Five things MailChimp users forget to do

I’ve helped countless MailChimp users over many years and repeatedly found the same mistakes and things MailChimp users forget to do. Here’s five of the most common, from getting to the inbox to saving money to making money.

Improve inbox deliverability

Nobody responds to an email that never arrives. So, getting to the inbox is naturally an important part of email marketing.

And many users have not taken this simple step that helps avoid the junk filter.

Dig down into your account settings and check your verified domains. From the Account menu, drop down the Settings options and under that select Verified Domains.

MailChimp verified domains

There is a good chance you’ve a red cross against Authentication. This is not good and MailChimp lets you send campaigns without having authentication setup.

Authentication refers to adding what’s called SPF and DKIM records. Sounds technical, but they are basically email standards that verify you are who you say you are.

Valid SPF and DKIM authentication is checked by the ISPs as part of their junk scoring algorithm. So it makes perfect sense to ensure you are fully authenticated and get a tick from the ISPs.

Also adding authentication means your campaigns will appear to be sent from your domain rather than seeing the messy ‘on behalf of’ or ‘via’ messages of email clients such as Outlook and Gmail.

Gmail – shows ‘via’ in from address details

MailChimp from address via

Outlook – shows ‘on behalf of’ in from address details

MailChimp from address on behalf of

You’ll probably need the help of your IT/web admin to do the setup. But it’s not hard to do and should take your admin just a few minutes. Check the MailChimp step by step guide here for more help.

Save 10% on your monthly fee

Often overlooked, MailChimp offer a 10% discount on monthly fees to everyone and all you need to do to qualify is add two-factor authentication to your logon.

Possibly just calling it ‘two-factor authentication’ sounds too scary and has put users off doing it.

It just means that when logging on you will be prompted every couple of weeks to provide an additional authentication code from your smart phone.

You’ll find the setting under Account Security

MailChimp two-factor authentication logon saving

To use it you’ll need to download the Google Authenticator App to your mobile phone.

It’s a good idea to set this up as it not only gives you a saving but makes your account more secure against hackers. Your list data is worth money, protect it.

You can pick which user roles require the additional authentication for login. I recommend all roles should have this enabled.

Find out how to setup two-factor authentication. It shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes to do.

Measuring success

MailChimp offers many integrations but one of the must have integrations is with Google Analytics.

It gives you all the power of Google Analytics to your email marketing.

  • For eCommerce sites, you can see the revenue generated by email
  • The time-based Google charts are easier to use than MailChimp reports to see aggregate activity across many campaigns
  • You can quickly zoom in and out of different time periods and compare this month with last month or last year in Google Analytics
  • Google Analytics advanced segments (not at all related to MailChimp segments) means you can look at just the email driven traffic for any report

Whilst I do review campaign reports, I tend to spend as much time reviewing email activity in Google Analytics as I do in the MailChimp reports section.

Go to the Integrations directory under Account and scroll down to about the 8th entry.

MailChimp integrations directory Google Analytics

You’ll just need to click the G icon to be prompted to enter your name/password for your Google Analytics account. Needs just three minutes to enable this integration.

Once you’ve integrated you’ll be able to tick the Google Analytics option when setting up campaigns.

To view your sent campaigns in Google Analytics use one of these two methods:

You should end up with a view like below that shows all the campaigns by name for the time period chosen.

See Email Campaigns in Google Analytics

The shows one row for each campaign with sessions, number of pages views, conversion rates, revenue and more. It’s fairly typical that one email click leads to 2 to 8 page views.

Avoiding multiple list nightmare

I’d go as far as to say this is one all new users fall into. It all seems so easy, just create different MailChimp lists for different campaigns and activities.

It seems simple to start with but over time it leads to a data mess.

Critically MailChimp lists are totally independent of each other. This is not how all ESPs manage lists but it is the MailChimp model. This has consequences.

  • If someone unsubscribes, it’s the list they unsubscribe from, not the account. So if the same person is on multiple lists there is the possibility of breaking the law and sending them further emails after unsubscribing. The same is true of complaints. A contact that makes a complaint is removed from the list used for the campaign but no other lists.
  • When updating contact data it’s only updated on the one list. Say you get the first name for one of your existing contacts, if that contact exists on multiple lists you’ll need to update all lists with the new information. Rather than just having to update and keep one record correct per person.
  • Campaigns are sent to lists. If you want to send the same email to contacts on different lists you must create multiple campaigns

Take this common example, you are importing data from two different sales reps. Let’s call them Sue’s list and Nigel’s list.

You want to keep the data separate to allow the Sales rep to send to just their contacts. But you also want to email all the contacts with company news.

A common, bad, approach is to load the data into a list for each sales rep and a master lists of all contacts. All the problems above then exist.

A better way is to use MailChimp Groups or Segments. Have only one master list and for each campaign pick the people you wish to send to from the list by using a Segment or Group.

To implement the above example of different campaigns for different Sales Reps using a single list follow this method. Create a ‘Sales Rep’ custom text field on the master list. When adding data include the name of the Sales Rep in the text field.

Now when you send a campaign use a Segment to pick just the contacts you need. This example is just for Sue’s contacts.

MailChimp segmentation

When you want to send to everyone then just send to the entire list.

The same basic concept can be used to allow targeting to different contacts without resorting to lots of lists.

Only use multiple lists in these two circumstances

  • Each list is only ever used once. Such as when you’ve a CRM system and export a list of contacts for each campaign from your CRM and then at the end of the campaign update the CRM with the people who unsubscribed.
  • You have separate brands or businesses and email permission can be legally managed independently for each brand.

It might seem initially complicated to plan your data and use groups or segments rather than multiple lists, but it is better to do this in the long run.

There is much more that can be done with Groups and Segments and they are important features of MailChimp. It’s worth taking the time to learn more. Make a fresh coffee and take half an hour to dig into these features to be a real pro, MailChimp segments and MailChimp groups.

Increase campaign response by 50% (quickly)

This one is so simple it’s almost daft.

When you’ve a big push for an event or some promotion, re-send the same campaign to the people who didn’t open the first email you sent.

Because you are re-using the same email you already created it means this takes very little time to do.

In MailChimp you can create a segment to select just the people who didn’t open a specific campaign.

MailChimp non-openers segment

I’ve used this approach across many different industry verticals and in multiple contexts, it’s very reliable. The open rate and click rate will be about half that of your original send and revenue of a similar level.

When you are looking for a big push on a major promotion this quick method gives you 50% more revenue than if you sent a single email and left it at that.

Should I switch from MailChimp?

MailChimp is a great solution, like with most things, the better you know it the more you can get from it.

I’ve used scores of different email solutions. There are solutions that provide more flexibility, customization and sophistication. These also come with higher price tags.

MailChimp are very active with adding new features, whilst making them chimpified and simple.

If MailChimp has all the capabilities you need to execute your email marketing strategy then it’s unbeatable value for money. Stick with it.

If you want to do things you can’t do with MailChimp, then take a look at the Integrations Directory. There are many third party extras that might add the capability you are looking for. If you’re using Shopify, Magento, BigCommerce or WooCommerce make sure you check those integrations. Some solutions that work with MailChimp, such as Fresh Relevance, adds a slew of functionality that means in combination they rival many of the so called Enterprise level email platforms.

Or check with a MailChimp Email Expert to determine the best way to accomplish your email marketing goals with MailChimp. Finally if you really can’t do what you want then it’s time to consider the move to an alternative.

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