When it comes to expanding your professional skill set, there are numerous compelling reasons to explore new opportunities. Stand out among your peers, boost your confidence and motivation and even keep your brain healthy and flexible. Check out the free, self-paced Learn LISTSERV and Learn LISTSERV Maestro courses to take advantage of the actionable knowledge and skills you'll gain.
See How These Three Solutions Stack Up and Find Your Best Fit
Planning to manage your email lists on-premises? The LISTSERV® platform provides options for any need in a reliable, flexible and secure solution with more than 35 years of worldwide use by organizations of all types. Keep your audiences engaged with discussion groups, email newsletters, announcements and more.
"LISTSERV software helps my organization because it's stable, secure, familiar and well supported. The one piece of server software that I don't have to worry about."
– Adrianne Schutt
Key LISTSERV Advantages
Configure your LISTSERV site to meet your organization's exact needs. The software can be installed on a range of Windows- and Unix-based operating systems. A hosted cloud service is also available with easy migration between the on-premises and cloud options.
Relax in knowing that L-Soft's expert technical support team is always there to help you with your challenges, no matter how complex. Installation assistance, training and consulting is also available throughout the implementation cycle.
Comprehensive Feature Set
Create and manage all types of email lists, including discussion groups and announcement lists with eye-catching newsletter templates. The Maestro email marketing add-on provides access to in-depth tracking, reporting and analytics.
Rest assured that you'll have the power to create any number of lists with any number of subscribers as your operations grow. Your messages will be delivered easily and smoothly, without bogging down your system, regardless of the size of your lists.
Security and Deliverability
Trust that your software and data will be protected at all times. Your email lists can be open to all or closed and confidential. The built-in virus protection keeps your lists clean, while the deliverability and authentication features ensure that your messages reach their destinations.
"The L-Soft products are cost-effective and easy to use. They empower users and owners to efficiently share and receive information through ongoing discussion, alerts and newsletters."
– Nicole Ambrose, United Way
A Word About "Freeware"
Times have changed, drastically so, in recent years. Although budgets may be tighter and IT staff not as plentiful, it's important to keep in mind that freeware is never free. While there are solutions that are touted to be "free" – primarily GNU Mailman and Sympa – in fact, using these solutions is more expensive than it used to be. Computer costs are never zero. User support costs are never zero. Person-hours to manage and upgrade applications are certainly never zero.
Simply put, LISTSERV has earned a strong reputation for its 35+ years of reliability, flexibility, quality and security. Get in touch to learn more and find your organization's best fit.
When it comes to IT applications, it's rare to see one that's been around for almost 40 years. So people's first reactions tend to be quizzical or even stunned. The reason for the longevity is, in some ways, both simple and complex – a confluence of logos, pathos and ethos.
Email lists as we know them today began when Eric Thomas invented LISTSERV software in 1986, which automated cumbersome manual list management. It also led to the world's first email groups, securing and ensuring a space for thriving discussions and knowledge exchange.
"My goal was simply to create a tool that would allow mailing lists to prosper while making life easier for subscribers and list owners. It was a simple idea whose success exceeded all my expectations. Sometimes you set about solving a small problem, and later on you realize that you have actually solved a big problem."
– Eric Thomas, LISTSERV Inventor and L-Soft Founder and CEO
Developing More Secure Communications
LISTSERV was the first software to introduce double opt-in, also known as confirmed opt-in. This 1993 invention became the industry best practice for permission email, which it remains to this day. Two years later, LISTSERV introduced the first spam filter in the industry, keeping email lists clean and safeguarding subscribers from spam. In 2001, LISTSERV became the first email list solution to provide built-in anti-virus capabilities to automatically reject and discard virus-infected messages.
"Respect your subscribers and build trust by giving them full control and only sending email messages that they have explicitly requested via double opt-in. This ultimately benefits your sender reputation, subscriber relationships and, in turn, your communications and results."
– Outi Tuomaala, L-Soft Executive VP
Providing Comprehensive Capabilities for All Needs
LISTSERV is a powerful, flexible and scalable enterprise solution for creating and managing email groups, newsletters, discussion forums and, with the Maestro add-on, marketing outreach with advanced analytics. Among its many features and functions, the searchable list archives with classic, forum and blog view options are a highly used goldmine of helpful knowledge, peer support and user tips. This saves time for both list administrators and subscribers, keeping discussions focused on fresh and emerging topics.
"The searchable LISTSERV archives are a huge resource for our customers. The discussions, events and research findings in JISCMail's archives tell the story of how education and research has changed considerably over the years. And the LISTSERV reporting tools allow us to build a picture of how well used and strong the JISCMail service is. We are measured on how much the service is used, and the reporting tools allow us to do this and give us this information quickly."
– Lisa Vincent, Jisc
Discussion groups for people with common interests, challenges and goals to share knowledge, get support and learn make a profound impact. Discussion lists are a unique advantage of LISTSERV because they're not seen among other email list solutions.
"GSI is truly a patient-driven organization, held together by the bonds of our email groups, which serve as our support system."
– Ginger Sawyer, Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumor Support International
Keeping Users in Full Control
As LISTSERV is an owned channel, users have full control of their mailing lists. Administrators oversee sites and traffic, and list owners moderate discussions and set guidelines. Users can easily subscribe and unsubscribe to mailing lists, manage their email preferences and participate in group discussions.
"The L-Soft cloud-based list hosting solution is very powerful and easy to use. List management is very easy using the LISTSERV web-based interface."
– Michael Hensley, Chief Information Officer, NeighborImpact
Benefiting from Expert Technical Support
Most of L-Soft's support team members are seasoned experts with decades of experience and are available to help you with your email communication challenges, no matter how complex. The technical team has an established reputation for prompt response times to get your problems solved as quickly as possible.
"LISTSERV software gives us the flexibility to accomplish whatever we need, and the support provided by L-Soft's knowledgeable and very helpful staff – a staff that apparently never sleeps – has been invaluable."
– Karen Reznek, ICORS
LISTSERV has been around for over three decades, and its longevity is a testament to the technology's robust capabilities and scalability to grow along with organizations and groups – and, most of all, its users around the world.
Simplify Your Communications, So You Can Focus on Your Objectives
When you're working in a non-profit organization (NPO), a non-governmental organization (NGO) or a professional membership association dedicated to positive change, you need a reliable and secure email communication solution to help you reach your target audiences, engage your supporters and advance your mission. We salute organizations like yours that make a difference every day, and we're here to support your crucial work.
"The L-Soft products are cost-effective and easy to use. They empower users and owners to efficiently share and receive information through ongoing discussion, alerts and newsletters."
– Nicole Ambrose, United Way
Manage Your Digital Messaging and Outreach on One Cloud Platform
More Than Just an Email Communication Solution
ListPlex Maestro DVM is a dedicated virtual machine that combines the industry standard LISTSERV® and LISTSERV Maestro email list products into one integrated solution. You can enjoy the benefits of a cloud-based service without compromising on privacy or compliance.
Purpose-Built for Organizations of All Sizes
The service runs on LISTSERV email list technology and is designed specifically to enable medium- to large-sized organizations leverage the power of email communications to achieve their goals.
More Cost-Effective Than Other Email Marketing Solutions
You get full access to all features and an unlimited contact database, unlike other providers that offer tiered access to advanced features and limit the number of contacts. You can send an unlimited number of monthly emails and only pay for what you actually send.
Discussion lists foster dialogue and collaboration among your stakeholders. LISTSERV is the only professional discussion list provider on the market and offers the flexibility and security you need for your email communication needs.
Design and Deliver
Email newsletters inform and persuade your audiences. The user-friendly templates help you create eye-catching messages. The segmentation and personalization features allow you to tailor your messages for stronger engagement.
Track and Measure
The comprehensive reporting and analytics tools of LISTSERV Maestro allow you to measure the impact of your communications. Monitor your outreach campaigns in real time and optimize your email strategy to boost engagement and improve results.
"LISTSERV software gives us the flexibility to accomplish whatever we need, and the support L-Soft's knowledgeable and very helpful staff – a staff that apparently never sleeps – has been invaluable"
– Karen Reznek, ICORS
Unique Value for Organizations that Make a Difference in Our World
Email-Based Communities and Discussion Groups
Foster knowledge exchange and collaboration within and beyond your organization. Benefit from searchable online archives to ensure valuable information is easily accessible whenever needed and to build a growing body of knowledge for your important initiatives.
Branded Newsletters and Outreach Campaigns
Build strong connections with your stakeholders through customized newsletters and targeted email outreach campaigns. Deliver engaging content, track engagement and generate insightful reports.
Scalable and Flexible Deployment Options
Whether you prefer an on-premises solution or the convenience of cloud hosting, L-Soft offers both deployment options. With the cloud service, you also gain access to a dedicated virtual machine for maximum performance.
LISTSERV technology has been helping people connect, communicate and collaborate since 1986. It empowers your organization to expand its reach and enables your professionals to develop collective knowledge that creates a meaningful impact in the world.
Seize the opportunity to transform and strengthen your communication strategies as you drive global positive change. Contact L-Soft today to learn more, take a demo, try out the solution for free or get a personalized quote, based on your organization's size, requirements and deployment preferences.
Managing a LISTSERV site for your campus communications? Keep your site and email lists running optimally with easy tips for branding, use cases of LISTSERV features in academia like dynamic query lists and more. Educational and research institutions like yours have relied on LISTSERV for discussion groups, announcements and newsletters for more than 35 years. We're here to help.
Top Tips to Keep Your LISTSERV Lists Running Smoothly
Build Trust with a Customized LISTSERV Site and HTML Templates
Add your logo to your LISTSERV site to enhance the user experience and help list owners customize the look and feel of their email list pages. Make your graphic profile easy for people to recognize by using your organization's style guide. It's easy to copy and paste the exact color code and apply it in the LISTSERV customization interface.
Did you know that you can also build and save your university newsletter and announcement templates in LISTSERV and share them with all your organization's list owners? This will be a very helpful timesaver for many list owners and content creators.
Ensure that your LISTSERV email lists run well. Educate and train your key staff – list owners, editors and moderators as well as tech, admin and communications colleagues. Help them configure your organization's LISTSERV lists correctly for high-quality and relevant communications.
List moderation can significantly improve the quality of your email list. Double-check who is allowed to send to the list directly and who is not. With moderation, you can prevent irrelevant or unwanted content from reaching your list. Remember to add a bottom banner with a clear unsubscribe link and other key information about your list.
While regular discussion groups and announcements lists are important for classes, clubs and student organizations, LISTSERV can do a lot more when used together with existing IT infrastructure. Let's look at some examples:
Save Time and Hassles by Using Dynamic Query Lists
A major university in Indiana converted to DQL (Dynamic Query Lists) using a combination of SQL database queries and LDAP/Active Directory queries. By querying data sources in real-time, the data is always up-to-date and a scripted process is no longer needed, saving much time and preventing a lot of maintenance headaches.
LISTSERV can use Dynamic Query Lists (DQL) to fetch recipients from a DBMS or LDAP data source. DQL is useful when the list membership is managed outside of LISTSERV. For example, you might want to mail to employees stored in an LDAP directory or university students registered in a course registration database.
Take Advantage of Your Existing Data Sources with DBMS-Based Lists
A prominent midwestern university uses the DBMS features of LISTSERV Maestro for fetching recipients from university-wide databases, for example, for sending newsletters. The technology helps the university staff meet the business and reporting requirements put forth by the administration.
DBMS-based LISTSERV lists are useful when you need LISTSERV to manage the list membership through the usual LISTSERV subscription management features – opt-in, opt-out, recipient uploads – but you also want to be able to access that list membership through a DBMS interface.
Target Your Communications with Super-Lists and Sub-Lists
A public university in Oklahoma runs LISTSERV, using it for more than 500 lists. They use the sub-lists feature to group all discussion sections into class lists as well as to group students, faculty and staff by department or college (engineering, business, etc.) or any other natural grouping.
Coordinate with Stakeholder Networks
A large California university's Office of the President uses LISTSERV to coordinate a statewide network of 10 campuses and assorted field stations. Most campuses also run LISTSERV locally for their own local needs.
Enjoy the Versatility and Flexibility of LISTSERV Communications
An upstate New York university is invested in LISTSERV and its Maestro add-on. The university uses LISTSERV for discussion and class lists and the Maestro add-on for many of their other mailings, such as the university-wide daily newsletter.
Best Practice Essentials
Keep your LISTSERV support and maintenance active
Make sure that your LISTSERV site is up-to-date
Add Maestro to your LISTSERV site for tracking, reporting and analytics
Share free LISTSERV resources within your organization
As digital communicators and marketers, of course you want subscribers to appreciate your high-value content and to have a sense of trust in you as a sender. To make sure your messages are effective, accessible and compliant, let's take a look at some simple yet crucial best practices: the plain text alternative, alt text and unsubscribe links.
Plain Text Alternative
First, say hello to one of the newest features of LISTSERV Maestro – the magic wand that eliminates the hassle of creating plain text versions of your email messages. LISTSERV Maestro now automatically generates a plain text alternative from the content of the HTML part, ensuring that all of your subscribers can read your messages, regardless of their email settings and devices. Plain text is the simplest form of content that contains no design elements, such as bold or italicized text, colors or images.
Despite the rise of eye-catching email designs, plain text parts are still an important part of any email marketing strategy and offer several benefits that should not be overlooked.
Why Plain Text Parts Are Still Important
HTML messages with a plain text alternative generally offer higher deliverability and are less likely to be flagged as spam
Screen readers may yield better results if a plain text alternative is used in conjunction with the HTML
Alternative reading devices such as smart watches often use the plain text alternative
Some people still prefer plain text messages and view HTML messages as a privacy risk
You might be thinking, "Alt what?" Alt text, short for alternative text, is the text that appears when images don't load properly or for people who use screen readers due to visual impairments. Alternative text is an important part of HTML messages – especially in an era where most email clients no longer automatically load images for privacy reasons – because they allow the viewer to see what the images are supposed to show before enabling them.
Tips to Make Your Alt Text Effective
Use descriptive keywords that are relevant to the image
Avoid redundant or generic text
Include important details, such as a call-to-action or product feature
Use bullet points or short paragraphs for longer descriptions
Example 1: "Panoramic view of the historic district of Gamla Stan in Stockholm, Sweden"
The alt text accurately describes the image and provides relevant information about its location. It's also concise and easy to understand, which is important for people who use screen readers or have other accessibility requirements.
The description may be somewhat generic, but it's still specific to the image that it describes, providing relevant information about the location and content of the image.
Example 2: "Experience the charm of Stockholm: Marvel at the picturesque cityscape and historic Gamla Stan - Visit Now!"
This alt text not only provides a unique and engaging description of the image that highlights the charm and beauty of Stockholm, but it also includes a call-to-action to encourage people to visit the city. The alt text is still descriptive and informative, but it goes beyond a general description to create interest and spur action.
While there is no maximum number of characters allowed for alt text, you should keep it somewhat concise and limit it to 125-150 characters, including spaces and punctuation.
Note that alt text and the plain text alternative work hand in hand. From this example, LISTSERV Maestro would automatically generate a plain text part that looks like this:
Experience the charm of Stockholm: Marvel at the picturesque cityscape and historic Gamla Stan - Visit Now!: <”[Image Download URL]”>
The image download URL is created automatically by LISTSERV Maestro, so you can see how many recipients clicked to open the image from the automatically generated plain text alternative.
We know it's hard to say goodbye. But sometimes people don't want to receive any more emails from your company. Maybe they feel overwhelmed or just aren't interested anymore. It's best to give them the opportunity to unsubscribe at their leisure because it allows you to focus on those subscribers who are truly interested in your messages. This way, you can improve your opens, clicks and conversions while maintaining a positive and respectful relationship with your audience. This is where unsubscribe links come into play. Not only do they ensure that you comply with laws and regulations, but they also show that you respect your subscribers' preferences and want to provide them with a positive user experience.
With LISTSERV Maestro 11.0, the unsubscribe URL is now mandatory by default to ensure that you're compliant with all global regulations.
Tips to Make Your Unsubscribe Link Effective
Provide clear instructions on how to unsubscribe
Make sure that the unsubscribe link or button is easy to find
Avoid negative or guilt-inducing wording
Make sure that you process all unsubscribe requests immediately
The unsubscribe link or button should be clearly visible and easily accessible in the email. It could be placed at the bottom of the email or in the footer. Clicking on the unsubscribe link should take the user to a page where they can confirm their decision to unsubscribe.
This confirmation page should include a message giving users the option to stay subscribed if they change their mind. Once the user has confirmed their decision to unsubscribe, they should receive a confirmation email informing them that they have been unsubscribed. Finally, the user's email address should be removed from the email list immediately to ensure that they don't receive any further email messages.
We should remember that email marketing is a powerful tool that should be used wisely and carefully. Including a plain text alternative, alt text and easy unsubscribe options in your email strategy not only demonstrates your commitment to accessibility and user preferences but also fosters trust and respect from your audience.
Ahhh, spring! As many of us welcome a time of warmer days, blooming blossoms, new hope, and yes, seasonal cleaning, be sure to spiffy up your tech and strengthen your best practices. After all, you and your audiences deserve the best when it comes to discussion groups, newsletters and email marketing.
Want to grow a loyal audience and boost people's trust in you as a sender? Two words: permission email. How do you get explicit consent before adding subscribers to your email list automatically? LISTSERV has a proven method to do just that.
Considering email groups and communities for your organization? Go for it and see how powerful discussion groups are – providing members with knowledge, support and a space in which to share and collaborate around just about any topic.
Looking to take advantage of the impact and popularity of email newsletters? Share updates, news and exclusive content with your subscribers in an easy-to-read and visually appealing package. Invite people to subscribe at multiple touchpoints on your website to build your audiences.
Thinking of how to understand and engage your subscribers and broaden your outreach? Even if you're not in an e-commerce organization, email marketing with tracking and analytics is a highly effective way to do just that. LISTSERV Maestro is here to help.
Making sure you're complying with applicable email marketing regulations and legal requirements worldwide? Activate double opt-in and combine it with the mandatory unsubscribe URL feature in LISTSERV Maestro to avoid spam complaints and maintain a solid sender reputation.
Trying to save time and effort with your email communications? Automatically import your LISTSERV lists into LISTSERV Maestro. Get the best of both worlds with these "hybrid lists" and keep all of your discussion groups, newsletters, email marketing and outreach communications at your fingertips, on one platform.
In this February greeting, L-Soft's Susan Brown Faghani shares five "subscriber love languages" to delight your audiences and build trust.
Our world seems to reflect the oft-used phrase "In good times and bad, for richer or poorer," – albeit outside of wedding vows – but one thing you can rely on is LISTSERV. Let us count the ways that these "subscriber love languages" go straight to the heart of your communications, making them better for it.
Unlike the frequently random or off-the-cuff musings on many social media platforms, email messages evoke a vibe of forethought, care and trust. So it's no surprise that organizations of all types turn to LISTSERV for nurturing more respectful and professional connections with their audiences. As they say, "Start as you want to go on."
There's much that's been disrupted, upended or is otherwise topsy-turvy these past three decades. Just remember, LISTSERV has been a steadfast friend and helper for cultivating long-term relationships between senders and subscribers – still going strong and ready to support your communications.
The power of email discussion and support groups is profound. Consider offering LISTSERV groups to provide an outlet for information, help and hope. We're all human, and being able to connect people around the world to discuss and share knowledge – everything from navigating rare cancers to fostering high-level academic collaboration and more – is a unique and much-loved benefit of LISTSERV.
The real people behind your recipient data heartily deserve the red-carpet treatment. Honor their trust by gaining explicit, prior permission using confirmed opt-in subscription and never spamming. Follow data privacy and protection regulations and – using LISTSERV Maestro – avoid GDPR heartaches with anonymous or personal tracking with consent.
Your communication channels are constantly evolving. Keep looking ahead, knowing that LISTSERV is a wise and cost-effective investment that grows along with your needs. Whether this is the first time you're setting up discussion groups, newsletters, blogs and more or you're adding new lists to your LISTSERV site, you'll enjoy a quick and hassle-free experience.
Statista data shows that 4.3 billion people worldwide communicate via email, more than on any other channel. No grand gestures are needed to demonstrate our ongoing love for and appreciation of email... some things are simply made to last.
We're here to support your organization's email communications. Let us know how we can help.
Take Advantage of New Features, Engagement Metrics and More
Looking to expand your email communication capabilities and do more with email? We've got you covered with the LISTSERV Maestro email marketing add-on. It's available for both in-house and cloud hosting customers – and it isn't just for people in the email marketing business. Let's take a look at the many helpful key features, the solid benefits and the outstanding value that Maestro brings to your existing LISTSERV platform.
A Single Solution for All of Your Communication Needs Save Time, Money and Hassles
The Maestro add-on integrates fully with your existing LISTSERV site, allowing you to use a single platform for all of your communication needs instead of relying on separate solutions from multiple vendors that aren't compatible with one another. Run your discussion groups and send your email newsletters through an all-in-one hub with a unified technical support channel for any assistance that you may require. Even if you don't have an immediate need for features like advanced target groups, A/B-split testing or job automation, it makes sense to have the tools available for when your needs expand.
A Flexible and Easy-to-Use Subscriber Database Get Closer to Your Audiences
LISTSERV Maestro features a built-in subscriber database with support for any number and type of profile fields, making it easy to use your subscriber data in new and exciting ways. You can get detailed demographic breakdowns of your subscriber base, send targeted messages to different categories of subscribers, personalize your content and trigger follow-up emails to subscribers based on previous responses. You can also connect to external customer or subscriber databases, allowing you to take full advantage of your existing data sources.
In-Depth Tracking, Reporting and Analytics Boost Engagement
The step-by-step delivery guide makes it easy to set up your email campaign, and the in-depth analytics give you the information you need to improve the next one. You can track your performance and engagement with real-time reporting. You can also choose exactly what to track – including opens, clicks, conversions and social media shares – while deciding how much personally identifiable information to collect to ensure that you comply with all applicable data protection and privacy laws worldwide.
A Multi-User Platform Tailored to Your Team Collaborate with Ease
LISTSERV Maestro is a multi-user platform and allows you to assign different roles and responsibilities for your team members, including target group setup, content creation, tracking decisions and testing. Regardless of the size and complexity of your organization, you can share tasks among users, add or limit capabilities and divvy up responsibilities among your team members any way you see fit.
A Solution that Grows with You as Your Needs Expand Enjoy Peace of Mind
While LISTSERV Maestro contains many advanced features that allow you to run customized and automated large-scale campaigns, the system is also ideal for small-scale newsletters. Regardless of how many subscribers you have, LISTSERV Maestro is licensed according to your delivery capacity needs. You can start small and rest assured that Maestro will keep up as your needs grow.
If any of this sounds intriguing and if you want to get the most out of your investment in LISTSERV, reach out to our knowledgeable staff for guidance and assistance about adding Maestro to your current LISTSERV platform.
Are you up to date on the latest resources to support your email communications? Take a look at this collection of helpful how-tos, timely tips, trusted tutorials and abundant articles. Get know-how, insights and inspiration with these "Top 5" picks from fellow readers and communicators like you.
Quick Tips for Eye-Catching, Trust-Building Communications
Email continues to be the world's most widely used and effective marketing channel. Why? One big reason is that if you're doing email marketing right, you're communicating only with people who have signed up for your messages and actually want to hear from you.
Start by building trust through confirmed (aka "double") opt-in with a simple one-click unsubscribe mechanism. This sets the tone for positive long-term, engaging relationships and offers possibilities to grow and improve your products, services and content by getting your audience's thoughts.
Before designing your email messages, be sure you're clear about:
Who, What, How and Why?
Who are your email message recipients?
What is the focus of your message content?
How will this message content help your recipients?
Why should your recipients click through to your content?
Once you've answered those questions, let's get designing with 8 quick email design tips for a strong start.
Boost Brand Recognition
Tailor your messages by using your logo, fonts and colors so people can quickly identify you as the sender. Check your organization's brand guidelines and graphic assets so that your branding is consistent in every email you send.
Make Your Content an Easy Read
Balance space and font size. Remember, the space between lines is just as important as typeface and size. Choose one font for the header and a different one for the main text and CTAs.
Catch Your Audience's Eyes
Take advantage of the power of visuals. Be sure the image selection approach that you choose fits your overall graphic profile and helps you create the right feel for your brand and your audiences. Stick with the jpg and png formats and add ALT text to each image. The gif format is an excellent choice for animated images that can grab attention, but for static images you will want to stick to jpg or png.
Inspire Recipients to Take Action
Include a prominent call to action (CTA) to show people where to click and act. Craft introductory text to set up your CTA and use persuasive verbs that align with your messaging and audiences. You can hyperlink text and images or provide a CTA button.
Encourage Social Media Sharing
Make sure it's easy for your subscribers to share your article. Place your "share" icons in either the header or footer of your email.
Make the Most of Mobile
Create a mobile-friendly experience for your audiences with optimization. Make sure your content and links are easy to read with your index finger. Check how your email design displays on all major brand devices before hitting the send button.
Don't Underestimate the Footer
Remember, the email message footer is another important element in your email design. In addition to the standard elements required by law or your organization, you can get a little creative and build brand awareness there.
Use a Trusted Email Marketing Solution
LISTSERV® Maestro is designed for maximum flexibility and results. Available as software or a cloud service, LISTSERV Maestro offers a library of responsive newsletter and announcement templates, all of which can be used as-is or customized for your needs without HTML coding.
Get Insights from Special Olympics Maryland, Prince George's County
Hear Karen Reznek, who has been managing LISTSERV lists for more than two decades, share how to keep a community engaged and informed. In this interview, the focus is on a group of Special Olympics athletes, parents and coaches. The email tips and best practices Karen – a management team member (tech support) and swim team manager for SOMDPG – discusses are applicable to almost any group.
Q: What does SOMDPG do?
It provides valuable experiences for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, as well as the health benefits of exercise for an often-neglected population.
Q: How did you join SOMDPG?
My daughter had wanted to join the swim team for several years, but I was unable to find a contact who would respond. I resolved to make it much easier for families to find SOMDPG. I joined the management team and offered my services to get the information out there, with contacts who would respond. Eventually, people realized how much easier it was to get information out to team members without coaches having to maintain their own lists of email addresses.
Q: In essence, what does LISTSERV do for you?
It has been extremely useful to have a means of getting information out to our team families. With LISTSERV, it is possible to both send individual team messages, as well as get messages out to the entire local Special Olympics community. Communications are mostly information-based – practice dates, qualifications, requirements, etc., and some are for support as families face challenges or something really good happens to an athlete.
Under normal circumstances, the lists share information on training and competition. Sadly, during the pandemic, they have also been used to share the loss of some of our members. On the upside, they have enabled teammates to keep in touch with each other when in-person training was not possible.
Q: What are the results you enjoy most?
It has been easier to reach people and get information to them. Searchable archives are a huge plus for those who join later in the season or have lost an email with important information. The ability for subscribers to control their subscriptions, the ability to moderate and the master/sub-list option.
Q: Can social media replace your LISTSERV communications?
No. Given Facebook's tendency to curate what is seen on a feed, too much important information would be missed to use it.
Q: How do you organize your LISTSERV lists?
Using one overall list, with the individual lists as sub-lists under that, makes it possible to send general information, fundraising appeals and anything important for the entire community through the top list. Subscribers receive only one copy, instead of one from each team they might be part of.
Basically, there is one master list, so anyone subscribed to a team list will receive posts sent from that list. Under it are lists for each team, including the management team. When a person signs up to do a sport, they or a family member is subscribed to the related list.
Lists are set to reply to sender, and everyone other than the coaches and anyone who needs to get information out quickly is moderated. This prevents the lists from being overwhelmed by people asking the same questions, sending thank you posts, and anything that does not need to be seen by every single subscriber.
Q: Are there any challenges?
Resistance from people who did not understand how helpful email lists – and particularly LISTSERV lists – could be. For example, after my daughter had been on the team for a few years, I changed email addresses. I repeatedly notified the person sending the group emails of this change, to no avail. Because of this, my daughter ended up missing the first few weeks of the next season's practices because they continued to use my old address, and the bounces were ignored. A subscriber being able to change their address themselves, which LISTSERV makes easy, is so much better.
Q: Can communities benefit from email communications today?
I think that email lists are absolutely necessary. Back in the old days, it was necessary for a coach or volunteer to spend hours contacting participants if there was a change that had to go out before the next practice. With an email list, needed information can be distributed in minutes.
Semi-real-time discussions can also take place as long as people regularly check their email. If there are concerns, they can be addressed promptly.
Fundraising – it is very easy to send out appeals to everyone who is subscribed to a team list, making email lists invaluable for non-profits.
Email newsletters are one of the most effective and widely used ways for organizations like yours to connect with your audiences. LISTSERV has you covered with responsive HTML newsletter and announcement templates. Check out these time-saving best practices that every LISTSERV user needs to know.
Complete Your Newsletter Profile
Save time and streamline the process of creating newsletters, which contain recurring information like contact details and legal compliance information. Enter this information once and you'll never need to think about it again. All of the information on the "Newsletter Profile" screen – which can be accessed through the "Preferences" or the "Newsletter Templates" menu – is pre-populated in your templates, saving you time whenever you send a newsletter and and letting you focus on the important content.
Modify Existing Templates for Your Brand
Use the "Newsletter Template Builder" and its building blocks to create custom newsletters from scratch. To get started you can also modify the default templates in the library to save time. Perhaps you like the layout and design of some of them, but the color scheme isn't right for your organization. Create a copy of the template and make quick changes to the color scheme and branding to fit your needs. Use your organization's style guide to copy and paste the exact color code that you need using the "Base Font", "Header" and "Footer" menus, and you're good to go.
Create Templates for Multiple Purposes
Assess your needs, think ahead and consider what type of communication requirements you have in your organization. You can keep making copies of your templates and change the layout in each one so that you'll have ready-made templates for all needs. A single one-column layout might be appropriate for important announcements, while layout styles that feature two columns, or a even sidebar might work better for regular newsletters.
Create a Mixed Layout Template to Meet Any Need
Create a flexible template as an alternative to creating multiple single-purpose templates to meet any need. Mix up to three different layout styles in one template. For example, you could have a full-width layout at the top, followed by a two-column section and a three-column section. When you create the actual newsletter, each layout block can be repeated independently as many times as you need. You can also omit layout blocks altogether if not needed.
Train Your Content Creators and Communicators
Make sure to educate and train key staff so that they know how they can quickly put together announcements and newsletters in the most effective way. L-Soft offers free video tutorials with step-by-step instructions on how to modify and create HTML templates and how to assemble newsletters for distribution. You can even sign up for a free email course where you get weekly video tutorials directly in your inbox.
Shoutout to all university and college students, educators and staff. Here's to a new year of learning, connecting and thriving! We're here to support you with proven tools, tips and technology to keep your academic and administrative communications running at a summa-cum-laude level.
Here's an "A+ List" of resources to get the semester off to a stellar start:
Check out this free, self-paced online email communications course and bring some shiny new skills to campus and your future career:
Can email groups help sustain our planet? Welcome to the extraordinary story of the BEE-L LISTSERV list. It's the oldest Internet bee list and has spawned many new bee forums and blogs over the years. It has about 1,000 members, who continue to try to work out how to best keep bees – sometimes to save the bees and sometimes to save the world from what we'd all be if we didn't keep bees.
Bee discussion lists predate the Internet, having been hosted on Bitnet and dial-up platforms. In the 1990s, Professor Edward Southwick, a professor of biology at the State University of New York – whose discoveries led to the concept that individual bees' social group behavior makes a colony deal with cold temperatures very similarly to large vertebrates – started the BEE-L list at the University at Albany as a way for academics to exchange ideas about honeybees and other bees. The list archives go back to that era.
An Evolving Community
BEE-L discussions have evolved from academic to more general bee-related topics, including conservation and management. LISTSERV has proved over many years to be an ideal platform, and eventually the list moved from the university server to being hosted on the L-Soft Community server.
Current members range widely in occupation, experience and interest – from university and government bee scientists to commercial beekeepers, bee magazine writers and editors, hobby beekeepers and interested members of the public. Active list members primarily span the Americas, the UK, Australia and Europe, with a member from China as well.
The list is now administered by Allen Dick, a retired commercial beekeeper currently living in Mexico and Jose Villa, a retired bee scientist living in Colorado.
"We get posts asking simple basic beginner questions and discussions about recent or older research. The tone is generally very civil and many of us know each other by reputation, from meetings and many years on the list. Some BEE-L members visit one another and sometimes make a point of meeting up at conventions."
Allen Dick BEE-L List Owner
List Guidelines and Best Practices
The list guidelines are simple:
Be polite, don't get personal and stay on topic
Format your emails properly
Don't quote more than a few lines of previous messages
Message content is the responsibility of the writer, and moderators don't edit posts. The restriction on quoting is to keep the archives searchable and non-redundant. Members are encouraged to dig back and research the history of a subject on the list and see the evolution of thought and practices and post new insights or questions.
"The archives are our library, stretching back to the '90s and contain the thoughts of people long gone and recent contributions, all easily browsed using the excellent LISTSERV search engine to search for words, parts of words, sets of words, phrases or authors."
In just 15 minutes a week, you'll gain knowledge and skills about all aspects of LISTSERV, including creating and managing newsletters, discussion forums and more. Powered by the email automation capabilities of LISTSERV Maestro, this course is free and open to all. If you haven't already, check it out and spread the word to your colleagues.
In the words of a couple of course participants:
"I signed up to learn more about the workings of LISTSERV and in general more about the list server universe. I am most appreciative. I am learning quite a bit of the additional capabilities of the software through these tutorials."
"L-Soft (LISTSERV) is already a key tool for me and I would like to learn about all of the capabilities available to me. I feel there are benefits that I am unaware of."
Sharing communications that resonate with our subscribers is always in season. And so are key best practices and tips that help us do just that, by earning subscriber trust, providing relevant content and growing our audiences.
Shine a Light on Building Trust
🌞 Don't keep your subscribers in the dark: Make your list's purpose, frequency and subscriber expectations clear.
🌱 Plant the seeds of trust: Only use double-opt in for list subscriptions. In other words, always ensure that you have specific, prior, explicit permission from people who join your list. And make it simple for them to unsubscribe with one click.
🌈 Show your true colors: Make sure that the "From" line states who you are. This can make or break your subscribers' trust.
"With LISTSERV software, the management and subscription procedures of the email lists are simple and flexible."
Ed Paynter Sierra Club
Shower Your Audiences with Relevant Content
🌷 Put your best blooms on display: Write, edit, hone and polish your messages. Read them out loud. Use short, action-oriented subject lines that show subscribers there's value in opening the message.
🌲 Cultivate a familiar landscape: Take advantage of easy-to-use HTML templates, which help your readers recognize and remember you. Plus, you'll save time with subsequent mailings.
🌾 Share the harvest: Connect with your subscribers "on all channels" by optimizing your messages for all mobile devices.
🍂 Keep it clean and clear: Keep off-topic messages at bay, especially when it comes to discussion groups. Declutter, prune, repeat, and your content will shine through.
"GSI is truly a patient-driven organization, held together by the bonds of our email groups, which serve as our support system."
Ginger Sawyer Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumor Support International
Grow Your Audiences
🐝 Spread your seeds: Make it easy and consider incentives for your recipients to share your content and lists with their networks, near and far.
🏹 Sow success by listening: Check in with your subscribers via quick polls or short surveys from time to time. Ask them to update their profile information as needed. Then you can customize your messages to better match your audiences' needs and preferences.
🌜 Grow from feedback: Get valuable feedback from people who unsubscribe from your list. Adding this to your automated farewell messages can shed some light for future improvements.
🌸 Behold the blossoms: Email is a powerful and the most widely used tool for professional, marketing and customer acquisition communications. Keep nurturing strong subscriber relationships and loyalty and enjoy the bountiful benefits of email best practices for your newsletters, discussion groups and email marketing campaigns.
"Now reaching everyone, or reaching only one group, is simple."
Karen Reznek List Owner, Special Olympics MD, Prince Georges County
One of the true power tools we have as email marketers and communicators is A/B-split testing. LISTSERV® Maestro 10.1 provides A/B-split testing with sampling and auto-repeat delivery, to help you provide the most effective messages and personalized email content to your audiences.
In short, you send two or more different versions of a mailing to random splits of your subscribers and compare the response rates to see which version performs better. Voila! Now you have insights to optimize future messages and campaigns. That said, to get the most meaningful data from A/B-split testing, you'll need a bit more thought and planning.
These five tips will help you make the most of your A/B-split testing.
1. Make Sure That You Have Enough Subscribers
A/B-split testing is based on statistics, probability and sampling. The smaller your sample size, the larger the likelihood that random statistical noise can influence the data, making it difficult to reach statistically significant conclusions. So first, make sure that you have enough subscribers to obtain meaningful data.
Case in point: If you only have 100 subscribers and send two variants to 50 subscribers each and get a 30 percent open-up rate from the first variant and a 20 percent open-up rate from the second, you might conclude that the first variant was far more successful. However, those percentages are equivalent to 15 and 10 open-ups respectively – a difference of just 5. This makes it impossible to state with any confidence whether the results are directly attributable to the differences between the two variants or simply statistical noise. So, focus on growing your list of subscribers before you spend serious time on A/B-split testing.
2. Decide What You Want to Test
Once your subscriber database is large enough for A/B-split testing, the next step is to decide exactly what you want to evaluate. Test one aspect of your message at a time, or it'll be impossible to identify which change triggered the improvement in performance among variants. For example, subject lines are commonly tested because they determine whether subscribers will even open the email message. If you don't pull your subscribers in, any compelling content that you may offer is never seen. Time of delivery is another widely used test. Subscribers are more likely to open a message if it arrives on a day and time when they're interested and able to act on it. When it comes to content, you can try a different layout, image, copy or call-to-action. The possibilities are endless.
3. Decide How to Measure Success
When conducting A/B-split testing with an email marketing campaign, you're measuring campaign success in terms of open-ups, click-throughs or conversions. These three metrics are not the same and can give contradictory results. For example, let's say that you work with alumni relations at Goode University and send an email marketing message to 5000 subscribers on a Tuesday morning with these two subject line variants but otherwise identical content:
Variant A: Not Too Late! Donate by April 1 to the Goode University Scholarship Fund
Variant B: Make a Difference: Can Goode University Count on Your Support?
One week later, you check your data and find that Variant A had an open-up rate of 24 percent and a click-through rate of 8 percent, compared to an open-up rate of 28 percent and a click-through rate of 12 percent for Variant B. This would make it seem like Variant B was the clear winner. However, then you dig deeper and find that Variant A had a conversion rate of 5 percent, which means that 5 percent of the recipients made a donation while Variant B only had a conversion rate of 3 percent. Why the discrepancy? Perhaps what was happening is that while the subject line of Variant B was more effective in enticing the recipients to open the email and click through to the donation website, its lack of a clear end date for the donation campaign made the need to make an immediate donation appear less urgent.
So, as you can see, it's important to decide which metric to use for evaluating success. In this case, is Variant B more valuable because more recipients viewed the email and clicked through to the donation website, which can lead to a larger number of future donations? Or is Variant A more valuable because it led to a larger number of donations now, even if fewer total recipients bothered to open the email message?
4. Evaluate Whether Your Results Are Statistically Significant
For data to be considered statistically significant, you want to achieve at least a 95 percent confidence level, which means that there is a 95 percent likelihood that the results are due to the actual differences between the two variants. There are mathematical formulas that can be used to calculate whether certain results are statistically significant and the confidence level. Many free A/B-split test significance calculators are also available on the Internet, allowing you to simply input your sample sizes and conversion numbers in a form, which then automatically calculates whether the results are statistically significant.
Let's look at an example:
Variant A was sent to 400 recipients and 40 of them clicked through to the website (10 percent rate).
Variant B was sent to 400 recipients and 52 of them clicked through to the website (13 percent rate).
Are these results statistically significant, meaning that we can conclude that the better results for Variant B are highly likely attributable to the differences between the two variants? No, because the numbers fail to meet the 95 percent confidence level.
On the other hand, let's look at another example:
Variant A was sent to 1600 recipients and 160 of them clicked through to the website (10 percent rate).
Variant B was sent to 1600 recipients and 208 of them clicked through to the website (13 percent rate).
As you can see, the click rates are the same, but in this case because of the larger sample size, the results are statistically significant not just at 95 percent confidence but also at the higher 99 percent confidence level.
5. Be Realistic with Your Expectations
Remember, there are no miracles or magic bullets. Your testing won't reveal a simple tweak that leads to an earth-shattering improvement in campaign performance. Frequently, the data will be inconclusive. Don't let this discourage you. Instead, take an incremental approach. A/B-split testing is a long-term commitment and an ongoing process dedicated to learning about and more closely connecting with your particular – and unique – target audience. Whenever you do find statistically significant results, implement what you learned in your next campaign, then move on to test something else, and build on it.
As the month of Valentine's Day wraps up, let's take a moment to appreciate the virtues of email, our enduring go-to for communication and connection.
A Be@utiful Rel@tionship
Email tends to call for added forethought and care. This nurtures better connections and a more respectful and professional image with your recipients. The start of a beautiful relationship? Yes, indeed.
Spre@ding the Love
Not everyone has (or wants!) a Valentine, but more than 4 billion people communicate via email, more than on any other channel. Whether for business or personal messages, its built-in consent, security and unmatchable reach make us keep on choosing it.
Reli@ble + Trusted
Email is independent of any platform or corporation and downright trustworthy – sounds like the total package, right? Yep, email's still the one you can count on.
M@de to L@st
Despite social media, collaboration tools and other platforms competing for our attention, email is still the fave for marketers. Why? Because with its trustworthiness, reliability and results still going strong after all these years, our connection with email is truly made to last.
As IT and communications professionals, there's a joy that comes with lifelong learning. We've got you covered with a new professional development opportunity – the just-launched Learn LISTSERV® communications course.
The course is free and open to all. It's designed to make it easy to gain knowledge and skills for creating and managing communications – newsletters, discussion forums, alerts and more – that engage your organization's audiences and build communities.
This online learning opportunity is at your own pace – 15 minutes max per week – so even the busiest professionals can participate. And you'll add a renowned software package to your portfolio, grow as a professional and stand out among your peers.
Ensuring your organization's important email messages are seen and acted upon is paramount. Despite a significant drop in spam throughout 2021, nearly half of all email messages are still spam (Statista, 2022). The takeaway? Your recipients may delete or flag non-spam messages, assuming they are spam.
Of course, that's largely out of your control – beyond asking your subscribers to add your sender name to their address books and trusted senders so that they'll actually get your messages. But what about making sure your recipients don't ignore your message? After all, it's one of many striving to surface from the deep blue inbox.
Here's one solid technique for helping your email messages catch your recipients' attention, and it's within your control: Customization.
Every organization wants and needs its emails to stand out for best results. A major strategy to achieve that is to create a sense of familiarity for your brand. This way, your VIPs – aka, subscribers – will instantly recognize and trust your messages.
Customization may sound fancy and complicated, but with the customization features in LISTSERV®, you can easily create a strong and seamless user experience for your audiences. With the focus on getting your email seen by your recipients, start with newsletter or announcement templates. Simply add your colors, logos and design elements using the pulldown menus and input boxes – no HTML or CSS coding needed – and voila! You can also customize your site, lists, web interface and list archives.
Check out these helpful video tutorials and get customizing!
Customization is one of many features covered in the upcoming LISTSERV Email Course – it's free, online and open to all. Ready to dive into all the knowledge you’ll need to work with email, the top channel for professional communications and digital marketing?
Each week you'll learn key tasks to create and manage email newsletters, announcements, discussion groups and communities – and you'll add marketable skills and a new software package to your growing resume.
Stay tuned to this blog, the LISTSERV at Work newsletter and social media for updates and course launch.
Thank you, dear readers, for joining the celebration of 35 years of LISTSERV this year! The need for and your dedication to communication keeps LISTSERV going strong.
This celebration year, we looked back at the amazing Internet developments, spanning five decades of ingenuity and innovation. This resulted in The Internet and Email History Timeline. What's your most memorable Internet year?
With 2022 in view and forecasts of IT trends all over the map, here are three best practices to support your new year of communicating with your audiences.
Honor subscribers as the real people they are and go beyond to build their trust.
"My goal was simply to create a tool that would allow mailing lists to prosper while making life easier for subscribers and list owners. It was a simple idea whose success exceeded all my expectations. Sometimes you set about solving a small problem, and later on you realize that you have actually solved a big problem."
Eric Thomas LISTSERV Inventor and L-Soft Founder and CEO
2. Transparency and Consent
Follow all data privacy and protection regulations using built-in best practices.
"With LISTSERV Maestro, senders have full control over which metrics to track – such as clicks, conversions and social media shares – and the degree of personally identifiable information to collect, making it easier to comply with relevant data privacy and protection laws worldwide, for instance the European Union's GDPR."
Johannes Hubert L-Soft Senior Applications Programmer
Keep on tracking – the right way – with anonymous tracking or personal tracking with consent.
"With Apple's Mail Privacy Protection, opens continue to lose their value as an accurate email metric. Email marketers are wise to rethink how to best design, track and follow up on their communications for optimal engagement and results."
Thankfulness is in focus, as it rightly should be every day, so this month's blog post is dedicated to you, the global LISTSERV® community.
Thank you ... to all of you subscribers, who participate in discussion groups, read newsletters, stay informed via announcement and alert mailings and join communities of support, knowledge, help and hope. You are the reason LISTSERV email lists exist.
"GSI is truly a patient-driven organization, held together by the bonds of our email groups, which serve as our support system."
Ginger Sawyer Board Member and Treasurer GSI (Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumor Support International)
Thank you ... to all of you list owners, who determine the purpose, policies and parameters for the email lists you manage, answer subscribers' questions, implement best practices and manage key day-to-day tasks. You are the reason LISTSERV email lists are still going strong, for 35 years and counting.
"Social media and newer emerging tech replacing LISTSERV? I don't think so."
Melissa Jacobs List Owner NYCSLIST, Email Forum for New York City School Librarians
Thank you ... to all of you site administrators, who handle site configurations and customizations, monitor site traffic and perform important functions. You are the reason LISTSERV lists run smoothly.
"We organized two scientific seminars with leading scientists and got support from six green organizations. We broke a world record with the surfing protest circle of 992 people, gathering attention to our struggle."
Moshe Barak HomeLand Guardians Activist & LISTSERV Administrator Since 1986
Thank you for reading this blog. Please feel welcome to share your LISTSERV stories.
To support you and your colleagues, we are launching a Learn LISTSERV email communications course in 2022. This self-paced online course is free and open to anyone who would like to build LISTSERV knowledge and skills. It covers the three primary roles of subscriber, list owner and site administrator.
Remember the September introduction of Apple's Mail Privacy Protection (MPP), which generated much buzz and sent many email marketers into panic mode about its impact on open-up tracking? What happens if we take a meditative moment to breathe through the hype and fear – and, instead, forge onward with the best practices and tools to get rich tracking data while respecting your subscribers?
Think of it as the "Big Three" mantra for post-MPP email marketing and communications:
Keep on tracking – the right way – with anonymous tracking or personal tracking with consent
Set an intention to follow all data privacy and protection regulations using built-in best practices
Visualize your subscribers as the real people they are and go beyond to build their trust
You can do all of this – making the most of your communications and meeting the moment in the privacy era – with the newly launched LISTSERV Maestro 10.0 email marketing and analytics software.
Check out these benefits:
Ensure Compliance, Honor Subscriber Preferences
Take Your Message Design Up a Notch
Save Time with File Sharing + Hosted Attachments
Send Smartly + Compare Recipient Activities on Mobile vs Other Devices
Make Subscriber Management Easier with API + Improved List Management
Apple's announcement of the upcoming iOS 15 caught many email marketers by surprise and got the Internet buzzing with its introduction of a feature called "Mail Privacy Protection," or MPP, which will give users more data privacy as they interact with their email. But for email marketers who rely on specific metrics from subscribers' actions on their email messages to shape their campaigns, MPP will likely make some tracking data become unreliable. Email tracking metrics are an easy way to measure recipient engagement and send tailored follow-up communications, but email marketers will now need to take more creative measures in order to respect recipients' privacy selections.
So, what do you need to know about Apple's new MPP? Is the click rate the new open rate? What will you have to change going forward? Rest assured we are here to point you in the right direction with your future email campaigns. While much of this information could apply to any email marketing platform, we will also share specifics for L-Soft customers who are LISTSERV® Maestro users and anyone interested in flexible email tracking options and subscriber best practices. As the launch of LISTSERV Maestro 10.0 may coincide with Apple's iOS 15 autumn release, we have covered all bases and designed the new version with privacy protection in mind.
What is Mail Privacy Protection (MPP)?
Apple's Mail Privacy Protection (MPP) is a new feature of the iOS 15 operating system, which will affect Apple devices such as iPhones, iPads and Mac computers (macOS Monterey). When users update their devices to the new operating system and open their Apple Mail app, they will see a prompt that asks if they would like to protect their mail privacy. If the first option, "Protect Mail Activity," is selected, the user's IP address would be blocked and all mail content would be loaded privately. The second option, "Don't Protect Mail Activity," if selected, will show the user's IP address to trackers and load mail content directly on the device.
This additional layer of privacy will only affect people who use the Apple Mail app. Metrics will not be impacted for those who use a different mail app, such as Gmail or Outlook. However, it is estimated that the majority of Apple users do use the Apple Mail app. It doesn't matter what type of email address the recipient has (Gmail, Yahoo, etc.) because the Apple Mail app allows users to connect to any email account.
What Does This Mean for Email Tracking?
Because most users will likely select "Protect Mail Activity," there will be two main impacts on email tracking. First, IP addresses and location will not be tracked, so Apple Mail users will not have any location insights. Second, as inbox content is downloaded privately by Apple before the user opens a message, open rates will no longer be reliable. In fact, open rates will probably skyrocket because all mail content will be downloaded to a proxy server, which in turn will make email marketing software flag all of the messages as opened and read.
What Can Email Marketers Do?
We have several suggestions for how to successfully conduct your future email campaigns.
1. Reframe your campaigns so that they are not just based on the open rate, or work without it.
Although it's common to send follow-up emails to recipients who opened or did not open a previous email to keep the momentum, email marketers must now get creative. Instead of sending follow-up emails based on the open rate, send follow-up emails to recipients who clicked on specific links. Just because someone opened your email does not mean they were engaged, so click rates can be a much better indicator of how engaging your emails are to your recipients. Going forward, you can analyze which links were clicked to see what your recipients like and don't like about your mailing. In LISTSERV Maestro 10.0, users now have the option to completely disable the open rate metric, if they prefer. This way, they can focus on tracking metrics such as click rates to see which links were the most popular.
2. Keep your lists clean for high subscriber engagement
In anticipation of this new privacy tool release, it's more important than ever to make sure that your subscribers are still interested in being on your list. The goal of all email marketers is to see positive interactions with their messages, and we all know how annoying it can be to receive unwanted email.
As marketers, you can prevent unwanted email by ensuring that your content is relevant and valuable to your subscribers. In addition, make it easy for subscribers to unsubscribe if they desire. If your recipients no longer want to be on your list, it's okay! Although you may reach fewer people going forward, the level of engagement will be higher.
What Are the Impacts of MPP?
As email marketers and communicators, it's important to follow the highest level of ethical standards. It's obviously important for us to follow all laws, but it's also our duty to go beyond what is written in the laws and hold ourselves to even stricter standards. At L-Soft, we have been advocating for best practices for permission-based email marketing for decades. We highly recommend that all of our customers use double opt-in subscription confirmation. That way, it's clear who has actively joined your email list. In addition, our LISTSERV Maestro platform gives marketers the choice of different tracking options for recipients, including anonymous email tracking, depending on the desired level of privacy.
Although this may seem like a step back for email marketers, it's important to view this change from the consumer's perspective. This new feature is a big step forward for U.S. consumers and Internet users in their fight for privacy, and it's important that email marketers respect this societal push. Even though other parts of the world have taken steps toward data privacy, including the European Union's passing of the GDPR, the United States has not yet enacted significant national regulation regarding consumer data privacy. That said, Apple took privacy into its own hands by releasing MPP.
Have any questions about the MPP or the upcoming LISTSERV Maestro 10.0? Subscribe and log in to comment.
Students are returning to K-12 schools, colleges and universities around the world and now, more than ever, strong communication is a must. Here's a sampling of the many ways LISTSERV® email groups, alerts and newsletters help to keep educators, students, staff, parents and communities connected and in the know.
Blogs, Announcements, Newsletters
School Systems to School Staff:
Updates about training and professional development opportunities, policies and procedures; emergency preparedness alerts
Individual Schools to Parents:
Announcements of school events, fundraisers, transportation information; principals' newsletters, graduating class announcements, health and safety alerts
Individual Educators to Students:
Resources for assignments; course materials; Q&A help; referral forms for teacher and peer support
Communities, Discussion Forums
School Staff and Parents:
Discussion forums for student groups, graduating classes, sports and other extracurricular activities
School Administration and Staff:
Professional development forums; knowledge and lesson plan sharing, staff support groups
School Systems and Administrators:
Online forums for discussion and collaboration on policies, curriculum, emergency preparedness, staff training and systemwide initiatives
To see more examples of how K-12 schools are using LISTSERV to accomplish their goals, visit:
Catching up on reading during the holidays? Feeling reflective or even nostalgic? Whether the season calls for sandals or snow boots, take a virtual step inside the evolution of the Internet.
You'll get a close-up view of the key people and developments that led us to where we are today.
Discover more than 80 curated milestones, illuminating five decades of pivotal innovations that changed our world.
Here's a small sampling:
Ray Tomlinson's 1971 invention of email using the @ sign to separate the username and destination server, "user@host" launched the first email network, ARPANET, housed at the Advanced Research Projects Agency.
LISTSERV@BITNIC hosted email lists as of 1984, but as they became more popular, by 1986 the manual administration required threatened their viability. Eric Thomas, then an engineering student in Paris, invented LISTSERV software to automate mailing lists, and email groups and newsletters as we know them today began.
Tim Berners-Lee of CERN (European Council for Nuclear Research) invented the World Wide Web (WWW) in 1989 as a platform for academic research collaboration and knowledge exchange. In 1990, Berners-Lee debuted the first web page and the first web server.
Did you know that in 1971, Ray Tomlinson invented email using the @ sign to separate the username and destination server, "user@host", making the first networked email system a reality? As a result, people were able to send messages on ARPANET (Advanced Research Projects Agency Network), the network of that time period.
Fast-forward 15 years to Paris, France, and the introduction of BITNET, aka, "Because It's Time Network". Tim Berners-Lee hadn't invented the World Wide Web yet, but people continued communicating, keeping the networks of the mid-1980s busy despite minimal bandwidth. Email lists existed on LISTSERV@BITNIC, but they required manual administration.
With the popularity of mailing lists growing and all lists being administered manually, the process became so slow and cumbersome that it threatened the viability of mailing lists altogether. Eric Thomas, then an engineering student in Paris, was determined to keep mailing lists alive. So he invented LISTSERV software, to automate mailing lists once and for all.
Thomas created the first version of LISTSERV software, dubbed "Revised LISTSERV" at the time, and released it within the same month, June 1986.
In Eric Thomas's words:
"My goal was simply to create a tool that would allow mailing lists to prosper while making life easier for subscribers and list owners. It was a simple idea whose success exceeded all my expectations. Sometimes you set about solving a small problem, and later on you realize that you have actually solved a big problem."
From then on, the Internet culture of communications and knowledge exchange has been able to flourish.
Three and a half decades later, LISTSERV® software and its SaaS version are widely used by all types of organizations around the world. In continuous development, additional inventions from Eric Thomas have been added, including the industry's first spam filter, double opt-in subscription confirmation and the first LISTSERV blog, with more new features yet to come.
The evolution of the Internet is a reflection of human ingenuity, determination and a vision of a more connected society. Happy communicating, connecting and collaborating!
"In the Mail app, Mail Privacy Protection stops senders from using invisible pixels to collect information about the user. The new feature helps users prevent senders from knowing when they open an email, and masks their IP address so it can't be linked to other online activity or used to determine their location."
So what does this mean in practice?
With the option of essentially turning off email open-up tracking via Apple's new Mail Privacy Protection, there's potential for a serious impact on email marketing, which relies on data to measure recipient behavior, especially when looking at open rates. This could lead to organizations shifting away from the focus on open rates in favor of other engagement metrics.
Based on the relatively sparse information as of now, Apple's Mail Privacy Protection feature will only affect the open rate – more precisely, any open events that are triggered by invisible so called "spy pixels" embedded in the email message. Click tracking, shares, subscribes and unsubscribes appear to be unaffected.
Whether communicators will stop tracking email open-ups is still an open (pun intended) question. Either way, the upcoming version of the LISTSERV Maestro permission email marketing platform will have them covered. If Apple's Mail Privacy Protection feature becomes widely used and has a significant impact on the quality and usefulness of open rates, LISTSERV Maestro users will have best practices to continue their email marketing and tracking campaigns without relying on open rates.
Could this option in iOS 15 usher in a new era for email marketing? Time will tell but being prepared for any scenario by using LISTSERV Maestro's functionality and features will serve all communicators well.
As the EU GDPR becomes a "threenager" today, email marketers and communicators around the globe continue to grapple with its requirements. It all boils down to this: If you're sending email campaigns and tracking the results, you are processing the personal data of your subscribers and need to use personal tracking with subscriber consent or anonymous tracking to be fully compliant with the GDPR.
By obtaining personal tracking consent from subscribers and using anonymous tracking for people who don't give permission, you can communicate internationally and enjoy the benefits of in-depth tracking reports and analytics. For subscribers who allow personal tracking, you can send customized follow-up messages and other advanced communications that aren't possible without tracking.
Top 3 Ways to Use Email Tracking
1. View and Click Metrics
Find out how many recipients viewed the email or what percentage of subscribers clicked on a certain link in the email – or compare the results of two versions of an email campaign using A/B-split testing.
2. Demographic Analysis of Subscriber Behavior
See how successful a mailing was among subscribers in one country versus those in another country by measuring each group's clicks on a CTA link.
3. Follow-Up Mailings Based on a Subscriber's Previous Actions
Send a mailing to a group of subscribers. A few days later, send a follow-up mailing to subscribers who viewed the original email and a different follow-up message to those who didn't.
Of course, there are many additional ways to benefit from the rich data that email tracking provides, and you can use the email tracking features in LISTSERV Maestro to create your own versions of these examples.
The big question is which type of tracking to use.
The purview of the GDPR is the protection of personal data. Any data that is collected in an anonymous fashion doesn't usually count as personal data and does not fall under the GDPR's purview. So naturally, the easiest way to comply with the GDPR is to use anonymous email tracking.
While using anonymous tracking makes it easier to meet GDPR requirements, the disadvantage is that it doesn't allow follow-up mailings and only provides limited demographic analysis.
Personal Tracking with Permission
To be able to take advantage of all the ways to use tracking in the examples above, you'll need to use personal tracking with permission. First, consult with your legal counsel to determine if bundling the consent to tracking into the subscription terms is acceptable. If so, during the subscription process, you must ask for your recipients' consent to track their activities, like views and clicks, if you intend to use personal tracking. The most common way to do this is to include this information in your subscription terms in a detailed fashion, for instance, using the special "Consent to Subscription Terms" profile field type in LISTSERV Maestro.
However, including a consent request for personal tracking in the subscription terms may have an alienating effect on potential subscribers, possibly leading to a lower subscription rate than you might otherwise have.
Separating Consent to Personal Tracking from the Subscription Terms
The simplest way to separate the consent to personal tracking from the subscription terms is to use the permission-based personal tracking feature of LISTSERV Maestro. This type of personal tracking is available when using a LISTSERV Maestro subscriber list in a dataset that has a profile field of the special type "Consent to Personal Tracking".
With this profile field, LISTSERV Maestro queries consent to personal tracking from the user at the time of the subscription, where the user can freely choose whether to give consent. You can then use personal tracking for subscribers who have given consent and anonymous tracking for those who haven't.
The Importance of Trust and Transparency
To build trust and transparency and avoid legal problems, be sure to check your governing data privacy and opt-in legislation and seek explicit prior consent from recipients for your organization to handle and use their personal tracking data. Communicate with your recipients to request consent for personal tracking. Explain why you use tracking. Providing full disclosure and transparency may well result in better engagement because personal tracking allows you to send highly targeted follow-up communication.
Spring is here, at least in the northern hemisphere – a season of renewal and connection. Enjoy some garden-inspired tips and best practices to help you nurture strong subscriber relationships and grow your email lists:
🌼 Start with strong roots: Lay out a clear purpose and key guidelines for your email list as well as communicating the expected message frequency.
🌷 Cultivate the landscape for trust: Use double opt-in for subscriptions, always. You'll have specific, prior, explicit permission from all who join your list. Remember to make it easy for people to unsubscribe with one click.
🌸 Show your true colors: Simply put, be sure the "From" line states who you are.
🌼 Put your best blooms on display: Select your words carefully and craft short, succinct subject lines that show how your subscribers will benefit from opening the message.
🌷 Create a beautiful, familiar feel: Use HTML templates for consistent branding and easy recognition, plus time savings across every mailing.
🌸 Prune your lists: Track and analyze subscriber engagement. Use this data to reach out to inactive list members to see if they would still like to receive your messages.
🌼 Spread your seeds: Give your subscribers attractive opportunities to share your content and promote your lists to their contacts.
🌷 Share the harvest: Make sure to optimize your email for mobile devices, including all major brands of smartphones and tablets.
🌸 Remember garden cleanup: Avoid cluttering up your list with irrelevant messages, especially with discussion groups. Rake, sweep, repeat and let your subscribers enjoy the view.
🌼 Grow your knowledge: Ask people who unsubscribe to shed light on how you can do better next time by encouraging feedback in your automated farewell messages.
🌷 Sow success by listening: Encourage subscribers to add their profile information and send periodic surveys. This helps you tailor your messages more closely to their needs and preferences.
🌸 Behold the blossoms: Keep using email best practices and enjoy seeing how your newsletters, discussion groups and email marketing campaigns nurture strong subscriber relationships and loyalty.
Did you know that LISTSERV® turns 35 this year? The software is one of a few rare applications to survive and thrive in the IT space for that long – that's a lot of love from a lot of customers and users.
So the natural question is why? Some straightforward reasons include:
It's the original email list management solution, in continuous development
It uses the highest level of confirmed opt-in for subscriptions
It reflects subscriber and email list best practices
It fosters community through discussion groups
It enables email newsletters and announcements
It's used by all types and sizes of organizations worldwide
It's known for its reliability, scalability and flexibility
But there are also deeper, more human reasons because LISTSERV is a platform for support, knowledge exchange, advocacy, collaboration and more. Simply put, LISTSERV helps people and organizations make the world a little bit (or even a lot) better for one another.
"We have reached thousands of people and motivated them, either for actions such as attending demonstrations using short-notice alerts or with information distribution on important events and developments."
Moshe Barak Three-decade LISTSERV Administrator and HomeLand Guardians Environmental Activist
"The information, advice, and support my husband and I received on the Autism LISTSERV list starting in 1994 were invaluable, and a strong contributor to how well our daughter, a part of that community, is doing today."
Karen Reznek Mother of Abby Reznek, Special Olympics World Games Triple Medalist
This week marks Data Privacy Day. We all know email marketing gets results. It also requires compliance with data privacy and protection regulations like the EU GDPR and the California Consumer Privacy Act.
In the spirit of Data Privacy Day and a foundation of subscriber trust and respect, here are some key tips for responsible email tracking:
Email Tracking Best Practices
Track your communications to learn and improve
Track anonymously for compliance and trust
Track with explicit prior consent if using personal tracking
Turn off tracking when it's not necessary
Did you know that L-Soft's LISTSERV® Maestro is the only email marketing platform enabling personal tracking with consent from subscribers? It's available as on-premises software or a hosted cloud service.
Similar to the Learn LISTSERV tutorials, L-Soft is launching a new "Learn LISTSERV Maestro" series, featuring video tutorials on how to best engage your audiences with the LISTSERV Maestro email marketing platform.
Are you curious about or currently using email marketing communications to engage your customers and boost your results? Your subscribers' profile data is key to defining and creating target groups, which in turn help you reach customers with highly relevant messages that they're more likely to act on.
It's easy to think that once target groups are defined, that's that and it makes sense to just keep sending content to each group based on the parameters you've established, such as recent purchases, location or specific website activity. But did you know that you can create flexible target groups for which you can change the criteria on the fly for each mailing, to more closely connect with your customers?
A setting called dark mode has been a rising trend in operating systems and user interfaces for several years. It allows you to invert the colors of an application to display content using light text on a dark background instead of the traditional dark text on a light background. Now several email clients have started adopting dark mode as an option as well. Let's take a look at how dark mode affects HTML email and how to optimize your newsletters and announcements for this new mode.
Many common email clients, including Outlook, Gmail, Apple Mail and Yahoo Mail, all support dark mode in one form or another. Some, for instance Yahoo Mail, offer a dark mode theme but won't forcibly invert your existing colors if you have a light template. However, there are others, for example Outlook and Gmail, that will unless you're already using dark colors. These email clients are essentially enforcing their own dark mode styling by overriding your colors, which can cause problems if you're not anticipating this.
Licensed software or cloud hosting? That is the question. If you want to run your own email discussion lists, newsletters, announcement lists and blogs, you have the choice of either licensing LISTSERV and running the software in-house on your own servers or hosting your email lists in the cloud on L-Soft's servers. There are advantages to either option, and the right choice comes down to your unique requirements and circumstances.
Benefits of LISTSERV as Software
When LISTSERV (and its related email marketing and analytics solution, LISTSERV Maestro) are installed in-house, you are responsible for maintaining both the software and the servers that it runs on. This is usually the most cost-effective choice if your organization has IT resources and staff, large workloads or other specialized requirements, such as the need to integrate LISTSERV with in-house databases or LDAP servers.
With the software option, you only pay the cost of the license and an optional fee for technical support. You can create as many email lists as your license type allows. You can also send as many messages to your subscribers as you want without any delivery charges.
More Economical Long-Term: Licensing the software is usually more cost-effective in the long run, although the upfront cost of a license is higher. You can create as many lists and send as many messages as you want without additional delivery fees.
Maximum Flexibility: The software option allows you to configure your LISTSERV site to meet your organization's exact needs. L-Soft's technical support, training and consulting teams are always available for help if you need it.
Full Control: Running the software in-house gives you complete control of your operations, including the operating system and software environment. This is especially vital for organizations with complex change management policies.
Database Integration: An in-house setup makes it easier for you to take advantage of existing databases for dynamic and personalized mailings. You can also use databases and LDAP servers for authenticating credentials and user logins, which is especially helpful within large and complex organizations.
High Security: If you're operating in a high-security environment, keeping LISTSERV on site, together with your existing databases, LDAP and Active Directory servers, makes it easier to ensure that your entire email communication system and data are secure.
Benefits of LISTSERV in the Cloud
When your organization uses the cloud solutions (known as ListPlex and ListPlex Maestro respectively), LISTSERV and LISTSERV Maestro are hosted on L-Soft's servers, and L-Soft takes care of running the service and delivering your mail. You can have your own dedicated domain name as if you were running LISTSERV in-house. Hosting is usually the more cost-effective option for organizations with limited IT resources, smaller workloads and few specialized requirements.
With the hosted option, you pay a one-time setup charge, an annual service fee and delivery charges based on how many email messages you send to your subscribers. Full technical support is always included with the cloud service.
Lower Upfront Costs: The cloud service and your email lists are quick to set up, and the upfront costs are lower. However, hosting can be less cost-effective in the long run, especially if you have a large workload and send a lot of messages.
Fewer Resources Required: There's no need for any special hardware, IT staff, installation or setup. L-Soft's professional technical support services are always available for help and advice to keep your email lists running smoothly.
Minimal Learning Curve: L-Soft configures the service and creates all of the lists for you based on your requirements, so you don't need to spend time learning how to properly configure your server and set up your email lists.
Automatic Upgrades: Hosting servers are automatically upgraded whenever new versions are released so you can be sure that you're always running the newest versions of LISTSERV and LISTSERV Maestro and benefiting from the latest features and fixes.
High Performance: L-Soft's hosting servers are engineered for maximum uptime, reliability and scalability. Your email is delivered from dedicated servers, especially tuned for this purpose, using the latest email deliverability and authentication standards.
Whichever option you choose, keep in mind that your email lists can always be migrated from L-Soft's servers and taken in-house or vice-versa with minimal effort and disruption if your circumstances and requirements were to change. The highest investment protection is guaranteed with either the software or the cloud option.
Running a city, county or town is no small feat in the best of times. Now, local leaders are facing an intensifying pandemic and daunting return-to-school decisions on top of the everyday functions of their governments. Communication with citizens and coordination among agencies are more important than ever. Because just about everyone uses email, it's no surprise that municipalities are counting on email lists to keep their residents informed and their operations within and across agencies and departments running smoothly. With email discussion groups, newsletters, announcements and alerts, the possibilities are endless.
Here are a few of the many ways local government entities can use opt-in email announcements and alerts:
A city or local government posting a subscription link on its website for news, updates, discussion forums and other communications that their city offers for its citizens. These email lists enable city officials to announce virtual town hall meetings and citizen task forces so that people can get involved and to keep everyone informed in times of crisis.
County boards of education alerting all their respective school system administrators to an important public health (or other) policy change that needs to be disseminated immediately to their schools' students and parents.
Local transportation agencies providing traffic and transit delay alerts, which citizens can access on their mobile devices.
Email discussion groups help cities, counties and towns engage citizens, for instance:
Municipalities offering issue-based email discussion forums, fostering valuable community dialogue and perspective on important matters. Council members and relevant agency staff can participate in the discussion and gather important citizen input.
Public health officers hosting a discussion or a Q & A forum to assess the knowledge needs and provide a transparent channel for communication around a pandemic.
Task forces that focus on specific issues or challenges inviting residents to provide public comment on draft policies and opportunities to assist with solutions to any given need – for example, environmental concerns, police-community relations and public school reopenings. Municipalities can easily launch additional email discussion forums as new needs emerge.
Using email newsletters, local governments can create a strong presence while sharing need-to-know information and building stronger connections with citizens, such as:
A mayor or city council chair sending a weekly or monthly newsletter roundup of important news, opportunities for people to get involved, surveys and support resources.
The city's parks and recreation department sharing ways people can help, like the clean-up and replanting of a neglected neighborhood park, as well as useful information, such as tips for cleaner air and COVID-19 protocols for local hiking and biking trails.
The county school system superintendent sending customized newsletters, targeted to key groups such as parents, administrators and the public at large, to keep everyone updated and involved.
Strong communication, with the help of email list technology, has a major impact on the sense of connectedness and quality of life in all types of localities. Citizens who are informed and involved feel safer and happier and more motivated to support their local governments.
Enjoy your visit to "Email City" for more inspiration and feel free to share this resource with colleagues and friends who work in municipal government, public schools and other relevant entities:
We may not automatically think of an email marketing message, an email newsletter or even a discussion group post that we send as an opportunity to connect on a human level. It's easy to put most of our time and effort into content creation – the "what" of our messages – and not give enough consideration to the "who" of the people we're trying to reach. Here are some simple but effective ways to keep the focus on the individuals behind the in-boxes in order to build relationships and a sense of connection.
Establish a Foundation of Trust and Value
Never spam. Ensure that your subscribers truly want to be on your email list by asking them to actively give their consent, and don't do the work for them.
State the purpose of your email list and message frequency clearly, and deliver what you promise.
Send welcome messages to new subscribers confirming expectations, providing help links and initiating the relationship by laying the foundation for future communications.
Place one-click unsubscribe links into every message.
Protect your subscribers' privacy and data.
Provide exclusive incentives such as white papers, useful promotional items or special offers for subscribers.
Form a Sense of Connection with a Professional yet Conversational Tone
Look at your subscriber demographics to get a sense of the people on your email list – for example, their roles and organizations – and create a few sample subscribers in your mind based on these demographics when you're developing content.
Develop your email draft and read it out loud to check for flow and a colloquial feel. Then ask a colleague for feedback and fine tune it accordingly.
Avoid jargon, acronyms, hyperbole and overly promotional verbiage.
Keep your messages as short and digestible as possible, add visuals at your discretion and include a clear CTA and an easy way for subscribers to reach you.
Personalize and Engage with Data, List Segmentation and Drip Marketing
Give people the opportunity to set their subscriber preferences or create their profile pages at the time they first subscribe. This will give you a sense of the types of messages they want to receive.
Consider segmenting your list based on this initial data. Basing your messages on data is key to keeping each subscriber subscribed, active and engaged.
Common ways to segment include demographic data, geographic location, personas and level of interaction with previous messages, but one size doesn't fit all so use the parameters that best serve your communication goals.
Create completely customized messages based on each subscriber's profile and preferences. LISTSERV Maestro supports personalization and conditional logic, enabling easy creation of custom content blocks.
Request permission for personal tracking from subscribers. If granted, you can send a mailing to a mixed group of recipients and gather personal tracking information from those who have given permission and non-identifiable, unique tracking information from those who haven't.
Consider drip marketing campaigns, with follow-up messages that are automatically triggered according to a specific subscriber's action, for instance a message click or a visit to your website. This approach helps you deliver the right content at the right time when the subscriber is most receptive to act.
Remember, keeping the people behind the names in your subscriber databases top of mind goes a long way to creating a connection with every message you send. Test what works for your audience, track your results, fine tune your approach and grow your subscriber relationships. Happy emailing!
LISTSERV 17.0 was released ten months ago, and thousands of organizations are already running the new version. If you haven't upgraded yet, now is the time to jump on board. Let's look at the main reasons for upgrading and the benefits that LISTSERV 17.0 can bring to you and your organization.
New Responsive Web Interface
The web interface was completely overhauled for LISTSERV 17.0. The modern and fully responsive interface supports all types of devices, including tablets and phones, allowing you to manage your lists and your site from anywhere, anytime. The same goes for your subscribers, who can now interact with your messages and access the list archives on the go.
HTML Newsletter and Announcement Builder
The new HTML newsletter and announcement builder lets you create custom, fully responsive HTML newsletters without coding experience. You can use any of the more than 75 built-in newsletter templates as a base and put your own stamp on it. The system offers the easiest way to start sending professional newsletters to your audiences.
Seamless List Archives
The list archives are now completely seamless with no artificial weekly or monthly breaks. The new filtering capabilities and threaded forum view make it easier than ever to follow and locate topics of interest on busy discussion lists. You can even make your list archives appear like a standalone blog using the built-in blog customization tool.
The site customization feature enables you to tailor the appearance of the web interface and list archives to reflect your organization's graphic profile using simple pulldown menus and input boxes with no HTML or CSS coding. This makes your brand stand out and offers your audience an enhanced user experience with a unified visual profile.
Security and Stability Improvements
Many important changes are not immediately visible, but they're designed to fix bugs, eliminate potential vulnerabilities, improve performance and generally make LISTSERV run better and safer. Upgrading to the latest version ensures that your LISTSERV site is as stable and secure as possible.
It's all about communication. And saving time and hassles for your remote teams while keeping your subscribers, stakeholders and partners informed and engaged is a must. We've got you covered with tips and resources to keep your LISTSERV sites and subscriber communications running smoothly. Be sure to check out the short video tutorials on almost any LISTSERV task and share this info with your IT and communication teams.
As many of us transition to online work and education, secure, reliable and easy-to-use communication platforms are essential. For more than 20 years, teachers, students, administrators and parents at schools around the world have been using LISTSERV® lists of all kinds through our free NetPals service – sharing knowledge, support and urgent alerts while complementing instruction.
We're here to support school communications during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. Check out the ways that schools can benefit from NetPals and share this post or the link with the educators you know so that they can take advantage of free email groups.
Do you remember how you used email when you were a student? Did you know that LISTSERV was created and first used in a university setting in 1986 and has been the glue that connects and unites campus communities around the world ever since?
Why? Because it handles all types of internal and external communications from one central LISTSERV site, informing and connecting students, faculty, administrators, alumni, parents and other stakeholders.
It's not surprising that email lists are still going strong because they're easy to use and provide a secure, ad-free communication space. Universities and other organizations count on LISTSERV for effective, efficient and engaging email newsletters, alerts, announcements, blogs and more. Subscribers can access their LISTSERV list messages conveniently in both their inboxes and the online archives.
Let's take a look at how campuses are keeping their communities connected in this series of snapshots:
2019 propelled environmental advocacy into major focus, and this complex and urgent issue is sure to command more and more attention and mobilization in this new decade. Communications are critical to the work of environmental organizations around the world. Here are firsthand insights from Moshe Barak, an activist with grassroots NGO HomeLand Guardians, on how important email is to the organization's mission to protect Israel's coastline near Haifa from the effects of natural gas harvesting:
"Since 2017, we've been using LISTSERV to deliver important messages to our members about various activities, such as demonstrations, protests next to the Prime Minister's home, to name a few – and to share achievements and calls to action for people to join us or support us financially," said activist Moshe Barak.
"It's a vital tool in managing this struggle and our contact with our supporters ... it leaves our time and efforts and energy free from technicalities and admin and focused on the core issues themselves."
Key to the organization's efforts and success is its email list, which grew from a few hundred subscribers when it started, to 78,000 members.
"We have reached thousands of people and motivated them, either for actions, such as attending demonstrations using short-notice alerts or with information distribution on important events and developments," Barak said.
The communications led to major results, including:
Organizing two scientific seminars with leading scientists and support from six green organizations
Breaking a world record with a surfing protest circle of 992 people, bringing major media attention to the issue
Assembling 20,000 people to demonstrate at Rabin Square in Tel Aviv and thousands of people to attend presentations all over the country, raising support and creating seeds for people in many other local communities to join HomeLand Guardians' cause
A world-record 992-person surfing circle is formed in protest of near-shore natural gas harvesting in Israel
"Other communication tools like social networks have their roles. But they can't replace mailing lists. With the newer tools, you must go to a site or app and check it yourself," said Barak. "Email is more immediate, fast, reliable and it's self-managed, so people can leave the list if they want."
A new decade brings with it a sense of excitement and reflectiveness. We've seen many developments in social networking, communication and data protection, among others, in the past decade. Yet the need for relevant email communication remains strong.
We invite you to share in the comments your email marketing and communication highlights, lessons learned, examples, goals for 2020 – anything you'd like!
Here are eight of L-Soft's toplines since 2010:
Designing new responsive user interfaces for the LISTSERV product family so you can communicate with your audiences using any device
Providing responsive newsletter templates for easy creation of beautiful newsletters to reach people on the go
Expanding traditional email discussion lists with new features, including threaded forum and blogging capabilities
Incorporating social media sharing with email to spread your messages and grow your audiences
Improving email tracking and reporting with features like permission tracking, allowing your subscribers to be in control of their privacy
Adding authentication, deliverability, data protection and GDPR tools to support your email communication
Celebrating key milestones:
2016: 30 years since L-Soft Founder and CEO Eric Thomas invented LISTSERV
2018: 25 years since Eric's invention of double opt-in subscription, launching permission email as we know it
2019: 25 years of L-Soft being in business – proud to be one of the longest-running email tech companies
Most importantly, interacting with, helping and learning from all of you
We're looking forward to helping you reach your audiences in 2020 and for decades to come. Let's stay connected!
Email newsletters are a go-to tool for reaching our audiences with relevant visual, informative communications. Producing high-quality newsletters is a creative, collaborative and sometimes challenging process. Ensuring that your newsletters include must-have elements saves time and provides consistency, issue after issue, allowing you to focus on providing your readers with the most helpful and interesting content.
Let's explore the essentials that every newsletter needs:
Placing your organization's logo or banner in place in your newsletter template is one of the easiest ways for your readers to become familiar with your organization and brand. It's a big help to ensure that your subscribers recognize that the newsletter isn't spam and is coming from you, an organization from whom they signed up to receive newsletters.
It's a must for people who have signed up for your newsletter to be able to unsubscribe easily, at any time. Providing a prominent, one-click unsubscribe link in every message that you send is the recommended best practice. It's poor practice to require a login to unsubscribe or to hide the unsubscribe link or place it in a small font. Make unsubscribing an easy experience for people who no longer choose to receive your newsletter, so they'll do so with a positive impression of your organization. A person who unsubscribes just may be the same person who recommends the newsletter to a colleague who could benefit from its relevant content.
Learn More About LISTSERV Newsletters
LISTSERV provides tools to create custom newsletter templates and also includes existing templates that are ready to use, no HTML coding needed. You'll find these tools on the LISTSERV 17.0 web interface.
You can see samples of LISTSERV newsletters by visiting the demo site. The "Goode" list contains seven examples of creative and flexible ways you can present newsletter content. Additionally, feel free to log in to the demo site and view the entire library of newsletter templates under the "Newsletter Templates" menu to learn how the templates can be easily customized.
Hope these newsletter must-haves are useful – let us know what you think and, as always, get in touch about your email newsletter technology needs or with any feedback or questions. We are here to help!
As you can see, EmailRules has now turned into a blog, using the new "Blog View" feature in LISTSERV 17.0. We hope you enjoy the new format.
Many people are curious and have asked how to use LISTSERV blogs and what the benefits are, so first let's cover some FAQs.
What is a LISTSERV blog?
A LISTSERV blog is a discussion group that has its archive pages presented in the new Blog View mode with a custom stylesheet, which makes it look and feel like a standalone blog. This mode combines the functionality of an email list and a blog.
Any advice for setting up a blog list?
Start the blog list as a moderated discussion group, which allows you to approve all comments before they are posted. If this isn't critical, then the list can be configured as a regular discussion group without moderation. You can then enable Blog View on the List Customization screen. Remember to customize the look of your blog using the customization tool, which allows you to insert your own top banner, color scheme and any social media feeds that you want to embed in your blog.
How do I start with blog publishing?
You can use simply use the HTML editor in the message posting interface to compose your blog posts. Alternatively, you can choose one of the responsive newsletter template as a basis for your LISTSERV blog publishing and modify it by removing any headers and footers as these aren't needed in a blog setting. You can then easily add text and images to make your content lively for your subscribers and readers without having to worry about any HTML coding.
What are the advantages of blogs?
Many! You can embed the blog into your website and tailor it to your brand and graphic profile. You can add sections, for example subscription and search forms, social media sharing icons and embed your own social media feeds. You can get as creative as you wish with the tools that LISTSERV offers.
Your subscribers receive the blog posts immediately when published and can also find the posts online. If your blog is open for public search and viewing, you will reach a wider audience and grow your readership and interactions.
Another major advantage is that your blog list is located on the same site as your other LISTSERV communications. Your blogs complement your regular email groups, newsletters and announcements. You'll have the full set of LISTSERV features at your fingertips for your blog list.
Should comments be allowed?
Most blogs welcome comments. To keep the quality and relevancy of the discussion high, you can set the list up as a moderated discussion group so that you can approve or reject all comments. Alternatively, you can allow confirmed subscribers to comment without moderation. People can reply directly via email to the list address or post comments online on the blog page. Replies are organized as online comments under the main post.
Where can I learn more about LISTSERV blogs?
To learn more about how to enable Blog View and use the blog customization tool, check out the following video tutorial:
Susan Brown Faghani Thu, 18 Jul 2019 21:23:23 +0200
LISTSERV 17.0 launches a new era for mailing lists in our increasingly mobile communication environment. This major LISTSERV release features a responsive web interface, seamless list archives with three viewing modes – classic, forum and blog view – and an HTML newsletter builder with more than 75 responsive HTML newsletter and announcement templates.
We are excited about the new uses of LISTSERV email lists and are planning to convert the EmailRules list to a blog view format shortly. Stay tuned and thank you for being a subscriber!
Susan Brown Faghani Tue, 5 Mar 2019 02:03:02 +0100
It's easy to think of email tracking as strictly the domain of email marketers, for transactional messages. But even if you're not selling or promoting a product, did you know that email tracking can help just about anyone more fully understand and engage their subscribers and get better results?
Susan Brown Faghani Tue, 18 Dec 2018 23:15:37 +0100
Hope you had a great year of email in 2018! With 2019 in mind, could you please share which topics would be most helpful to your work with email lists and email marketing in the new year? Examples include tips on managing email lists and email marketing campaigns, articles on data protection and compliance and email authentication and security, and, of course, anything else you'd like to explore.
Be sure to stay on top of all the latest news and developments by subscribing to the LISTSERV at Work newsletter and joining us on your favorite social media platforms: http://www.lsoft.com/news/optin.asp
On behalf of L-Soft staff worldwide, we thank you for being a member of the L-Soft and LISTSERV community and wish you a Happy New Year!
Susan Brown Faghani Tue, 2 Oct 2018 22:02:04 +0200
Interested in building email communication knowledge this back-to-school season? Check out the new weekly #LearnLISTSERV how-to series on social media. Join us on your favorite platform to get helpful tips.
Susan Brown Faghani Thu, 21 Jun 2018 23:35:25 +0200
Since May 25th, the GDPR has been in force, affecting all organizations handling the personal data of EU residents and carrying substantial penalties for non-compliance with its strict data protection and other requirements. Among the many tasks, questions, layers and gray areas associated with this sweeping regulation, one of the key dilemmas for email marketers and digital communicators (with homage to Shakespeare) is:
"To track or not to track? That is the question."
Email tracking has clear advantages, of course, starting with generating valuable data that helps you to better engage your audiences and boost your results. Yet given the data protection compliance needs of the GDPR, just how should people use email tracking in the GDPR era, if at all?
If you're sending email campaigns and tracking the results, you are processing the personal data of your subscribers and need to take certain measures to be fully compliant with the GDPR. Check out an expert-authored tip on different email tracking options and what's most appropriate to use in the GDPR era, plus more relevant content in this brand new issue of the LISTSERV at Work newsletter:
Susan Brown Faghani Fri, 23 Mar 2018 21:43:39 +0100
Email may be the top online activity and sales channel, but all email is not created equal. Strong prior consent from subscribers continues to be the foundation for ethical email communication that gets positive results. This month, permission email as we know it today turns 25.
L-Soft Founder and CEO Eric Thomas invented LISTSERV, the original email list manager, in 1986 and added the subscription confirmation feature, also known as double opt-in, to the version released on March 15th, 1993. This strengthened recipient consent and launched permission email, which remains the industry gold standard.
Informing and empowering subscribers is key. This image shows some of the main hallmarks of permission email. Please feel welcome to share it on social media using the icons below.
Compliance with consent, authentication and data privacy requirements including the EU GDPR, for which enforcement begins May 25th, 2018, is now in major focus for digital marketers and communicators.
Confirmed permission from recipients is fundamental, so keep these three keywords as top priorities:
• Explicit: Ask your subscribers to actively give their consent, and don't do the work for them
• Specific: State the purpose of the email list clearly, and deliver what you promise
• Confirmed: Ensure your subscribers reconfirm that they initiated the subscription request to receive your messages in the future (confirmed opt-in/double opt-in)
Permission email and the related handling of subscriber data were in the spotlight in 2017, with legislative and regulatory developments, particularly in the United States, Canada and the European Union. We welcome all changes that strengthen trust and nurture relationships between senders and subscribers.
Thank you for being a part of the LISTSERV community. Warmest wishes for the holiday season and the new year!
Earlier this year, when the Federal Trade Commission announced that it was planning a review of the CAN-SPAM Act, many organizations, including L-Soft, submitted public comments on the law, urging the adoption of an opt-in requirement for email marketing. While it's unlikely that much will change regarding the CAN-SPAM Act and its provisions in the near future, L-Soft strongly recommends that everyone follow email marketing best practices, which includes the more responsible opt-in standard for subscriber acquisition.
EmailRules is the first LISTSERV blog in the world. It's a showroom and experiment to combine a blog and a moderated email list. We welcome your interaction – questions, answers, comments, advice, tips, guest articles – anything email related. Feel welcome to read, subscribe and post. We hope you enjoy this blog for email communicators.