One of the tools that I use personally and for my clients very regularly is MailChimp. MailChimp is a very popular and well known email program that allows you to send newsletters to your fans and contacts who have signed up for your list.
Email is one of the most important online marketing tools available to modern businesses. After a website, emails can be the strongest branding element of your business. Social media is becoming more popular, but nothing (yet) can replace how we use and interact with email.
MailChimp steps up and provides you, your business and your brand a way to professionally send emails and newsletters to the people who want to hear from you.
What is it?
It’s a robust email program which includes client list management, template and email building tools, scheduling options for sending emails at optimal times, and automation features for creating a series of marketing emails.
MailChimp gives you a way to send multiple emails to lots of people at a time. Plus you can get reports and insight into how many people opened your emails, how many times and which links were clicked, and much more.
Sending regular newsletter to share information, inform people about your business or events, or to share your blog posts is a great way to keep your contacts warm and eventually turn them into clients.
Why I love it
I have had experience with a few other email programs like MailChimp and I find MailChimp the most intuitive and easy to use. I find the user experience and interface simple and clean, and the logic of setting up an email (or a “campaign” as MailChimp calls them) makes sense to me.
They add in a lot of features that we take for granted in emails that in other programs you have to code in by hand. Things like social “sharing” or “forward to a friend” buttons.
Their drag-and-drop editor functions well and if you set up your template correctly the it’s really easy to add in information for each email send.
3 ways it helps your business
1. A professional way to keep in touch with your fans, contacts and potential clients
As I mentioned above, email is vital in today’s business world and MailChimp helps you do that professionally.
Your emails can be branded to match your business and MailChimp handles the bounces and replies and other common processing of email programs. Your customers and potential customers will notice if you’re just sending a quick email with everyone on Bcc.
2. The free version is pretty amazing
This is probably the main reason so many people use MailChimp when they are getting started with their businesses. The free version allows you to have up to 2,000 contacts with a limit of sending 12,000 emails each month (that’s a lot of emails!)
While there are great benefits to upgrading to the paid version (starting at $10/month) the free version is robust enough that it can take care of your emailing needs for a long time.
3. Integrates with a lot of other programs
Since MailChimp is so popular it integrates really well with a lot of other programs like WordPress, PayPal, Shopify, Facebook, Salesforce, Eventbrite and SurveyMonkey. They have a whole list of integrations you add on to make your existing tools work with MailChimp.
And this makes it a lot easier to get that sign up form on your website in embedded forms, pop ups or sliding forms. And then more people can sign up for your list!
Features to look out for
MailChimp requires a two-step confirmation process to ensure that someone who signed up for your list did it on purpose. They input their email address and then they’ll get an email with a link of which they’ll need to click to confirm their desire to join your list. After that, they’ll start receiving your emails.
And this set of pages and emails I call autoresponders and these can be branded to match your logo and business. Many people forget them and then they stick out like a sore thumb when get the email in your inbox.
Use the opportunity to build your brand and set this up. Plus, you can decide for the final confirmation if you’d like to send them back to your website (highly suggested) or if they’ll get a final welcome email (also good for sending your freebie PDF or lead magnet.)
To set up and design your autoresponders:
- click on “Lists”
- choose and click on the list
- click “Signup forms” then “General forms” and then you’ll be able to set up and design all the steps in the email confirmation process.
There are many elements associated with each contact email you have: first and last name are standard, but then you can also add custom fields like company, date of birth, preferred language, or a leveling system of preferred contacts. MailChimp also rates your contacts by how often they open your emails.
With all of these pieces of data, you can set up segments to send emails to only certain groups of people.
For example, you could send an email to your contacts who:
- Prefer your second-language content
- Have been on your contact list for longer than a year
- And opened your last email
Or maybe on the sign up form, you let people decide the types of content they’d like to hear about, like “upcoming events” or “tips for online marketing” then you can send targeted emails to both groups and your readers will be more receptive to the content.
The options are limitless but you also need to set up some of these custom fields or have a good plan in place before getting going with this.
After every email you send you can get a detailed report about that email send.
In the reports you can get data about:
- Open rate (how many people on your list opened your email)
- Click rate (how many people clicked something in your email)
- Which links were clicked
- At what time did people open your email in the first 24 hours
- Where the opens happened (by country)
- Email bounces (people who didn’t receive your email)
- Who shared your email
You can also see line graphs of your open and click rates for the past year in the overview of your campaigns, plus how many people are joining your list each month.
This type of information, along with the email reports, are critical for you to be able to understand how your newsletters are performing and how to make changes to them in the future.
This is a feature that they recently made more robust. A/B Testing is critical to know the slight changes that can make a big difference in your emails.
For example, you can send the exact same email to your list but half will get it at one time (like 6:00 am) and the other half will get it at another time (like 6:00 pm). The report will tell you which email had more opens, more clicks or more interaction, and this could tell you that your contacts prefer to get your email at one time or another.
You can also test the subject lines, the content, the date, and from name.
Part of every good online marketing campaign is first, consistency, and second, testing and assessment. You don’t want to spend valuable time and money on processes and tasks that don’t work.
I want more!
MailChimp has lots of step-by-step guides, videos, lists and resources if you want to learn more or need help figuring something out.
What’s your favorite feature of MailChimp?
If you are a small business owner, solopreneur or freelancer, most likely you use MailChimp. I’d love to hear what your favorite feature is, or share the link to your sign up form, I’d be curious to check out your autoresponders and get your newsletter.
And don’t forget you can sign up for my MailChimp-supported email newsletter with the sign up form below. 🙂