Why Mailchimp? Part 1

While investigating Mailchimp, I read that the company never paid out benefits from profit to its employees. Said differently, they were never a profit-sharing company. This made me feel a bit blah about them since I recently found out that profit sharing is actually quite common in some countries such as France.

Mailchimp was sold to software company Intuit Inc. for a cool 12 billion dollars in the fall of 2021. We can therefore say that the two founders, Ben Chestnut and Dan Kurzius, have done very well for themselves. Indeed, they are now extra rich. Or quite possibly filthy rich if you prefer. I guess you could say they deserved it because Ben and Dan really believed in their vision and this product. Indeed, they’ve been involved with the company since the start and never took any venture capital investments.

What is Mailchimp?

Taking a look at their website, Mailchimp is…

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is not-sure-where-to-start-mailchimp.png
Is Mailchimp the right choice for you?



…everything?

At first glance, it is not really clear what they do. Since I used it in the past, I’ll share my opinion.

It is (or it used to be) an online tool to send emails in bulk, mainly newsletters. It feels recent when they also added the option to create simple web pages with sign-ups. A web page that has signup is a simple page with one goal: make people sign up for something and leave their email. This information is then stored on the Mailchimp platform.

Careful with pricing

Next, there is pricing. Honestly, I find it confusing. Numbers are not my strengths per se, so I definitely must remain attentive when studying them. There is a free and a paid version and the subscription scheme is based on the number of subscribers you have. Attention though! There is a specific way in which they count your subscribers.

Study their pricing scheme so you don’t get extra bills. Nowadays they also have something called The Legacy Plan so make sure you are certain about what you need and how much it is going to cost you.

It’s not just Mailchimp, most online platforms have started calculating prices “tailored” to you, solutions which are generally just something they set up (I would assume) to hit their financial goals. An advantage of this technique is also that it makes it easier to hide pricing from the competition.

Other questions and details on what Mailchimp is & isn’t, why it could benefit you, and in which case I wouldn’t recommend it, will come up in the next article, Is Mailchimp the right choice for you? Part 2.

Sources: https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/small-biz/entrepreneurship/investors-predicted-mailchimps-demise-it-sold-for-12-billion/articleshow/86358507.cms

Avoid common Mailchimp problems

Do you have problems when using Mailchimp? I certainly experienced some, from its steep learning curve to more specific issues such as emails going to the spam folder. I did a little Google research to see what kind of problems internet searchers run into. In this article, I will be describing a few of the common Mailchimp problems people have and how to avoid them.

Mailchimp problem °1: too many lists 

1.

The best amount of lists to use in Mailchimp is 1. It avoids the duplication of contacts (subscribers) and with it, extra costs because the subscription is set up so that you pay for each subscriber on each list. Therefore, one subscriber that is included on two lists counts as two subscribers, at least in terms of subscription costs. In essence, you will pay for 1 subscriber twice which doesn’t make sense. Instead, create just 1 but well segmented list (source: organic web) 

Additionally, once a subscriber unsubscribes from your emails, you are not allowed to send them any more emails. This means that you have to remove them manually from all lists where this subscriber exists unless you want to pay a fine. If you send them another mail, you are infringing the law about spam and you may get a big fine. Its amount depends on the country and each has its own institutions and definition of what spam is. In general, follow the principle of “unwanted” mail that I described in my post about Mailchimp emails going to spam.

In short, it’s an email the receiver does not find valuable. But get yourself familiarized with how it is defined to avoid any unwanted situations or costs. 

Problem °2: Mailchimp servers are down

If you find your account isn’t working or emails aren’t sending, you may want to bookmark the following link: the Twitter account of Mailchimp’s server problems. On it, you will find updates with server problems that can cause technical difficulties. It is definitely a useful resource when you’ve spent some time worrying that the problem is you. Well, sometimes it’s them 😊. 

Mailchimp problem °3: you didn’t customize things  

Signup forms, the sender’s name, and a professional email account are just some of the things that people don’t set up when they start using the tool. However, it will serve you well to set these things up before you hit the ground running.  

I recommend you follow Monica Hemingway’s advice on the topic, specifically topics 2 through 5.

A quick resume: 

  • Welcome your subscribers personally a.k.a. customize your confirmation/welcome email 

Just like welcoming someone to your home, greet a new subscriber with warmth and your (company’s) personality. It feels nicer and looks good for your brand. 

A perfect example of this is Headspace:

  • Make the sender a personalized persona from the company 

If a customer is used to communicating with actual people at the company, it’s nice to have that “person” sending newsletters. Therefore, it’s not mailchimp@contact… but Susan from Mailchimp that appears as the sender.

Mailchimp problem °4: lacking credibility 

  • Use a professional email address 

No gmail, aol, yahoo or hotmail endings, the domain should be your company’s. Ideally, you’ll have a website to match the email domain name to add on credibility even before the person starts receiving information from you.  

It’s something I’d put in the “lacking common sense” category but on second thought, it may not be first nature to think of that for everyone. So, keep this in mind for whenever you have the option and obtain a professional email address and send your emails from there.  

Extra tips:

  • Do not use text inside image blocks (it messes up how the emails previews)  
  • Do not use too much text (less is more) 

Good luck with your Mailchimp endeavors!

Mailchimp problem: emails go to the spam folder

One problem that can arise while using Mailchimp is that some emails end up in the spam filter. If we take a look at what people search for on Google for this topic, we can see a variety of phrases that describe the same problem: emails go to the spam folder.  

In the screenshot above, you can see the different ways in which people search for the subject of emails going to spam.  

These phrases show the intent of the researcher; (s)he wants to know how to prepare or better yet, avoid the problem of emails going to the junk folder, by doing a “mailchimp spam test” for example. 

Other searches are related to tools used (such as Outlook). 

Searches related to the phrase “mailchimp spam”

We also get a whole lot of similar searches for this, so it seems like it’s a common problem to have.  

What is spam? 

First, what can we do when we have this incredibly annoying situation where our emails fall into the junkfolder? Indeed, around 21% of legitimate emails arrive in the spam folder.  

Different practices have been put in place to satisfy the user (person receiving the email) and reduce inbox irrelevance. Both providers, sellers, and other businesses need to be following this issue up close.  

Simply put, spam is any mail that makes you click the delete button while thinking:  

  • I never subscribed to emails from this person 
  • This email is fake  
  • I am not interested 

On the sender’s side, it also has to be an email that he sent to a lot of people at once (in bulk).  

There are increasingly stricter laws being imposed on spam as well as factors that influence the possibility of an email being flagged as junk.  

Getting flagged 

Different servers treat the same email differently (by their own rules).  

If your IP address has ever been flagged, it could affect its deliverability in the future. Something you can do to improve the situation is use metadata – address emails with the recipient’s name and not their email address. You can do this by using merge tags and asking your subscribers to add your email address to their safe sender list.  

Another tip is to verify your domain/authenticate your domain.  

Further, comply with opt-in methods. You must have permission from your subscribers that they have opted-in to your audience – that they subscribed actively and knowingly. Add a signup form to your wordpress site or landing page and give your potential subscribers a proper way to opt-in. 

A technical verification you can use is a tool called Mail-tester.com which checks the spamminess of your emails. It gives you a score from 1-10 and gives you an idea of how well or poorly you are doing.  

Verify that your domains don’t turn up in spam databases and check the complaint report inside of Mailchimp for more insight on what went wrong.  

Hopefully, this post gave you some ideas and tips on how to start tackling the spam problem when sending emails via Mailchimp. Oh, and of course, do not write spammy emails (sales sales sales mails)! 

Recap!

If you want to avoid your emails falling into spam, try these:

  1. use metadata
  2. ask your subscribers to add your email address to their safe sender list  
  3. verify (authenticate) your domain
  4. add a signup form to your website
  5. test the spamminess with Mail-tester.com
  6. search for domain in spam databases
  7. check the complaint report in Mailchimp

Sources: 

Mailchimp tutorial Part 2

Welcome, welcome !

Today, it will be a pretty straight forward post of to do and having done list. The last two days have come and gone and even if I’m at home, I’ve been busy ! Applying to jobs, cooking, figuring out which type of coding I’ll have to learn to run this blog, discovering what is a domain and how it’s different from hosting and how in any case all these things cost money. I’ve downloaded gimp to start learning how to edit photos and create cool thumbnails for youtube, I was at a presentation of how a company should run a youtube channel to make money (tubereach was presenting). I’ve realised that yes, for every question that I have, I go to youtube and it is in fact very clear to me why it is the second search engine in the world (right after google) and why “help” videos will explode in 2018. Help videos are how to videos or tutorials. I’ve in fact youtube-ed (is this gonna become a word ?) how to cook an egg to make it soft boiled (I failed but the video of how to was there) and how to use this (apparently awesome) computer that I have, specifically the application iMovies for cropping, trimming, cutting and yes, uploading to youtube.

I would say, I’ve done some stuff and I therefore prepared for you Mailchimp tutorial Part 2 : How to send a Campaign (just click on the title and you will be transported to youtubeland) with sweat and tears (or cold sweat, I’m slightly cold this morning); and no tears, more like frustration (so much to learn in such a short time and make it till the deadline, make itttt) and here we are.

I’m glad you are here and I am glad I am here.

There is still SO MUCH to learn ! I will definitely continue with my Mailchimp tutorial sessions – be tuned in for that every Thursday (we got about half of the “workout” done) and I’ll let you know anyways ! Next up, I will be re-defining what to do with this section here – the Thursday section dedicated to Mailchimping. As I’m not currently using Mailchimp on a daily basis, I’m not learning, and how can I share if there’s nothing that I have learnt ? Therefore, I have a few ways to go and I will for shizzy (for sure) think it over during the next few weeks so that 1. this section stays cause I ❤️ Mailchimp and 2. I  learn the max and share with you max as well. Awesome, awesome.

I leave you with :

Colored Freddie, the mascot of my beloved Mailchimp e-mail marketing automation tool (who is winking at me - and you; so cheeky!)

cute Freddie – Mailchimp’s mascot.

Until next time, be good, safe and healthy (there is a bug going around and I heard it’s called influenza) ! Oh yeah, and don’t forget to check, comment and like (yes, do it all) my  supa cool Mailchimp tutorial Part 2 : How to send a Campaign. See ya 👋 !

A post about the future, patience, expectations, and a Mailchimp surprise

I’m late! A post about the future, patience, expectations, and a Mailchimp surprise.

Late for school, late for work, late for life! Have you ever asked yourself what you should have done by now? All the accolades you should have received, awards, job positions, internships, education, degrees, goals, perfect partner, body, a baby, a house? I know I have. I know I have spent time shaming myself and putting myself down. I am not good enough, I cannot do this, and any other reason to avoid real work. I must be honest though, the reason behind not doing what you know you should be doing may be different for each person. However, putting yourself out there requires courage. It requires courage you may not have, going against your family, yourself and even if you are afraid!

So there you go, all of this to say that I recognise my one month hiatus. Sometimes life just comes and washes over you like a huge wave. This is not to say I have not been working on other areas during this time but I was not here. I was not here to create and voyage on this journey of blogging with you, my dear readers. I’m sorry because I care about you, all the future you and I care for this blog. To improve my “image” therefore, I rolled out a banging visme e-book review on Tuesday and I am promising to do better for the future.

Future, represented by a calming depiction of nature and a tree, a slight breeze. What will the future bring?
Photo by Johann Siemens on Unsplash

 

Soooo… I have an extra surprise for you ! The link is here ! Oh, but what is it ? It is… my Mailchimp tutorial session ! I’ve prepared a Mailchimp tutorial after cca. two to four months of experimenting with Mailchimp. It is really for those that want to understand the platform, how it can serve them and operational : how to send a campaign, how to schedule it, design it, how to choose the target audience and more and more. I loved learning about it and I am loving sharing this knowledge with you ! Again, the link to the Tutorial is herrrrre.

Please let me know what you think of it, I wold love to have your feedback (do not hesitate to comment below) and improve my teaching skills as a consequence. Also, I want to showcase how much I’ve learnt and how good I am at it as a result! No shame in being a little self-promotional :). Anyways, it was super cool working on it and I’d do it again, more, for me or for others.

I know this post was not necessarily about Mailchimp all the way but I am really proud of my tutorial :). I put all my best into it. There is great quality and I really believe in it. And so to finish up with coming back to the start – it is not always easy ! To be consistent and just be here.

Cheer up ! It was raining yesterday so it was the perfect time for some cider and fromageee (cheese in French).

 

 

 

That Mailchimp craze (Episode #3)

From the Ode to Bouncing Around to today…it’s been a week and a great weekend has passed. I’ve been able to do some shopping for gifts. Weekends are nice.

Now back to business. Today’s topic did not come directly to my mind but I want to be consistent and make your Thursdays valuable. And so, I’ve been rehashing it in my mind and I’ve realized that the most valuable information that I can share with you is my own experience. You can tell from the title that learning to use Mailchimp is not necessarily a straight road to knowledge.

A straight road/highway that represents the unrealistic view on the learning curve of Mailchimp.
A straight road to knowledge.

It is more or less a bumpy ride. What I mean to say is that at a moment in time you will believe you “got it”. Soon, you will find something you missed out on. It is the course of life and by reading more you always realise there is something more you could have done. On a personal level, it’s frustrating.

There are highs and lows and there are feelings involved. As soon as you start sending emails to real email addresses, you get nervous. Will they open the email? Will they click on the link I wanted them to? Because it seems that all that matters are the results. How are we performing compared to the industry? Successful businesses and solopreneurs? How am I doing? Do they like me? It is personal as it is professional. Because liking on the personal level translates to client satisfaction.

However, in my opinion, it calls for dissociation. Results are merely feedback on your output. If there is a bad open or click rate, did I do a bad job? No. It just means that you and in this case, me; we, haven’t figured out yet how to do this email marketing thing well. How to propose the right kind of content to the right type of audience at the right time? Deliver the value they want when they want it. There is a huge amount of criteria that is used, researched and tested in order to get to the point that the professionals call the “industry average”.

Beautiful green hills representing the experience of using Mailchimp, email automatisation tool, which often times feels like a bumpy ride.
Using Mailchimp is like a bumpy ride over beautiful green hills ! Photo by Roman Bozhko on Unsplash.

The test and learn phase in never ending and it is uncomfortable. Making endless modifications and tests sucks! Can’t I just have a template and send it over and over again? Unfortunately, the answer is no. We need to tailor our communication to the audience we are addressing, at the time they wish to be addressed, to the type of industry we are in. I wish I had a course that would teach me how to do this. I think I’ve told you before though, I’ve done my research and there are no tutorials that I found more than half useful. My plan is to prepare my own little course. First, I’d like to organise the knowledge I’ve acquired and secondly, I’d like to create a manual for others that are struggling just like me who may find it useful.

I’m starting to finish this post slowly. Maybe this one isn’t as organized as it could’ve been but it actually conveys my point exactly. Learning is chaos.

So…what to learn from all this? From writing (and rewriting) this post I’ve come to the conclusion that this sort of discomfort and change means than you are doing something. You are moving. Maybe you don’t know exactly where you are going but the ride is bumpy because you are moving forward. And that is good.

So believe in yourself, even if it is a bumpy ride!

P.s. Here are two links that I found useful when preparing Campaigns (emails).

An Ode to Bouncing Around or What are bounces in Mailchimp and what to do about them

Spoiler alert : there is not so much you can do about bounces. Still, there are measures you may take and things you can learn from your bounces.

Welcome back to the show  “I use Mailchimp but I’m still not sure of what I’m doing”. Episode 2 is on ! I’ve decided to talk about learning about Mailchimp on Thursdays. Why ? Check out my Instagram post to find out !

Bounce
Bounce, bounce, bounce 

I will first start by telling you what we’ll discuss in this post and why it’s important. First, the requirement for a better understanding of this episode (and making it more useful for you at the same time) is to have already sent a Campaign through Mailchimp. If you don’t know what a Campaign is, do not worry, this topic will be covered in detail in one of my future posts. In short though, it is an email you sent through Mailchimp. So if you already did, you may have had a certain problem occur. Your Report (or results) shows a number of people (and more specifically and correctly, e-mail addresses) under the Bounce segment. Bounces may be found in your Mailchimp account if you go to Dashboard –> Reports –> View Report –> Activity –> Bounced (this is 2017 version, it may change in the future).

steps bounce
Steps to find your bouncers

What is a bounce ? Bounce is a way of defining what happened to the e-mail you sent. Let’s say you sent it to Maja, Nina, Nika and Ana. Maja has received the e-mail and opened it, Nina also received it but has not opened it and Nika’s and Ana’s addresses bounced. Nika’s address bounced softly and Ana’s bounced hard. What happened ? There are two possibilities :

  • Soft bounces (you can do something about them)
  • Hard bounces (you cannot do anything about them)

In the first case, the e-mail address was found to be valid but it has not been delivered into the recipient’s mailbox due to different reasons. The reasons to this may be that the mailbox of your receiver is full (over quota), the recipient email server is down or offline or the email message is too large (Courtesy of Mailchimp official page Knowledge Base). Honestly, I don’t know why someone would try to send bulk email that is large in size but just so you know.

  • To fix (decrease) the number of your soft bounces, you may try to resend another campaign to the e-mail address that has bounced softly – that is, Nika’s address

This means that you have a temporary hiccup, you need to see if there’s a way to sort of “unbounce” the address, make it go to regular subscribers list (this may take some time, three to five campaigns I remember reading somewhere).

Now with your newly acquired hard bounces list, I do not have good news. These are e-mails that are invalid. Either the address doesn’t exist, domain doesn’t exist or the email server has blocked delivery. What to do ?

  • Remove the e-mail addresses that have hard bounced – that is Ana; she’s a lost cause to you

You need to remove them from your list. I would hate to tell you that I do not know how to do that but I don’t so here is a link that may help you : About Bounces. My thinking is to directly delete from the list but what if I mistakenly add them again later on ? The double opt-in should prevent this from happening – people subscribe to your list by themselves so there should be no problem. I am not 100% though. If anyone has an idea, do leave a comment down below. I may be missing something in my reasoning.

Inspiration for this post (besides my own experience) was this post : Sendgrid’s Bounce Management

P.s. When your emails bounce, you may manually check the writing. Sometimes a person will write the email with a space and or forget a letter (anabanana @gmail.cm). Mailchimp will not correct this by itself, you need to do it. Would anyone be interested in a post on importing to Mailchimp ? I plan to write it soon for those interested. I may send you a link on mail if you want to subscribe.

#MailchimpThursday done

What I wish I knew before I started using Mailchimp…

Mailchimp is a free email automation tool that is pretty hard to figure out !

After your first month of torture, you understand some things. I am currently using Mailchimp through a paid and free account, one that I am building for myself and one for the company I am working with. I spend a lot of my time on its Learning pages or so called Knowledge Base. It is an indispensable/essential/primordial site in order to start having a clue of what you are doing.

The Knowledge base that Mailchimp proposes is okay but limited. There are certain (let’s be honest here for a second – there a are ton) features that I had absolutely no idea how to use. I still don’t find its dashboard very intuitive or user-friendly but I do understand it better. Still let’s not forget it is free up to 2000 subscribers which is amazing !

So what do I wish I had known before starting to use Mailchimp ?

    • how important it is to SET IT UP WELL
    • how to actually use it (I will go in depth about this too)
    • how to read well

1. Set up your Mailchimp account

 

Have a physical address. I have no great solution for this but Mailchimp requires you to give a real physical address. The fines start at 16 000 dollars PER ACQUIRED SUBSCRIBER. That is scary. The P.O. box that people talk about is something I don’t know about and have no idea how it works in the USA but here in Europe, I don’t even know whether it exists. If anyone has any information on that, do let me know in the comments!
Choose your time zone. Such a basic step but so important. When you start sending emails (we will later call them Campaigns), you will be able to see at which moments in time people open you emails. It took me some weeks before I realised that my campaign (see what I did there) sent out at 16h looked like it was sent at some other time. Go to Profile –> Settings –> Time Zone and set it up. Mine looks like this :

Mailchimp set up

You can see I’m on Central European Time. If you have another one check its corresponding name here.

2. Start learning how to best use your Mailchimp account

Knowledge Base is the king, followed closely by my dear friend, Youtube.

Youtube tutorial for Mailchimp

Youtube is my favourite ever search engine. I love tutorials and it is just the best, funnest and most adapted way for me to learn. If you saw below, you would see that I’ve consulted a list of youtube tutorials for using Mailchimp. I have not found good ones with the except for the first one one the list. The link for it is here. I will not go into detail about it but I will just say that this is the only one I would spend time on.

3. Read well.

You, my dear reader might be better than me, but I tend to have problems reading. That is READING CLOSELY and SLOWLY. So I miss on information and the whole freaking process of say importing subscribers into my account fails miserably ! Do not, I repeat, do not miss out on correct Format Guidelines when you want to import your subscribers to your Mailchimp account (we will get there) or you may share my experience.

So, as a beautiful conclusion, please, do take your time when reading the Knowledge base in Mailchimp. It is well written but I just want to know things right away. Patience.

Peace
Peace Out Photo by Simon Rae on Unsplash