How To Use Hairball


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Hairball is an Adobe AIR app that allows you to segment your MailChimp lists as much as you'd like, and store those segments on your own computer. This guide explains how to use Hairball, and offers some creative ways to segment your MailChimp lists within Hairball.

What’s inside:
An overview of MailChimp's Hairball app, including:

Creating segments
Nesting segments within Hairball
Segmentation ideas

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How To Use Hairball

  1. 1. How to UseHairball©2001-2011 All rights reserved. MailChimp® is a registered trademark of The Rocket Science Group. 1
  2. 2. Hello.Hairball is an Adobe AIR app that allows you to segment your MailChimplists as much as you’d like, and store those segments on your own com-puter. If MailChimp’s segmentation limits are the only thing preventingyou from running really complex segmentation criteria, then Hairball isyour solution. We put those limits in place for your benefit—if too manycustomers started running extremely complex queries, it would destroy ourservers (and create a hairball of a mess). But we understand the need formore complex segmentation, and that’s why Hairball exists.This guide will explain how to use Hairball. We’ll even give you some ideasfor creative segmentation with the app. 2
  3. 3. Segmenting with Hairball Back in Hairball, you’ll see all your MailChimp lists. Choose the one youTo get started, download Hairball at want to segment, and click Fetch. You’ll need to fetch your lists individu- ally, and downloading the data for large lists might take a minute.Click Connect account at the top-right of the screen. Tell us which accountyou’d like to connect. Now for the fun part. Segment to your heart’s content. To create a seg- ment, click New segment. Name your segment, and choose your criteria, just like you’d segment a list within MailChimp. Create conditions by clicking Add condition.You’ll need your API key, which you can find by logging in to MailChimp:Click Account > API keys and info. If you want to create a segment of Gmail addresses, choose “Email ad- dress contains gmail.” You might even add another condition that says “Email address contains googlemail.” You can choose to match any or all of your conditions. Your condition op- tions are based on the information you gather from your signup forms. Here’s an example of a very…specific segment called “Ball bearing indus- try CEOs w/ funny names whose birthdays are in October.” 3
  4. 4. And here’s a segment based on engagement. The most engaged subscrib-ers named Ben:Add as many conditions and segments as you’d like. The possibilities areendless. When you’re finished segmenting and you’ve saved your hardwork, click Upload to MailChimp.Your segment will be available in MailChimp as a static segment. (You’llnow see “static segment” as an option on the segmentation screen.)When you create a campaign, click Send to segment, select the segmentyou created in Hairball, and send your campaign as you would any otherMailChimp campaign.See? That wasn’t so hard. If you’re interested in nesting segments or usingHairball more creatively, keep reading. 4
  5. 5. Nesting SegmentsMaybe you like using Hairball for extensive segmentation, but you wantto create segments within segments in Hairball, and then import it as onesegment in MailChimp. No problem—Hairball allows nesting. All you haveto do is build two segments and combine them.After you finish creating one of your segments, start another segment. Asone of the conditions, select Hairball segment > member is part of > thesegment you just created.Here are some creative ways to nest segments within Hairball:• Create a segment of subscribers in particular locations who open and click your campaigns, so you can invite them to events. Build a seg- ment based on activity (because you’re looking for people who open and click). From there, narrow down the segment based on address (because you’re looking for people who are located near your event’s location).• Create a segment of inactive subscribers who recently signed up for your list, so you can reach out. Build a segment based on activity. From there, narrow down the segment by date added.• Create percentage-based segments for DIY testing. Build a segment within one of those groups of people who didn’t open or click, to see if new content can entice them to open your email.• Segment by email-address domain for delivery testing. If you think certain domains are causing a delivery problem, create a segment of email addresses that contain suspected bad domains, and narrow it down to people who haven’t opened any of your emails. Then send a campaign to everyone else (member > is not a part of > your new seg- ment) to see if your deliverability improves. If it does, you’ve found the problem.We hope Hairball takes the headache out of segmentation for you—and wehope you got some ideas for creative ways to use the app. Keep an eye onMailChimp Labs for updates and new features. 5