Why build an email list? Isn’t email marketing dead?
Far from it. While email open rates aren’t nearly what they were in their hay day (back when getting an email was like finding the golden ticket), building an email list is still a critical part of marketing your business and serving your clients. MailChimp is a great option for beginners since it includes a free option with lots of customization, and is very user-friendly.
Let’s look at a few powerful things MailChimp lets you do and why it’s so important for growing your business. Be sure to scroll to the end of this post for a video going over these specific features.
Build a Following and Provide Value with MailChimp
The best business builders in the world build networks and create a massive following. The big secret is that you don’t have to have thousands of fans or followers. Just think, if you had just 500 people paying you $100 per year, that’s $50,000 per year! Heck, even you had 250 people paying you $100 a year, that still $25,000 a year!
Those numbers are very achievable, given you have a product or service that people need or want. MailChimp is a great tool to help you build a following of people who actually WANT to be on your email list. You can add people to your email list using MailChimp’s opt-in forms or pop-ups. You can also import emails from an existing list.
Creating and cultivating an email list lets you provide value to your followers. If used the right way, this can go a long way in serving their needs. Sure, you want to promote your business, but you also want your emails to provide value. MailChimp is a great way to start doing that.
Using the Free Version of MailChimp
Please note: Some of the links below include my affiliate link, and I may earn a small commission if you do decide to purchase any of these great tools. It’s absolutely no extra charge to you. I only recommend something I feel strongly about, and have used or are currently using for my business.
The free version of MailChimp, called Forever Free, is a great option for beginners. Even if you just want to play around with most of the features, and you can actually do a lot of cool stuff with the free version.
Basically, you can have up to 2,000 total subscribers and can send up to 12,000 total emails per month. For example, if you have 500 subscribers and you send four emails per month to all 500, then that would total 2,000 emails.
Create multiple subscriber lists and even segments of those lists. Say you have a subscriber list of 1,000 but you only want to send an email to the people who subscribed in the last week. You can create that segment with just a few clicks.
You may want to create a separate list for people who purchased a certain product or who have spent a certain amount of money with you in the past few months. There are a lot of reasons to create multiple lists. Just keep in mind that the 2,000 total email limit in the free version is across all lists.
If you already have an email list, say in a spreadsheet, it’s simple to incorporate that into a MailChimp list.
Create Templates and Campaigns with MailChimp
Worrying about what their emails will look like is one of the biggest things that keeps people from getting into email marketing. But MailChimp makes it easy (like click-and-drag easy) to create professional-looking and effective emails.
There are several templates to choose from and customize, making it ridiculously simple to drag and drop images, text boxes, add links, etc. There are even social media icons you can use to link to your social media accounts.
There is also the option of doing just plain text format, which a lot of the best email marketers use. Your emails don’t have to look all fancy to be effective.
PRO TIP: Less is more. When you send emails to people who have opted into your list, they are telling you they are already interested in what you, your product or service. Don’t try to WOW them with great-looking emails. Treat them like you would if you were emailing a friend.
Creating campaigns is what it’s all about. Campaigns are essentially just email blasts that let you set the subject line, template (or chose from a saved template that you have already created), chose your subscriber list or a segment of a list.
It’s pretty crazy that MailChimp’s free version gives you detailed, real-time stats. These stats show you who opened your email, the percentage open rate (how many people opened the email compared to the number of people it was sent to), who clicked on specific links in your email.
This can be a powerful way to find your most active subscribers. You can even run reports on your lists to pull up people who have opened your emails most often or who have opened specific emails. This would be a good way to find your most active, interested people and maybe market something specific to them.
There is even a MailChimp app that lets you track your campaigns, lists and activity.
PRO TIP: Pay close attention to the people who open your emails most often. You may even want to create a special campaign or deal for them.
Opt-in and Pop-up Forms with MailChimp
Creating opt-in forms and pup-ups for your website using MailChimp is a bit trickier, but still something a beginner can still learn.
A form is simply a way people can sign in to your email list. MailChimp’s Forms feature (found in the Lists category) lets you create and customize forms. You can choose which fields you want, such as first name, last name, email, phone number, etc. You can even include drop-down options and buttons if you want to get specific. There are also fields where people can write their own comments or questions.
There are a few forms to customize such as the thank-you page people are directed to when filling out your form, the opt-in confirmation email and the final welcome email. Some of these are optional. Once you’re done creating your opt-in form, there is a code that’s generated so you can simply copy and paste the code on your website.
PRO TIP: If you are creating a simple opt-in form, use only email and name fields. Even then, you really only need someone’s first name if you are planning on customizing the emails you send. The more info you ask for, the more you turn people off. However, there may be some times when you want to ask for additional info, such as an application.
Pop-ups can be polarizing. Some people hate them, but if you do them right and provide value or an irresistible give-away, pop-ups are a great way to build your email list. They’re pretty simple to do with MailChimp. Simply enter the text, fields and banner you want and incorporate the pop-up on your site with a code you copy and paste.
Automated Email Series
Setting up an automated email series is the real power of email marketing. This is a preset series of emails that are triggered right when someone opts into your list. This is a paid feature on MailChimp (called Automation), but is a must if you really want to maximize your email marketing efforts.
Using an automated series allows you to create emails that are sent out on a specific date, after an event, or based on a subscriber’s activity. Remember earlier when I said to pay attention to people who open your emails most often? You may want to create a specific email automation targeted specifically to people who open your emails most often.
A great way to use this is to set up a series that delivers a free gift (also called a lead magnet) to people who opt in on your website (using the form you created in MailChimp). This could be a downloadable PDF or maybe a training video. The following two or three emails could be invitations to additional helpful videos. Then, maybe the fourth or fifth email is your product offer.
That’s just a simple example of how to set up an automated email series. There are a ton of ways and purposes for creating different automation series.
PRO TIP: Think ahead. Build your automated email series from the end backwards. Think about the final action you want people on your list to take. Is it to purchase a product? Attend a webinar? Contact you for a consultation? Then create your individual emails that provide value and enticing information, and ultimately lead to that final action you want people to take.
MailChimp is a great option for beginners to play around with features and learn how to create email marketing campaigns that convert. Oh, and you’ll love the monkey arm giving you a high-five when you send your email!