More than 200,000 nonprofits, from fledgling arts organizations to global NGOs, use MyList to communicate with constituents.

We’re constantly exploring new technology to help our customers create more effective newsletters.

How can MyList help your organization? For starters, you’ve probably got a staff, donors, volunteers, a board of directors—and they all need to hear from you. Sometimes you’ll want to send everyone the same message, but sometimes you’ll want to specialize your email campaigns—like sending an internal newsletter to staff only, budget reports to the board only, or a personalized update to your organization's entire mailing list.

With MyList's email designer you can easily add content and design emails that fit your brand. Collaboration features—like multi-user access, campaign comments, and simultaneous editing—help improve your organization's workflow. Track your email performance with our reports, then connect your account with Google Analytics and your shopping cart for a complete perspective of your subscribers' activity.

MyList also offers plenty of integrations that will help you do your job. If you keep up with your donors using The Raiser’s Edge, you can synchronize their MyList activity with their profile in your database. You can create, edit, and manage events with our Eventbrite integration, or you can easily survey your constituents with our SurveyMonkey integration. You can share your email campaigns easily through Facebook or Twitter and allow your subscribers to do the same. The list goes on.

This guide will explain the basics of MyList and the ways we can help your organization. Let's get started.

The Basics

MyList is a web-based application that works in most web browsers, which means you don’t need to download or install any new software on your computer. To make sure that MyList works properly in your browser, you should enable cookies, pop-ups, and JavaScript. When you watch our tutorial videos, you’ll need the latest version of Flash.

Compliance tips

When you create a MyList account, you agree to comply with all anti-spam regulations and MyList’s Terms Of Use. These terms require that all lists be permission-based, consisting of subscribers who have signed up through a mailing list signup form or have given explicit permission to add them to the list. You must have tangible, confirmable proof that the subscriber wants you to communicate with them. Be mindful of the following guidelines as you’re getting started:

  • Make sure the intent of the signup form is clearly identified. All potential subscribers should understand that, by submitting their contact information through the form, they are agreeing to receive bulk email from you.
  • “Contact Us,” “Apply For A Quote,” or “More Information” style forms would not be considered as an acceptable opt-in method for bulk emails. These forms generally indicate a one-to-one email, not permission to be added to a bulk mailing list.
  • Due to the lack of tangible, verifiable proof of consent, email addresses collected verbally, from personal address books, from business cards, or from social media/LinkedIn followers are not considered viable opt-in methods.
  • While it’s generally okay to add existing customers to a bulk mailing list, they must be recent customers (having purchased a product in the past 6 months) or customers that have already been regularly receiving emails from you. Only use addresses that have requested to be added to a list.
  • We do not allow any kind of third party lists in our system. This includes publicly available, purchased, rented, or partner lists.

This article can help you determine if your list is acceptable, but if you’re still not sure, contact our compliance team for additional clarification.

Build Your Mailing List

The foundation of great email marketing is a clean, up-to-date list of subscribers who have opted in to receive your email campaigns. MyList makes it easy to present your donors, volunteers, and supporters with a variety of methods to sign up and receive email updates so they can keep up with everything happening within your organization.

Would you like to send a special email to folks who have volunteered or made a donation to your organization? Maybe you have a fundraising event planned in Atlanta and you'd like to send an email to all of your supporters in the area, inviting them to attend. Or, perhaps you'd just like to give your subscribers the option of choosing the frequency at which they receive your email updates. Use MyList's groups, fields, and segments, to send timely, relevant content to your readers when it’s most convenient for them.

When you create a list in MyList, we will automatically generate a hosted, customizable, mobile-responsive signup form—along with an entire series of other forms and response emails—for you. You can share the link to this form on your website, across your various social media channels, or even with a QR code. Here’s how to create your form in MyList:

  1. From the MyList dashboard, click the Lists tab.

  2. Choose which list you’d like to work with, and then select Signup forms from the list options.

  3. Select General forms.

  4. Next, customize the details of your form. Use the Build It tab to determine what information you collect in the form and the Design It tab to change the colors, add a header image, and more.

  5. When the form is finalized, copy the Subscribe form URL located in the middle of the page, and link to it from the website you choose.

For more information about designing your forms and response emails, check out this article from our Knowledge Base.

When you create a signup form in MyList, we’ll also provide you several customizable embedded forms as well. Creating the code is easy, and it'll make signing up for your newsletter even easier for your readers. From the Lists > Signup forms, select the Embedded forms option.

MyList has several embeddable form options for you to choose from; just grab the generated HTML code and copy/paste it into your site.

If you are interested in designing and hosting your own custom forms, you'll find more information here.

The subscriber popup is a customizable form option that automatically displays a MyList signup form in a popup modal on your website shortly after someone visits the page. The form can be designed, previewed, edited, and updated directly though the Form Builder, and all of your changes will be reflected in real time.

Is your website powered by a service like WordPress, Squarespace, Moveable Type, or Drupal? Want to integrate with Wufoo or CoffeeCup for an even more robust set of form design options? There are MyList signup form plugins available for these (and many other) programs that can help make integration a breeze. Visit our Integrations Directory for all the details, as well as download and installation instructions.

Social media can be a vital tool for keeping in touch with your supporters, and MyList makes it easy to add a signup form directly to your Facebook page. First, you’ll need to connect your MyList and Facebook accounts. This can be done from the Account > Integrations area of your MyList account.

The initial connection is made with a “personal” Facebook account; once connected, the MyList form can then be added to any Facebook “page” that you administer.

After the accounts are connected, you’ll be able to customize and assign signup forms to your Facebook pages directly from the Facebook section of the Integrations page.

If you already have a list of supporters that have opted-in to receiving email from you, there are several options for importing them into MyList. They include:

  • Uploading a CSV or tab delimited text file.
  • Copying and pasting your list from Excel.
  • Importing contacts from your Mac Address Book with the help of our OSX app, MyList Import.
  • Importing directly from a third-party application or program that integrates with MyList. Full more details about our available integrations, visit our Integrations Directory. If your contacts are stored in an application or program that doesn’t currently integrate with MyList, refer to that program’s support documentation or customer support team for assistance in getting a CSV file of the contacts.
  • Importing contacts using MyList’s API. Keep in mind that the API is for experienced programmers and developers. If you don’t currently have someone that can assist with this, consider reaching out to one of our for-hire third-party MyList Experts to lend a hand.

Create Your First Campaign

Once your list and forms have been set up, you’re ready to start building an email message to send out to your subscribers. MyList offers a variety of different options for creating beautiful email campaigns so you can stay in touch with your subscribers and keep them updated.

To get started, click the Create Campaign button from the Dashboard or Campaigns tab and choose the type of campaign you’d like to create.

  • Regular Campaigns are the most common type of HTML email our users send. You can design and customize the HTML and plain-text versions of these emails, and choose whether to send them right away or schedule them for later.

  • Plain-Text Campaigns are the simplest form of mass email that you can send. As the name suggests, these campaigns will only contain text and will have no formatting options.

  • A/B Testing Campaigns are a great tool for testing subject lines, from names, sending times, and content. We'll send up to 3 different versions of the email to small portions of your list, track their performance, and send the "winning" version to all remaining subscribers.

    • Note: If you would like even more testing flexibility, check out Multivariate Testing, a feature exclusive to MyList Pro. Multivariate Testing allows you to create up to 8 different variations of a single campaign at once, testing any combination of subject line, send time, from the name, and campaign content. After you’ve sent your test, Multivariate reports will compile all of the data for you and help you interpret the results, so you can quickly identify the most successful variables and implement what you’ve learned in your future campaigns.
  • RSS Campaigns allow you to automate your email marketing by combining content from an RSS feed with user-friendly MyList templates. Like the other campaign types, you can control when these campaigns go out and who receives them.

Are you looking to create a series of automated emails? Our Automation workflows can help you streamline your communication process and offer a more custom experience for your subscribers. To learn more, visit our Working With Automation guide.

Once you’ve chosen the type of campaign you’d like to send, you’ll begin the campaign builder process. In most campaign types, the first step you’ll encounter is Recipients. Here, you’ll determine which subscribers will be receiving your campaign. You can choose to send to the entire list or use our segmentation tools to send targeted content based on subscriber information, campaign or e-commerce activity, group membership, manual selection, and more. This article contains a tutorial on building segments and provides a full list of the segmenting options that are available in MyList.

If you're a MyList Pro customer, our Advanced Segmentation tools can help you target your audience with even greater precision. Advanced Segmentation allows you to combine any and all logic in a single segment; create complex segments based on email and website activity, demographics, and more; and incorporate as many combinations of this data as you need to define a specific group of subscribers and donors. For more information, refer to our Advanced Segmentation Guide.

During the Setup step, you’ll name the campaign and enter general information like the email subject line, from name, and from email address. You’ll also have the option to set up Conversations to help manage replies, review the tracking options, automatically share your campaign on Facebook or Twitter, and personalize the To: field of your email through the use of merge tags.

From the Template step of the campaign builder, you can upload your own custom templates, build a new one from scratch, or take advantage of our Basic and predesigned template Themes that can be used as a starting point for your campaign. If you need help choosing a template, our Email Template Reference will walk you through the process. If you're looking for custom design tips and best practices, our MyList for Designers guide is the way to go. If you’re on the hunt for a thorough walkthrough, MyList's Getting Started guide might be the best place to start.

  • Basic templates provide you with a highly-customizable blank layout, so you can easily add your own styles and content using the drag and drop functionality of our Email Designer.

  • Themes are predesigned, preconfigured templates that don’t require any programming or design knowledge to get started. Simply pick a Theme, plug in your content, and you’ll have a beautiful campaign. Themes come in two varieties—“drag and drop” and “classic.” Drag and drop themes offer functionality similar to that of Basic templates, while only the colour and content of the classic templates will be editable within the Email Designer. The template type will be displayed below each Theme, so you can easily differentiate between the two.

From the Code Your Own tab, you can paste in your own custom-coded design or upload your templates from an existing HTML or ZIP file. If you choose to code your own template, take a few minutes to review our Email Template Reference.

Once you’ve selected a template, move ahead to the Design step. Here, you’ll use the drag and drop functionality of the Email Designer to add, rearrange, duplicate, and delete content blocks to create a campaign that’s fully customized to your needs. In each content block, you can add and format text, upload images or link to files. The style and content of each content block can be modified with the Content, Style, and Settings tabs in the editing area.

The Preview and Test menu houses all of our in-app testing features. Access Preview Mode to get a general idea of how your campaign will appear once it’s been delivered, send a few tests of the campaign, or use our Link Checker tool to make sure all the links in your campaign are valid. You can also set up Social Cards from this menu if you’d like to choose the image and text that displays when your email is viewed in Gmail’s grid view or shared on Facebook and Twitter.

We recommend sending tests to several email addresses to see how the campaign looks in your recipients’ inboxes. If your newsletters will be a joint effort, send the development director, the volunteer coordinator, and the executive director a test email. When they reply, their comments will automatically appear in the Commentstab within the campaign editor. You can mark the comments as “complete” as you make edits.

You can also edit campaigns in real time with other members of your team. Team members are colour-coded, so you can see who made which changes.

Confirm is the final step that you’ll encounter when sending your campaign. Here, we’ll scan the campaign to make sure that all of the previous steps have been properly completed and alert you to anything that might need your attention before sending. From this step, you’re also able to preview both the HTML version and the automatically generated plain text copy of the campaign one last time, run an Inbox Inspection, or send one last test email to make sure everything is just right. When everything looks good, you’re ready to schedule or send the campaign.

Get Social

Social networking can be an excellent medium for promoting your content and connecting with your audience. Through the use of our sharing features, merge tags, and integrations, MyList makes it easy for email marketers to use social networks to their advantage.

Quickly share any previously sent campaign, or integrate your account with Facebook and Twitter to automatically post your campaigns as they are delivered to your subscribers.

Use merge tags—along with the Social Share and Social Follow content blocks in our Email Designer—to give your subscribers an opportunity to share, like, or follow your content and activity across various social channels.

Social Profiles

Social Profiles is an optional paid add-on for lists that gathers publicly available social data about your subscribers that can be used to send targeted emails to them based on their age, gender, or their presence on social networks.

Tracking and Reporting

For a lot of email marketers, the best part of sending email newsletters is looking at the stats after a campaign goes out—it’s kind of like checking out your blog comments. How many people opened your newsletter? How many clicked? What did they click? What didn’t they click? Did they like the content?

So, once you’ve sent a campaign, it’s time to sit back, relax, and wait for your stats to come in. Review your report information for every campaign you send—it’s full of clues and feedback that will help you make adjustments and improve your future newsletters. There’s even a MyList Mobile app so you can view your reports while you’re on the go.

Education and Support

Thanks for taking the time to learn about how your nonprofit can use MyList. As you learn more about MyList—and the interests and behaviors of your subscribers—you’ll find new data, options, and integrations that you can use to help take your email marketing to the next level.

If you have any questions that weren’t addressed in this guide, visit our Knowledge Base for more information or contact our support team.

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