==== ====For Great List Building Tips Check This Out:http://gscurl.com/bog==== ====The short and sweet of it is that a mailing list is nothingmore than a plain text file that contains email addresses.Sometimes these *flat files* also contain first and lastnames, as well as other additional and optional information.A *flat file* is a term used to describe a storage file thatis not a database. Generally, the flat file is a plain textdocument without the .txt or other file extension attachedto it.If a flat file contains more than one piece of data, then eachadditional item is separated from the next by commas or otherdelimiters. The pipe key (shift - back slash) or the tab keyserve as the next most popular delimiters used in flat files.Each new record will appear on a new line. The new line issignaled by the carriage return in the file.EXAMPLES SHOWING THE USE OF DELIMITERSAND THE REASONS FOR CONSIDERING DELIMITED FILESNote: These examples show two leading spaces in front of eachrecord. In real life data files, your records should notcontain the leading spaces.Mailing List Example A:firstname.lastname@example.org@email@example.comExample A permits the mailing list owner to only send an emailto a defined address.Mailing List Example B:firstname.lastname@example.org,Tom Jefferson
email@example.com,Dick Nixonharry@third-domain.com,Harry TrumanExample B permits the mailing list owner to send an email toTom Jefferson at firstname.lastname@example.org . Addressing the mail directlyto Tom Jefferson encourages Tom to pay close attention to youremail, since he knows that you have acquired his real name inaddition to your email address. Most personalized emails willnever be thought to be a s/p/a/m message by the person whoreceives it.Mailing List Example C:email@example.com|Tom|Jeffersondick@other-domain.com|Dick|Nixonharry@third-domain.com|Harry|TrumanExample C is the most versatile of the three examples. In somecases, it makes sense to personalize the list owners messages.Whereas, Example B will permit you to address someone by firstname or first and last name --- depending on how you directsubscribers to sign up --- it does not always serve the morepersonable style of mixing and matching the first name andthe combination of the first and last name as provided for byExample C.UTILIZING DELIMITED DATA IN YOUR MAILINGSDepending on the software that you will use to initiate yourmailing, you will be directed to show where you want theadditional data fields in your mailings.The range of software available makes it nearly impossible toquantify the various methods to get your personalized data intoyour mailing. As such, I will only define an example to showthe basic idea of how to do this.Personalization Example:To: #FIRST# #LAST#Dear #FIRST#,Welcome to my example of a personalized mailing.
According to our records, your subscription information isas follows:Name: #FIRST# #LAST#Email: #EMAIL##FIRST#, we appreciate your attention to this informationas we feel it will help you better utilize the tools ofthe Internet in your activities. In the end, the moreknowledgable you become, the more likely that the Internetwill become a more useful place for all of us.Sincerely,Your PublisherAs you can see, it can be far more useful to you and yourpurposes to address your subscribers as individual humanbeings with individual desires. As all of the sales teachersin the world will tell you, the one word that humans enjoyhearing most is the sound of their own name. Even in print,people appreciate being spoken to directly as an individualperson.Delimited files give you the power of utilizing multiple dataresources connected to your individual records.METHODS OF MAIL DELIVERYThere are two basic methods of delivering your email to yourmailing list. The first is by direct email, and the second isby a website interface.Direct Delivery Method -The direct mail method is the most complicated method fromthe programming perspective. If you are using a mailing listmanagement company such as YahooGroups or Topica, then theywill have done the hard work for you. If you are managingyour own mailing list, then you will need to jump throughsome hoops to get your infrastructure set up for the directmail method.You will need to set up your server to take any incomingmail to a specific address and to process that email througha mail handling script. The script will search for and verify
your posting password, and then the script will reformat yourmessage for direct delivery to your mailing list.Using this method, you will actually address your outgoingemail to a specific email address, often accompanied by aposting password. The posting address may appear in thiskind of format:mailing-list-name-[password]@your-domain.comWebsite Interface Delivery Method -From the technical perspective, this is the easiest deliverymethod to construct. It only requires the publisher to visita webpage, fill out a form, and click the send button.Clicking the send button will take the placed informationand send it to the mailing script. Once again, the mailingscript will take the given information and format it intoan outgoing email message for direct mailing to your mailinglist.ACTUAL MAILING LIST DELIVERY PROCESSWhether you are using the direct mail or website interfacemethod to get your data into the mailing script, the nextstep is the same. It is important to note that by the timeyou reach this point in the process, the outbound deliveryis completely out of your own hands. Now is the time forthe server to deliver on its part of the process.Your mailing script has taken your input and put it into adirect mail format. Once that is completed, it is time tomail the information to each and every email address in yourlist.The basic message structure is kept in its own variable. Thisvariable will not change during the entire mailing process.The basic message structure is then copied into a secondvariable, and the final preparation is done on that messageas each individual mailing is prepared.The software will read each record in your flat file or yourdatabase, and then the personalized data will be exchangedfor the #FIRST#, #LAST# and #EMAIL# as it appears in yourmessage construct. Once the personalized data is swapped forthe variables in the text, the message will be delivered to
the defined email address.This process is repeated for each record in your mailing list.Depending on how busy the server is and the size of your list,the mailing process could take two minutes or even twentyminutes.[If you want to break this article into2 pieces, please break the article here.]A SUGGESTION FOR THE ACTUAL DELIVERY OF YOUR MESSAGEHaving learned the hard way, I do highly recommend that youset up your posting address as a special email address thatyou do not use for everyday business.The reason is simple. With each and every mailing, you willfind a certain level of attrition in your mailing list. Peoplechange email addresses everyday without unsubscribing frommailing lists; people lose their email accounts due to unpaidISP bills; and people exceed the size limits of their mailboxes.People quit the Internet and die. Thats the reality of lifeon the Internet.But with some fore planning, you can prevent a nightmare inyour own email box. Lists that I have managed have experiencedas little as two or three people, and as high as a 5% attritionevery month. The list that I managed that had the 5% attritionrate also had 20,000 subscribers. As such, I was receiving1,000 bounced emails every month with that one list.I did not utilize a special address for my mailings at thattime, and as such, I was losing track of important messagesunder the barrage of bounced email messages. This is the onlyreason I suggest the use of a special limited use emailaddress.Another list I managed later had an attrition rate of about4% with 100,000 subscribers. With this second list, mysecondary email address was receiving 4,000 bounced messagesevery month.If you are using a mailing service such as YahooGroups orTopica, they will handle the bounced messages for you, sothere would be no concern using your primary email addresswith those messages.
THE PROCESS OF SUBSCRIBING AND UNSUBSCRIBINGAND THE SELECTION OF THE EMAIL SERVER IN THE PROCESSFor the average mailing list, the process of adding or deletingan email address is as simple as going into the file or databaseand removing the record.It must be noted that while there are several email serversavailable to webmasters, there are two servers that are usedfar more often than the others.One email server software is called Sendmail. For the longesttime, this was the most often used email server. It is stillin wide use today.The second email server software is called Qmail. Qmail is mostoften used by e-commerce mass mailers. Simply, Qmail offersmore flexibility and speed and fewer bugs than Sendmail couldever dream of providing. It is also easier to customize.If you visit a website and ask to be unsubscribed from thewebsites mailing list, and the website notifies you thatyour name will be removed from the list within 48 to 72 hours,then you should assume that the website is utilizing Qmail astheir mail server.On the surface, this 48 to 72 hour window might seem like ascam --- it is not. Qmail actually sets up an outgoing emailand then queues that message for a later delivery. Qmail doesthis because it is usually set up on a very high volume mailserver. By queuing the message for later delivery, the servercan actually continue to process outgoing mail as long as theresources to do so are available for the task. If the messageswere not queued for later delivery, multiple requests to delivermail within a certain limited time period could crash the mailserver. A crashed server is always bad news.The site who is promising removal within the next 48 to 72hours is actually telling you in advance how far ahead theyhave already queued outbound messages. Any piece of emailthat is already in the queue cannot be stopped from beingdelivered. Therefore, if a message exists in the queue withyour address already on it, then there is nothing the webmastercan do to stop that mailing. Instead, all they can do is tolet you know that you will no longer receive mail from themon any email that is sent to the queue from this point forward.IN CONCLUSION
With this tutorial, you should now have a better understandingof the nature of a mailing list and how it works. For some ofyou, I will likely have provided too much information. Forothers of you, I will have not provided enough.Either way, if you are looking for help in setting up yourown mailing list, most web hosting companies that you mightuse to host your domain will have already provided an optionto you for your mailing list management.However, it must be noted that not all mailing list softwareis equal to the other. I have used some really bad softwarepackages, and have yet to explore the full range of what isavailable to you. I do not have an actual recommendation foryou as to a good software to use. What I can do for you isto provide a good starting point for locating that softwareyou will need to run your mailing list efficiently:[http://cgi-resources.com/Programs_and_Scripts/Perl/Mailing_Lists/]By using an already developed mailing list manager, all youwill need to know is how to install the software on your serverand how to set the file permissions on the package files. Besure to read the installation files that are provided withyour new mailing list software. The creators of this softwarewill tell you exactly what you need to know to get theirsoftware packages up and running.FINAL PRECAUTIONS BEFORE SENDING YOUR FIRST EMAILOne final but very important note. I strongly recommend thatyou select a mailing list management package that will installon your webserver. Additionally, notify your webhosting companythat you will be running a mailing list through your account.And, for the purpose of self-preservation, always keepup-to-date backups of your website and your mailing list.Some webhosts are very leery of letting their customers runa mailing list from the customers site. With all of thes/p/a/m accusations floating around, it can sometimes be adangerous proposition to run a mailing list. Many smallerwebhosting companies fear the rogue webmaster who will gettheir servers shut down for s/p/a/m. This is why it is sovery important to notify your webhosting company of yourplans to run a mailing list from your account. Make sureyour webhosting company is aware of your intentions, andbe sure to know where they stand on the possibility of
s/p/a/m complaints. My webhosting provider takes the timeto actually investigate a complaint before actually pullingthe plug on any of their customers. For webhosting, I usethe Site5 Webhosting Program .Additionally, I am very serious when I say that you shouldnever run a mailing list from your desktop. Local ISPs arefar more worried about the s/p/a/m issue than the webhostingcompanies are. Given that so many of us live in locationswhere we only have one, two or three ISPs to choose from,we would run the significant risk of losing complete accessto the Internet if we were to run a mailing list from ourdesktop.Good Luck in your publishing endeavors.Copyright Bill Platt - All Rights Reserved. Reprints allowed with article and resource box unedited.If you post this article on a website, you must set the links up as hyperlinks.ABOUT THE AUTHOR:Bill Platt is the owner of http://www.LinksAndTraffic.comWhen you are tired of the struggle of the link building process, it might be time to consider our"Links And Traffic" services. When you are ready to employ more Natural Linking Strategies inincreasing your link popularity, "Links And Traffic" can help. When you are ready for your links toactually generate click-through traffic, we are here. This is not a link rental system or areciprocal linking scam. We Guarantee our results.Article Source:http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Bill_Platt==== ====For Great List Building Tips Check This Out:http://gscurl.com/bog==== ====