Particularly around local government, but also some not-for-profits and universities, I’m trying to persuade people to stop using huge Blind Carbon Copy (BCC) lists that they keep in their address book and switch over to using mailing list manager software. Our co-op even gives some simple mailing list hosting away with web hosting. I think good mailing list software is better because:
- List members can help themselves – they can subscribe, unsubscribe and set options by sending email to the software or visiting its website, which reduces the worker time required to manage the list. But you can still manage it directly if you prefer.
- Your address book is smaller – because you don’t need every address on the mailing list cluttering up your email software’s address book any more
- Errors are handled automatically – if an address doesn’t work any more, the software will unsubscribe it, usually with some safeguards against one-off problems
- Privacy is safeguarded – dedicated email list software will not put all the mailing list addresses in the To-line by mistake (as often happens with Address Book announcement lists)
- Spam is filtered – rules can be set centrally and they can be different to the rest of your organisation
- Messages can be moderated – if needed, the list managers can be asked to pre-approve the messages, or you can set rules to allow some automatically.
- Emails can be archived – most list software can save copies of messages for you, or put them on the web
- You can offer digests – offer members the choice between getting every message or daily or weekly batches
- Multiple versions can be sent – some list software can send different versions of the same email (like rich and plain text, or different languages) as chosen by the user
- You can syndicate news – some list software can also put your announcements on content management systems or social media
- (OK, I’ve done 10… there are two more which matter to a tech worker like me which I’m going to mention as free extras.) It’s more efficient – most list software is designed to handle hundreds or thousands of recipients and sends email with more robust settings than a typical desktop email client. It is less likely to fail after recipient 373 and ask you to resend them all.
- Comply with standards – good list software either follows standards for things like self-service and digests automatically or can be told to do it. Some desktop email software (Outlook?) usually can’t.
Do you think these are good reasons? Are there other reasons you would include above some of these? Would they persuade you to stop using your computer’s address book?