The Best Google Groups Alternative: When Your Group Grows Up

March 20, 2017

You’ve started a community using Google Groups that’s thriving. Maybe it’s a growing fellowship program—or a network of like-minded people who share the same admiration for a certain business. Whatever the group is, it’s proven to be a hit.

Success is great, but it often comes with growing pains. If you’ve been affected by these, it’s time for you to find a Google Groups alternative.

At Mobilize, we’ve had hundreds of customers approach us because Google Groups became too challenging to use for their network. Rebecca Saylor, co-lead of SF Etsy, reached a point where recruiting new members became nearly impossible.

“With the Google Group, there were so many hoops that people had to jump through in order to even become part of our team,” she says. “We'd have to get a member’s Gmail account, but not everybody had a Gmail account. It was really challenging.”

Rebecca moved her group to Mobilize, and her community grew 57 percent in one year.

Why You Need a Google Groups Alternative

Google Groups hasn’t advanced with modern technology. The last major update made to Google Groups was made over three years ago. As it stands, there are many limits that Google Groups has as a communication platform causing the following growing pains when you’re leading a community:

Growing Pain #1: Recruitment FrictionWhen using Google Groups, it’s difficult to automate a seamless process to recruit new members. In order to fully use Google Groups, members must have a Gmail account.

The Mobilize Solution: Custom Registration Forms One of our most beloved features is the customizable registration form. Group managers can add any custom fields, and illustrate them in any way they want. And of course people can join with any type of email account.

Here’s an example of how Docker, an open platform for developers, uses our registration form.

Growing Pain #2: OrganizationFor groups with larger databases, Google Groups forces you to have multiple separate and independent lists.

The Mobilize Solution: Easy-to-Follow HierarchyIn Mobilize, a manager can easily map out a network’s hierarchy. Starting with the parent group, our hierarchy feature makes it easy for people to understand who belongs to which group. For example, subgroups may be segmented by city chapters. We also have a robust member directory to keep your members’ information organized.

Growing Pain #3: Lack of AnalyticsIn a growing group, it’s important to have a thorough understanding of who’s participating—for example, who’s reading emails, clicking on links, downloading files and attending events. Google Groups doesn’t have a robust analytics platform to track this activity, but it’s critical as you scale.

The Mobilize Solution: Built-In AnalyticsGroup leaders can easily access powerful analytics across their entire network and on every message, including open rates, response rates, new member counts and many other key performance indicators. This is especially useful for networks with multiple sub-groups.

Growing Pain #4: Poor User ExperienceGoogle Groups wasn’t built to help communities thrive. The platform makes it difficult to manage large groups at scale.

The Mobilize Solution: Modern Customized PlatformMobilize was created to empower organizations to create movements. Specifically, our design and integrated platform enables managers to easily manage communication at scale without feeling overwhelmed.

Growing Pain #5: Event ManagementGoogle Groups doesn’t make it easy to plan and host events. Only those using Gmail can add an invite to their Google calendars. This often causes low participation rates for webinars and in-person events.

The Mobilize Solution: Calendar Invites & Event-Specific UpdatesMobilize makes planning and hosting events easy. It doesn’t matter if you still use Hotmail, or you prefer Outlook, every user will automatically receive the event invite on their calendar. Mobilize also makes it easy to send and aggregate event-focused updates. We’ve seen many communities, like SF Etsy, increase event participation through better communication.

“Our communication—events and trying to understand the members better—has been way easier and more effective [since using Mobilize],” Rebecca says.

Growing Pain #6: Can’t Easily Share FilesIn Google Groups, if you share files, they’re buried in individual messages. This makes it very difficult for group members to access imperative resources to participate in the community.

The Mobilize Solution: Accessible File SystemIn Mobilize, files are automatically accessible to a group in a dedicated folder. It’s a lot easier to access these resources when they live in an accessible location.

Growing Pain #7: Zero Participation ToolsGoogle Groups doesn’t provide communities with tools to activate ongoing participation within a community.

The Mobilize Solution: Follow-Up Filters & PollsFollow-Up Filters ensure that our customers are communicating with their members at the right times and encouraging the right people to take action based on previous interactions. We also provide our communities with a polling tool as a mean to gather quick information from the community.

Growing Pain #8: No Support For a Growing CommunityWhen using Google Groups, there are few resources available to advise you on how to grow a community.

The Mobilize Solution: Customer Success TeamAt Mobilize, we care about the success of your community. Our customer success manager Tiffany Tong is always happy to answer any questions you may have about building a thriving community.

At the end of the day, you may still love Google and their many services, but your group deserves a dedicated solution that offers powerful group management tools and regular updates.


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