I finally got round to sending out an invitation to folks to visit my website today. Over the years I had harvested 4 or 5 huge lists of email addresses from emails that had been sent to me. They came from people who had sent out newsletters to everyone on their contact list in such a way that all the contacts could gather each other’s addresses. I was not sure what I was going to do with them but I still gathered them just in case. Then I when I first got my android phone a while back it added all my facebook contacts and G+ contacts to its contact list.I was somewhat overwhelmed at the time but somehow all those contacts were also in a contact file on a Google account. I was able to download that as a csv file. I even found an old file of addresses from outlook from a time when I was just about to refresh and lose all the contacts in it. The end result was a huge file of contacts details.
I imported these lists in Mailchimp. I found that when I had a list of 500 or more that MailChimp would say that omnivore did not like it. Anyway I could not work out how to send one message to more than one list in such a way that if someone was on 2 lists they only got one message. So I exported them all again and then copied and pasted each exported list into one huge file with nearly 1800 email addresses. Rather than dealing with the duplicates myself, I let MailChimp take the strain of doing that. I used Excel to run queries like begin with a and begin with b then copied the result into a new file. I then ended up with a series of CSV files all formatted the way MailChimp likes. That MailChimp account now has 5 lists a to d, e to h, j to l, m to p and the rest. Doing it that way MailChimp dealt with the duplicate email addresses for me. Between those 5 lists there were around 1200 email addresses so there must have been hundreds of duplicates.
This morning I sent out a message to everyone on all those lists. It had dawned on me that one of the ways you can tell the difference between an email from a friend and a business email is that businesses use HTML rather than plain text. Yes, it is possible to use HTML and images in Outlook but it is not straightforward. I wrote a simple chatty email talking about Christmas and then suggesting that they visit a great website I had found over the holidays before wishing them a happy new year. Of course, it was my website. I even said that I liked it so much I had filled in the form and joined the movement. It was exactly what you would send a friend at this time of the year and being on a Saturday it looked even more like a friend’s email.
I was not surprised to find that nearly 20% of those addresses were removed after hard bounces. I had deleted a couple of addresses that were used by friends who could not receive messages in their grave. I received messages from a handful of autoresponders including so and so does not work here anymore. A couple of people asked who are you but I recognised their names, therefore, I was able to respond back to them saying do you remember when we did this together to reassure them I was not some kind of 2 headed monster.
I thought when I started this process that if 1% of those people actually signed up to join the movement then that would be a good result. It remains to be seen what the final result will be but at least I have had a go.
BTW if you want to have a look at where I sent them go to it is God’s Lily
God's Lily is "a voice for those frustrated by the slow progress towards a fair society where the needs of the weakest are met in a way that it strengthens them rather than weakens them further" . If that includes you then hop on over and have a look around. If you like what you see it would be a good idea to sign up to receive our blog broadcasts. Oh and you will get a couple of pdf files that explain the what and why behind the site when
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