Simple Tweak To Avoid Apple Mail Junk Filter
Do you collect first and last name data on your signup forms? If not, you should. Merging that data into your email campaigns (the To: field) could help you avoid some spam filters, because it shows you have a relationship with that recipient...
and check out some of our other spam filter and deliverability articles.
Send Automatic Birthday Emails
Some of our customers (especially restaurants) have asked us to build some kind of "automatic birthday campaign" tool in MailChimp.
The idea is to automatically send a "Happy Birthday" email campaign to everyone with a birthday this month. The email campaign would have some kind of e-coupon, or special offer of some sort.
Hmm, we probably will add this to our list of features soon.
But for now, you can actually use our new list segmentation functionality to do this. We've posted a how-to article over at MailChimp.
If you're one of our web design customers managing the email marketing for a local restaurant or hotel or nightclub client, you might propose this as a new project for them.
Campaign Previews With Images Off and Vert/Horiz. Preview Panes
We just updated the MailChimp Inbox Inspector to include an additional 20 campaign preview screenshots, saving you even more time testing your email campaigns.
Now you can preview your email campaigns in different email programs like Yahoo, Hotmail, Outlook, Lotus Notes, etc., PLUS see them when images are turned off, PLUS see them in different preview pane configurations (vertical preview panes vs. horizontal).
Anybody can use the Inbox Inspector to test their campaigns (whether you're a MailChimp customer or not). Sign up for it here.
Click below for some examples. You spend so much time working on an HTML email design, only to find out a tiny sliver is actually displayed (if at all).
Here's a recent MailChimp campaign we sent to our customers. That's how it looks in an ideal setting, with all images on, and inside your nice, big browser window.
But I used our Inbox Inspector to see what it looked like in different email programs...
Mozilla Thunderbird, vertical preview pane:
The entire right column of my newsletter (where all my press release links are) is hidden from view for recipients using the vertical preview pane setting.
Mozilla Thunderbird, horizontal preview pane:
Only a tiny little 220px sliver peeks out from the preview pane here.
AOL 9, images OFF:
My logo is entirely missing when images are turned off in AOL (which is AOL's default setting).
Yahoo Mail, images OFF (vertical preview pane):
Here's a full screen preview of our campaign with images turned off, and inside Yahoo's default vertical preview pane.
Knowing how your HTML emails look in all these different configurations will help you optimize the designs of your templates. You've got to make sure your logos "peek" out from the preview panes (in horizontal AND vertical settings). You've got to use alt-text (you can put CSS on that alt-text too) on your images. The new Inbox Inspector campaign previews can save you a ton of time troubleshooting under all these conditions.
If you'd like to use our Inbox Inspector to test your email marketing campaigns, click here for more information.
Email Coupons Make People Spend More
If you ever wanted scientific evidence that sending email coupons can be a good thing, here's an interesting report from Harvard. Basically, they found that people create mini "mental accounting models" in their own heads, in order to stick to short term budgeting goals.
A surprise gift certificate or coupon (the professors call them, "unanticipated small windfalls") will give people that little push to go buy stuff they wouldn't normally buy otherwise. And they usually end up spending slightly more than normal.
So this holiday season send your customers some "unanticipated small windfalls" via email. MailChimp can help. You can setup a Postcard Template for Thanksgiving and Christmas, for instance. Use the "splashy graphic" slot for your coupon.
And with our new segmentation feature, you can actually send campaigns to targeted groups within your list of "people who are interested in e-coupons, AND who clicked on the coupon in my previous campaign" (here's an example).
MailChimp + SurveyMonkey like peanutbutter and chocolate
We just recently partnered with one of our most favorite websites ever: SurveyMonkey. The partnership basically offers their customers email marketing services that they can combine with their online surveys.
SurveyMonkey (recently featured in Inc. magazine and MarketingSherpa) is hands down the best, most affordable, online survey tool out there. We're very proud to be working with their team (we use SurveyMonkey all the time at MailChimp, and we think everyone should make online surveys a regular thing with their subscriber lists). Plus, I mean, c'mon: Monkeys and Chimps? It's fate!
New & Improved MailChimp
Some extremely cool, super-useful MailChimp features just went live over the weekend:
- List Segmentation - Now you can target a sub-group of subscribers within your "master" lists on MailChimp! Examples and details here.
- Point-and-click customization - Customize every single step of your double opt-in process with our new template design system and pre-built themes to match your brand (no HTML coding required)
- Interest groups on signup forms - Let subscribers specify their interests when they signup for your list
- Video demo of new features
And as an added bonus, we upgraded our Inbox Inspector to include even more preview screens of the different email programs. More on that (plus some screenshots) in a later post.
List Segmentation in MailChimp
MailChimp will be down this weekend for some major upgrades. The planned outage will start Saturday morning (10/13) at midnight ET and we'll be live again on Monday morning (10/15), 9am ET. During the upgrade, none of your scheduled campaigns, tracking, unsubs, etc. will be affected. Everything will run as normal, but you won't be able to log in.
MailChimp Is Even More Useful-er
We will be adding lots of cool new features that you've been asking for:
- List Segmentation
- Interest groups
- Easier form customization
Plus some interface enhancements and minor bug fixes.
List Segmentation in MailChimp
If you've never heard of list segmentation, it's a hoity-toity marketing term for "sending a campaign to a targeted sub-group of my entire list, so that it's more relevant to them, and so that we can get more bang for the buck".
We've just made list segmentation super easy in MailChimp (no hoity-toity marketing experts required!). Now, you can send special offers to people based on a number of criteria that you specify, such as:
- The date they signed up to your list
- What company they're from
- Their postal address (State, ZIP code, etc)
- Send only to people who are members of specific interest groups
- Send to people with first name "Bob"
- (Click that thumbnail to the right for a screenshot of the interface)
Best of all, list segmentation is totally free to all MailChimp users.
PLUS: If your MailChimp account has our optional AIM tracking add-on, you can send a targeted campaign to people based on whether or not they responded to a previous campaign:
- Send a campaign with a different subject line to those who did not open a previous campaign.
- Send a followup campaign to people who clicked to download your whitepaper in a previous campaign
Read more information & see an example here:
For example, you can ask your subscribers if they want to receive your monthly newsletters, special promotions, weekly sales alerts, etc. That way, you never send weekly sales alerts to people who just wanted quarterly news.
- Interest groups are free.
- You can still setup infinitely many separate lists as you want, and each list can have its own set of interest groups.
- You can setup virtually unlimited interest groups on each of your signup forms.
Easy Signup Customization
We've made it easier than ever to customize the look and feel of the entire double opt-in process in MailChimp (signup form, confirmation email, thank you screens, etc).
Instead of making you code the HTML for each step of the process (and clicking that dreaded "Revert" button every time you make a change to the database), your entire opt-in process can now be customized in our brand new design tool, with no HTML coding required.
Just set the basic template once: body background colors, fonts, styles, etc., and we'll make those changes across the board. You can even upload your company logo, and it'll be added to every single welcome screen, confirmation & thank you email, and landing page in one fell swoop. It's hard to describe in words, so click here to watch a demo video.
About 20% of our users will have this upgrade automatically applied to their accounts. No action required on your part. The remainder of you have already made some kind of design customization to your opt-in process, and we don't want to screw up your work---so you'll have to manually click the "upgrade" link under your "List Customization" settings in order to be able to use the new tools.
- We bumped up the limit from 10 total fields on your signup form to 16 (email address plus 15 more)
- We've included 12 pre-built color schemes you can use (red planet, grape-a-licious, midnight oil, blue sky, etc). Pick one that closely matches your brand, then customize it to perfection.
Upgrading to the new customization design tool is free.
Miscellaneous Enhancements and Fixes:
- Added a <HR> button to the content editor toolbar. This adds a horizontal line into your campaign, so you can easily separate blocks of content.
- No more jumpy templates. In some browsers, when you went to click on a template in your template library, it would jump to the side a little. Nope, we weren't playing "catch the monkey" tricks on you---that was just a funny little coding bug. It's fixed now.
- When previewing merge tags in the popup preview on a certain step in the built-in postcard template, they all showed up blank. Bet you never noticed that. It's fixed, though.
- You can now customize the "Forward to Friend" landing page (we wrapped it into the new opt-in process designer).
As always, we hope you find the new features useful!
GourmetStation.com plans for hearty holiday push
Congrats to MailChimp customer GourmetStation, who was just featured in this great article over at DM News. You might compare your holiday email marketing plans to GourmetStation's plans. Donna has been a pioneer in email marketing, and is very realistic about her company's email spending and ROI. Things I found interesting:
- When they plan to really make the holiday push
- When to stop the push (when it's too late for shipping gifts on time)
- When to switch messaging to email gift certificates, which are instant
A quote from the article:
GourmetStation.com will be competing with the likes of 1800Flowers’s gifts division, Omaha Steaks and Harry and David for their customers’ attention and still plan to use e-mail.
“It’s not about having a clever subject line,” Miller says. “I think that to get consumers to open e-mails during the busy holiday season you have to have a strong offer and be clear about communicating this offer. The design should be less busy and include bullet points instead of copy.”