OPINION: Create your first MailChimp campaign

DURBAN  – In the previous two parts of this series I’ve looked at how to avoid being blacklisted as a spammer and the importance of obtaining consent to market to your prospects. In this final instalment, I’m covering the leading email marketing solution, MailChimp. Using a tool like this ensures your messages are delivered efficiently and enables you to monitor the success of your campaigns.

Social Media: Some of you may be wondering why anyone would bother with email marketing in the age of social media?

While each of these platforms offer benefits that may well suit your brand, campaign or target demographic, one of the strengths of email marketing is that you own the list. Once you have built a list of consenting subscribers, nobody can take them away. I have seen businesses spend years and lots of money gathering Facebook likes and contacts, only to lose them over some technical issue, change or dispute. Social media is a good supplementary marketing tool, but when building a contact list, get an email address too.

MailChimp: Getting started with MailChimp (www.mailchimp.com) couldn’t be simpler, even if you’re an amateur and creativity-challenged. You’ll be surprised how professional the output is. Signing up for an account is straightforward. Simply click “Sign Up Free” on the above website and follow the humorous prompts to choose a user name and password. Start with the free plan which allows up to 2 000 subscribers (consenting email contacts). The set-up process takes you through questions about your business and any existing email lists you may have – you can adjust these answers later if needed.

Once you’ve completed these steps, you can create your first campaign, or you can import any email lists you already have permission to market to. MailChimp’s term for these users is “subscribers”. They can be imported from standard file formats or you can copy and paste them from a spreadsheet. Once you have contacts loaded, click “Campaigns” and then “Create Campaign”. From here, it’s a simple case of following MailChimp’s prompts to guide you through each step of crafting the perfect message. There are various options to track how many times your email is opened or clicked.

MailChimp is a very visual and ­graphic-friendly product. 

You can create impressive, eye-catching campaigns by tweaking the built-in templates. I recommend you test your messages on a few friends first. Remember, it’s important to match your campaigns to your brand and ethos. You also want readers to keep coming back for more, so don’t overwhelm them in one email. They may not be ready to buy right now, but by being regularly in view you’re ensuring they think of you first when they are.

There are lots of great online guides to help you get more out of MailChimp. For a complete beginner’s guide go to https://tinyurl.com/bg2mc2019 and MailChimp’s own Getting Started guide is at https://tinyurl.com/gswmc2019.

If you have any questions or feedback, please let me know. See you next week.


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