How to Use MailChimp to Grow Your Brand
When you woke up this morning I know what you were saying to yourself: “Hey you devilishly attractive person you, I wonder if there are 11 features of MailChimp that can help you build your brand?” This was followed by: “I wonder if Regina will be so kind as to talk about them on her blog today and discuss how to use MailChimp as a blog or brand owner.”
Well guess what? I will be so kind.
I’ve fallen in love with 11 uses/features of MailChimp and the 700,000 benefits they offer to brands . . . and I want to talk about them today . . . as well as give away a little sumthin’ sumthin’. (I hope someone started singing Maxwell in their head just now.)
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’ll mark which is which below. But, two things to keep in mind here: (1) Paid accounts start at only $10/month, (P.S. this is not an ad or a sponsored post) and (2) Stay tuned for a Regina-sponsored giveaway–as in, I love it so much I’m paying for it out of my own pocket, and (3) I can’t count, get over it: Some of these paid features are SO helpful for building your brand that the monthly fee will really be an investment in your business if you decide to go for it.
11 Crazy Amazing Features and Benefits of MailChimp
I’m not gonna bore you with details such as the awesome themes that you can start with (if you’re not super into design) or how you can make templates of your own out of your designs to save you time when you send out emails, I’m gonna tell you about the crazy useful features I don’t think people use enough. What am I basing these thoughts on? Intuition and a few conversations. I have no idea if that’s reliable enough for you or not, but please check out these cool features and ideas on how to use MailChimp anyways.
1. RSS to Email
Totally FREE, my friends.
So, it’s 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. Booooo, I say unto you other software programs.
I started my RSS-to-email list after a lovely friend+reader asked for a way to get my posts via email. She doesn’t use Feedly or Bloglovin’, and she was so sweet to say 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’s allz ya have to do:
- 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, friends.
So yeah, this is a super cool 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 super, duper handy for those of us with physical locations to use in store/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.” –Thus sayeth MailChimp
So, whether at a workshop or at your store, 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, y’all.
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 store, you can email only those people. Tres tres easy, y’all. (Imagine that in a French Texan accent. Thanks.)
4. Delivery by Time Zone
Available with a paid account.
Soooo, when I send out an email at 11 a.m. Austin, Texas time, my friend Jessica (@JessicaSays__) gets it at 5 p.m. in London, and my other crazy+cool friend Jess (@JustJessMay) gets the email at 1 a.m. in her local time (as in: the next day) in Western Australia. This is not optimal, eh? Instead, I can create my email and select to send it at 8 a.m. in every single time zone. Jessica opens it at 8:01 a.m. in London, and the other Jessica opens it at 8:01 a.m. in Bunbury. Win-win-win.
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. This my friends is brilliant–well, full disclosure, I’ve never used send time optimization, but thought it was worth a mention.
5. Design for Really Smart People Who are Design Challenged
Le FREE; naturally.
A picture is worth a whole lotta words. I think that’s the phrase. But I’m gonna say words anyway, to accompany my picture below. You can add images, buttons, social media links, custom code, and cool dividers to your emails with just a click, drag + drop.
6. Collabable (as in Collaboration or Client Management is Possible)
This is FREE as well; are you getting tired of hearing that?
So you want to manage social media and emails for clients? Well, 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, or, here’s a good one . . . use collaboration to work with other people in your own small business and split some of the email duties. Get crazy with it. I won’t tell anyone.
Available with a paid account. My FAVORITE feature ever.
I’m about to make you a star. Get your spirit fingers ready, or your jazz hands, whatever movie reference works best for you right now.
Sooooo many options to make you a star, by the way. Let’s see. Do you want to automatically send an amazing 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 my friends. Not your cup of tea? Okay, moving on.
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? Please say you’re catching the vision with me. No? I’ve got more.
Maybe you want to send an amazing 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.
8. A/B Testing
FREEsy peasy, yo. People say that, right?. I think it’s cool.
So you’re torn between two subject lines for your email, or you’re 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 sleepy hours to help reinvigorate them . . . well, 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%). Did you hear me? Is that not brills? It’s also completely free. Let’s do better about testing our options, yo. This was made for you commitmentphobes out there.
9. Social Pro
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.
10. Amazing Amount of Guidance
More FREE stuff for the people.
MailChimp has an abnormally large amount of DIY, tutorial, and help files available. I’m serious. They have several free eBooks to make you epic at email, then they have a whole “design reference” library to make you awesome at design concepts within email, and you can also easily find tons of tutorial videos and independent bloggers who show you how to do cool stuff with MailChimp. Srrrsly. Just Google it.
11. Inbox Inspection
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 extra wonky 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.
BUT, that’s not the end of the coolness. 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.
12. MAILCHIMP IMPROVES MY T-SHIRT GAME
Apparently I enjoy sharing my tees on Instagram (proof below). If this was the late 90s, I think I would be obligated to say that “I’m just keeping it real,” or something like that, by wearing so many tees. Well, MailChimp upped my t-shirt game when I upgraded my account by sending me an official shirt (photo on left). Oh, and if you want some Geek is Gangster in your life (photo on right), head over to Antisparkle.
I’m sorry y’all, but before I get to my little giveaway, my brother (@LemTheLawyer) really wanted me to tell you “There’s no monkeying around with how useful MailChimp is,” or something like that. It’s
painfully cheesy such a great idea bro. So funny.
NOW FOR A SMALL GIVEAWAY: I want a brand owner like yourself to make the jump to MailChimp’s pro accounts (yes, you and I both get $30 in MailChimp money if you sign up with that link–affiliation in the house) because I truly believe they have some crazy amazing features.
I couldn’t find any MailChimp gift cards . . . what is that about? However, there is a little thing called PayPal (not sure you’ve heard of it, so here’s the link), and I’m sending one of you $25 so that you can try the advanced MailChimp accounts for a month or two (or more, depending on the account you get). Allz you have to do is leave a comment on this post to enter. In 72 hours (Saturday, November 22 at 8 a.m. UTC -6 time) I’m selecting a comment at random and letting you know you’ve won–and asking for your PayPal email address. That’s it.
The intention is for you to use it on MailChimp, but if you decide to blow it in Vegas, or invest in a few coffee beverages, this is a judgement free zone.
iPad mockup: Marcel Neumann
image on iPad: moi