7 things I wish I’d known when setting up my Mailchimp account
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There’s no denying it, I’m an avid user of Mailchimp. What’s not to love?
You can do everything straight from its platform from creating your email templates, managing your audience to setting up automations. Simply put, Mailchimp brings all aspects of email marketing under one roof which is a big deal especially since email still remains one of the most effective marketing tools you can use today.
But how do you actually send out your Marketing campaigns?
…. And ensure you do it correctly?
I know when I first signed up to Mailchimp I was so focused on the emails I wanted to send, that I didn’t pay attention to the setup and the best way to do things – I just wanted to send emails.
So when I came to developing things further I realised I had no idea how to actually do certain things and had ignored some of the basics required to make my campaigns a success.
And we see this mistake made a lot when people set up their account.
Most people who are sending emails just ‘don’t know what they don’t know’
So here’s 7 things I wish I’d known when setting up my email marketing in Mailchimp.
You can have more than one form in Mailchimp
Back in the old days of Mailchimp, you could only have one form connected to your Mailchimp account – the hosted form Mailchimp provided.
Now though, you can have as many forms as you want, whether it’s using Mailchimp’s embedded form tool (which creates the code for forms) or through one of the many plug-ins around the internet – which pretty much all integrate with Mailchimp.
Having more than one form means you can have “targeted” forms for different pages/segments, you can do multiple free downloads, and just capture more data which you can use to drive your campaigns.
Just one form connected to your Mailchimp account? That’s so last year!
P.S. if you’re using Multiple forms, make sure you use something to identify when a specific form is used – e.g. a unique tag applied to anyone who completes that form.
Read our article about forms and tracking.
How to use tags and groups
Groups and Tags are Mailchimp’s way of “categorising” your contacts, and allow you to send campaigns and automations to people based on whether they’re in a tag or a group.
When we’re communicating in a mass-market environment using tools like MailChimp, it’s very easy to treat everyone the same.
BUT…successful marketing is NOT about treating everyone the same, it’s about identifying groups of individuals that have things in common and treating each of these groups differently.
Leveraging Groups and Tags effectively in Mailchimp is the best way to segment your audience, target individuals and be relevant.
You can create and add tags from either the contact table, a contact’s profile, or from the Tags page in your audience.
Once you’ve created your tags and added them to your contacts, you can use the tag data to build segments or groups.
Go to the ‘To’ section of the Campaign Builder and choose the audience you want to work with. You can then click the Tag or Segment drop-down menu and choose Group or new segment. Finally, choose your segmentation conditions selecting the tags you want to use.
Learn more about Groups and Tags.
Creating a basic template
Creating a standard template with colours and branding that fit your business will save you loads of time down the line, as it will become the base that all other campaigns are built on.
Within Mailchimp there are loads of options to choose from to suit different business goals and styles, or you can code your own template from scratch.
…but don’t get too overwhelmed, a simple template is where to start. We use one column templates for almost all our clients.
Templates are meant to be for the content that won’t change in each campaign (logos, signatures, footer etc.) Don’t create a campaign as a template – it’ll make things extra messy!
They’re called templates because it’s easy for you to reuse them or replicate existing campaigns without altering the original design.
Using Mailchimp landing pages
A Mailchimp landing page is a standalone web page which can be accessed by a shared URL created within Mailchimp.
These come in pretty handy when you’re growing your email lists and running promotions for specific goals – especially as you get to create them yourself and don’t have to mess around with your existing website – these stand alone.
Having a Mailchimp landing page brings tons of benefits, for example, you might want to create a landing page to promote a limited-time offer or host a signup form.
It’s pretty simple to create a landing page within Mailchimp via the landing page builder and templates are provided. You can (and should!) customise the template to make it branded.
Learning how Mailchimp works
When you create a new audience, Mailchimp creates a load of pages & emails to help manage the data – there’s a hosted sign up page, an unsubscribe page, an update preferences page, and emails to manage communication – we call these pages Mailchimp Process forms (you can find them by clicking the Form Builder link within the signup forms section of your audience).
When Mailchimp creates these forms it doesn’t do any branding – so you need to go in and apply fonts, colours and text appropriate to your business – it doesn’t take long but it adds an element of professionalism to your account.
Learn more about email deliverability here.
If you want to ensure that the emails you send hit the inbox it’s really important that you make domain authentication a priority when you set up your account.
You need to “verify” your domain to start so that Mailchimp can send your email – but this doesn’t give any extra “approval” to Mailchimp when it sends on your behalf, which means it may not always get to the inbox.
Authenticating gives Mailchimp that extra authority and ensures a better chance of hitting the inbox.
You can see what domains you’ve got verified or authenticated by clicking on websites in your menu and then clicking on domains.
Authentication is like an email “passport”, that MailChimp can attach to your emails so that when an inbox provider gets your email, it knows that it’s really from you – which is a big plus point when it comes to deliverability.
To authenticate your domain, you’ll need to copy and paste information from Mailchimp into your domain’s records.
For this, you will need to have access to your hosting account (where your domain sits) – so you can add some information to the Domain Name System (DNS) associated with your domain.
…and if you’re not sure about doing this – find someone who’s into IT as they will be able to do it for you.
Importance of subject lines to get the open
Although it seems like a small task, everything starts with the subject line. It’s one of the first things your recipient will see in a crowded inbox.
It doesn’t matter how good an email looks if no-one opens it.
Which is why you need to be using all of the tools available to maximise your chances of getting an email opened.
…and one of the key tools that you have at your disposal is the subject line.
- Use action verbs in your subject line. The readers should understand what you expect them to do by simply looking at the subject line. Use phrases to create a sense of urgency such as “ act now”.
- Keep it personal, Your email should not look like a generic email generated by a robot. Using the names of real people in your “to” and “from” fields, will also earn you higher open rates.
- Keep it short, most people spend time reading their emails on their mobile devices. While long subject lines may look good on desktop browsers, they get cut off on mobiles so stick to subject lines between six and ten words.
Read our blog on how to pick a Subject line to get the open for more tips.
We hope you’ve found these tips useful whether you’re a new user or a seasoned pro. It’s always good to know the basics to ensure your campaigns have a favourable outcome.
Many of these things are covered in our FREE Mailchimp Foundations webinar. This runs every 2nd Tuesday of the month and you can learn more and book your space here.
The session runs for about 2 hours and will cover:
- The basics of Mailchimp
- How Mailchimp manages data – and how you should too…
- How to get contact information into Mailchimp
- The basics of email design
- How to send your first campaign
If you’re struggling with getting started on Mailchimp, or have started down the path, but aren’t sure that you’re heading in the right direction, then the Chimp Foundations webinar could be the thing you’re looking for.
Know your foundations first to make your email marketing a success.
If you want someone to help you with your Mailchimp account, whether it's setting it up, reviving it or just keeping it ticking over, don't be shy.
Cheesy as it sounds, Liz is the biz when it comes to Marketing. She's worked in Marketing for around 20 years when she went to uni and studied Multimedia Technology…That's where her love affair for all things Marketing began. Since then she has worked for household names such as Wickes, The Rank Group, Nuffield Health, Snappy Snaps and Marriot. Not to mention a great variety of B2B and B2c businesses and agencies.
Here at Chimp Answers she deals with all things Marketing focusing on the Content and Copywriting side of things such as Blog posts, Emails and landing pages. Liz is Certified in Direct-Response Copywriting, Google Digital Marketing Fundamentals,Hubspot Inbound Marketing,Hubspot Social Media and of course, Mailchimp Foundations.
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