How to Win with MailChimp Email Workflows

Jan 17th, 2018 Marketing, Technology

Converting leads into opportunities can be a long process even for a small business. One easy and effective way to do that is running trickle email campaigns to new leads. In MailChimp ( the service this article will focus on ) those are called automations. An automation can be triggered by a number of different factors but we'll be discussing triggering automations based on MailChimp groups.

A blanket workflow for all leads would be better than nothing, but to really win with MailChimp automations we need to segment our list into interest groups. According to MailChimp marketing statistics, segmented list campaigns have a 10% higher open rate, a 74% higher click-through rate and a 25% lower unsubscribe rate than unsegmented campaigns. Now, we're talking about automations here, which are not exactly traditional campaigns, but the same human behaviors still apply. There's a very simple human truth at work here. People engage with content they're interested in. Pretty simple. So how does Kicks use a lead's interest in a service we provide and deliver relevant content?

Identifying Groups

Most of this article is step-by-step instructions, but the first, and arguably most important task, is figuring out your buckets. The best way to get started is looking over a list of the services or products you provide. Depending on your business, this list could get long pretty quickly. Narrow it down to three services to start. This can be your three most important services, the services with longer buy cycles, your three most profitable services, etc... Once you have your three, navigate to your MailChimp email list and select "Manage Contacts -> Groups" then "Create Groups" and give the group category a name like "Interests." Finally, add in the titles of your three groups.

Creating Content

Here's where you realize why we cut our number of lists to three to get started. We need content for four emails per interest group so you can see how that can become a cumbersome amount of worky. We'll assume you actively blog on your website about your interest groups in some capacity. That content can be recycled for these emails. If you don't blog, which you should, then you'll need to create twelve emails worth of engaging content. That's not to see there won't be some overlap, but it needs to be four unique topics, 200 to 300 words, per interest group. Most importantly is an eye-catching subject. Your content won't matter if your subject line doesn't pique enough interest to get someone to open it.

All the emails should follow a similar approach, "You have a pain and we have a painkiller." Briefly describe the pain and then how your product or service relieves that pain always focusing on driving the reader to your call-to-action. The ultimate goal of the automation is to get the reader to fill out a form on your website or call your number so make sure the goal for each email aligns with that.

One thing to keep in mind when writing content is to make sure it's engaging for your audience/leads. Just because your interest group spawns from a service or product you provide doesn't mean its the most engaging for your customer base. Make the group more focused on the outcome if that's the case.

Email Design

Just like a landing page on a website these emails need to be very focused on reader conversation. The email should be very simple, text-heavy design with a noticeable call-to-action button. There shouldn't be many outbound links outside of the call-to-action button. Our automation emails, for example, are our logo at the top, black text on a white background. The footer will have to include some standard information in compliance with the CAN-SPAM Act, but that's okay.

Setup the Workflow Automations

You'll complete this step three times. Once for every interest group you've assigned. Because this article is more content focused we'll leave the setup basics to MailChimp. Click here to view a step-by-step guide to setting up an automation campaign. The part we'll go over is setting up the initiating triggers. When we're setting up the first email of the automation we'll want to use the "List Management -> Joins List Group" trigger. Clicking that will reveal a drop-down containing the interest groups we entered previously. Select the appropriate interest group for the current automation. All subsequent emails in the automation should be triggered by "Subscribers are sent previous email." The delay between emails depends on what you think is best for your potential customer base. Make sure that they aren't too short as to annoy your readers or too long that they've forgotten who you are.

Automation for Your Automation

The final piece to our automation is assigning interest groups to the contacts in your MailChimp email list. There are two ways to do that, manually or automatically. Whenever possible we lean towards automatically. We auto-segment new contacts into MailChimp based WordPress post categories. Our post categories in WordPress mirror our interest groups in MailChimp. If a reader signs up to learn more when reading an article we translate the WordPress category to the MailChimp interest group. Not only are they subscribed to our newsletter, they're also enrolled in the appropriate automation. If a user already exists in MailChimp their record is updated to reflect this interest.

Keep in mind that just because this article focused on automations with MailChimp doesn't mean the same principles won't work with other email automation software. We use WordPress and MailChimp because they serve us better than any other software does. Read this for more information on why we choose WordPress.

If you're interested in learning more about MailChimp automations or how we can help you get the most out of your leads, just ask us.

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