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MailChimp & Book Like A Boss

MailChimp, Other Tools, Tips, Video Tutorial

Being Slick…

I recently decided I needed to be a bit slicker with my diary and started looking around for a tool that would allow people to book time with me, whether a short free session to discuss MailChimp related stuff, or a longer session where they could “buy” my time and have a full interactive training session.

There are lots of diary management tools out there that I could have used, Calendly, Acuity, Youcanbook.me to name but a few.  I was recommended to check out something a bit new called “Book Like A Boss” by my coach and after a quick look around and also being pulled in by a nice promotional offer, committed to it.

Now, this post is not to sell you on Book Like a Boss, (or BLAB if you will), I find it works seamlessly with my zoom video conference integration and payments so I can sell time effectively and have it integrate with my calendar nicely (as long as I remember to keep the calendar up to date!!!). In fact, it’s become one of my go to tools – it saves me a bag of time!… but that’s just me… if you’re interested then check it out…

…but I wanted to write this post as the guys behind BLAB announced there was a new integration with MailChimp (see… for me it always comes back to the ‘chimp!)… so here’s a view of how it works, and how you can use it… effectively!


Connecting to your MailChimp Account

It’s pretty easy to connect up to your MailChimp Account and you can connect it to any list you want…  but just because you CAN do this, doesn’t mean you SHOULD do this.

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Best Practice with BLAB & MailChimp

Having done some digging… here’s a few comments on what to consider when it comes to integration BLAB with MailChimp… (or just scroll down to the “here’s what I’d do” bit and avoid the detailed stuff).

  • When someone books through BLAB, if the MailChimp integration is live and active, then people will be automatically added to the list of your choice in MailChimp (the specific information transferred is their email, first name, last name). Now in my book, this isn’t an ideal situation for a couple of reasons:
    • No one should be added to your email marketing list without being told that they are going to be added. As such, if you want to do this, make sure in every aspect of your communication on your BLAB booking page, you explain what you’re going to do.
      • …and if you’re in the EU, you need to be specific in terms of gaining consent from a GDPR point of view. Now BLAB has got GDPR built in, but it’s not really for Email marketing… so you need to be wary of this when you write your copy.
    • There isn’t an opt in/opt out option, so people who complete the booking form are automatically added to the list of choice. Again, it would be nice if this was flexible, but at the moment it’s not, so make sure that you are using the text in your page to be very explicit about what you’re doing with their email.
    • Double Opt In… is something that’s mandatory in some countries, and the ongoing discussion of whether it’s a good thing or not is a regular dinner table discussion for email marketers. If your MailChimp list is set up for Double Opt In, BLAB (at the moment) will ignore it and add them directly to your email list – and not do any Double Opt In checking…
  • If all of this scares you, there is a work around through sending all BLAB bookers to a new “BLAB only” list in MailChimp… which then triggers an automation sending people to a form for your main list. That way, you can then automatically delete the person from the BLAB list as soon as the automation sends – and it gives them the option of signing up (and of course, since it’s your form that they are being sent to… you can be 100% GDPR compliant with the supporting text, and put them through the Double Opt In, if that’s your choice.)
  • Once you’ve got your head around how to be transparent when adding people to your MailChimp list via BLAB, you’ve then got the important question of what are you going to do with that information? It’s likely that you’d want to consider sending an automated email of some form (this would be good practice) as a welcome email for the people who book… but make sure you’re clear on what it’s purpose is… AND how you set it up in MailChimp.
    • One of the things I love about BLAB is the automated emails that are sent to me and the person booking to let them know that there is an appointment – and all the associated details. Obviously, because these emails exist, you don’t need to try and get MailChimp to send them for you… MailChimp is good at “marketing” emails, but needs a bit of tweaking and playing to handle emails like this which are “transactional” in nature. So if you are using the BLAB/MailChimp integration, then make sure you’re not sending two sets of appointment emails.
    • So assuming you want to send a nice welcome email, then you need to consider how to trigger it.
      • You could trigger it through the “join the list” automation – which is fine in principle.  However, I’m never a big fan of sending every single person who joins my list a welcome email… there will be people who I add manually who just want me regular updates and not the welcome sequence.  Plus I like to be a bit more specific in my welcome automations – if they join via BLAB I want to send them a welcome email specifically referencing BLAB (that way it’s all tied up and they understand why they are getting the email).
      • Fortunately, as well as connecting with MailChimp, and giving the personal information (first name, last name, email), BLAB is also indicated as the “source” field in MailChimp. This is very nice (and better than a simple “API – Generic” which usually happens in this situation), and allows a condition to be added to the MailChimp automated email of Source = Book Like A Boss. Thus the first email you send can be specific just to BLAB bookers – Slick!
      • The other way (and the way I usually trigger emails like this) is to automatically allocate people to a specific group when they complete a form on my website – and I use this (join group) as the automation trigger.  This is my preferred way as it allows me to know how many people have come through my various entry points. Unfortunately, you can’t do this with BLAB natively – so if you just want to use BLAB and MailChimp with no other tools, you’re left with the generic “join list” automation, but with a condition of Source = Book Like A Boss.
    • There is however a “third” way… using one of my favourite toys – Zapier.
      • Although not visible on the zapier website, BLAB integrates with Zapier completely and allows me to set up my standard welcome automation
        • Add them to a group (which I’ll call BLAB Bookings) when they book a meeting.
        • Trigger an email on joining that group welcoming them to my list and letting them know what’s up.

How I’d set up BLAB & MailChimp together

OK, so those are all the things you should probably consider if you are looking at using BLAB and adding people to MailChimp… but if you want to do it (and aren’t bothered about the details)… here’s how I’d set it up.

  • Connect up BLAB to your main list in MailChimp (as per the video)
  • Make sure that at all points you clearly state people will be added to your MailChimp list, what they’ll get and give a link to your privacy policy.
    • So include it in the main body of your text.
    • Include it again in your products/appointments text
    • Add a confirmation message in the Success Message letting them know to expect to see marketing emails – and that they can opt out at any time.
  • Leave BLAB to do all the transactional stuff – i.e. appointment emails etc.
  • Set up a welcome automation in MailChimp triggered when they join the list but with a condition of source = “Book Like A Boss”. Make sure you are transparent and make it easy for them to opt out – remember, they’ve signed up primarily for an appointment… not because they want to be marketed to… so you need to respect that.

That process should cover you when it comes to being clear and transparent from a GDPR point of view – and make the person feel a bit better about being added to your email list.


Wrapping up

So there you have it.  MailChimp and BLAB working together and supporting your business going forward.

Although I may not be a big fan of direct link ups between systems and automated welcome emails that don’t give me the flexibility, the way I’ve suggested you link them up does work and means that anyone who’s up for a booking with you, are also able to be added to MailChimp directly without any fuss.

…just make sure they know they’ll be added to your mailing list when they book!

And if you want to see how this works…visit my booking page here!!!

Robin Adams

Robin Adams

The MailChimp Guy

The main man behind chimpanswers.com and the MailChimp Answers Facebook Group. What this man doesn't know about MailChimp...

Proficient in all things MailChimp, Marketing and Systems

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