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#CoolToolTuesday – Reach the Masses with MailChimp

MailChimp_for_Marketing_emailsEven if you aren’t a regular Serial listener, you may have heard of the online email service MailChimp, which is one of the most utilized email marketing platforms around.

MailChimp allows users to design and send emails with easy step-by-step instructions, customize them with multiple options, and measure their success with in-depth tracking.

Best of all? Basic features are free for lists with up to 2,000 subscribers, making it a great solution for small and midsize businesses looking to establish more sophisticated email campaigns. There are even more options for paid subscribers, with options based on list size and starting at $1/month. (Larger organizations may prefer a full marketing automation suite like HubSpot or Bronto.)

Here are just a few of “MailKimp” features I couldn’t live without:

A/B TESTING

I am a firm believer that every marketing email you send should include an A/B test. Although there are standard features for campaigns (message, logo, CTA), there are many factors that vary by audience. The only way to find out works best for your brand is to do thorough split testing.

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Available with a paid subscription, MailChimp’s A/B testing guides you along the process, suggesting tests like delivery times, “from” names, and subject lines as well as giving you options on how to split the test recipients. This way newbies can dip their toes into A/B testing or more outrageous ideas can be carefully tried out.

REPORTS

Each email campaign comes with a report that tracks different elements over time. Performance, trends, click maps, and even opens-by-location are available in reports.

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(As you can see, I’m pretty big in the Dominican Republic. Maybe you’ve seen my emails?)

In addition to providing basic stats for each reported item, MailChimp also includes interactive graphs like the click map. A personal favorite of mine, this map charts where subscribers clicked in each email along with the total percentage of clicks.

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This is extremely useful for interpreting user behavior. Are their eyes drawn to the logo in the corner? Or are they scrolling all the way to the bottom before they leave the email? Do they prefer pictures or text links? Learn from your subscriber’s habits to better serve them in email campaigns.

Another feature I find useful is the Bounce Report, which looks at emails that bounced and tells you why. A soft bounce may be due to a full inbox while a hard bounce is caused by a false address. But don’t despair! Mailchimp automatically keeps your list clean by purging hard bounces from your email list.

AUTOMATION

Another advanced user feature is automated emails. MailChimp can help you set up and regulate these emails, which are triggered when customers take certain actions.

Instant welcome emails can be sent to new subscribers or first-time buyers, and reminder emails can prompt users to return to your site when they abandon their carts. Add in event announcements and integrated service deals like Shopify and PayPal and you’ve got a completely self-run follow-up service.

MORE TO EXPLORE

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There are many more features I haven’t mentioned here – including inbox inspections, personalization, social integration, and customized design. MailChimp is one of the strongest tools for small to medium digital retailers. So if you’re not currently using it, what are you waiting for? This is your moment of glory! (See above.)