We don’t claim to be email-marketing experts, but in experimenting with MailChimp for our own emails we’ve learned a lot. We think you’ll find these tips helpful:
Clean the data
Our list had been developed over a number of years and comprised of people who had verbally agreed to be added to it, but we had no written record to prove this. Therefore we asked everyone to opt-in to the new list to ensure we complied with GDPR. However it also ensured that we now had a group of people who were definitely interested in hearing from us and therefore more likely to engage with the content.
Don’t look at the numbers: Trying to build up a huge list of subscribers can be a bit of a vanity exercise but remember: if a large chunk of your subscribers are not really interested in what you are sending them, how useful is it (for you or them) to keep sending them stuff?
Subject lines – not an afterthought
Don’t forget that most recipients of your emails won’t see your beautiful design or read your creative prose as they won’t even open the email. How many times have you deleted an email without even opening it? Your subject line is the first point at which you can grab your audience’s attention (or lose it entirely).
Be specific and targetted
We wanted our emails to provide genuinely helpful content rather than being a collection of news stories in a ‘newsletter’ format. So we created a number of useful subjects and split the list into ‘segments’ that our subscribers could select from. Subscribers only opt-in once to this list (making it easier to unsubscribe should they wish), and they can change their preferences whenever they want to allow them to control the content they receive. This approach allows us to produce far more tailored content and further improves our open/click rates.
There is an added bonus as well: Mailchimp’s free account is limited to 2000 subscribers and each name in each list counts as a subscriber, even if it is the same person. So one list with several segments means you can develop a larger subscriber base before you run into the limit of the free account.
Your emails should be easy to navigate and attractive so that people will be interested in reading on. Long emails of badly worded or poorly laid-out copy will put people off and the same principles that apply to all other forms of graphic design apply here as well:
- Good quality imagery
- Adequate white space to make the content inviting
- A well thought out design that makes the content easy to scan and attracts the viewer to read more
- Clearly defined headings and bullet points to ease navigation
- A clear call-to-action. i.e what do you want them to do next?
MailChimp has a wide range of pre-designed templates to help you, as well as a flexible ‘Drag and drop’ editor so you can create your own template (which is what we currently use). If you are considering using them then we can help with the graphics you may need, or by providing general advice about the templating system. Give us a call and we’d be happy to discuss it with you.
Call to action
Remember your email is intended to do one thing – get the recipient to act, such as:
- To contact you
- Visit your website
- Book onto your event
- Sign up to a new programme you’re offering, etc
Pixooma emails are only ever used to encourage the recipient to visit our website to view an article (like this one), a blog, a case study or other useful information. We’re not interested in a hard sell, our emails are there to inform and educate, which raises our profile and hopefully long term will lead to an increase in enquiries.
This is difficult to get right and will vary from market to market. For our emails, the frequency is different for each of the four subjects. If a subscriber chooses all of the subjects they’ll get a different email every week which could be seen as a lot, but we felt, in this case, there’d be an expectation that they’d hear from us fairly often. We will continue to monitor each email campaign and see if there are any patterns or changes in behaviour though that could indicate that we need to change the frequency.
This is key in all marketing of course, but for emails, it is so easy to do. Mailchimp’s reporting tools provide a wealth of information on open rates, who clicked what, subscribes, and a lot more.
Get in touch
Obviously, we can help with any graphics you may need in your own campaigns, and if Mailchimp’s own drag and drop templating system is too restrictive for you we can design and build custom templates for you as well, but we’d also be happy to help with general advice in using Mailchimp, because we’ve become rather familiar with it over the last few months.