Email marketing is one of the most valuable tools in the digital marketing toolbox. It’s cost-effective and, when used properly, can be used to give your subscribers timely and relevant messages to increase retention and sales.

Mailchimp is a widely used service to make email marketing easy. It can be used to analyze customer data and trigger personalized emails automatically depending on various customer behaviors, dates, birthdays, etc.

The best part? Mailchimp is free for small businesses. If 2,000 subscribers, 12,000 monthly emails, and tons of free features don’t meet your needs, their paid services are very affordable and very worth the price.

Mailchimp has tons of abilities and allows integration with other popular marketing services. You can find some of the most important aspects of their service here.

Templates and Campaigns

Mailchimp offers plenty professional email templates for you and they can all be easily customized to your needs. You should think about building templates for promotions, announcements, follow-ups, or anything else that gives your subscriber value.

It’s no harder than using Microsoft Word. Once you’re satisfied with your template, you can save it so the process is even easier in the future. Create as many of these as you need.

Campaigns are the actual email or newsletters Mailchimp sends out to your subscribers. You should be designing them to stay congruent with your brand and creative direction: logos, fonts, colors, etc. Check the previews for both mobile and desktop design before you send out the campaign confidently.

Merge Tags

Merge tags are Mailchimp’s way to enter dynamic information into the email that is specific to the reader. Using them correctly is key to creating personalized messages without creating additional campaigns.

Some examples include inserting a subscriber’s name, address (should especially be used for eCommerce purchase confirmations), company name, the date, an unsubscribe button (required by law), your social media account info (ex. latest tweets, follow, or share), and plenty of other things.

You can find the complete list of merge tags and the simple code required to use them on Mailchimp’s Cheat Sheet.

Audiences

Previously known as lists, audiences should be used to target customers in a defined group, tag, or segment. Delivering highly specific content to specific customers is key for getting better engagement rates.

One way to create a list is with segments. Segments may include individuals, companies, or other segment types that have specific needs. Using logic functions, Mailchimp can great these segments automatically.

Groups is the other way to organize an audience in Mailchimp. Groups differ from segments because they’re more interest-based. Set up groups based on things like purchase history and preferences. You might need to make edits to your sign-up forms to get such data.

Forms

Forms are essential to grabbing customer information and building an email list. The bare minimum is an email address and name, however, you should really consider birthdays, interests, location/time zones, and anything else relevant.

The best way to get people to fill out your forms is to put them on your website and give the user something of value in return—a free marketing report, member functions, a newsletter, a whitepaper, or discounts are just a few examples.

Statistics and Data

MailChimp is great at grabbing data from your users. Analyzing this data is essential in creating the most effective email campaigns.

The most basic of statistics you’ll find come from open and click-through rates. Conveniently, you can find industry averages for both open and click rates, which is especially useful for those new to email marketing.

A great way find out what content will get those numbers up is to do A/B testing. A/B testing, also known as split testing, allows you to send out a campaign with different subject lines, from names, content, and send times so you can develop a best methods of best practice. Change all, one, or a combination of these to set a controlled variable and pick out winning elements for your future campaigns.

In the Mailchimp dashboard, you’ll also be able to see bounces, unsubscribes, average order revenue, and more. Other measures you’ll want to look at include top links clicked, subscribers with the most opens, social performance, and geographical information.

You should be taking note of every statistic over time to see what works, what doesn’t, what’s trending, and what’s ending. Oh, and I should mention that Google Analytics integrates well with MailChimp.

Triggers

Triggers are based on consumer activity among other things that can be used to automatically send emails to specific people in your email list. Using triggers is the best way to send highly-targeted emails to your list beyond scheduled emails.

Triggers include signups, specific links clicked, specific product purchases, abandoned carts, birthdays, joining a group you’ve detailed, and many more.

View the full list of triggers on MailChimp’s website.


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