Guide to Email List Manager Scripts

A mailing list manager script allows you to send batch emails to a group of subscribers. Also known as newsletter script, it proves to be extremely useful to send bulk emails for your email marketing campaigns including newsletters, publicity lists and other notification emails.

How Mailing List Managers work?

  1. A user signups up (opt-ins) for your mailing list using an online form or via a subscription center.
  2. The subscriber might receive an email notification asking him to confirm his opt-in (double opt-in) and receive a welcome email acknowledging his subscription.
  3. The mailing list manager will treat his email address along with other profile information as a subscriber and assign him to the mailing list he opted-in.
  4. The administrator (also known as email marketer) can create an email campaign blast for that mailing list by using built-in email templates.
  5. The subscriber will receive the email in his email account (can be either desktop or webmail client)
  6. In the event that the subscriber wants to stop receiving future emails from that mailing list, he can unsubscribe (opt-out).

Types of Mailing List Managers

Script based

These types of mailing list managers can be purchased for a fee (either on a per license or server basis) and installed on your server. You’re then free to use it for as many subscribers, mailing list and email sends. They are usually available as

  • – PHP Mailing Lists Managers
  • – ASP Mailing Lists Managers
  • – CGI & Perl Mailing List Managers
  • – ASP.NET Mailing List Managers.

Remotely Hosted

There are also remotely hosted mailing list managers that are offered as SaaS which will allow you to send emails for a recurring subscription fee. While it can be expensive in the long run, they can be more reliable in terms of delivery and SPAM-Compliance.

Major Components of a Mailing List Manager

Most mailing list manager differs from each others in terms of functionality, however the following major components are to be found in each one.

List and Subscriber Management

This is an admin-only management system that allows you to import, export, edit, update and delete subscribers of your mailing list. The ability to maintain a cleanse mailing list relies on the ability of the script to manage the subscriber list via automated tools like bounce processing, duplicate email address remover, etc.

Opt-in and Opt-out

Opt-in and opt-out are processes that subscribers use to either join your mailing list or unsubscribe from them. Opt-in can happen via an online form or subscription center, but can also be done manually by the administrator via batch file import. On the other hand, opt-out are usually placed as unsubscribe links in the footer of each emails. (as per CAN-SPAM Acts). Some mailing list managers will also offer double opt-in option whereby which a subscribe has to validation and confirm his email address before he is added to the list.

Campaign Management

Campaign management is the heart of a mailing list manager. It allows you to compose emails using either custom or pre-built email templates, set personalization preferences and send the email either immediately, scheduled or on defined intervals (auto-responders).

Tracking and Statistics

To measure the effectiveness of your campaign, most mailing list managers offer tracking of key metrics for your campaign including open-rate, click-rate, bounce-rate, etc. Statistics are usually provided in the form of graphics, charts or click-overlays.

Choosing a Mailing List Manager

The key in choosing a mailing list manager ultimately relies on one that meets your email marketing needs, however we recommend that you take the following tips into consideration:

CAN-Spam Compliance

The CAN-Spam Act is a set of rules that establishes requirements for commercial messages. Mailing list managers that are CAN-Spam compliant will offer features like automated bounce back handling, one-click unsubscribe and forced contact information in the footer of your messages.

Email Speed Throttling

Most web hosting companies applies strict rules on the number of total outgoing emails to prevent their SMTP servers from being blacklisted in RBLs.  If your mailing list size is above 500 and you send frequent mailings, it is recommended to ensure that your mailing list manager can limit the number of outgoing emails per hour.

Web Hosting Requirements

It can be tricky to install and configure a newsletter script on your hosting company’s server. Some will require that you use mail agent (Sendmail), PHP Mail() function or even an authenticated SMTP service. Always check with your hosting company to ensure that that it meets the requirement before purchasing.

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