Simple Living Works!

Social Media Post #6 – Email Lists

Posted on: May 27, 2014

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Social Media take a lot of time and effort to develop an audience. Yes, you can rent email lists. But there’s no phone book for cell phones or email like we had for landlines. So, you patiently collect contact information at events and other places where your audience hangs out.

By the way, when you send bulk email, always use blind copy — bcc — so that the addresses are not exposed. However, if another like-minded organization sends a bulk email with the addresses exposed, you are not legally or ethically required to get their permission to use those addresses. Consider it a gift or a loan. Return the favor sometime, such as mentioning the gift-giver in a blog. Send the addresses an invitation to join your group. Do not automatically put them on your subscription list. Allow them to ‘opt-out.’ Many organizations only use addresses of people who ‘opt-in,’ who overtly and consciously join. This is overly careful. Always give your readers the option to ‘un-subscribe,’ and respect it when they do.

I do, however, keep the UnSubs in a separate file and send them one-time invitations a few times a year when something new and interesting is happening. Some do accept the invitation and re-subscribe.

Some privacy policies protect the email addresses of their subscribers and promise not to sell, rent or share them. This is being too polite. One of the main ways that nonprofits can help each other is by sharing lists. One of the ways non-profits can stay in business is by renting their lists.

The critical factor is that they are a ‘like-minded’ organization and that they use the list only once. Companies that accumulate and rent lists don’t care who’s using it as long as they get paid. No! Your policy must be clear about whom you cooperate with and whom you avoid. Then state clearly in your privacy policy for your members, supporters, clients, that you do from time-to-time rent or share your email list to like-minded non-profits. That’s how we both stay in business. That’s how we support each other. That’s how we grow. This is not about moral high ground. This is working with people you can trust. If you have some folks who are adamant that they don’t want their email shared, respect them, but don’t made it a blanket policy.

I really promote cooperation between non-profits. For years we’ve used each others’ lists locally, e.g. Sierra Club and Peace Coalition to produce the joint Siouxland Social Justice eNews.

In fund-raising and marketing in general, I follow the principle, ‘No is not no forever.’ I put first-time UnSubs in a separate file and send them an invitation four times a year when something newsworthy happens, e.g., a new eNews design. A few re-subscribe. If they send Unsubscribe a second time, I move their address to the dead address file. I don’t send a confirmation to Unsubs.

I keep my lists in a Excel file. Some mailing services will maintain your list for you. Mail Chimp will maintain a small list for free. BUT your list must be clean. They only tolerate a .5% bounce rate. So, if you have more than 50 bounce-backs (hard or soft) per 1000, they will suspend your account! They assume that if you have a higher rate, you are sending to people who have not actually subscribed, you are spamming. Purists!

There are other reliable, helpful services – such as Constant Contact – but they charge about 1¢ per name. Ouch! That’s $100 for 10M addresses per Emailing. That’s fine if you can afford it. If you’re willing to do the work, you can do it for free. However, each service has its limits, usually 500 addresses/24 hours.

So I have four separate gmail accounts, managed by different groups/organizations. In my case one is personal, one is Jubilee Economics, one is my denomination, and one is YouTube. You can’t get around the limits by having four different names on the same account. Also, I can’t have more than one gmail (or Yahoo) account active at the same time.

I can mail 2000 per day using four accounts, or 6000 in three days. I’ve learned the hard way, mail one to yourself and test all the links before sending the first batch! Once you’ve sent the first batch from each account, you can use the forward or reply function to send the next batches the next day. (Remove the FW: info at the top of the copy before sending.)

Use cross-promotion. Use your various media to promote each other. Mention something from your site on a podcast or in a blog; use the eNews and blogs to promote the podcast and your FB, YouTube, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. I make sure my new podcast is uploaded to my site and listed in iTunes before I send out a blog or eNews about it. (I have a preview/back-up of my podcasts on my site in case there’s problem with LibSyn or WordPress.org, or if a listener wants to listen to a specific past episode.)

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GRAPHIC – Spirit of Simplicity: ART #1-A2152

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