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The mailing list program allows you to create and use mailing lists.  These are lists of e-mail addresses that you can create and tailor to meet the needs of  your business and your customers.  E-mail is an ideal means for customer contact -- the cost of distribution is far less than physical mail and the ease of creating and distributing content via the web is unsurpassed.

Mailing lists can serve many purposes -- to maintain regular customer contact through newsletters (such as the TIAS newsletter, which is sent using this product), to advise some or all of your customer base about sales or events of special interest and to promote sales with special offers.  The bottom line is that regular use of e-mail lists can significantly improve your business revenues and your customers' satisfaction.

All of our lists are double opt-in lists.  That means that when someone asks to be added (or you respond to a request by putting them on a list), they will receive an email that asks their permission to add them.  If they respond positively, then they will be added; if not, then they are not added.  This verifies that they are actually the owner of the email address and that they really do want the mail.   This is an industry 'best practice' and is part of the way that we, as a company, contribute to the reduction of unwanted email on the Internet.

How do I send mail?

Nothing could be easier! 

First, decide which list you are going to use and check the box next to it.

Second, use the 'Refresh' button to make sure the list is up to date.

Finally,  click the 'Compose / Send' button next to the mailing list you want to use.

You'll see a page where you can enter the subject of your email and also the body of the text.  All you have to do is to enter the subject line you want to appear on your mail and compose your message. If you have written your newsletter in HTML, you can upload it as well (be sure that any pictures that you are referencing are on your website -- NOT on your desktop) and press the 'Preview' button. You'll be able to look at the text version (and the HTML version if you've created one) and then click a 'Send' the button -- your mailing will be sent and as it goes, you will receive automatic e-mail notification every 1,000 e-mails so you can monitor the speed of your mailing.

When the mailing is complete, you will receive a report by email that shows how many mails were sent.

What makes up a mailing list:?

A mailing list is a group of email addresses that you create.  The information is stored in a special database for your store and is identified by the mailing list name you choose.  The names on the list can come from many different sources.

When you use the TIAS mail list manager, you are given the option of creating a mailing list from your past customer orders, from other mailing lists, from the opt-in mailing list that automatically appears on your site when the feature is activated or from external sources.  Because TIAS has a very strict policy regarding unsolicited e-mail (spam), the use of an external e-mail lists requires the approval and assistance of TIAS customer support.

You can view the contents of any list by clicking the 'View/Change' button next to that list.   If the list is made of other lists (perhaps by merging your opt-in list and lists of your prior customers), it is called a 'child' list.  You can tell what the 'parents' are for any list by clicking the 'Status' button next to the list.

Mailing lists can be public or private.  The public lists are visible to customers who use  the 'subscribe' feature on the personal shopping system ('My Account, MyTIAS, My Earthling, etc).  This does not mean that your customers can see the other members of the list.  What it DOES mean is that your mailing list is publicly available for people to join.  In fact, customers will see the option for mailing list subscription every time they go to check the status of an order, even if its not an order for your site!  

WOW!  You may wish to create several public lists for customers who have special interests.   Each one will appear on the list of public subscription lists.

Private lists are visible to you only and are not available for subscription.   Private lists are used for storing data and constructing other lists.   You control whether the list is private or public; the only list that should always be publicly accessible is the store opt-in list (more on this topic later).
 

How do I know who is on my list?

You can view the contents of any list by clicking the 'View/Change' button next to that list.   This will display all names on your list (and also give you the chance to change the list by deleting some entries if you wish)

If there are more subscribers on your list than can be briefly displayed, you'll see a list of the letters of the alphabet; select the sublist that you want to view. If there are too many on the sublist to be displayed (a happy situation!), you'll see secondary sublists until the program reaches a point where no more than about 100 addresses are displayed.

Each list consists of the email address and name (if known) of the subscriber and whether the subscriber is active or not. If an email has been sent to the subscriber and been bounced by their ISP, their email address is flagged inactive until the subscriber themselves goes to their account and reactivates the address (They do this through 'my account' or 'track orders'; they can reactivate their address on the 'subscriptions' option or change it completely if they wish.) The only thing that you can do to a mailing list is to remove subscribers from it. You do this by checking the box next to the subscriber's information and then clicking the 'Change' button at the bottom of the list.

Note:  If the list is made of other lists (perhaps by merging your opt-in list and lists of your prior customers), it is called a 'child' list.  You can tell what the 'parents' are for any list by clicking the 'Status' button next to the list.  Regardless of where the names originated, all names that your mailing will go to are shown to you when you click the 'View/Change' button.

How do I create a mailing list?

You can create mailing lists by using the simple  but powerful 'Create'  feature as the initial source of addresses for your list.

To create a mailing list, simply key in a short name for the list.  You will have a chance later to assign an English language title to the list, so you want to keep the internal list name as short as possible. 

You can create a mailing list by combining other lists.  If you want to do this, simply check the boxes next to the lists that you want to combine and press the 'merge lists' button and the lists are created.

If you want to create a new list, press the 'Create' button.  You will then see the page that allows you to select the data sources for your list.

How do people get added to lists?

One source of e-mail addresses is your orders.  You can create mailing lists from the e-mail addresses that your customers supplied at the time that they ordered from your site and you can tailor the list to meet your merchandising needs, selecting e-mail addresses by product category, by date range or by physical location, if you wish.   To create a list from prior orders, simply click the button titled 'Load From Orders".  You can use the date selection criteria and the category selection criteria to pick a particular group of orders if (for instance) you just want people who have ordered merchandise in a particular category.

If you have a brick-and-mortar store or if you routinely sell product at shows or in other public venues,  you will find the feature to e-mail to buyers by postal code range particularly handy.  You won't irritate people who cannot attend by sending them unwanted mail, but you can let those know who might come -- and they'll appreciate the notification!

Customers can add themselves to your lists. 

Every store that has the mailing list feature gets an opt-in list.  Customers who add themselves to your mailing list are put on the opt-in list. 

During the shopping and ordering process, your customers are given the opportunity to subscribe to your list in a number of places.  

If you have standard pages, when the mailing list feature is activated,  the 'Join Our Mailing List' Menu entry automatically appears at the bottom of every page on your site.  When you r customer clicks on the link, they will be immediately added to your opt-in list.  Your opt-in list is available for you to view on-line any time.

 

If you use the standard order forms (there are two, one for auction-based orders and a slightly different one that appears to non-auction buyers), an invitation to join your mailing list will automatically appear on the order form for your store immediately above the 'Send Order' button. 

This sets a special flag in the order that you can use to create  mailing lists of customers who are known to have previously purchased from you.

This mailing list is one of the most valuable lists any store can have -- its a well-documented fact that customers who have purchased once from a store are far more likely to buy again -- and if you couple its use with coupons and discounts, your chances of making that extra sale will skyrocket!.

Finally, the View/Change Subscriptions option in the personal shopping system, allow customers to review all lists designated as public and sign up for those they think are interesting.  

This is a way to acquire e-mail addresses of customers who are interested in your products but who may not have yet visited your store.

If you have a purchased mailing list,  please discuss this with customer service, they will need to review and approve your purchased list and will assist you with the upload of this information.  There is a nominal fee for the labor involved in this service.

Can I combine lists?

Absolutely!  The merge feature allows you to simply select the mailing lists you want to combine and produce a new list from the existing lists

Or you can merge new lists into an existing list simply by specifying the name as an already-existing list for your output.

Use your private lists as a filing system (for instance in this example, there is a list called '2000 orders) and construct mailing lists to meet your particular promotional needs. 

How do people get removed from lists?  Is maintenance a real pain?

Removal is typically one of the most burdensome parts of maintaining a mailing list, but the TIAS mailing list manager has a number of powerful and unusual features that make maintenance (relatively) painless.  Mailing list entries can be removed by the person who receives an e-mail from the list, by you or automatically, if it proven that the e-mail address is no longer valid (about 20% of all people change their e-mail addresses in any given year).

While most people who receive your mailings will be delighted, some few will want to be removed from your list -- and if they don't want your mailings, the last thing you want to do is to bother them!  So for the customer who wants to remove themselves from the list, the TIAS mail manager offers state-of-the-art user unsubscription features. 

Every e-mail that is sent includes an 'unsubscribe' link at the bottom.  Unlike many systems, where the unsubscription feature sends an e-mail to the postmaster (you) and requires you to manually perform the deletion, this link  immediately unsubscribes the customer from the unwanted list.

For a demonstration of the ease of the unsubscription processing, click here


You can remove people
through the 'View/Change Lists' feature.

This feature is really designed to  allow you to maintain the contents of individual lists, but the search function can be used when you have multiple mailing lists to find all cases where a particular individual appears on your lists.  This is useful for dealing with that occasional subscriber who write and says 'TAKE ME OFF YOUR *&*$#(@&#$ LIST".
 

Finally, lists are 'scrubbed' automatically during mailings.   If your e-mail gets rejected by the receiving site, because the e-mail address is no longer value, the failed mail returns to a module at TIAS that will automatically remove it from your mailing lists.  This frees you from one of  the most burdensome aspects of mailing list maintenance -- garbage cleanup!

How can I make sure my lists are up to date? 

The Refresh feature allows you to quickly and easily update your lists from their original sources.  For instance, if a list was originally created from the orders database using the criteria 'china', when you press 'Refresh', any customers who've placed orders that match that criteria will automatically be added.

Even if your list was created from other mailing lists, it can be quickly and easily updated with a single click of a button!

Are mailing lists a good way to make sales?

Absolutely! But in each mailing, you need to offer something that your customers wants. No one wants to be bothered unnecessarily and repeated mailings with low content will get soundly ignored. 

What customers want is relevant information (such as the TIAS newsletter), special values (such as an Internet-only sale) or direct sales incentives (such as a coupon good for $5 off on orders over $100).

When you use these techniques, you can substantially boost the traffic to your site and improve your sales even during slack periods.

Are there any restrictions on how I can use my list?

The mailing list facility is part of your online store software. We offer this to help you promote your store. You must not use the feature in a manner that violates the terms of service for your site or the terms of use for the site as a whole

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