Email How-To Tip

Q: How do I enhance my current LISTSERV lists with the feature set of LISTSERV Maestro?

Your existing LISTSERV lists can benefit from advanced tracking, reporting, analytics and database management capabilities with the Maestro add-on. In this tech tip are step-by-step instructions on how you can import your classic LISTSERV lists into the LISTSERV Maestro subscriber warehouse. You'll also see how to enhance your lists with the feature set of LISTSERV Maestro while retaining their LISTSERV list functionality.



Advanced subscriber lists in LISTSERV Maestro have substantially more properties than standard subscriber lists. In order to not overburden most users with these additional properties, advanced subscriber lists and their associated features are hidden by default.

To show these advanced options, open your user preferences after logging in to your account in LISTSERV Maestro and click on "Hidden Options":

The following screen contains two sections about advanced subscriber lists:

Check both boxes to make these features available for your account. With the second box checked, the "New > Advanced Subscriber List (Imported from LISTSERV)" menu is now visible:

When you click this menu option, you'll initially see the following message:

This message is shown because advanced subscriber lists require tight integration between the LISTSERV and the LISTSERV Maestro system database. The first configuration step is an ODBC connection on the server that hosts LISTSERV:

In the example shown above, the LISTSERV Maestro system database is running under MySQL on the given host, so you need to install the MySQL ODBC driver on the server running LISTSERV and configure the ODBC system DSN that connects to the Maestro system database (which can run on a server that is different from the server running LISTSERV).

The next step is to make LISTSERV aware of this ODBC connection via the configuration of an associated ODBC DSN in the site configuration of LISTSERV. You will now need the assistance of your LISTSERV Maestro administrator to obtain the information shown on the following screen, which can be found in the HUB, under "LUI Settings > Application Default Settings > LISTSERV Connection":

You'll see the "Database Server Name" quoted in bold.

Now, configure the LISTSERV site configuration as follows:

After you have applied this change, restart LISTSERV.

Importing Lists From LISTSERV

Back in LISTSERV Maestro, you will now be able to open the "Import Advanced Subscriber List From LISTSERV" screen:

At this point, LISTSERV Maestro has connected to LISTSERV with the DISTRIBUTE address configured for your account and has queried LISTSERV for the names and titles of all lists that this address is the owner of. The result is shown in the pulldown menu.

Now select the first list that you would like to import and click the "Read List" button:

Following the instructions on the screen, you can now modify the list's configuration under "Refine Settings" (you can also do this later). Click the "Create Subscriber List" button when you are satisfied.

LISTSERV Maestro will now import the full set of subscriber data (addresses, names and subscription options). After completion, you'll see a screen like the following:

In addition to importing the subscriber data, LISTSERV Maestro has now also changed the list header of the imported list so that the LISTSERV list is now DBMS-based and points back to a dedicated table in the LISTSERV Maestro system database.

You can now view and edit subscriber data directly through the LISTSERV Maestro interface by clicking the right mouse button over a subscriber:

Clicking "Edit" opens the following screen for the subscriber, which allows you to review and change any of the subscriber data that was imported from LISTSERV.

Creating a List Group from the First Imported List

The step described in this section is optional but highly recommended. You can now import all additional lists from LISTSERV that are associated with your account. Doing so results in the creation of standalone subscriber lists, each of which is isolated from the others in the sense that all data is kept separate. This means that a subscription by the same address to two lists must be recorded and maintained twice, both by you, the data administrator, and by the subscriber, for example when entering the name associated with the subscription address.

LISTSERV Maestro also includes a full-fledged interface for subscribers to sign up, log in, manage their subscription options and to unsubscribe. This interface can be customized to convey your corporate or organizational identity visually. Using standalone subscriber lists means that you would have to customize the subscription interface for each list separately.

Before importing the next list, it's therefore better to create a list group with the recently imported list as its first list. To do this, select "New > List Group" from the pulldown menu.

In this example, we'll name the new list group "Academic Contacts" (because we plan to have two lists inside, one for alumni and one for students). Select the recently imported list as first list and click the "OK" button.

Now, instead of being rooted directly under "Subscriber Lists", the ALUMNI-L list is nested under "Academic Contacts", which is the list group that we just created.

Importing Additional Lists

The remaining lists are imported similarly to the first one. The only differece is that you'll now select the "Academic Contacts" list group first before clicking on "New in List Group > Advanced Subscriber List (Imported From LISTSERV)".

You can then import the STUDENTS-L list under this list group. Click the "Create Subscriber List" button to continue.

With the STUDENTS-L list selected, the LISTSERV Maestro explorer shows the subscribers of this list only.

With the "Academic Contacts" list group selected, the explorer will instead show the data that is shared across both lists (unique by subscriber address).

Adding a Shared Field to the List Group

In addition to the benefits described above, list groups support additional profile fields, which are like list-specific profile fields except that they are shared across all lists in the group. For the purposes of this tip, we will add a "REGION" field. To do this, open the definition of the "Academic Contacts" list group:

Click on "New Shared Field" and enter the settings for the field. Proceed to the summary screen and click the "Finish" button to create the profile field.

The LISTSERV Maestro explorer will now show the list group with the currently empty "REGION" field added.

Importing Subscriber Data from an External Source

You can import subscribers and subscriber data from a variety of different sources. For example, you may have an on-premises database or CRM system that contains additional information about your subscribers. Importing this data into a LISTSERV Maestro list group or standalone subscriber list is very straightforward. To get started, click on "Import Subscribers", followed by "Import Subscribers Now".

You will now be guided through the import wizard, which is easy to use and supports many import sources, types and settings. For the purposes of this tip, we have a file named "subscribers.txt" available that associates the "REGION" field next to each email address, as shown on the following screen. Continue through the wizard and launch the import.

Back in the LISTSERV Maestro explorer, you will now see that the "REGION" profile field has been populated with the data from the file.

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