Spam
  7. Supports several moderating models
  8. Create unlimited number of lists on the fly- billed for one service

Want to know more?  Visit Dundee Internet Services Discussion list hosting since 1997.

“What can I say about Dundee Internet Services list hosting: “Thank you for your tremendous work in helping us keep with the times and get our mailing lists streamlined and running more efficiently.  It’s always a pleasure working with your responsive and pleasant team!”

 Webmaster, Public Service Organization

Dundee Internet Lyris ListManager ™ hosting solutions: CREATE – SHARE – GROW

Discussion Lists – Talk About An Inexpensive Yet Priceless Solution

Discussion Lists – Talk About An Inexpensive Yet Priceless Solution

As the old joke goes, the fastest communication channels in the world were once said to be telegraph, telephone or tell a women.  As a woman, two-way communication is a major part of my daily life, be it by email, text, social networking, mobile phone or face-to-face conversation.  I find all these methods interactive and allow an exchange of ideas, opinions and information: quickly.  When communicating with larger groups over any distance, near or far, I like the email Discussion list for its versatility.

A Discussion List allows the widespread distribution of information, ideas and opinions to many Internet users at once.  Organizations who use discussion lists find they can foster community involvement by giving everyone on the list an opportunity to share knowledge and contribute to the conversation.  In addition, the best part about a discussion list; the participates do not have to be in one place at a certain time, they can be anywhere in the country or in the world.  They can research what was said and answer any post as desired, when they desire too.

The mechanics of a discussion list are easy to understand. Discussion lists are segregated by topics or groups.  Generally, potential members subscribe to a discussion list online.  Some may join using email while others are placed on the list manually.  (With their permission of course!)  Once a subscriber, list members can post to the list via a web interface or  email.  If using a moderated list, the moderator approves the sent message before it appears on the list.  If non-moderated, the message is delivered to the other members when posted.

Members can select the format to receive and respond to posted messages.  They can receive an email of each post as it is made to the list, in an email digest of all posts made that day or that week, or read and respond to messages in a forum setting on the internet, searchable by topic or author.

Discussion lists using advanced email features such as offered by Dundee Internet, have numerous options that complement many communication arenas that are in use today.  Dundee internet hosted Discussion lists created in ListManager™ has the flexibility to:

  1. Create a Customize landing page
  2. Brand your list(s)
  3. Integrate into existing databases and websites
  4. Share photos
  5. Share files
  6. Run numerous discussion lists under one domain URL and brand, with one or many list administrators or resell services to others with all discussion list benefits.

Benefits of Discussion Lists

It’s been shown that most of us would rather receive information than go find it.  Internet users are no exception.  Discussion list subscribers seem to prefer receiving email than regularly visiting a Web site to search for new conversations, or information.  In fact numerically speaking, research supports the fact that world wide, list subscribers, in comparison to the biggest online communities such as FaceBook far out number all social network users.

Discussion lists can be used by everyone.  They support  the exchange of ideas and cooperation among people who can be:

  1. Young or old
  2. Savvy or not
  3. Dial up user or broadband consumer.
  4. Mobile or Touch Screen
  5. Reading Online or reading off line
  6. Traveling or sitting at home

Discussion lists are regularly used to foster community-building efforts, share information within an organization and facilitate conversation with customers.  They are an inexpensive yet priceless marketing tool. They are an excellent way of meeting goals because they easily handle:

  1. Everyday tasks
  2. Scheduling
  3. Notifications
  4. Group participation
  5. Feedback

Discussion List Features allow them to be:

  1. Straight forward, simple
  2. Complex running sophisticated applications
  3. Private with expiration dates on membership
  4. Administrated by one, many or no one.
  5. Public or not, set up as a private online community forum
  6. Searchable by archives using the subject, date or author
  7. Flexible, where the list administrator can allow users to set their own preferences
  8. Customized and branded
  9. An easy way to integrate subscriber information with other platforms

What’s out there?

There’s free discussion list hosting using ad supported platforms.  However free usually means you’ll be advertising for their vendors and partners.  Running banner ads regardless of where they are placed on the web page or in the email you’re reading, distract from messages, are unprofessional and in most cases appear as if your group is recommending the advertiser.  Free means you cannot customize the look of your forums, nor have total list control over your members, and there is virtually no support for substantial integration with other platforms.

Then there are paid hosting plans.  Before deciding which to use, consider the features and benefits you need, and will need for future growth. Consider all your requirements; do you need a branded discussion list, more than one list, several or one administrator, training for your staff, custom html skins, survey capabilities, searchable archives, moderated, secure from hackers, 24/7 support and total control of your members?  If so, try a no cost no obligation evaluation list with Dundee Internet Services, and start talking.