How To Manage Your List
Table Of Contents Introduction ........................................................................................................................................................................................................ 3 Determine Your Lists And Groups .......................................................................................................................................................................... 4 Create Your List ................................................................................................................................................................................................... 5 Import Your List................................................................................................................................................................................................... 6 Add Groups To Your List ....................................................................................................................................................................................... 7 Build Your List .................................................................................................................................................................................................... 8 Keep Your List Clean .......................................................................................................................................................................................... 10
Hello. Welcome to MailChimp. We’re glad you’re interested in learning how to properly manage your list, because good list-management practices can make or break your email-marketing plan. To be a successful email marketer, you need to know how to build a list, group your subscribers and maintain a clean list. Maybe you’re starting a list from scratch. Maybe you already have a list of subscribers in a spreadsheet or Google doc and want to import that list into MailChimp. Maybe you’re not sure if you should set up multiple lists or groups. Maybe your list is all set up in MailChimp, and you just need to know how to divide it into groups, so you don’t end up sending unnecessary campaigns to certain subscribers. Or maybe you haven’t sent a campaign in a while, and you need to know the best way to reactivate your subscribers. In this guide, we’ll explain all of that. If your questions aren’t addressed here, feel free to contact our support staff at mailchimp.com/support.
Determine Your Lists And Groups Before you start thinking about managing your MailChimp lists, you have an important decision to make: Do I want one list without groups, more than one list, or one list with groups?
One list, no groups If you plan to send only one type of newsletter to one group of people, and you want every one of your campaigns to go to every one of your subscribers, then you should create one simple list in MailChimp. No need to worry about segments or groups, since your campaign goes to the same place every time.
Multiple lists Agencies that send email campaigns for different clients should create a list for each client in MailChimp. That way, your data for one client doesn’t co-mingle with data for another. Plus, if one client decides to leave you, you can simply remove the list instead of having to go through and remove certain subscribers from your general list. You can create groups within your lists.
One list, multiple groups If your company plans to send different types of content to different segments of your subscriber list, then you should create one list for your company, and divide it into groups based on interest. For example, a nonprofit might have separate groups for volunteers, news, board of directors and more. That way, you won’t bother the board with a volunteer schedule, and you won’t bother your weekly news subscribers with a detailed budget report. And of course, you can send to your entire list when a campaign applies to everyone. Now that you’ve decided how many lists and groups you’re going to create, let’s get started.
Create Your List Since creating a list is the first thing you should do in your MailChimp account, we create one for you when you fill out your account information. You can use the list we created for you or follow these two simple steps to create a new one. You can go through this process again if you have another list to create. Weâ€™ll go over how to add groups to your list after this. 1. Choose Lists, then click the Create List button on the left.
2. Fill out the setup details, making sure youâ€™ve written a Good Permission Reminder. Click Save to finish setting up your list.
Import Your List Now that you’ve got your list all set up, it’s time to import your subscribers into the list. There are four ways to do it:
1. Upload a CSV file
5. Start a list from scratch. Set up your list with the email address in one column, and any other data you want to include in separate columns. Like this:
Just select the import option you’d like and follow the easy steps.
2. Copy/paste from Excel
Now that your list is imported we’ll help you set the name and content type for each column—we call it mapping. Use the pulldown menu above each column to set the field name and type. Once you’ve mapped your fields, just click All done to complete the import.
After the import, you’ll get to review all of the emails that were or were not added to your list.
3. Import directly from other apps like Google Docs, Salesforce, Highrise and more.
Add Groups To Your List MailChimp makes it easy to send targeted email campaigns to groups within your list. If you segment to certain groups, you can provide more relevant content than when you send general newsletters to everyone. Here are some different ways you can segment your list with MailChimp:
You can choose the list your groups will be added to, how you would like us to display your group options in your signup form, the title of your groups field, and the group names.
Interest groups Don’t bother your entire subscriber list with content that only applies to some of them. For example, a church might send new nursery rules only to those who signed up for childcare updates.
Date added Send a campaign to new subscribers that missed your last email.
Location Use zip codes or states to send a campaign about an event only to people that live nearby. And with MailChimp’s geolocation, you can even send a targeted campaign to subscribers inside a 150 mile radius around any point on the globe, without gathering any extra info on your signup form.
Birthday If you asked for birthdays on your signup form, you can send special gifts and offers to subscribers for their birthday month. (You can even preschedule this for the whole year.)
Purchase activity Send an email to people who purchased a particular product from your store, or to people who spent a certain amount of money at your store. Better yet, send an email to your most loyal customers. All you need is MailChimp’s eCommerce360 plugin.
Sending to groups When you’re ready to send a campaign to a segment of your list, click the big Create campaign button and choose Regular ol’ campaign. Choose your list, and click Send to segment of list. Now you can specify which group you’d like to send to. Select Group: Interested in | one of | category, and MailChimp will only send the campaign to subscribers in that particular group.
Social Stats Learn more about your subscribers and send targeted emails based on gender, age, location and more using MailChimp’s social stats.
Add Groups To Your Signup Form You can add these groups right to your signup form, so people can decide which newsletters they’d like to receive when they sign up for your list.
You can also segment the date subscribers were added to your list, where they’re located and more.
If you’ve already created a list in MailChimp, go to Lists > Groups > Create groups from the dropdown menu.
Build Your List If you just started your business or launched your website, then you might not have an email list yet. If you’re starting from scratch, remember that it’s more important to grow a clean list than it is to grow a quick list.
Then click Design it to customize the look and feel of your signup form, just like you would do in a regular email campaign.
Ways To Grow Your Opt-in List Here are some easy ways to reach out to potential subscribers and build a clean opt-in list.
1. Place your email newsletter signup form on your company’s homepage. MailChimp offers free signup boxes that you can customize and copypaste to your website. Here’s how to do that: In the dashboard, click Lists. Then Choose Design signup forms.
2. Link to your signup form from every page of your website. You might even add a link to your footer, or side navigation. You can get the link or create the embed code when you design your signup form.
With the Build It tab, you can customize your form according to your needs. You can add field, including text and number fields, drop-downs, dates, addresses, phone numbers, websites and images.
3. Place a link to your signup form in your email signature. Ask everyone in your company to do the same.
4. Add the link to your signup form to any invoices your company sends. These people are already interested in your company if they’re working with you. Make sure they’re getting your newsletters.
5. Offer free giveaways to lucky newsletter subscribers. It can be a company t-shirt or something fun, like a giant box of candy.
6. Post free articles, guides or whitepapers on your site.
Already have a list of customers?
Don’t know where to begin? Well, you’re an expert at something—that’s why you started a business in the first place. Write about it. Write lots of good, useful material, and give it a personal tone. Save it as a PDF.
If you already have an email list of customers that you’ve been doing business with for years, that doesn’t necessarily mean they want to start receiving your newsletters.
Inside your whitepaper, place your own ad for your newsletter.
Say you run a small consultancy with a couple dozen clients who are very close to you. If you just assume they want your newsletter and subscribe them to your list without permission, then you’re going to irritate a lot of them (or worse, get yourself reported as a spammer). And it’s kind of awkward for them to have to click the opt-out link in those emails.
Give away your knowledge. Post that PDF to your website, your blog, Facebook. Twitter, wherever. Offer it for free, without any registration required. It’ll get downloaded like crazy, and every reader will see that ad for your newsletter. If they like what they’re reading, they’ll probably subscribe— so make sure the content is solid. If you’ve got a little money to spend, you might want to pay Google for some PPC ads that point to your awesome free guide. You can start with a low budget and gradually increase it later. This way, you’re buying traffic for your site—NOT buying emails for your list.
7. Send out personal, one-to-one emails to your clients, asking them to sign up for your newsletter. They might look something like this:
If you’ve got an e-commerce store, you’re probably sitting on a huge email list of customers who have purchased something from you in the past. But if they didn’t check a box for email marketing, or if you haven’t emailed them anything in years, you shouldn’t start sending them emails out of the blue. If only 0.1% of your customers forgot who you are and report your campaign as spam, you could get blacklisted. So what can you do? It’s simple, but surprisingly few email marketers bother. They’re so excited about sending their first campaign that they throw politeness out the door. If you have a list of customer email addresses, and you want to start sending them email marketing, but you don’t have their permission yet, ask them for permission.
Hi George, It was great seeing you at the conference last week. I wanted to let you know that we’ve started an email newsletter to stay in touch with our clients and keep them updated on new developments in the industry. I think you’ll be interested in the content and would love to have you as a subscriber—just click the link below to sign up. Thanks! Elaine
8. In your “Contact Us” form on your website, add a checkbox to sign up for your newsletter. If someone is filling out a contact form, then they’re already interested in your company, and you’re already gathering information from them, so why not ask if they’ll subscribe?
9. Add an “opt-in for our newsletter” checkbox in your ecommerce checkout page. Same idea here—they already like your products or services, so they’ll likely want to hear more about company news and special offers.
Send a Re-Introduction Email It’s effective, and best of all, it’s polite. Just put together a personal note and write it like you’d write to a friend. Here are some examples: Hi Jane, we’d like to stay in touch with our customers and let them know about new developments in our industry. We started a company newsletter, and I’d love to include you as a subscriber. If you’re up for it, just click the link below to opt-in. As our way of thanking you, the Welcome Confirmation Email that you receive will include a link to a free whitepaper on... Some time ago, you purchased something from our online store (SKU# 98765), and you indicated that you’d like to receive future email promotions from us. Well, we’ve finally gotten around to starting up a newsletter, and we just want to make sure you still want to hear from us. If you do, please click the link below to subscribe... Earlier this year, you stopped by our booth at the ACME Trade Show in Chicago. You signed up for more information about when we’d launch our XYZ app... You get the idea. Remind these people who you are and how they got on your list. And do everything you can to prevent them from mistakenly reporting you for spamming.
10. Offer a coupon, discount or special offer to new newsletter subscribers. You can use MailChimp’s Autoresponders to send an automatic welcome email with the special offer every time someone subscribes.
Keep Your List Clean A clean list is a vital part of email marketing. You should regularly check to see if your subscribers are engaged, and if they’re not, either reactivate them or remove them from your list. Check out these mistakes that emailmarketing rookies often make.
Avoid These List-management Mistakes: 1. Don’t send to a really old list. It will make ISPs think you bought an old email list from a spammer. And that would make you a spammer.
2. Never purchase an email list. This one’s worth repeating: NEVER purchase an email list.
3. Use the confirmed opt-in method on your signup forms. This method sends a confirmation email that the subscriber has to click in order to complete the subscriber process. If you just use the “single opt-in” method, your list is vulnerable to prank submissions, typos and spambots that plug in spam trap addresses.
4. Don’t scrape lists from websites. And don’t assume that you can just add “sales@” or “info@” to the front of a company’s domain name to reach someone. It only takes one or two spam complaints from these role addresses to get yourself blocked.
5. Don’t email everyone in your Outlook address book. It probably contains addresses that you don’t even know are in there, like tech-support contacts from companies you’ve requested help from, companies who have sent you email order receipts, friends and family. They didn’t sign up for your company’s email list.
Monitor Engagement With Campaign Reports Unlike print or traditional direct marketing, you can actually track how many people opened your email campaigns and see what they clicked. Watching your campaign stats is great nerdy fun, but it’s useless if you don’t understand how the reports work and what you should be doing with them. Here are the three most popular stats you’ll see in your reports:
Opens We track how many people open or view your email campaign and report is as a percentage. An average open rate is somewhere between 20 and 30%. If your open rate is low, then your subscribers aren’t as engaged as they should be.
Clicks We track how many people click links in your email campaigns by redirecting them through our server. Regularly check to see if people are clicking your links after you send out a campaign. If no one’s clicking, you might want to adjust your content.
Bounces A bounce means an email couldn’t be delivered. A hard bounce goes back to the sender because the recipient email address isn’t valid. A soft bounce means the recipient no longer has that email address, their inbox was full, or the email service is down. Check to see if you have too many bounces—if so, evaluate your list so you don’t get in trouble. Our free reports show you an overview of opens, clicks, bounces and more. You can also click further to see maps of where subscribers are clicking, performance advice and social stats.
6. Watch out for trade-show email lists. If you want to send direct, one-to-one emails to contacts you met at a trade show, fine by us. But you can’t just import the trade show’s email list into your MailChimp account and send them all bulk email.
7. Step away from the fishbowl. If you’re collecting business cards in a fishbowl for a prize drawing, you can’t subscribe all those email addresses to your email-marketing list. You can individually contact the people to see if they want to subscribe. Or, if your fish bowl has a giant sign on it that says, “Enter to win a prize, and subscribe for email marketing” then you’re probably okay. Just make sure you send your first campaign to those people soon after the drawing. 10
3. Create the reactivation campaign.
If you’ve ever had a subscription to a magazine, you know that as you approach the end of your subscription, you start getting letters in the mail about renewing. And it’s never just one—you get a series of letters, all designed to move you to action. It may seem like overkill, but research shows that a renewal series is more effective at retaining subscribers than a single notice. Renewals can be lost, thrown away or forgotten in a pile of mail. Sending a renewal series increases the chances that a subscriber will renew, or at least that they’ll make an active decision not to renew.
Now you’re ready to write your email. For the second and third emails in the series, you can segment your list the same way. Subscribers that click to reactivate won’t match the conditions of the segment, so you don’t need to worry about accidentally sending them subsequent renewal notices. Here’s a generic reactivation series. You’re welcome to copy or revise this text for your own reactivation campaigns.
Keeping someone on your email list may not mean that you’ll see additional subscription or advertising revenue. But if the overall engagement of your list affects its deliverability, it makes sense to confirm that inactive subscribers want to be on your list, and to remove subscribers that have lost interest. Plus, if you have a large number of inactive subscribers, you may be spending more money on your campaigns than necessary. The magazine-renewal principle applies to email lists, too: Email can easily get lost in a cluttered inbox, and sending a series of reactivation notices ensures that the subscriber is aware that his subscription is expiring. Here’s how to set up a reactivation campaign:
Subject: Do You Want to Renew Your Subscription? *|FNAME|*, You signed up to receive news and information from *|LIST:COMPANY|*. Would you like to renew your subscription? Please take a moment to indicate your preference below: <a href=”link to your site”>YES, I’d like to continue receiving email from *|LIST:COMPANY|*.</a> <a href=”*|UNSUB|*”>NO, I no longer wish to receive email from *|LIST:COMPANY|*.</a> Thanks, *|LIST:COMPANY|*
1. Choose the segment.
Make sure both conditions apply by selecting match all of the following. We recommend that you target subscribers who have been inactive for at least six months. Member ratings of 1 and 2 represent subscribers who have soft bounced and subscribers who have never opened or clicked. 2. Check link tracking. In the second step of the campaign builder, you’re asked to give your campaign a name, a subject and a few other details. You’ll see tracking preferences in the right column. Make sure you’re tracking opens and clicks. Track Opens and Track HTML Clicks are checked by default, and click tracking is required for free accounts.
Email 2: Subject: Your Subscription to *|LIST:COMPANY|*’s Newsletter Expires Soon *|FNAME|*, We haven’t heard from you about your subscription to *|LIST:COMPANY|*’s newsletter. If you want to be removed from our mailing list, you don’t need to do anything further. If you’d like to continue receiving news and information, please reply by clicking below: <a href=”link to your site”>YES, I’d like to continue receiving email from *|LIST:COMPANY|*.</a> Thanks, *|LIST:COMPANY|* Email 3: Subject: Your Subscription to *|LIST:COMPANY|*’s Newsletter Has Expired *|FNAME|*, Thanks for your interest in receiving *|LIST:COMPANY|*’s newsletter. Your subscription has expired and you have been removed from our mailing list. If you’d like to renew your subscription now or in the future, click the link below: <a href=”link to your site”>YES, I’d like to receive news and information from *|LIST:COMPANY|*.</a> Sincerely, *|LIST:COMPANY|* The first notice just asks if the subscriber wants to continue receiving email. The second notice acknowledges the first and only provides a positive action—the subscriber will be unsubscribed if no action is taken. The third email confirms that no action has been taken and the subscriber will be unsubscribed, while providing one last chance to reactivate. The YES option can link to any page on your site, because simply clicking the link will increase the subscriber’s rating to 3 stars and remove him from the inactive segment. Ideally, you should link to a dedicated page that thanks your subscribers for renewing. It can take up to 24 hours for member ratings to change after subscribers click the link in your reactivation email. The NO option should contain your unsubscribe link, which you can copy above or from any previous campaign you sent. 11
Regardless of the frequency of your regular campaigns, we recommend sending the reactivation series over three weeks, one email a week. That way you won’t overwhelm your subscribers with email, but the series will be frequent enough that the reactivation request will be on their minds. When you’ve completed the series and allowed a week for subscribers to reply to the final email, remove the subscribers that still fit the inactive segment from your MailChimp List.
Remove Inactive Subscribers Once you’ve completed the series, those inactive subscribers aren’t going to remove themselves from you list. Here’s how to remove them: 1. Go to Lists in the MailChimp Dashboard and open the appropriate list. 2. Choose View all. 3. Click Segment and enter the same conditions you used in your reactivation campaign. On the same screen, click download segment to export the segment to a spreadsheet.
A Warning About Reactivation Campaigns Although this is a great tool for managing your list, unsubscribing a large number of list members at once may raise a flag with the MailChimp compliance department. Generally, an excessive unsubscribe rate is indicative of bad behavior, because it means people don’t like what you’re sending them—or they didn’t opt in in the first place. If you’re receiving warnings about a campaign, we want you to be aware of potential problems. At first, just take the warnings as a heads up that something could be wrong with your campaign or list. If your account is suspended, you’ll have to follow the steps outlined in the email and explain your reactivation campaign to the compliance department. We know it’s a pain, and we apologize for the inconvenience if your account is temporarily suspended. But you’re doing the right thing, and we’re glad you’re taking such great care of your list. Email email@example.com with any questions or concerns. Also note that the reactivation process only works for users who have a history of sending with MailChimp. If you import a list and go through this process before sending with MailChimp, chances are that we’ll unsubscribe more list members than you’d like. That’s because there’s a rating system in the app that tracks subscriber activity and engagement, and the engagement data isn’t applied until you’ve sent a few campaigns to your list. The more history you have with sending through MailChimp, the more accurate our engagement data will be. You’re now on your way to a clean and well managed list. If you run into issues along the way, contact our support team at mailchimp.com/support.
4. Click Remove People. Copy and paste the list of addresses you want to remove from the spreadsheet into the removal field and click Unsubscribe.