How To Manage Your Email List

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Read this guide online at: http://mailchimp.com/resources/guides/how-to-manage-your-list/

List–management practices can make or break an email–marketing plan. Whether you want to create a list, import an existing list into MailChimp, divide your list into groups or clean up your list, this guide will help you navigate the world of lists and groups.

What’s inside:
Tips on creating, growing and managing your list of subscribers in MailChimp, including:

Determining lists and groups
Creating and importing lists
Building your list
Keeping your list clean
Reactivating your subscribers

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How To Manage Your Email List

  1. 1. How ToManage Your List 1
  2. 2. Table Of ContentsIntroduction ........................................................................................................................................................................................................ 3Determine Your Lists And Groups .......................................................................................................................................................................... 4Create Your List ................................................................................................................................................................................................... 5Import Your List................................................................................................................................................................................................... 6Add Groups To Your List ....................................................................................................................................................................................... 7Build Your List .................................................................................................................................................................................................... 8Keep Your List Clean .......................................................................................................................................................................................... 10 2
  3. 3. Hello.Welcome to MailChimp. We’re glad you’re interested in learning howto properly manage your list, because good list-management practicescan make or break your email-marketing plan. To be a successful emailmarketer, you need to know how to build a list, group your subscribers andmaintain a clean list.Maybe you’re starting a list from scratch. Maybe you already have a listof subscribers in a spreadsheet or Google doc and want to import thatlist into MailChimp. Maybe you’re not sure if you should set up multiplelists or groups. Maybe your list is all set up in MailChimp, and you justneed to know how to divide it into groups, so you don’t end up sendingunnecessary campaigns to certain subscribers. Or maybe you haven’t senta campaign in a while, and you need to know the best way to reactivateyour subscribers.In this guide, we’ll explain all of that. If your questions aren’t addressedhere, feel free to contact our support staff at mailchimp.com/support. 3
  4. 4. Determine Your ListsAnd GroupsBefore you start thinking about managing your MailChimp lists, you havean important decision to make: Do I want one list without groups, morethan one list, or one list with groups?One list, no groupsIf you plan to send only one type of newsletter to one group of people, andyou want every one of your campaigns to go to every one of your subscrib-ers, then you should create one simple list in MailChimp. No need to worryabout segments or groups, since your campaign goes to the same placeevery time.Multiple listsAgencies that send email campaigns for different clients should createa list for each client in MailChimp. That way, your data for one clientdoesn’t co-mingle with data for another. Plus, if one client decides toleave you, you can simply remove the list instead of having to go throughand remove certain subscribers from your general list. You can creategroups within your lists.One list, multiple groupsIf your company plans to send different types of content to differentsegments of your subscriber list, then you should create one list for yourcompany, and divide it into groups based on interest. For example, a non-profit might have separate groups for volunteers, news, board of directorsand more. That way, you won’t bother the board with a volunteer schedule,and you won’t bother your weekly news subscribers with a detailed budgetreport. And of course, you can send to your entire list when a campaignapplies to everyone.Now that you’ve decided how many lists and groups you’re going to create,let’s get started. 4
  5. 5. Create Your ListSince creating a list is the first thing you should do in your MailChimpaccount, we create one for you when you fill out your account information.You can use the list we created for you or follow these two simple steps tocreate a new one. You can go through this process again if you have an-other list to create. We’ll go over how to add groups to your list after this.1. Choose Lists, then click the Create List button on the left.2. Fill out the setup details, making sure you’ve written a Good PermissionReminder. Click Save to finish setting up your list. 5
  6. 6. Import Your ListNow that you’ve got your list all set up, it’s time to import your subscribers 5. Start a list from scratch.into the list. There are four ways to do it: Set up your list with the email address in one column, and any other data1. Upload a CSV file you want to include in separate columns. Like this: Just select the import option you’d like and follow the easy steps. Now that your list is imported we’ll help you set the name and content type for each column—we call it mapping. Use the pull-2. Copy/paste from Excel down menu above each column to set the field name and type. Once you’ve mapped your fields, just click All done to complete the import. After the import, you’ll get to review all of the emails that were or were not added to your list.3. Import directly from other apps like Google Docs, Sales-force, Highrise and more. 6
  7. 7. Add Groups To Your ListMailChimp makes it easy to send targeted email campaigns to groups You can choose the list your groups will be added to, how you would likewithin your list. If you segment to certain groups, you can provide more us to display your group options in your signup form, the title of yourrelevant content than when you send general newsletters to everyone. Here groups field, and the group names.are some different ways you can segment your list with MailChimp:Interest groupsDon’t bother your entire subscriber list with content that only applies tosome of them. For example, a church might send new nursery rules only tothose who signed up for childcare updates.Date addedSend a campaign to new subscribers that missed your last email.LocationUse zip codes or states to send a campaign about an event only to peoplethat live nearby. And with MailChimp’s geolocation, you can even senda targeted campaign to subscribers inside a 150 mile radius around anypoint on the globe, without gathering any extra info on your signup form.BirthdayIf you asked for birthdays on your signup form, you can send special gifts Sending to groupsand offers to subscribers for their birthday month. (You can even pre-schedule this for the whole year.) When you’re ready to send a campaign to a segment of your list, click the big Create campaign button and choose Regular ol’ campaign.Purchase activity Choose your list, and click Send to segment of list.Send an email to people who purchased a particular product from your Now you can specify which group you’d like to send to. Select Group: In-store, or to people who spent a certain amount of money at your store. terested in | one of | category, and MailChimp will only send the campaignBetter yet, send an email to your most loyal customers. All you need is to subscribers in that particular group.MailChimp’s eCommerce360 plugin.Social StatsLearn more about your subscribers and send targeted emails based ongender, age, location and more using MailChimp’s social stats.Add Groups To Your Signup FormYou can add these groups right to your signup form, so people can decide You can also segment the date subscribers were added to your list, wherewhich newsletters they’d like to receive when they sign up for your list. they’re located and more.If you’ve already created a list in MailChimp, go to Lists > Groups > Creategroups from the dropdown menu. 7
  8. 8. Build Your ListIf you just started your business or launched your website, then you might Then click Design it to customize the look and feel of your signup form,not have an email list yet. If you’re starting from scratch, remember that just like you would do in a regular email campaign.it’s more important to grow a clean list than it is to grow a quick list.Ways To Grow Your Opt-in ListHere are some easy ways to reach out to potential subscribers and build aclean opt-in list.1. Place your email newsletter signup form on your com-pany’s homepage.MailChimp offers free signup boxes that you can customize and copy-paste to your website. Here’s how to do that:In the dashboard, click Lists.Then Choose Design signup forms. 2. Link to your signup form from every page of your web- site. You might even add a link to your footer, or side navigation. You can get the link or create the embed code when you design your signup form.With the Build It tab, you can customize your form according to yourneeds. You can add field, including text and number fields, drop-downs,dates, addresses, phone numbers, websites and images. 3. Place a link to your signup form in your email signature. Ask everyone in your company to do the same. 4. Add the link to your signup form to any invoices your company sends. These people are already interested in your company if they’re working with you. Make sure they’re getting your newsletters. 5. Offer free giveaways to lucky newsletter subscribers. It can be a company t-shirt or something fun, like a giant box of candy. 8
  9. 9. 6. Post free articles, guides or whitepapers on your site. Already have a list of customers?Don’t know where to begin? Well, you’re an expert at something—that’s If you already have an email list of customers that you’ve been doingwhy you started a business in the first place. Write about it. Write lots of business with for years, that doesn’t necessarily mean they want to startgood, useful material, and give it a personal tone. Save it as a PDF. receiving your newsletters.Inside your whitepaper, place your own ad for your newsletter. Say you run a small consultancy with a couple dozen clients who are very close to you. If you just assume they want your newsletter and subscribeGive away your knowledge. Post that PDF to your website, your blog, Face- them to your list without permission, then you’re going to irritate a lotbook. Twitter, wherever. Offer it for free, without any registration required. of them (or worse, get yourself reported as a spammer). And it’s kind ofIt’ll get downloaded like crazy, and every reader will see that ad for your awkward for them to have to click the opt-out link in those emails.newsletter. If they like what they’re reading, they’ll probably subscribe—so make sure the content is solid. If you’ve got an e-commerce store, you’re probably sitting on a huge email list of customers who have purchased something from you in the past. ButIf you’ve got a little money to spend, you might want to pay Google for if they didn’t check a box for email marketing, or if you haven’t emailedsome PPC ads that point to your awesome free guide. You can start with a them anything in years, you shouldn’t start sending them emails out of thelow budget and gradually increase it later. This way, you’re buying traffic blue. If only 0.1% of your customers forgot who you are and report yourfor your site—NOT buying emails for your list. campaign as spam, you could get blacklisted.7. Send out personal, one-to-one emails to your clients, So what can you do? It’s simple, but surprisingly few email marketersasking them to sign up for your newsletter. bother. They’re so excited about sending their first campaign that they throw politeness out the door. If you have a list of customer email ad-They might look something like this: dresses, and you want to start sending them email marketing, but you don’t have their permission yet, ask them for permission.Hi George, Send a Re-Introduction EmailIt was great seeing you at the conference last week. I wanted to let youknow that we’ve started an email newsletter to stay in touch with our It’s effective, and best of all, it’s polite. Just put together a personal noteclients and keep them updated on new developments in the industry. I and write it like you’d write to a friend. Here are some examples:think you’ll be interested in the content and would love to have you as asubscriber—just click the link below to sign up. Hi Jane, we’d like to stay in touch with our customers and let them know about new developments in our industry. We started a company newsletter,Thanks! and I’d love to include you as a subscriber. If you’re up for it, just click the link below to opt-in. As our way of thanking you, the Welcome Confir-Elaine mation Email that you receive will include a link to a free whitepaper on...8. In your “Contact Us” form on your website, add a check- Some time ago, you purchased something from our online store (SKU#box to sign up for your newsletter. 98765), and you indicated that you’d like to receive future email promo- tions from us. Well, we’ve finally gotten around to starting up a newsletter,If someone is filling out a contact form, then they’re already interested in and we just want to make sure you still want to hear from us. If you do,your company, and you’re already gathering information from them, so why please click the link below to subscribe...not ask if they’ll subscribe? Earlier this year, you stopped by our booth at the ACME Trade Show in9. Add an “opt-in for our newsletter” checkbox in your e- Chicago. You signed up for more information about when we’d launch ourcommerce checkout page. XYZ app...Same idea here—they already like your products or services, so they’ll You get the idea. Remind these people who you are and how they gotlikely want to hear more about company news and special offers. on your list. And do everything you can to prevent them from mistakenly reporting you for spamming.10. Offer a coupon, discount or special offer to new news-letter subscribers.You can use MailChimp’s Autoresponders to send an automatic welcomeemail with the special offer every time someone subscribes. 9
  10. 10. Keep Your List CleanA clean list is a vital part of email marketing. You should regularly check Monitor Engagement With Campaign Reportsto see if your subscribers are engaged, and if they’re not, either reactivatethem or remove them from your list. Check out these mistakes that email- Unlike print or traditional direct marketing, you can actually track howmarketing rookies often make. many people opened your email campaigns and see what they clicked. Watching your campaign stats is great nerdy fun, but it’s useless if youAvoid These List-management Mistakes: don’t understand how the reports work and what you should be doing with them.1. Don’t send to a really old list. Here are the three most popular stats you’ll see in your reports:It will make ISPs think you bought an old email list from a spammer. Andthat would make you a spammer. Opens2. Never purchase an email list. We track how many people open or view your email campaign and report is as a percentage. An average open rate is somewhere between 20 andThis one’s worth repeating: NEVER purchase an email list. 30%. If your open rate is low, then your subscribers aren’t as engaged as they should be.3. Use the confirmed opt-in method on your signup forms. ClicksThis method sends a confirmation email that the subscriber has to click We track how many people click links in your email campaigns by redirect-in order to complete the subscriber process. If you just use the “single ing them through our server. Regularly check to see if people are clickingopt-in” method, your list is vulnerable to prank submissions, typos and your links after you send out a campaign. If no one’s clicking, you mightspambots that plug in spam trap addresses. want to adjust your content.4. Don’t scrape lists from websites. BouncesAnd don’t assume that you can just add “sales@” or “info@” to the front A bounce means an email couldn’t be delivered. A hard bounce goesof a company’s domain name to reach someone. It only takes one or two back to the sender because the recipient email address isn’t valid. A softspam complaints from these role addresses to get yourself blocked. bounce means the recipient no longer has that email address, their inbox was full, or the email service is down. Check to see if you have too many5. Don’t email everyone in your Outlook address book. bounces—if so, evaluate your list so you don’t get in trouble.It probably contains addresses that you don’t even know are in there, liketech-support contacts from companies you’ve requested help from, com- Our free reports show you an overview of opens, clicks, bounces and more.panies who have sent you email order receipts, friends and family. They You can also click further to see maps of where subscribers are clicking,didn’t sign up for your company’s email list. performance advice and social stats.6. Watch out for trade-show email lists.If you want to send direct, one-to-one emails to contacts you met at atrade show, fine by us. But you can’t just import the trade show’s emaillist into your MailChimp account and send them all bulk email.7. Step away from the fishbowl.If you’re collecting business cards in a fishbowl for a prize drawing, youcan’t subscribe all those email addresses to your email-marketing list. Youcan individually contact the people to see if they want to subscribe. Or, ifyour fish bowl has a giant sign on it that says, “Enter to win a prize, andsubscribe for email marketing” then you’re probably okay. Just make sureyou send your first campaign to those people soon after the drawing. 10
  11. 11. Reactivate Subscribers 3. Create the reactivation campaign.If you’ve ever had a subscription to a magazine, you know that as you Now you’re ready to write your email. For the second and third emails inapproach the end of your subscription, you start getting letters in the mail the series, you can segment your list the same way. Subscribers that clickabout renewing. And it’s never just one—you get a series of letters, all to reactivate won’t match the conditions of the segment, so you don’t needdesigned to move you to action. It may seem like overkill, but research to worry about accidentally sending them subsequent renewal notices.shows that a renewal series is more effective at retaining subscribers than Here’s a generic reactivation series. You’re welcome to copy or revise thisa single notice. Renewals can be lost, thrown away or forgotten in a pile text for your own reactivation campaigns.of mail. Sending a renewal series increases the chances that a subscriberwill renew, or at least that they’ll make an active decision not to renew. Email 1:Keeping someone on your email list may not mean that you’ll see ad- Subject: Do You Want to Renew Your Subscription?ditional subscription or advertising revenue. But if the overall engagement *|FNAME|*, You signed up to receive news and information fromof your list affects its deliverability, it makes sense to confirm that inactive *|LIST:COMPANY|*. Would you like to renew your subscription?subscribers want to be on your list, and to remove subscribers that have Please take a moment to indicate your preference below: <a href=”link tolost interest. Plus, if you have a large number of inactive subscribers, you your site”>YES, I’d like to continue receiving email frommay be spending more money on your campaigns than necessary. The *|LIST:COMPANY|*.</a> <a href=”*|UNSUB|*”>NO, I no longer wish tomagazine-renewal principle applies to email lists, too: Email can easily get receive email fromlost in a cluttered inbox, and sending a series of reactivation notices en- *|LIST:COMPANY|*.</a> Thanks,sures that the subscriber is aware that his subscription is expiring. Here’s *|LIST:COMPANY|*how to set up a reactivation campaign: Email 2:1. Choose the segment. Subject: Your Subscription to *|LIST:COMPANY|*’s Newsletter Expires Soon *|FNAME|*, We haven’t heard from you about your subscription to *|LIST:COMPANY|*’s newsletter. If you want to be removed from our mail- ing list, you don’t need to do anything further. If you’d like to continue receiving news and information, please reply by clicking below: <a href=”link to your site”>YES, I’d like to continue receiving email from *|LIST:COMPANY|*.</a> Thanks, *|LIST:COMPANY|*Make sure both conditions apply by selecting match all of the following. Email 3:We recommend that you target subscribers who have been inactive for atleast six months. Member ratings of 1 and 2 represent subscribers who Subject: Your Subscription to *|LIST:COMPANY|*’s Newsletter Has Expiredhave soft bounced and subscribers who have never opened or clicked. *|FNAME|*, Thanks for your interest in receiving *|LIST:COMPANY|*’s newsletter. Your subscription has expired and you have been removed from2. Check link tracking. our mailing list. If you’d like to renew your subscription now or in the future, click theIn the second step of the campaign builder, you’re asked to give your link below: <a href=”link to your site”>YES, I’d like to receive news andcampaign a name, a subject and a few other details. You’ll see tracking information frompreferences in the right column. Make sure you’re tracking opens and *|LIST:COMPANY|*.</a> Sincerely,clicks. Track Opens and Track HTML Clicks are checked by default, and *|LIST:COMPANY|*click tracking is required for free accounts. The first notice just asks if the subscriber wants to continue receiving email. The second notice acknowledges the first and only provides a posi- tive action—the subscriber will be unsubscribed if no action is taken. The third email confirms that no action has been taken and the subscriber will be unsubscribed, while providing one last chance to reactivate. The YES option can link to any page on your site, because simply clicking the link will increase the subscriber’s rating to 3 stars and remove him from the inactive segment. Ideally, you should link to a dedicated page that thanks your subscribers for renewing. It can take up to 24 hours for member ratings to change after subscribers click the link in your reactiva- tion email. The NO option should contain your unsubscribe link, which you can copy above or from any previous campaign you sent. 11
  12. 12. Regardless of the frequency of your regular campaigns, we recommend A Warning About Reactivation Campaignssending the reactivation series over three weeks, one email a week. Thatway you won’t overwhelm your subscribers with email, but the series will Although this is a great tool for managing your list, unsubscribing a largebe frequent enough that the reactivation request will be on their minds. number of list members at once may raise a flag with the MailChimp com- pliance department. Generally, an excessive unsubscribe rate is indicativeWhen you’ve completed the series and allowed a week for subscribers to of bad behavior, because it means people don’t like what you’re sendingreply to the final email, remove the subscribers that still fit the inactive them—or they didn’t opt in in the first place. If you’re receiving warningssegment from your MailChimp List. about a campaign, we want you to be aware of potential problems. At first, just take the warnings as a heads up that something could be wrong withRemove Inactive Subscribers your campaign or list. If your account is suspended, you’ll have to follow the steps outlined in the email and explain your reactivation campaign toOnce you’ve completed the series, those inactive subscribers aren’t going the compliance department. We know it’s a pain, and we apologize for theto remove themselves from you list. Here’s how to remove them: inconvenience if your account is temporarily suspended. But you’re doing the right thing, and we’re glad you’re taking such great care of your list.1. Go to Lists in the MailChimp Dashboard and open the appropriate list. Email compliance@mailchimp.com with any questions or concerns.2. Choose View all. Also note that the reactivation process only works for users who have a history of sending with MailChimp. If you import a list and go through this3. Click Segment and enter the same conditions you used in your reactiva- process before sending with MailChimp, chances are that we’ll unsub-tion campaign. On the same screen, click download segment to export the scribe more list members than you’d like. That’s because there’s a ratingsegment to a spreadsheet. system in the app that tracks subscriber activity and engagement, and the engagement data isn’t applied until you’ve sent a few campaigns to your list. The more history you have with sending through MailChimp, the more accurate our engagement data will be. You’re now on your way to a clean and well managed list. If you run into issues along the way, contact our support team at mailchimp.com/support.4. Click Remove People. Copy and paste the list of addresses you want toremove from the spreadsheet into the removal field and click Unsubscribe. 12

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