Socrates was right:
You don’t know what you don’t know, especially when it comes to Mailchimp

barber making mistake

“Trust me… I’m an expert… I know exactly what I’m doing…  Honest!!”

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Aug 18, 2022

True knowledge exists in knowing that you know nothing. – Socrates

Ever had that moment where someone tells you something you have never heard of?

It happened to me just the other day, when my neighbour was excitedly attempting to update me on the latest episode of television’s primetime popular reality show, Love Island.

I mean I had heard of the show, but refuse to engage with, let alone watch ‘reality tat’ so I know zilch about the show itself.

My friend continued explaining the latest big love saga that was currently happening, involving a girl called Paige, someone else, and a guy called Davide.

Cue a blank (and bored) stare from me…

I swear she looked at me like I was a complete idiot.

Unperturbed I shrugged my shoulders, because the simple and only reply to that is,

You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know”.

You see, we all have different levels of understanding and experience. Whilst my neighbour may be an expert in reality tv, it doesn’t mean she’s a pro at something I might consider myself to be an expert in and vice versa.

Knowing my Kardashians from my Love Islanders isn’t important to me and I doubt having that knowledge will bear any major effect on my life, aside from giving my neighbour something to gossip with me about.

But when it comes to business, being blind to things you don’t know that you don’t know can be pretty costly. Whether that’s in time, money, happiness, or any other measure of the opportunity cost of missing out on something else.

…and Mailchimp is no different. Typically, you’ll only know how your account runs, you won’t know if you are doing it the right way, or even if there are things you’re missing out on completely.

…and this could mean missing out on new customers, more sales and getting more opens and clicks on your campaigns.

Who wouldn’t want that?

So accepting that you don’t know what you don’t know, how do you fill in this gap?

Well, when it comes to Mailchimp, one route is to talk to people in the know; the experts. They might be able to share valuable insights that you haven’t yet considered and open up a whole different perspective.

As Mailchimp Experts and Pro Partners, we regularly help and advise people on how to do Mailchimp the right way… and we’ve recently launched Chimp Medicals – a new service that provides a detailed report on your Mailchimp Account and how it stacks up against others we’ve looked at in 10 key areas – you can check it out here.

Another option to “know what you don’t know would be to test out some new things for yourself

You may not know the answers, but testing out different things allows you to see what works best (or worst) and then roll that into future campaigns to get more from them.

For every email we send here at Chimp Answers we always ensure we get the opportunity to learn something we don’t know.

How? We split test each email that goes out.

A/B testing, also known as split testing, is when you send 2 versions of an email to a segment of your audience against another version (the variation, or variant) and track which one gets the most opens or clicks.

Split testing allows you to learn valuable information about your audience that you can use to sustain your subscriptions and ultimately create more conversions. By changing a single element, there can be a tremendous change in the response rate of your campaigns.

The great thing about split testing is that it allows you to experiment and learn without the pressure of getting things right the first time around.


What to test


When you split test a standard campaign in Mailchimp it gives you 4 things you can change:

Subject lines and preheaders

Mailchimp allows you to send up to 3 versions of your email campaign with different subject lines to randomly selected parts of your list. Mailchimp will then record the open rates and send the campaign with the best results to the remainder of your list.

Here’s some suggestions of different subject line variables you can test

  • Name vs. No Name.
  • Question vs. making a statement
  • Fact based vs. curiosity based.
  • Urgency vs. No Urgency.
  • Long Subject Lines vs. Short Subject Lines.
  • Emojis vs. No Emojis.

The best email subject lines work because they are targeted, designed to appeal to a specific audience, and trigger an emotional and psychological response.

But it’s important to learn the kind of subject lines that get opened and why.

“From” name

Consider changing the “from” name in your emails to a person’s name. Studies show that including a “from name” can increase open rates by 20%.

Perhaps, your emails will get more recognition if the sender name is more human-like as opposed to being official. For example, is it better to use your company name, first name, or a combination of both?

Send time

If you’re looking for the ideal time to send your emails, consider running a test to see when your subscribers are more likely to open emails.

You can also look at your Google Analytics data to see when people are visiting your site and when you have higher goal completions.


Try changing the header image, inserting a gif, or embedding a video or other media if applicable.

Test inserting a subscriber’s name, location, or organisation into your copy with merge tags.


Include a linked CTA vs a button CTA. Change up the copy, colour, or position of the call-to-action.

Also, recently Mailchimp has now allowed you to add some split testing to
Customer Journeys

Use 50/50 split rules to divide your contacts into two separate journey paths and try out different marketing experiences for your audience and see what works.

If used to its full potential, Split testing in Mailchimp is a great way to help to learn about your audience’s preferences as well as improve email performance, resulting in new customers, more sales and getting more opens and clicks on your campaigns.

That being said, you have to commit to learning the tool, and more importantly, continue to optimise every aspect of your email marketing campaign. The key here is to make sure you learn from each A/B test you run and use that knowledge to create better campaigns next time.

Socrates had it right, the search for knowledge has no end as there is always something new to learn especially when it comes to Split testing your campaigns. Sometimes all it takes is to learn and this will help you discover what resonates with your audience.


Challenge Us!

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.

Liz Seymour

Liz Seymour

Queen Chimp Of Marketing

Cheesy as it sounds, Liz is the biz when it comes to  Mailchimp & Email 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 with 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 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 Mailchimp Foundations.


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