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Thread: Email Newsletter Distribution Method Question

  1. #1
    PaulDow's Avatar
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    Email Newsletter Distribution Method Question

    I assume that virtually all chapters with newsletters now use email for distribution. I’d like to ask what method you’re using to send them.

    I’m looking at converting our web site over to the chapters.eaa.org standard format, but there are a couple things I have running on EAA1310.org that I would lose.

    Right now I have PHPList to send to distribution lists. I think its similar to Constant Contact. I have lists for Members, Directors, Young Eagles, Event notices, Newsletter only, and the local airport community. Several people are on multiple lists, but PHPList doesn’t send duplicates.

    A down side is that I have to recompose the newsletter in PHPList’s own editor, since I create it in Word. Within Word, I can print to pdf in order to keep an archive version. An up side is the email sent from PHPList can be viewed directly without a pdf or docx viewer.

    I could send using bcc with a standard email program, but I want to avoid having the chapter email list on my own computer. We end up with versions between multiple people that are never synchronised. I also use Microsoft’s Office 365 for non-profit organizations, so email processing for eaa1310.org is handled through that. Our web site is hosted elsewhere.

    I’d like to make the process easier, but also maintain the central list capability. Unfortunately, Office365 doesn’t have a mass mail feature.

    Thanks,
    Paul

  2. #2
    FlyingRon's Avatar
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    For my airpark HOA, I bought redirection services from a company called Gaggle.email. They're hosted on AWS and provide just about every feature and tweak I can imagine. Support is very responsive as well.

  3. #3
    PaulDow's Avatar
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    Thanks Ron,
    It looks like I would need the $2/year per email address plan since I have 6 groups and 186 addresses. I'm sure that could be cut back to about 100 if I sent a Google Analytics code out with the messages to see who is actually opening them. I don't think the membership would go for the $200 for what's been free, especially since most aren't chapter members.

    I started searching a bit and see Mailchimp has a free plan for up to 2,000 addresses and 10,000 messages per month.

  4. #4
    FlyingRon's Avatar
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    The problem with MailChimp and similar services is that they're more targeted to bulk mailing rather than ListServ type operation. I looked at a bunch of those.

  5. #5
    CarlOrton's Avatar
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    We use mail chimp. List maintenance is great, composition is a bit clunky. As an example, it cannot import PDFs. If someone sends you a Word doc and you paste it, no pics are included. You have to have the pics sent separately then import into MC, then embed, do word wrap etc. Caveat: I’ve been using MC for about 2 years, But have not Looked at any of the tutorials or guides available.

    Carl Orton
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  6. #6
    Aviatrexx's Avatar
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    We had our chapter website hosted on an inexpensive "shared server" provider. Among the server's many free software packages is Mailman, which we use to provide a variety of discussion and announcement listservers. Mailman allows members to share photos, videos, and any sort of formatted file attachments (subject to compatible software being available on the recipient's device) via plain old email. The vast majority of the traffic is plain/rich text, but we regularly share PDF's, Word docs, spreadsheets, and even the occasional questionnaire/survey created by another one of the server's free offerings.

    We have just recreated our webpages on the EAA chapter.eaa.org site and are struggling to replace the functionality we lost (specifically, our "members-only" pages). Before the recent change in EAA hosts, all we had on the EAA website was a redirection to our much more capable server.

  7. #7
    FlyinAdamBadger's Avatar
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    Just use Gmail as your email service provider. It can email 500 addressees at once. That is what EAA Chapter 75 uses to do mass emailing and the newsletter

  8. #8
    PaulDow's Avatar
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    Thanks for the suggestions.

    I had to get educated on the difference between a listserv and bulk mail. We don't have the critical mass to create two way conversations of a listserv. I would like to keep the traffic one way.

    Mailchimp sound like it has similar functionality to the PHPList program I'm now using on our hosted shared server. I also have to compose the message and add photos. It is nicer for the receiver since they can just view the email without a .pdf reader.

    I used to use the Mailman function, but I lost that when we moved mail to Office365. The shared host didn't allow much storage, and even though they say it's now "unlimited", I don't think I should let members keep multiple GB of mail files out there. Office mail is nice in that it can use Outlook, but I didn't like them adding a political message to the latest update.

    I'm skeptical of using Google free services. There's the old saying that if the service is free, that means you are the product. I know Gmail is used by 1.5 billion people. I started learning on how to create content for their Daydream virtual reality system, and they abruptly discontinued it, like so many services.

    I just had to send out a message to cancel a cookout (lousy germ), and it's nice to be able to just check off the lists I want to send the message to. If I have people on multiple lists, sending through Mailman lists would send them duplicates. Maintenance is a bit more difficult since if I get a bounce from a non-existent mailbox or a request to be removed, I just delete it in one place. I don't have to search through all the possible lists. It looks like Gmail would put contacts in groups that are sent, so managing that should be OK.

    I think I'll take a closer look at Mailchimp. Right now the chapter would have a lot of difficulty should I become unable to use a computer (for whatever reason). I'd like to set up something that would be easy to transfer. That's why I'm also looking at using the eaa.org chapter website. We also have an online store that has a few items, my hosting service has been great about raising my resource limits for running the Magento storefront. I still have to get PayPal and Amazon payments working.

    Too bad we don't get a jailed cPanel on the EAA web service.

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