MailChimp: Supercharge Your Email
So you’re in the process of building up a customer base via emails. You may have started doing mail outs in an ad hoc fashion, or through an email building client. You’re looking for a better solution to the email quandary. You may have heard of MailChimp before. It’s a tool to help make your email event marketing work for you, with three main focuses. Managing your subscriber lists, building your email campaigns and reviewing your campaign reports. MailChimp can also give you kick-ass event integration with its Gather app. Gather allows you to send out SMS updates to your subscribers on the day of the event. It’s easy to use and comes with integration with a wide range of apps and services. These include:
You can get started with MailChimp for free. If you sign up to their Entrepreneur plan you’ll be able to have up to 2000 subscribers and send up to 12 000 emails per month. If you’re wanting to try before you buy, or only have a small customer base at the moment, then this is the way to go. You can easily upgrade your service when you’re ready to Growing Business (that’s up to 600 000 subscribers!) or High Volume Sender (over 600 000 subscribers – you’ve definitely made it). Having a paid account gives you access to some very handy features like:
- Spam Filter Diagnostics
- Email Client Testing
- Delivery By Time Zone
- Social Profiles,
But for now, we’ll just run you through how to get started with the basic version.
First Steps – Create Your Master List
Once you’ve signed up to MailChimp, the first thing you’ll want to do is import your contacts/subscriber list. Choose ‘Create a List’ from your dashboard and fill in the List Name, Sender Email, etc, etc. This is going to act as your master contacts list. After you’ve created the list you can add subscribers to it. You need to click on Import Subscribers to do this. You’ll then be able to import your contacts from various formats including CSV files, Excel, Google Contacts and Eventbrite. You can also add subscribers manually by selecting the Add Subscriber button under your Lists tab. Once you’ve created your master list you can section subscribers into various groups – but that’s for another day.
Build Your Email Blast
Once you’ve got your list sorted you’ll want to start crafting up your first email. Select the Campaigns tab and then Create Campaign. This will bring up a list of email types you can send. The usual choice will be the one titled Regular campaign. The Regular campaign includes HTML with a plain-text alternative. You’ll then go through setting up the email with email subject and from email address. You’ll also get options like tracking who opens your email, tracking who clicks on links in your email (only with paid accounts), Google Analytics click-tracking and auto-posting to Facebook and Twitter.
After selecting your options, you’ll be asked to choose a template for your email. Here you’ve got Basic templates where you can build everything yourself. You’ve also got Themes which are ready made templates where you swap out the included content for your own. When you’ve selected your chosen template, the design page will open up. Here you can customize colors, font, spacing, alignment, etc for your page, header, body, footer and monkey rewards badge. The rewards badge is pretty much just a MailChimp stamp that’s added to add free accounts).
With your email complete, you’re ready to send! MailChimp gives you an overview of your email options to check you’ve got all your settings correct, at which point you can either hit the Send button or schedule a time to send to send it out to your subscribers. Now to kick back and wait to see how your email tracks with your subscribers.
Track Your Email Performance
Here’s the area where you can really see what your audience thinks of your email campaign. First wait long enough for your customers to have received the mail. Going through to the Reports section of MailChimp reveals the statistics behind subscriber interaction with your email. In the Reports Overview section, you’ll be able to see the percentage of opens and click rate. You will also see total opens, total clicks, total bounced and total unsubscribed from that email. You’ll be able to find other stats such as 24-hour performance and social performance. The Activity tab will be able to show which specific subscribers completed the open, click, etc actions. The Links tab will be able to show you link click performance for each of your included links. You’ll also have tabs for reporting on Social, eCommerce360, Conversations and Analytics360 – these are beyond the scope of this article.
Once you’ve started sending out a few emails you’ll be able to track them and compare performance on each. From there you can start tailoring content to what is popular. Having different groups for subscribers with different interests will help in further customizing and getting the most out of your emails. Experiment with different layouts, content, sizes and email subject lines. Watch for the resulting open and click rates for each email.
Getting productive data from your email campaigns can help you get the most out of your targeted marketing. MailChimp can be a great email marketing tool. It has a huge bunch of customizable options (especially if you go for the paid version) so why not give it a try for your next mail out.