As a group leader, you have many choices of group communication platforms, ranging from a plain old email distribution list, a free email service like Yahoo Groups, or a dedicated parent portal like SimplyCircle. In previous posts, I discussed how SimplyCircle is different from regular email, and also how it’s different from paid email marketing services like MailChimp and Constant Contact.

Today, I will explain where I see differences between SimplyCircle and Yahoo Groups.

  1. With SimplyCircle, the information you send is kept private and secure. Attachments, photos and private messages can only be viewed by members of your circle. Non-members can only see a small thumbnail of a photo, or an icon of a document. As a circle manager, you have full control over who is in your circle. In contrast, a Yahoo Group email can be forwarded to anyone, and anyone can view attachments or photos. If these are photos of the kids from a recent school field trip, that’s not the kind of information you want falling into the wrong hands.
  2. SimplyCircle consolidates communication across multiple groups or circles into a single Daily Digest, a single Weekly Planner email, and a single Morning Reminder email. Even if you belong to 25 different circles, your email volume remains manageable. In contrast, on Yahoo Groups each group is its own entity, and if you happen to belong to multiple Yahoo Groups, you might be drowning in emails.
  3. SimplyCircle makes it much easier for your circle members to act on your information. So, as a group leader, you get better results. More people show up to your events, more parents sign up to volunteer (and then show up!), more people respond to your content and engage with other members of your group. Yahoo Groups don’t have volunteer signups or other engagement-driving features. They are meant primarily for forum-type group discussions.
  4. SimplyCircle keeps you in compliance with CAN-SPAM laws. Did you know that by law, you’re supposed to follow certain practices when you communicate with your group members? Things like providing instant unsubscribes for people who want to opt out of your emails, indicating your physical address, reminding people why they are on your list, and so forth? Yahoo Groups emails do not abide by CAN-SPAM rules, whereas with SimplyCircle, you know that you’re always 100% covered.
  5. With SimplyCircle, you don’t have to worry about your group members changing their email addresses. Does this sound familiar? You start the year off strong, with “fresh” emails for everyone in your Yahoo Group. As the school year progresses, emails start to bounce – i.e., they return as undeliverable. That’s usually due to people changing their email address, e.g., because they switched jobs. With SimplyCircle, people can update their email address themselves. In fact, almost half of the SimplyCircle users choose to sign up for our service with their Facebook or Google credentials – which typically stay the same, year after year. That means that your emails are reaching more members of your group, with no extra work from you!
  6. In fact, with SimplyCircle you don’t even have to know everyone’s email addresses! One of the best features of SimplyCircle is that every circle you create comes with its own unique circle code. You can provide that code to your group members however you want – text them, tell them in person, post it on your group’s Facebook page, send it home in the kids’ backpacks, send it by carrier pigeons 🙂  Members of your group can then join your circle by entering that code. Of course, you still have complete visibility into who’s joining your circle, and you can remove them from your circle if needed.
  7. SimplyCircle offers a more modern and mobile-friendly user interface, and free mobile apps for both iOS and Android. In contrast, Yahoo appears not to have evolved the Yahoo Groups user interface since they bought eGroups back in 2000 (for $432 million, no less).
  8. In short, SimplyCircle is much more than “just” email. It’s a true parent portal that parents can log into any time, on any device – all they need is an Internet connection. They can even access your content through SimplyCircle’s free mobile apps for iOS and Android. Basically, SimplyCircle is an email distribution system, an online calendar (complete with automated reminders), a messaging app, a volunteer signup system, and a private and searchable archive of photos and documents – all in one!

If you’re still on the fence, just try SimplyCircle for free, and then decide if it’s right for you.

SimplyCircle is always free for one-way (broadcast-style) communication for groups of up to 50 people, and even the free version includes most of the benefits listed in this post. If you want more parent engagement, or if you manage a larger group, paid versions of SimplyCircle are available as well, and all of them come with a FREE 30-day trial.

So what you waiting for? Give it a try today – for free.