Mailchimp Customer Journeys
“Let’s take this thing for a test drive”
I still remember someone who used a different email tool being very scathing about Mailchimp’s automations, stating “Mailchimp doesn’t do ‘true’ automation”.
…well if it didn’t before, it does now.
I’ve been getting deep into the weeds over the last few weeks, developing Customer Journeys for a number of my customers and have been able to understand what you can and can’t do with the tool…and here’s a hit list of my first impressions.
It’s not perfect, but Mailchimp are listening
When they launched Customer Journeys, Mailchimp made a few changes causing a few problems, which they quickly realised they needed to adjust.
Initially, you couldn’t replicate a customer journey (you now can), and you couldn’t sort your old automations by audience easily (they’ve reverted back to displaying them in campaigns).
In my mind this indicates that Mailchimp do listen to their users… and updates the tool accordingly as questions and comments develop.
When tags were brought out a few years ago, there was a bit of confusion (there still is) about how they were different from groups (the answer – not very!).
However, it’s clear to see from the way Mailchimp are promoting tags that they are very much the future… and a big part of Customer Journeys.
One of the limitations of “Classic Automations” (as they are now called) was that when it came to Post Send Actions, you could only do a single action per email.
You could either add or remove a tag, or update a field, or archive/unsubscribe… but you could only do one action.
With Customer Journeys, there’s good and bad news.
The bad news is that (for the moment) you can only adjust tags at a specific step.
The good news is that you can now do multiple actions once a sequence has triggered, which means you can add multiple tags, or even remove them.
Email not required
Another big thing is that you no longer actually have to send an email in an Customer Journey…
I’ll let that sink in…
Yep, if you want, you can just use a Customer Journey to add/remove tags.
A good example is, if someone joins your audience and has input information into a specific field (e.g. their location), you can then just have a Customer Journey which uses that information to add a tag (or multiple tags).
I’m using this information with a customer to add multiple tags to people who complete a form and express an interest in a product area.
The product they choose is one of 8 products, but half are ‘domestic/home’ and half are ‘commercial/business’… depending on which one they click I’m adding a tag to them indicating either commercial/domestic AND I’m adding a tag to indicate they are a new lead from this form – Neat!
Doing the splits
One of the other new “things” available is the ability to “split” an automation into a different branch depending on information about an individual.
Now technically, these are similar to the filters available for a standard workflow on individual emails, but once we get better understanding, they offer much more flexibility.
So, instead of having a load of different automations which are “daisy chained” together, you can now incorporate them all into one flow.
I’m using this as a way of removing people at certain points of a initial lead flow based on whether they’ve purchased or not, but I’ve barely scratched the surface of this.
The other new “thing” is the ability to have someone “wait” in a customer journey until a certain condition is met…
I’ve not used this yet in any of my new Customer Journeys, but that doesn’t mean I’m not thinking of how you can use this…
Things I don’t like
As this is a first impressions blog, there are a few things that I’d like to have access to which currently aren’t available.
I’m not suggesting that Mailchimp won’t update and sort these things out, but they’re little niggles I’ve experienced…
- Timed Automations: At the moment I can’t find a way of doing a “timed” email to go out at a specific point in the day… something I use regularly on automations based on events.
- Bulk Tests: In standard automations, you can use the test button to send ALL of the emails in an automation, which is a nice time saver… but you can’t do that with all the emails in a Customer Journey.
- Still in Beta: There’s lots of “coming soon” logos across the tool and it’s definitely still in beta… and thus for some customers I’m actually still using the classic automations as I can’t replicate them fully in the Customer Journey tool.
Concluding First Impressions
It’s clear that Mailchimp have put a huge amount of effort into Customer Journeys and I can see them becoming a huge benefit to users.
Even now I’ve started using them for a few of my customers and the improved visual workflow makes things much, much easier.
They’re not perfect (but then again, the tool is still in “beta”), but I can definitely see a more automated future and I’m looking forward to seeing how far I can take them.
Robin Adams is a business owner who is passionate about helping businesses build effective marketing systems that work and don't waste money. Having a lifetime of Marketing experience (he's got a degree in Marketing before there were degrees in Marketing!) and having worked for big and small businesses and both client and agency side, he understands not only the theory, but the systems that are required to underpin everything.
51% marketer and 49% Chimp, Robin is the main man behind chimpanswers.com and the Mailchimp Answers Facebook Group - the world's biggest Mailchimp User Group. Connect with him on Linkedin.
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