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a good mass e-mailer

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Colin Browna good mass e-mailer
by on Dec 6, 2006 at 11:00:11 pm

I am an organizer for a growing film festival that is nearing it's submission deadline. I'm looking for a good mass e-mailing program that I can use to send a submission reminder to the 2,500 or so people on our e-mail list.

We started from fairly lo-fi origins. Our current e-mail list is a long word document. We've been doing e-mailings by copy and pasting 30 e-mails at a time into the recipient field of our festival e-mail account. We're trying to grow our systems now, and working on changing over our files to a more automatable format. We now have a filemaker pro database, but it still needs to be updated with old patron info.

Can any of you systems-savy people suggest a more seamless workflow for managing patron/filmmaker information and automating e-mail communication with them? We'd like to be able to send graphic-rich emails that we could have some control over the design of. I've googled terms like "mass e-mail software", but that seems to generate mostly bland, unexciting, spamish-looking solutions.

Thanks for the help.

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Michael MunkittrickRe: "good mass e-mailer" is an oxymoron...
by on Dec 7, 2006 at 1:02:16 am

If you do a quick search on Google, there are about thirty that pop up. I've got no experience with any of them, but the underlying structure must be very similar.

Michael Munkittrick
Gainesville, Florida USA

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Colin BrownRe: "good mass e-mailer" is an oxymoron...
by on Dec 7, 2006 at 1:19:27 am

I guess I'm looking for the gem in the rough.

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Ron LindeboomRe: "good mass e-mailer" is an oxymoron...
by on Dec 7, 2006 at 3:57:04 am

The best way to handle it in your situation in a service like Constant Contact which is at:

They are able to assist you in all your set-up, sending and management. Their service handles all the subscribes and unsubscribes and it's all automated.

They also have what it takes to do MIME-compliant mailings and that will be important for a film festival like yours, I would imagine. Learning this on your own is a lot of work.

That's how I would start the process and how I'd simplify it, if I were in your shoes.

Best regards,

Ron Lindeboom

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Mark SuszkoRe: "good mass e-mailer" is an oxymoron...
by on Dec 7, 2006 at 3:27:18 pm

I think Ron't got probably the best suggestion on this. If that service is still too much money, perhaps you could use LISTSERV and just not enable all the 2-way features but instead use the front-end of that for you mass mailer.

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Ron LindeboomRe: "good mass e-mailer" is an oxymoron...
by on Dec 7, 2006 at 4:03:10 pm

The only drawback to that solution is that it's pretty daunting to use MIME-compliant code in a program like that.

Without it, you are stuck with text-only emails and those just have almost no draw whatsoever. We tried a couple of experiments using text-only email for our newsletters and the response to them was almost nothing. People hate HTML newsletters but they respond and use them. When it's text, your audience will almost never act or respond to them.


Ron Lindeboom

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Mark SuszkoRe: "good mass e-mailer" is an oxymoron...
by on Dec 7, 2006 at 5:23:46 pm

Well I guess I'm a contrarian, because I'm still on dial-up and I hate the long waits for download and slow navigation of those mime-compliant things you're talking about. I put up with the one emailed to me from the COW because it's not too frequent and generally has content of interest. AND, you use "permission marketing", where you first ask and/or I have to make a specific request to get that email, it doesn't just get sent to me willy-nilly. That's an important distinction, I feel. Frankly, I'd prefer a straight text version with links, the pretty graphics attached to my COW special updates don't ever really influence me to read anything. I read the headline and make my read/no-read decision. I subscribe to a number of pure email lists, not because of their fancy ascii art:-) but because of specific content and the timeliness of the delivery. Extraneous visual eye candy just ticks me off. I expect and even look for eye candy on web pages but hate it in my email.

If people want the content bad enough, it doesn't matter how lo-fi the delivery method. I have seen this again and again in my dealings with video clients. They will bring in the most god-awfully produced junk for me to work with (and try to clean up), stuff with horrible powerpoint slides, and home camcorder stuff shot handheld with no lights and onbard mic, and the audience STILL eats it up because the actual content is something they really are hungry for. It is at once depressing but also fascinating. There are still people out in the hinterlands that like getting their religious sermon programming on cardboard LP records and audiocassette tapes. (indeed, an industry article I read said the biggest market for cassette blanks now was mail-order religion and get-rich-quick business seminar programming, as well as a somewhat smaller market for audiobooks on tape)

In the case of the people on the list for festival updates, you gotta wonder if they care more for eye candy and fun graphics or just the specific text info. The narrower the niche audience and the better the writing, the less glitz you need or want, is my opinion.

Content isn't king; it's a dictatorship. :-)

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Steve WargoUhhh...
by on Dec 9, 2006 at 5:54:07 am

What's a "dial up"? And why would anyone want one? Most people with dial ups shoot on Betamax.

Sorry, I couldn't help it. Please don't beat me up.

Steve Wargo
Tempe, Arizona

It's a dry heat!

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Mark SuszkoRe: Uhhh...
by on Dec 9, 2006 at 6:37:41 am


Steve, you can paypal me anytime you feel like paying me for a DSL package.:-)

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Steve WargoRe: Uhhh...
by on Dec 10, 2006 at 11:55:13 pm

We pay $50 a month for our high speed internet and it saves us thousands in FedEx charges a year. I can e-mail a script to my vo guy who does a VO in his home studio and sends it to me finished, or I download it from his website. We have a huge corp client who we do a 30 minute quarterly program with the CEO. We send an H.264 QT file to our website and the clients offices, here and in Canada, can dowload it a few hours later and send their critique. They can load it on their iPod after that also. We used to send DVD's to 51 offices. When we went to internet delivery, we billed the client for $200 x four times a year = $200 more than we pay for a year of very high speed cable internet. It cost them a lot more for us to print, package and FedEx 51 discs.

just figure out how you can get someone else to pay for it or how it can save you money, time and labor on shipping or delivery.

Steve Wargo
Tempe, Arizona

It's a dry heat!

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Ron LindeboomRe: "good mass e-mailer" is an oxymoron...
by on Dec 9, 2006 at 2:17:01 pm

If content is king, then why are all the audience's eyes fixed on the pretty dancing girls???


Ron "Who prefers a 1-in-3 open rate, thank you" Lindeboom

PS: Besides, nobody ever really liked dictators anyway...

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Bruce Bennett in Madison, WIRe: a good mass e-mailer
by on Dec 8, 2006 at 2:40:35 pm

I just sent out my first emailed newsletter last week. I bought and used GroupMail ( for $100.00. It worked great.

It can verify addresses before you send your email out, sends out both

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