What is MailChimp and how does it work?
MailChimp is a web-based email marketing service. It helps you design email newsletters, share them on social networks, integrate with services you already use, and track your results.
Is MailChimp Free to Use?
MailChimp’s Forever Free Plan allows you to send 12,000 total emails a month to up to 2,000 subscribers. This means you could send six times to 2,000 subscribers or 10 times to 1,200 subscribers at a time. However, you can only send up to 2,000 total e-mails in a 24-hour period.
How to really use MailChimp to grow your Brand(or Email List)
Some of the features below come with the forever free account (for under 2,000 subscribers) and some are features of a paid account. I will mark which is which below.
11 Features and Benefits of MailChimp
I am not going to explain how to use the awesome themes that you can start with or how you can make templates of your own out of your designs to save you time when you send out emails, but rather focus on the features I don’t think people use enough.
RSS to Email
It is NOT a new concept to offer readers the option to subscribe to get all your blog posts via email, however, some software makes it difficult to set up, and some software delivers the emails in a less-than-attractive way.
I started my RSS-to-email list after a friend and blogreader asked for a way to get my posts via email. She doesn’t use Feedly or Bloglovin’, and she wanted to make sure not to miss a post. Instead of trying to add her to my old, ugly system, I decided to see if MailChimp had an option. Here is how to:
- Create a new list (ex: Posts via Email).
- Click “Create Campaign” from the Dashboard.
- Choose “RSS-Driven Campaign.” As in the image below.
- Put in your RSS feed URL. If you want to combine multiple RSS feeds into your emails (as in: you have more than one blog), combine your feeds with ChimpFeedr. P.S. Most WordPress blogs have a feed URL of http://yourdomainhere.com/feed.
- Select the frequency you want your emails to send (daily/weekly/monthly), the days of the week you want them to go out on, and the time of day you want them to send.
- Choose the list you created (on the next screen) as the list your blog posts will be sent to.
- Name your campaign (internally–only you will see this), then decide the “Email subject” your recipients will see, along with other details such as your “from name.”
- Choose a MailChimp theme, select a template, go with a basic layout, or code your own design to control how the RSS emails will appear.
- Design your email as normal, but make sure to include the “RSS Items” block in your email so that your most recent posts will be placed in the email. As in the second image below.
- Preview your email and launch your campaign. P.S. Here’s some more info. directly from MailChimp on how to set up RSS to email: Tutorial time. P.P.S. If you’re using WordPress, you can change whether your emails and people’s RSS readers show your full post or just a snippet by going to Settings >> Reading and choosing Full Text or Summary. As in the third picture below.
Another FREE feature.
This is an app for your Android or Apple tablet that lets you collect email addresses for your list even when you’re not online–they’ll simply be imported when you’re back online. The app is handy for those of us with physical locations to use in shop/coffee shop/boutique/office, but it’s also handy for those of us who host workshops, classes, and other events where people may want to sign up for our lists.
You can even customize the appearance of the signup screen. “Use one of our custom background themes, or add your own background and logo. Pick your font and button style, write your own copy, and connect the form to any MailChimp list.”
So, whether at a workshop or at your business, if you want to offer people a discount or some cool content for signing up for your very attractive, custom-designed list, you can capture the signups on-site and hand over the discount/item immediately. Hello, awesome.
More FREE features.
When your subscribers open your emails, MailChimp tracks their geographic location. So not only can you check out your lists and see how many people are reading your emails from France or from California, but you can also target specific locations with certain emails or offers. When it comes time for you to host your first seminar in your city or state, you’ll be able to just email a segment of your email list that is in the same city/state (and surrounding states if you wish). Or when you want to talk news or coupons that only relate to a certain location of your business, you can email only those people.
Delivery by Time Zone
Available with a paid account.
When I send out an email at 11 a.m. Austin, Texas time, my friend gets it at 5 p.m. in London, and my other friend gets the email at 1 a.m. in her local time in Western Australia. This is not optimal. Instead, I can create my email and select to send it at 8 a.m. in every single time zone. One recipient friend opens it at 8:01 a.m. in London, and the other recipient friend opens it at 8:01 a.m. in Bunbury.
You can also choose to do “send time optimization,” which allows MailChimp to select the best time (based on locations + habits) to deliver your email.
Design for Really Smart People Who are Design Challenged
A picture is worth a 1000 words. You can add images, buttons, social media links, custom code, and dividers to your emails with just a click, drag + drop.
Collabable (as in Collaboration or Client Management)
This is FREE as well.
You want to manage social media and emails for clients? Set yourself up as an admin and give them management, authorship, or viewer access so they can see what you create before it’s sent. Or have them set up the account and add in access for you so you can create cool designs and fancy wording before the campaign goes live.
Or use collaboration to work with other people in your own small business and split some of the email duties.
Available with a paid account.
Do you want to automatically send an email and coupon out to your customers+friends on their birthdays? Or perhaps an email on the anniversary of them joining your list? You can set these automatic emails up quite easily.
Do you want to sell or offer a free email course that is automatically delivered on a schedule you set? Or a series of emails that is scheduled based on when your recipient opened the last email in the series or clicked on a certain link?
Maybe you want to send an email with certain resources right after someone signs up for your list? Or, maybe you are feeling the option to send a follow-up email to someone who opens an email from you and clicks through to a specific URL on your site (like a sales page, or a particular blog post). All of these things are possible with Automation.
You have two email subject lines in mind, but are not sure whether people will want to see your name or your shop name in the “from:” field . . . or you want to figure out whether people like getting your emails in the morning or during the afternoon hours to help reinvigorate them . . . do an A/B Test.
You can send your two options to 40% of your total audience (20% and 20%) and then, based on which email performs better, MailChimp will deliver that email to the rest of your list (the other 60%).
This is a PAID add-on, starting at $1/month, for brands with paid accounts.
Find out which subscribers are on which social networks with Social Pro. Want to target just people who are on Twitter with a special offer or request? Only want to email your Facebook users with your 30 best Facebook tips?
You can even figure out who your most active email friends are on social media and just target them. There’s lots to do, depending on how specific you want to get.
Amazing Amount of Guidance
MailChimp has an abnormally large amount of DIY, tutorial, and help files available.
Available with a paid account.
Different email clients and apps (Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo!, Android, Apple Mail, Thunderbird) interpret the code of your fancy HTML emails differently. This means your email may look different to some of your recipients. With Inbox Inspection, MailChimp takes your readers’ 10 most popular clients and allows you to preview exactly how your email will look.
Inbox Inspection helps you cover your gluteus minimus and maximus by also checking for any words or phrases that are likely to trigger spam filters. MailChimp identifies the exact places that make you look spammy and gives you the option to change your email before sending it out and possibly being rejected by inboxes everywhere.
You can set up a FREE MailChimp Account here but if you do not have the time nor patience to do it then I can take care of the setup for a small fee.
Please note: The MailChimp Account is free, My Fee is for the time invested online.