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How can small businesses use MailChimp to maximum effect?

Are you interested in making the most of your email list?

Although A to Z isn’t a marketing company – running a business always involves some element of marketing – and for us, 2018 is going to see a large chunk of that marketing effort spent getting our email strategy right.

We’ve spent a long time researching and putting together a plan of how we’ll use MailChimp to maximise our email marketing activity – and we’d like to share with you our 10 best tips, tricks and hints that will help you get the most from what’s already and excellent and industry leading tool…

1. Consistency

When you receive communication from any large organisation it’s usually obvious who it’s come from – there’s a logo, a colour scheme and sometimes even a typeface or way of writing that is familiar – your bank is a likely to be a good example.

When thinking about consistency for your mailshots, you need to think, as a minimum, about doing the following:

  • Always include your logo in a consistent position at the top of the email

  • Find an email layout that works for you – and stay with it

  • Stick to a typeface and font that’s clear and professional

  • Choose 2 or 3 brand colours and stick with them

You may or may not have the marketing power of the big familiar brands – but that doesn’t mean you can’t emulate their methods. Even if customers don’t recognise your brand now, making sure you apply your marketing messages in a consistent format will raise awareness – even if it’s unconsciously.

2. Make subscribing to social channels easy

You can’t email everyone 20 times a day – but the chances are a lot of your customers will be picking their phone up that frequently, often checking their social media accounts.

You can take advantage of this by making sure you have social media icons that give people a shortcut to your business pages – making it easy for them to follow you – and making it easier for you to find your way into people’s newsfeeds for maximum exposure.

3. Give something away for free

It’s a good old fashioned rule of marketing that’s never gone away - people like something free – so if there’s an indication that you’re parting with a gift or an offer for people who read your email, you can expect to see your ‘open’ rates go through the roof.

4. Use effective words

Creating effective words for your email campaigns is a must. The way we read on the internet is very different to the way we consume other written material – with over 70% of us admitting to a preference for skim-reading.

As such, your Mailchimp emails shouldn’t be too text heavy – and where there’s text needed, headings, subheadings and lists help people pick out the information that’s important. Of course, that also means you’ll be able to make the most important sales messages the most prominent too…

5. People love video

2017 saw the popularity of video content increase at an enormous rate – with platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn prioritising video content over almost everything else – in response to changing user habits. 2018 is underway – and the trend doesn’t show any signs of slowing down.

Video is more difficult to shoot than a quick snap of your offices or products – but customers consider it more trustworthy and engaging – they’re also 90% more likely to click on a video preview than any other link in a MailChimp email, so it’s worth your effort putting a relevant video into the mix.

6. Preview

Take time to check!

MailChimp offers you the chance to preview your email prior to clicking the ‘send’ button.

It’s really important you check and double check your email before it goes out – not just to make sure your text is accurate and reads well – but to make sure the elements you’ve designed have the visual impact you were hoping for.

Not so sure? Go back and tweak it, customers will only read if the email is visually appealing.

7. Split test to see what’s working

Internet marketing experts never underestimate the value of ‘split testing’ material they put out to customers.

Split testing essentially breaks your audience into two or more chunks – with one getting one version of your email – and the others getting a slightly different version. As a result, you find out which version of your message performed the best – and you can use the information to improve the performance of subsequent emails.

MailChimp allows you to split test changes in virtually any element – from subject lines, to banners, text and images – meaning you get to learn what your customers prefer to see.

8. Take advantage of automation and optimising for time

MailChimp looks at a huge number of business and audience factors to give you an idea of when it would be best to send your email. They base their recommendations on masses of customer interaction information they collect from the millions of mailshots they facilitate each month.

You might find that 9am on a Monday morning is a prime time for people to read your information – although if you’re anything the team here at A to Z, Monday morning is an extremely busy time. The good news is, you don’t have to miss this window of opportunity.

Instead, schedule your mailshot to be sent at a time that suits your customers – not your coffee break!

9. Make unsubscribing easy

Now, it might sound counterproductive to say you should make it as easy as possible for your customers to opt out of your future mailing – but if you want to keep you reputation in one piece, it’s a good step to make sure they can unsubscribe when they wish.

2018 sees EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) come into practice for UK businesses – and if you’re not using customer’s data in the way they ask you to, the new levels of fine promise to really make your eyes water. Be careful – and keep your customers in control of what they receive.

10. Talk to MailChimp

The final piece of advice is based around where to find more great advice! When we’ve run into issues or needed help in the past, MailChimp’s customer support team have been absolutely excellent – replying quickly and helping us get the job done effectively.

If you need their help, give them a shout – you really won’t be disappointed at the level of support you receive.

What are your thoughts?

This list is based on our team’s experience of working with MailChimp – if you disagree, or you’ve got anything to add – we’d love to hear about it!

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