Messages

1. Sending Campaigns by Email (Marketing/Newsletter lists)
2. For Discussion Forums / Listserves
3. Frequently Asked Questions
4. Troubleshooting
5. Web Archives and RSS

1.1. How can I send campaigns from Outlook or other email programs?

If you would like your administrators to be able to send list messages to your subscribers directly from their own email programs (like Outlook, Mac Mail, gmail and more), go to Settings, and set Messages Sent From to "Composer or Email".

Setting for composer / email screenshot

Then, your administrators can send emails from their computer to your List ID @listbox.com. (So, if your list ID were museum-news, they would use museum-news@listbox.com.) They can just create a message their email program, the same as they would email any individual.  Please make sure that the email address that sends the message is one of the Administrators for the list it's sent to.

The message will be sent to Listbox, where we will hold it for authentication.  This makes sure that unauthorized or malicious people cannot forge your administrators' email addresses and send mail to your subscribers.

To authenticate their message, we will send a message-approval request email to the listowners and moderators of your list, including a link back to Listbox. A click on the approval link in this email will approve the message, and the email will be sent to your subscribers.

If you do not have web access, list administrators can also respond to the moderation email, and change the subject of the message to "approve", to approve the message without going to the website.

1.2. How can I test a message via email? (What is Safe Mode?)

If you send messages to your list from your email program to your List ID @listbox.com, you can send test messages by first putting your list into Safe Mode. Once Safe Mode is on, messages sent to your list address will only be delivered to administrators. Lists in Safe mode will see an alert at the top of every page. (Only lists set to "Administrators can send mail" can use Safe Mode; Composer only lists have test messages sent from the composer.)

Once you have completed testing and you are ready to send mail to the list, just switch Safe Mode off, in the same place you turned it on. Then, go to the Sent Messages page, and click on your test message's Subject. There, you will see a button saying:

Send this Test Message To My Whole List

If you go to that page without turning Safe Mode off first, you will see To send this message to your list, you must first turn Safe Mode off." Turn safe mode off, then click the button. Clicking that button will send your test message to your full subscriber list.

1.3. What limits does Listbox put on file attachments?

Maximum message size is set, by default, to the Listbox maximum. You may reduce this size if your subscribers are sensitive to receiving lots of attachments.  The Listbox maximum is based on the number of subscribers on your list.  Lists with 100 or fewer subscribers may send messages up to 10MB in size.  Lists with 500 or fewer subscribers may send messages up to 5MB in size.  Lists with more than 500 subscribers may send messages up to 2MB in size, or a total of 15GB of traffic per message, whichever is lower.

1.4. Why do I have to approve messages I send via email?

In order to have messages sent to your subscribers, it needs to:

  • come from an email address you've told us is an administrator for that list
  • be approved, by either following a link in the approval message, or replying "Approve" to that message

Why are both methods required?

Forging an email address is very easy.  Spammers frequently use that technique, in hopes of bypassing spam checks performed by the end user.  In the case of an email marketing list, though, a spam message that forged your email address, and was automatically approved, could be disastrous.  For that reason, email addresses alone are not sufficient to approve a message.  The second check that the approval mechanism requires protects your subscribers, as well as your brand.

 


2.1. From: Name and Address options

Traditionally, listserves have sent messages using the From: address of the original sender. However, the anti-spam policies of a few major ISPs (notably, AOL and Yahoo) made this once-standard behavior tricky.

Beginning April 2014, Listbox no longer resent messages using the From: address of the original sender, as doing so caused list messages from DMARC domains to bounce. Beginning March 2015, given the limited number of consumer domains that have begun using DMARC, we are restoring the traditional behavior for all list subscribers except those at domains with DMARC rules.

The occasions on which we will be modifying your headers for best results:

For subscribers @ DMARC domains

From: Jane Smith <jsmith287@yahoo.com> 

To: Academy Parents <parents-discuss@listbox.com>

For this message, resending it as normal would cause all subscribers whose ISP checks DMARC to bounce Jane's message. In her case, and for other subscribers sending mail from domains that publish DMARC rules, the message would be sent like:

  • "Sender Name <list address>" would appear as Jane Smith via Academy Parents <parents-discuss@listbox.com>
  • "List Name <list address>" would appear as Academy Parents <parents-discuss@listbox.com>

For most lists, a From: option displaying the original sender name is most appropriate. Otherwise, you can effectively obscure the original message sender's address. (Please note "obscure", not "eliminate" -- the original message sender appears in the extended headers as X-Original-Sender.)

For Discussion Forums which are From: the list, To: the list, and Reply-to: the original sender

Some mail clients try to be "smart" when using group reply, and treat the email address in the To: field is treated as "your" address. So, if you "Reply All", it won't include that address. For discussion forums where the To: address is the list's address and the Reply-To  address is the message sender, subscribers who use Outlook and other similarly configured clients would not be able to "Reply All" to send the mail to both the original sender AND the list. In that case, your To: address will be switched to listname+reply, so that Reply All will send responses to the list.

For Email Marketing and Newsletters 

Choosing List Name or "Other", and specifying a name and email address that subscribers will associate with your group are the best From: options. Please note that using a @yahoo.com email address (or any other From: address at a domain that publishes DMARC) will result in a large number of bounce messages. Please see this post from Yahoo about why.

2.2. How can my subscribers send a message?

If you're running a discussion list (listserve), make sure your Settings are set to a Discussion Forum / Listserve.

To actually send a message, you or any other list subscriber should create an email message with your List ID as the To: address.  For instance, if your List ID were knitting-list, the message would be sent To: knitting-list@listbox.com.

You may also wish to check your Reply-To: settings.  If responses to list messages should go to all subscribers (best for lists where there's ongoing discussion), make sure your Reply-To is set to "Everyone on the list". 

If responses should go only to the person who sent the message, set the Reply-To to "Just the original sender".  Please note that someone who did not hit Reply, but Reply All, or who CC's their message to the list address, can still have their reply go to everyone on the list.

 

2.3. What does Message Moderation do?

Message Moderation is one of the Posting Restrictions available to discussion forums. It holds all messages sent to your list, for review by you or another list administrator, before delivery to all your subscribers.

Moderation is typically used on discussion forums with sensitive and/or heated topics, or very large lists (more than 500 subscribers). Because messages require approval before distribution, messages that do not adhere to the standards of the group can be discarded. It can also be useful as a temporary measure if tempers are flaring on a forum.

2.4. Can I moderate just one subscriber?

If you have a small number of subscribers whose messages don't always fit with your forum's guidelines, you may wish to moderate individual members. Like full-list moderation, their messages would be sent to any list administrators for review; administrators can choose to approve the message, or discard it.

To do so, you change that subscriber's "May Post" setting to "May Not Post" on their settings. (Go to the subscriber's settings by searching for their name or email address in the Subscribers section.)

If you do not see a "May Post" setting, then your list is not a discussion forum, and this setting is not necessary.

2.5. What are digests?

Digests compile all the messages sent since the last digest into a single combined message.  Subscribers who opt to receive digests can specify whether the digest should be sent daily or weekly.  If more than 100 messages have been sent since their last digest, we will send more than one digest, each containing up to 100 messages.

Digests are most useful for lists which regularly receive 10 or more messages daily.  While many subscribers prefer to receive list messages as they are sent throughout the day, subscribers who don't post as frequently (or who may be trying to reduce incoming email) may prefer a single digest instead.

You may turn digest access on or off at List Policies.  If your list is a discussion forum, digest subscriptions are available by default. If your list is an email marketing or discussion list, digest subscriptions are only available if you specifically request that they be made available.  Digests can occasionally be useful for high-volume newsletters; they are virtually never appropriate for email marketing lists.

In no case are subscribers automatically added to the digest.  If a digest is available, a note indicating that is added to the Subscriber Welcome message. It directs them to the Member page to turn on digests.


3.1. What is click tracking?

Click tracking provides information about the open rates of your messages, and if you send HTML messages, the number of people who click on each link in your message. Click tracking can be a valuable tool for determining the effectiveness of your message campaigns.

Both basic and detailed reports are available for messages sent with click tracking. Find out more about click tracking reports

Open Rate Tracking for Discussion Forums

For discussion forums (lists with all subscribers posting), you will not have access to click tracking, but will instead have open rate tracking. You will be able to see how many of your subscribers opened any particular message. Click tracking relies on us rewriting the links in your messages, and those rewrites frequently become visible as subscribers respond to messages. This can, in turn, confuse subscribers and reduce the accuracy of the data. As a result, click tracking is only available for marketing/newsletter lists.

Turning on Tracking

Tracking is active for all lists by default. If you wish to turn it off, or turn it back on if you have deactivated it in the past, please go to your List Policies settings.

3.2. Page Guide: Click Tracking Reports

For every message, You can see statistics and specific subscribers in multiple categories:

screenshot of report bar chart

Sent: The unique addresses on your list at the time the message was sent.

Bounced: The people on your list who did not see your message because their address would not accept it.

Unsubscribed by User Request: The people who clicked your unsubscribe link or reported your message as spam.

Unsubscribed Due to Bouncing: The people who we removed from your list because they have bounced repeatedly.

Two more statistics can be included:

Open rate tracks the people who opened your message after receiving it (for all lists that use tracking) and how many times they opened it.

Click rate tracks the people who clicked one or more link in your message after receiving it (for marketing/newsletter lists that use tracking), and the number of times they clicked.

The percentage of people who have opened, clicked, bounced or unsubscribed are visible on the left side, next to the label. Any percentage based on people who received the message subtracts bouncing subscribers from the number of people the message was sent to.

Your specific subscribers can also be searched by name, email address or domain. Subscribers shown in red have been unsubscribed since the message was sent.

screenshot of report subscriber table

Your Full Report

A summary of the message's statistics is shown when you click the chart icon . Your complete report is available by clicking "Full Report" from the Messages section. (If "Test Report" is shown instead, you sent that message in test mode.)

The reports available are based on what information could be collected for your message.

If you do not have click tracking turned on, or sent a plaintext message to any list (no footer tracking image), your report will only include Sent, Bounced, Unsubscribed by User, and Unsubscribed Due to Bouncing.

If you have open tracking turned on (for discussion forums), or click tracking for a message that did not include any links, it will also show the Open Rate, and a graph of Opens by Time (available by hour or by day.)

If you have click tracking turned on and have URLs included in the message, you will also see the Click Rate, Clicks and Opens by Time, Click Totals by URL, and a Click Rate Overlay, displaying the click rate information in the message body.

The First 24 hours chart can show you how many people open and click on links in your message in the first 24 hours after the message was sent. This can tell you when most of your readers are looking at your message.

The Click Totals chart shows you the relative popularity of each link you include in your message.

The Click Rate Overlay lets you see the relative popularity of each link ON your message. The green bar included under each link shows the percentage of the total clicks each link got. Hover over the bar to see the number of clicks, the exact percentage and the full URL for the link.

Are there more statistics you'd like to see on your report? Contact Customer Support and let us know!

3.3. How can I improve my open rate?

If your open rate is very low, think about your From and Subject headers.

The message From: should clearly convey the organization who is sending the mail. Unless your name is deeply recognizable to your readers, make the From: your organization, domain, product or event name -- whatever will ring your readers' bells about why they want to read your message!

The subject line may be blah, or, even worse, make people think your message is spam. If your Subject is a throwaway, tacked on at the end, rather than the hook that draws people in, even the greatest content won't matter.

Also, more and more email displays the first few words of your message in the subscribers' message listing. Making these elements interesting and dynamic can dramatically improve your open rates.

3.4. Why doesn't my message look the same for all subscribers?

Many email programs purposely limit what kind of styles and HTML formats they'll display. Whether they are limited for security reasons (Javascript and embedded elements), to keep their own site looking good (webmail providers like Gmail strip out a lot of formatting) or simply because they do not provide all the options of web browsers (like Outlook 7 and 8), don't expect your list messages to look exactly the same in email as they would on the web, or even the same from email program to email program.

Using the "Send A Web Page as Email" option

The best pages to send as email use basic HTML and font tags. If you are going to use CSS, inline CSS will be more consistently displayed than CSS in an external document.

Pages using frames, embedded video elements and lots of Javascript shouldn't be sent, and most likely will not work, using this tool.

Remember, not every subscriber will see this message exactly the same way, or exactly the same as you see it on the web.

Using Listbox Templates

The basic formatting of templates has been tested across most major email clients. However, the editor will allow you to enter your own styling for the text you add, which may be displayed differently in different programs. If it is very important to you that your message look correct in, for instance, Outlook 8 or Gmail, we recommend checking your test message in that program before sending it.

Some ISP-specific tips

AOL subscribers find it hard to read messages with dark or black backgrounds. Make sure you choose a background color that you can read black text on.

Gmail removes all CSS. Use font tags if font styling is very important. (Our templates use them.)

Gmail and Outlook don't show images by default. Many users will click "show images", but make sure there's some content for those who don't. That is, don't put all your message information in a giant image.

3.5. How can I schedule my message for later delivery?

If you always send your list messages at a specific time, you've probably encountered a situation where you just couldn't send it on time. Maybe you were on vacation. Maybe a meeting kept you away from your computer. Disruptions come up, and sometimes you just can't send your list message.

From the Composer

In Step 4, Send to Your List, go to Draft Actions. 

Click "Pick Time", then click in the text box below it.  This will pop up a calendar that will allow you to select a date and time for your message.

For Messages Sent Via Email

Only Held messages can be scheduled for later delivery.  From the message page (which you can access by clicking the link in your approval message, or by clicking the message subject from Messages), go to the "Delivery Time" section. 

Click the text box to pop up a calendar, where you can select a date and time for your message.

Canceling or Changing the Time of a Scheduled Message

If you spot a problem with your scheduled message before it goes out, you can discard that message prior to delivery.  Just go to the Messages section, and view Held Messages.  Your message will be displayed there.  Click on View Message (or the message's subject) to see options to discard or change the scheduled time of your message.

Note: All scheduled messages are released in 15 minute increments.  Please allow a little flexibility when scheduling your messages.

3.6. How can I send a message that's just an image?

If you want to send a graphic as your list message, there are a couple of ways to do it. But, before you do so, consider the following:

  • Many email programs (particularly, Gmail and Outlook) have images off by default. If your message only includes an image, anyone with images turned off will see your message as blank.

  • Messages that contain no text are more likely to be picked up by content filters as spam.

In general, if the bulk of your content is included in an image, we recommend that you definitely:

  • Put your key information in your Subject ("Summer Barbeque at Montrose Park on June 19th")
  • Recap any critical details in text below the image
  • Include a link to where they can find more information in text

That being said, you can send an image as your message using the Blank template or the Send Web Page template (if the image you want to use is already on the web.) If you will also recap the key information underneath the image as text, many of our templates are suitable for that purpose. Just use the "Insert Image" button Insert Image to add your image to your message. Then add any additional text before sending.

3.7. How can I send an attachment?

In general, attachments are not considered appropriate for email marketing lists.  As such, we do not support attachments for messages sent from the Listbox Composer. 

To send an attachment to a discussion forum or newsletter where administrators send their messages via email, simply attach the file you wish to include to a message you create in your email program (like Outlook, Mac Mail, gmail, etc.) 

Attachments have size limits, based on the number of subscribers receiving the message.  The limits go down as the number of subscribers go up, as it is considered inappropriate to send huge amounts of traffic when doing any kind of bulk mailing.

Lists with 100 or fewer subscribers can send messages up to 10MB in size.

Lists with 100 - 500 subscribers can send messages up to 5MB in size.

Lists with more than 500 subscribers can send messages up to 2MB in size, or a maximum of 15GB in traffic, whichever is smaller


4.1. Messages sent to my list are being flagged with a spoofing/spam warning

Some Listbox users compose messages from an address at their personal domain. If you send messages from an email address at your personal domain and your subscribers are noticing those messages are being flagged with a warning regarding spoofing or potential spam, you'll want to set an SPF record for your personal domain. To do so, you'll need to edit your domain's DNS records.

SPF lets domain owners specify a list of servers that it approves to send mail from their domain. It also lets them say what recipients should do with mail claiming to be from their domain that doesn't come from the listed servers.

You can add Listbox's SPF record to the SPF record for your domain, which will automatically include our most up-to-date information about our SMTP servers. Just add:

include:listbox.com

If you don't have an SPF record set up, please create a DNS TXT record:

v=spf1 include:listbox.com ?all


5.1. Does my list have archives?

 

To see your current Archives setting, go to your List Policies.  You have three options: no archives, private archives (list subscribers must provide their email address to get access), or public archives (no further information is needed if you have the archive link).  Lists that have public archives can be crawled by spiders for search engines. You may select "discourage crawling", but badly-behaved spiders may still crawl your content, so use this option at your own risk.

Lists that have subscriber archives will find their archives by logging in at http://www.listbox.com/member/, and clicking on the Archives tab. You can also add a link to Archives to your message footer in your Message Format settings.

Your archives can be turned on or off at any time, and messages sent while archives are off will be available when they are turned back on. Find out more about hiding messages in the Archives.

Lists are archived by year, then month. If your list has a very low monthly volume, it will be archived by year only.

5.2. Removing a message from the web archives

If a message was sent to your list that you don't want subscribers to see in your archives, you can hide that message. A hidden message is viewable to you and other listowners and moderators in the Messages section, but not to list subscribers at the Archives.

To hide a message, go to Sent Messages and click on the message you want to hide. You should see the present message archive status. Messages normally say, "This message will appear in the member archive." If you wish to hide the message, click the "Hide" button.

Messages that have previously been hidden will say "This message will not appear in the member archive." If you think subscribers should be able to see this message, click the "Show" button.

Messages that were sent in test mode are not visible in the archives, and cannot be made visible in the archives.

5.3. What is RSS?

RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. An RSS feed gives, or "feeds", subscribers who are subscribed to it a stream of list mail. List subscribers subscribe to a feed by giving the link for the feed to a "feed reader", a program or web service that collects information from multiple feeds, then presents them to the user. Some popular feed readers include Feedly, Feedbin and Reeder. Virtually all modern web browsers also include RSS support.

The messages in the feed are simplified -- their formatting is somewhat reduced and attachments are removed. The feed contains a link to each message in the archive, so those elements are still available to subscribers who are interested in them. Messages are added to the list's RSS feed as they are added to the web archives.

RSS feeds can be a great alternative to web archives for lists that receive sporadic traffic. Instead of having subscribers go to a web page to check if new messages are available, an RSS feed automatically collects them and tells them the next time they look at their feed reader.



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