A Guide to Group Email

Email is going nowhere. Despite what you may have heard from Slack, Facebook, Whatsapp or other chat focused companies, email is here to stay. You can’t get away from that fact that EVERYONE has an email address and EVERYONE knows how to use email. It’s the lowest common denominator amongst electronic communication.

Another thing that email has going for it is that sending a message to lots of people it no more complicated than sending to a single person. Just add their names to the To: field and off you go.

As long as people keep using “Reply to All” you can keep a conversation going amongst a group of people with very little effort.  Everyone can be using their own email client on whatever device they choose, replying in their own time or even composing responses offline. Super. Easy.

This sort of low friction, familiar, group communication really has a lot going for it. New conversations can be started in seconds, most email clients do a reasonable job of keeping a searchable archive, and adding things like pictures or attachments is easy. All-in-all this is probably why group emails use is so ubiquitous that we don’t even consider it as a ‘product’ or ‘app’, it’s just email doing its thing.

Everyone who has used group email like this will also probably encountered some of its shortcomings like someone forgets to click reply-to-all or the confusion which ensues when someone moves jobs and needs to change their email address. It’s at times like this when you just need a little bit more structure around your free-flowing just-add-everyone-in-the-to-field approach.

If this is you then Gaggle Mail does a great job to provide that structure without forcing everyone to sign up to a new app or even move out of their email client.

Gaggle Mail gives your group its own email address so instead of sending you a message to all everyone’s individual address you just sent it to the one address and Gaggle Mail makes sure everyone in the group gets it. You don’t have to worry about not clicking reply-to-all since there’s only one address to reply to. And also if someone’s email address changes, just update it in the group list and nobody else needs to do anything.

Group email is a superb tool but if your group needs just a little bit more structure, then give Gaggle Mail a try for free to help keep things on track.

How To Create a Listserv

A Listserv is a great way to easily facilitate group email discussion, there are plenty of advantages of having a Listserv over just including everyone in cc but we won’t go into them here, this article is about setting up a Listserv.

The official Listserv software has been around for 30 years and is provided exclusively by L-Soft, this is large scale, tried and tested enterprise software. If you need hundreds of groups with tens of thousands of members then this is the option for you. It doesn’t come cheap but it does give you a large scale enterprise solution.

If your requirements are more modest, maybe you just need a few groups (or one) with less than a few thousand members then Gaggle Mail is a worthy alternative. Although Gaggle Mail is not strictly a Listserv (L-Soft holds the Listserv trademark), it accomplishes the same thing a Listserv does in a modern, easy-to-use way.

Being 100% hosted in the cloud, it’s super easy to get started with Gaggle Mail. Just head to the home page, enter your email address and a password, choose a name for your group and voila(!) you have your own group email discussion list.

Gaggle Mail was created with a major focus on being easy to use and accessible to anyone. From small smartphone screens to tablets or large desktops, managing your groups on Gaggle Mail is simple and intuitive. Whether you’re trying to add members to a group, searching for messages in the archive, moderating messages before they’re sent out – it’s all just a click or tap away.

At the heart of any good group email system is its ability to get messages delivered and this is where Gaggle Mail shines. The delivery of every message is tracked and should delivery problems arise then these are quickly highlighted with simple to follow resolution steps. With years of experience delivering millions of email messages, you can rest easy that your messages will get delivered.

Being a modern platform, Gaggle Mail was created in a world of GDPR and privacy concerns from large tech companies (Facebook, Google, I’m looking at you). Not only do we take extreme care to make sure all private data remains private, but we also have unique features like Incognito Mode which allows people to participate in group email discussion without their email address being known to other people in the group.

Listservs are a very useful tool for group email discussion, Gaggle Mail provides a modern, reliable and simple take on this winning formula.

Try Gaggle Mail for free.

Subgroups

TLDR Gaggle Mail now supports subgroups – and they’re awesome!

It’s been a long time coming but we’ve finally added subgroups to Gaggle Mail. As with all features on Gaggle Mail, we really wanted to make sure subgroups were as simple and intuitive as they could be and I think we’ve done exactly that.

 

general-my-groups

With a group added as a subgroup to another (parent) group, then all messages sent to the parent group will also be sent to the subgroup. It’s that simple.

We take into account any moderation and daily digests, and we also take care of any duplicate recipients to make sure members only receive one copy of a message.

Once groups are linked together you just drag a group into the subgroup section of the parent group and to set up a subgroup. If you want to remove a subgroup, just simply click the cross next to its name.

This has been a highly anticipated feature for us so please give it a try and let us know your feedback.

Adding a Free Plan

TLDR: We now have a free plan.

From the very start Gaggle Mail was a paid service. This kept things simple, it meant we only had to support users who were actually paying us – which is great when your resources are small. It also meant that if people were willing to pay for our service then we must be doing something right, which is invaluable feedback when you’re starting out.

However, now we’ve grown and Gaggle Mail is a mature product we have the capacity to accommodate free users who maybe don’t need our full feature set or who are on a tight budget. Hopefully, this will also help spread the word about Gaggle Mail which can only be a good thing, right?!

The pricing of our paid plans hasn’t changed with single groups starting from just $2 per month and $4 per month for unlimited groups.

So if you, or someone you know, needs a free group email service, then send them over.

The free plan has all the features of a paid group with the following restrictions:

• Maximum 20 members
• Custom domains are not supported
• No custom welcome email or footer

Facebook Groups Alternative

Facebook is a huge platform with lots of great products, one of which is Facebook Groups. Facebook Groups has been part of Facebook from almost the beginning and is used by clubs, companies and organisations to communicate, share documents, plan events in either open or closed groups.
 
Being part of Facebook means to use or participate in a Facebook Group you need to be “on” Facebook. With Facebook’s near ubiquity this isn’t such a big deal but more and more people are becoming aware of how companies such as Facebook use and share their data and so are looking for less intrusive alternatives.
 
Group email discussion lists, or listservs (as they’re sometimes known) are a great way for groups of people to communicate and share ideas. For a start, you don’t need to be part of a social network to participate – you just need an email address and everyone has one of those. Since it’s all done over email it’s very familiar too, you use whatever email program you prefer on whatever device you prefer.  Sharing files is simple too, just attach them to your email and send it to your group. Read and reply to message while you’re off-line? Sure, it’s email after all.
 
Getting started with group email couldn’t be simpler with Gaggle Mail. Get your group up and running in seconds, then add the people you want and start sending messages, it’s that easy.
 
Give Gaggle Mail a try with a 14-day free trial and enjoy simple, reliable group email communication which you and your group will love.

Zapier Integrations

We’ve just started to add Zapier integrations to Gaggle Mail.

Zapier allows you to connect different apps together to allow data to flow between them.  For example, you might want to add a new member to your group every time someone completes a Google Form or you might want to log something to AirTable every time someone sends a message via your group.  Zapier integrations can help will all of these things.

Our integrations are private at the moment but if you’d like an invite to use them please let us know.

Unlimited Groups

Today I’m excited to announce we’ve launched one of the most widely requested features on Gaggle Mail – unlimited groups!

Up until now, all groups on Gaggle Mail were charged separately. Even though you could link groups together and manage the members altogether, you still had to create a subscription for each group. Not anymore.

You can now create a subscription for your linked groups and then create as many groups as you like under that same subscription. This also means if you have members who appear in several of your groups you will only have to pay for that person once – regardless of how many groups they’re in.

Pricing for unlimited groups is double that for single groups so in many cases, where you have the same people in lots of groups, this can work out much cheaper. It’s just $1 per member per year, with a minimum of 40 members or $0.10 per member per month.

You can start a linked group subscription directly from your billing page where you’ll also find a cost comparison between single and unlimited group billing.

Members Dashboard Refresh

We’ve recently made substantial changes to the Members area of the group dashboard. The main focus of these changes has been to improve the efficiency with how you can manage members in your group especially when you have multiple groups.

Group Email Member List

As you can see we’ve switched to a card based layout rather than rows, the main driver for this was to be able to show more members on screen. Each member card shows how many groups that member is in and whether they receive the daily digest, if they’re set to paused or if they are blocked.  You can also hover over the left-hand border of a member card to reveal options to either add or remove that member from the group.

Group email member

You can click “VIEW DETAILS” on a member’s card to slide out the member details panel when you can edit the member or delete them entirely. If the member is blocked we show details about this here as well. For linked groups, there’s a second tab within the member details view which shows which groups that person is a member of.

Member details panel

At the top of the member list, we show totals for the number of members in that group as well as how many of them receive the digest, are paused or blocked. You can also see the total number of members who are in the linked group. Clicking on any of these numbers will filter to member list to show just those members. You can also use the search bar at the top of the screen to search for members.

Groups member counts

Message Threading

We’re delighted to announce the availability of one of our most requested features – Gaggle Mail now supports message threading.

 

Group email message thread

 

When viewing messages on the Gaggle Mail website they can now appear grouped by thread. This new “Conversation view” can be switched on and off via a new settings button above the message list.

 

Message settings

 

With Conversation view enabled there are two ways to view a thread. Firstly, there’s the single message view, this is similar to the existing message view with the addition of some buttons in the popup title bar to navigate between messages within the thread.

 

Group email chat view
Viewing a message thread in “Chat View”

 

Also in the title bar is a button to toggle between the single message view and a new “Chat view”. Chat view opens the thread in one long view similar to a mobile chat application. In here, we strip away replies from messages and isolate each message for a much clearer view.

 

Daily Digest Improvements

We’ve also made these message viewing improvements available to Daily Digest users who can now choose to view their digests messages gathered together by thread and open thread then in Chat view. As with viewing the message archive, these options are controlled by the new settings button.

 

Daily Digest message thread
A digest message thread showing additional messages for that digest in blue.

 

Digests are now viewed from the members own membership details page which means they can go back and see previous digests. Also from their membership details page members can post a new message to the group to start new threads – as well as posting to an existing thread.

 

Gaggle Mail member view with digests
Members can now view old digests

 

As you can see, there are quite a few changes here that we’re really excited about.  However, if change isn’t your thing then simply switch off Conversation view and things will be back to how they were before. If you have any feedback on this or anything else with Gaggle Mail please let us know.

Improved Member Security

The main aim we live by at Gaggle Mail is simplicity. For every new feature, change or enhancement the thing we consider most is how to make it easy to use for our customers.

As we built Gaggle Mail this focus on simplicity lead us to make certain choices. Once enabled by group administrators, members of a group could see the entire message archive and/or member list all without having to create an account. Members using the daily digest feature could view messages just by clicking a link, with no need to log in.

Data security is equally a large focus for us and with each new piece of legislation, we have to consider whether we’re making the correct trade-offs.

And so in this post-GDPR world, we’ve revisited decisions previously made and now require members to be logged in to:

  • View the messages either via the archive or in their daily digest
  • Send messages to the group via their member details page
  • View the member list for their group

Of course, we’ve tried to make the process of creating an account and getting logged in as simple as possible. If a member tries to access something that requires them to be logged in they will see a prompt asking them to enter a password to create an account.

Once a suitable password has been entered we will send an email to confirm the creation of their account. After clicking the confirmation button they will be redirected to their member page but this time logged in and able to access whatever they need.

Once a member has an account we will just ask them to re-enter their password to log in.

A great deal of thought has gone into this change and we hope we’re hitting the right balance between convenience and security. If you do have any feedback or questions on any of this we’d love to hear them.

You can see out official GDPR statement here.