MailChimp is powerful software and there’s a lot you can do with it beyond sending the standard email newsletter. When I work with consulting clients one of the things we often discuss is how to get the most out of MailChimp and using automations is usually a key focus.
It used to be that automations (sometimes referred to as autoresponders) were a feature that was only unlocked in MailChimp once you became a paid user, but back in May, 2017, they became available to everyone, even if you have under 2,000 subscribers and are still on the free plan. This is great news because in my experience automations are incredibly helpful for building trust with your subscribers, reminding them to complete their purchases, and reengaging them with your business. The best part? You do the work once and then let MailChimp take care of the rest – hence the term “automation.”
Here are some MailChimp automations I’m currently using along with tips on how to set them up and what to include in the actual emails. I’m also showing some stats on the actual results I’ve seen with these automations. One note: several of these automations require that you have your ecommerce shop connected to your MailChimp account so that you have ecommerce tracking in place. I recommend this anyway so that you can track how effectively your email marketing efforts are at driving sales.
Abandoned Cart Email
How often have you been shopping online and then gotten distracted and closed the tab? It happens to me all the time. Often it’s not that I don’t want to complete my purchase, it’s just that I’ve run out of time and had to go do something else. I figured if it’s happening to me as a shopper, it’s likely happening to my customers, too, and that’s why I set up an abandoned cart email. This is an automated email that goes out to the customer a few hours after they’ve abandoned their cart showing them the items in the cart and reminding them to come back and complete their purchase. (You’ve likely gotten one of these from a big retailer, too. Their ecommerce teams know what works.)
MailChimp has a handy template for abandoned cart emails with all the coding already in place. Just add your logo and a short message and you’re done!
I set mine up on October 16, 2016. So far it’s recovered 36 carts and generated $924 in revenue. Not too shabby for something that took me about 20 minutes one time and I haven’t thought about since.
Win Back Lapsed Customers
You may have customers on your list who made a purchase a long time ago, but haven’t bought anything recently. Why not set up an automation to reengage them? This is a brand new automation for me. In fact, I just set it up last week, but I’m already seeing really good results and feel confident recommending this one.
MailChimp recommends sending out an email to customers who haven’t made a purchase in 180 days, 240 days, and perhaps even longer. I decided to keep it simple and just do 180 days. I set mine up as a thank you email showing my gratitude to my longtime subscribers for staying on my list for so long and offering them a special coupon code as a way of expressing my thanks. Since last Tuesday this email has generated $135 in revenue. Again, it took just a few minutes to set up and now that it’s running I don’t have to think about it.
Product Retargeting Email
Each time you send out an email newsletter you should be including links to products in your shop. Of course, your newsletter should also have other valuable content that your subscribers enjoy reading, but in the end you’re running a business and you’ve got to be promoting your what you sell.
When one of your subscribers clicks through from your email newsletter to a best-selling or new product in your shop, MailChimp tracks this click using cookies. If they don’t make a purchase, and you have a product retargeting automation set up, then they’ll get an email the next day reminding them to take another look. Again, people often get distracted online (a text comes in, Facebook Messenger bings, etc.) and without meaning to they don’t finish what they started.
I just set up a product retargeting email and it hasn’t had a chance to run yet so I don’t have data to report, but check back with me in a few months and I’ll let you know how its going.
I think this is the most commonly used automation and it’s a great one. A welcome series is a series of emails you set up to drip out over the course of a few days, or even a few weeks, welcoming new subscribers to your list. Typically the first one goes out right after someone signs up for your list and that one might deliver a lead magnet like a free PDF (here’s how to deliver a lead magnet in MailChimp). I would encourage you to set up a second one, and even a third one as well. These can go out three and five days later, for example.
Use your welcome series to introduce your new subscribers to your business. Keep the emails fairly short. Briefly explain your background, your mission and values. If you have a video about your business, this is a great place to link to it. Show them around the content that you already have by giving them links to some of your best posts and your most popular products. Set expectations for how your newsletter works by explaining when they can expect to receive it. If you’d like you can offer a coupon code to new subscribers in the second or third email in the series.
I set up my current welcome series on October 18, 2016. To date, it’s generated $3,554. This series took me a little longer to set up than some of the other automations because there was more writing involved. Still, for a few hours worth of work, I like feeling confident knowing that my new subscribers get a good introduction to my business and the series definitely is an ongoing income generator.
MailChimp offers other automations that I haven’t played with yet. There’s a way to send special birthday messages to your subscribers, for example. You can also send special rewards to your best customers which is a neat idea.
I know sometimes setting these things up becomes a task that just goes to the bottom of the to-do list, but I truly think automations are worth your time and energy.
Julie Moss says
Thanks Abby for the extra Mail Chimp info to help grow our business! Would you still suggest sending a second email to someone who makes a large purchase like a T-shirt quilt a long time ago? I always have a debate on should I bother past customers when this seems to me to be a one time purchase.
Yes, I think so. I don’t think you should assume you’re bothering someone who has spent a lot of money with you in the past by reminding them of your business now. In all likelihood, they’ll be interested to see what’s new with you. And if not, they can easily unsubscribe.
Such great ideas! Thanks.