How To Super Power Your MailChimp List And Grow Your Business: Part Two

Last time we covered how to level up your lead magnets, but as we know getting people onto your email list is only half the battle. Indeed, we might even spend more time increasing our sign ups only to be a little lax on concentrating on actually converting those leads into customers.

So let’s talk about what happens once our subscriber arrives.



As with all things in life, sometimes we need a little clarity and organisation in order to return to or obtain peak efficiency.

With MailChimp, due to its list based system, sometimes we can end up in a little bit of a muddle.

So, let’s start with a little bit of segmentation and organisation.

We’ve written an in depth post about how to set up automation, segmentation and other MailChimp advanced features here, if you’d like to read up on what all this means.

We all know the more personal we can make an email and the more relevant we can make an offer, the more loyalty we can grow and the more sales we can make. In that regard, we want to more effectively target who we are sending our emails to.

Sometimes when we have a particular MailChimp list, it can quickly become unruly and end up with us sending out ‘blanket’ emails that may or many not be relevant to everyone on that list.

So, let’s have a clean up and start segmenting our lists into relevant categories.


What Are Groups?

To quote MailChimp, groups are:

“A collection of subscribers, categorized by their interests or preferences. A group consists of a group category and group names.”

It’s easy to get Groups and Segments confused in MailChimp. You can read more about them and how to set them up technically speaking, in our tutorial here.

For the moment, the easiest way I find to distinguish between them is that Groups are things you know about your subscribers, like their interests and hobbies because you subscribers have self identified that they belong to that ‘group’ or you have put them into that ‘group’.

Segments on the other hand segment your list based on actions that have taken and criteria that they meet. For example, the date they signed up, how many campaigns they have opened or what products they have purchased.



So, you can see how dividing up your list depending on their interest can be very beneficial. How do we actually do this?

Let Subscribers Choose


The most straight forward way of identifying what your customer want? Asking them.

Ground breaking stuff here.

With MailChimp you can create your form to have radio or tick boxes where you can ask your audience to identify what they are interested in. You can use this in a number of ways, for example asking how frequently they would like to hear from you and allowing them to update their preferences.

You can also use it to ensure that you email subscribers can self selected their preferences in terms of content. For example, that they are only interested in receiving offs regarding women’s clothing, not male fashion items or childrenswear.

The drawback to this, of course, is that you are putting more steps between your audience member and joining your email list. We do live in a world where the debate still rages as to whether adding a ‘first name’ box in addition to asking for an email address might reduce sign ups.

So, if you do decide to let subscribers select their preferences on the initial sign up form, you might notice an initial drop in subscribers. There are a few solutions we might employ.

Take It Back A Step

You might present the sign up form as a simple form and once your visitor has signed up, you can redirect them to a page where they can then select their preferences. As your visitor has already made the commitment to signing up to the list, this is the perfect time to ask them for a small favour as they have already taken then first step. Plus even if they skip this step, you still have obtained their email address.

The drawback to this is not everyone is going to fill in their preferences. You then end up with a list where some people are grouped and others are not, which creates slightly more work on the back end for you as you will need to have an email to send to Group One, Group Two  and then the ‘Not Grouped’ groups on your list.

Add The Groups Yourself

It is possible to manually add the data and sort your subscribers into Groups. For example, you could infer from other information, such as purchase behaviour what your subscribers are interested in. However, this does require an element of manual labour on your part, or at least entering into the morally great area of hiring someone on flivver to help you out.

So not ideal.

However, this is another area where we can boost our MailChimp efforts by using a tool like Optin Monster.

You can create Lead Segments straight from your opt-in forms with Opt-in Monsters lead segments. They will let your subscribers choose straight from the form, or you can set up each form so that all subscribers who sign up through this method will automatically be assigned to a group.

So everyone who signs up for our Ready, Set, Goal workbook for example might be sorted into a ‘Goal Setting’ Group, straight from the sign up form. This cuts out the need to ask your audience to fill out their interests and saves you time of trying to put it all together from the back end. Perfect.

FYI: The Solution To The Big MailChimp Problem


If I may divert slightly off topic for a moment. As you are probably aware one the frustrating things about MailChimp is that you can quite easily end up having to create separate lists for each of your opt-ins. This ensure that your welcome sequence, relevant to that opt-in, goes out to the right people.

However, this ends up with multiple lists to manage. Which makes sending a single campaign out to all of your list tricky, not not mention the whole account can come become quickly unruly.

By using the Optin Monster monster and separating people into groups right out the outset, you can avoid this problem and make your account much more manageable. Instead of setting your Welcome Automation to go out to a particular list, you can set it to go out to a particular Group within the last. Thus all your subscribes end upon on list but all get the relevant welcome series.

Problem solved.

Now back to. . . .




You can get segment your MailChimp lists into very specific categories. Firstly you might want to start off with some general, overall categories such as purchasers and non-purchasers, by type of purchase or interest, by engaged and not engaged subscribers for example.



Segments are filters we can use on our lists in order to separate the list into different target audiences.

You can use up to five different ‘conditions’ to create each segment.

If this sounds overwhelming, don’t worry! Once you’ve had a look through and starting using segments, it becomes much easier but in order to get you started we have a few ‘pre-made’ segment ideas for you below that you might like to use.

If you need a step by step guide to setting up segments, you can find it here.

Static vs Auto Update

Just a quick FYI, you can create segments as static or auto update. As you might imagine, static segments are fixed when you create them and are not updated. Auto updated segments will automatically add any subscribers that satisfy the conditions you set.

Most of the segments we will be talking about will be auto updated.

We’ve talked about making sure that we understand what our email list is interested in by using groups. So, we already made our first distinction.

The next distinction we want to make is to divide our customers into those who have not purchased from us yet, those who have purchased and those who are repeat customers.



Signed Up But Hasn’t Purchased

You know the story, someone comes to you site, maybe they sign up for a discount and then. . . nothing.

They are now on your email list, so they will be getting your regular offers and emails, which may remind them to come back to your site and purchase. However, wouldn’t it be great to have a specific welcome series for those people who signed up but have yet to buy anything?

To take our discount example, maybe you have a welcome series that goes out to remind them that they have a discount with you. Maybe a follow up email to remind them that their discount is about to run out. Maybe that welcome series could involve some specific nurture sequences that helps address any question first time buyers usually have about your product before they buy.

This is a person who was interested enough to sign up to your list but there is some particular barrier holding them back from buying. Sending out a specific set of emails to this segment of subscriber, if you are not already doing so, would certainly help increase your conversion rate.

Clicked In Email

Divide By Interest

Let’s say, for example, that someone has signed up to your list via a free opt-in. They have gone through your nurture sequence and now you have begun to pitch them your product.

You can choose to segment your list based on those people who have clicked or not clicked through to your shop from the link in your email. This is where Groups and Segment might collide a bit, as you could create a Segment based on interest, gained from wether they clicked the link in your email. So for example, if someone clicks the link in your email in which you are directing people purchase sunglasses, you might create a Segment within your list of people who are interested in buying Sunglasses.

The drawback to this is that MailChimp, unlike Convertkit, does not give you the option to Segment based on ‘which’ link the customer clicked, only that they clicked on ‘a link’ within the specific campaign that was sent. So make sure that all links within that email are ones that do indeed, in the case, signal an interest in buying sunglasses.

Clicked But Didn’t Buy

Another way you can utilise this situation is taking a step further, not just by segmenting the people by whether they clicked or not, but you also can targeting them based on who clicked to visit your shop but then did not buy.

MailChimp calls this ‘Product Retargeting’ and their tutorial on how you can get that all set up is very easy and straight forward so I will link to it here. Its doesn’t require that you have your eCommerce integration set up.

The slight drawback to this is that it is not specific to the particular product that you mention in your email. Product Retargeting only works if someone click through  your email and visits ‘the top 8 most recently added or best selling products in your store’.

So, if those proverbial sunglasses were not added recently or are not the best selling products in your store – then no retargeting email will be sent. Not a deal breaker, but just something to be aware of.

Abandoned Cart

This isn’t technically a segmentation, this is actually just an automated sequence you can set up really simply in as a part of your automation sequences. However I did just want to give it a quick mention as part of the set of sequences you should definitely have in place. Abandoned carts are such as huge money pit getting your engagement campaign in place can save a huge amount of otherwise lost revenue

Creating an abandoned cart series is as simple as creating a campaign, choosing the automation type of campaign and from within the eCommerce section, selecting ‘Recover abandoned carts’. Full instructions are here, but really it’s pretty straight forward, just like setting up any other sort of automation.


You Might Also Like . . .

Customers who have made a purchase of one item, but not another, might like to be offered the complimentary item that would go perfectly with their purchase. Whether it’s a quick upsell offer or time appropriate wait between someone purchasing your beginner course before you offer them your advanced course, knowing what your customer is interested in buying is crucial.

Most revenue comes from repeat purchases and referrals.

Don’t just think this is for eCommerce purchases only. Have a segment of clients who have brought particular services from you and make sure to send them out an email to remind them you are still there and ready to work with them again. You never know, that person might have a new project or it might just let them feel secure in recommending you to someone else, knowing you are still in business.

Perfect Timing

So much in life is about timing. Fortunately for us, when it comes to purchasing behaviour, there are a few tricks we can use to get things just right.

For example, I really love Dollar Shave Club’s business model because they make sure, right at the beginning of the purchase process that they get their timing just right. Dollar Shave Club, for the uninitiated are a shaving subscription box. They send out razors and other shaving products to their subscribers based on the information they collect during sign up.

Not only does this take away the nessanace of having to remember to go buy their product, it also means that their product is being marketed to their customer at the best time every sales cycle – ie when the customer has a need for their product.

So, if your product is one that needs renewing, how long do you think it would last you average customer? Wouldn’t it be good if you could time your next promotional email to them just as they become in need again?

If someone buys a present and requires it gift wrapped, is that a birthday present they are buying? Will they need to find a present again next year? I’m not suggesting you only send an email once a year of course, but think, if all your customers were all making one extra purchase a year – that would mount up right?

Are You Following Me?

MailChimp knows who is following you.

On Facebook and Twitter at least.

It sounds creepy but nonetheless another way you can segment your list. Very helpful, for example, when creating Facebook ad campaigns as this information might well come in helpful.

If they aren’t following you, it might be nice to invite them?

Plus if you are using Opt in Monster, you can show people different content based on where they were referred from. So if they came through from Twitter, you might want to ask them to follow you on Facebook, making sure you are covering all your basis.

I think it’s important not to think of social media and email marketing as two very separate things. Most people, for example, are not willing or happy to be emailed every single day. However, most people have no problem, or might even expect, to see a new social media post from you each day.

Think as social media as simply being like mini email marketing campaigns that link your actual emails from one week to another. It helps customers to remember you between emails (increasing or at least maintaining your open rate).


Give Customers The VIP Treatment

As we just mentioned, encouraging repeat customers should definitely be at the top of any businesses’s priority list. As we talked about, you can use information about what your customer has purchased in order to send them other relevant products.

But now let’s take it up a notch.

Premium Products

There is a thought in the eCommerce world that you shouldn’t be disheartened if someone unsubscribes from your email list, as this person was never going to buy form you and therefore you haven’t actually lost any revenue. Whilst comforting and to a certain extent true, this is not always the case.

Just in the same way we talked about displaying different content to new and returning visitors, we don’t want to bombard potential customers with products that we have not built a sufficient level of trust to sell to them.

For example, n maybe the more familiar land of online courses, you might not want to offer your £999 price point course, to someone who has purchased a £24 book from you. Not because this person we will never buy a £999 course from you but because there is a sufficient large amount of relationship that still needs to be built before they are in a position to consider investing with you. To offer such a course at this early stage in the relationship may end it before it had time to develop, which would be a shame.

Loyalty Points

As someone who has spent a long time frowning at my screen whilst trying code a credit system into my site, I know that creating any kind of loyalty system can be daunting. However, by using Segments in MailChimp you can actually create a basic loyalty points system that is very simple in execution but can work really effectively.

How Do I Set This Up?

You can Segement you list in MailChimp by ‘Total Amount Spent’ in your store and ‘Total Purchases”.

How you want to adjust the levels of this will depend on the average price of your of your products and average spends but let’s take a look at a small example. ‘

Let’s say we have three levels of reward, bronze reward, silver reward and gold reward.

We could say to our customers, buy two products from our shop and you become a bronze member and earn the bronze member reward eg free shipping on your next purchase. So when someone buys two products they get added to the bronze Segment, they get an automatic email congratulating them on becoming a bronze member and giving them their free shipping code.

Set up the next automated email to go out, say, a week later two weeks later reminding them that they are a bronze member and they can level up to ‘Silver’ membership by buying making another purchase and get the silver reward, a free, limited edition tote bag for example.

So your Bronze Segment parameters would be:

“Product # Order” “Is” “2”

You could also create your Bronze Level like this:

“Total Amount Spent” “More Than” “£9.99”

“Total Amount Spent” “Less Than” “£19.99”

This is a very simple system and thus is not going to give you the ability to implement advanced gamification techniques unless you rope in addition software. As far as I can see anyway, if you have ideas for more advanced ideas I’d love to hear them in the comments

Here’s an example of how ASOS uses a reward system. Now here they use a system of credit, which may be a little bit complicated for us and beyond the scope for what we might achieve with MailChimp alone, but I think it’s a great example of how reward systems like this can work in practice.

Personal Email Or Letter

I’m a huge fan of Bumble and Bumble, recently I tagged them in a post and they sent me a DM to say thank you. It was as simple as that, it might even have been done by a robot for all I know, but I was very happy nonetheless that they had taken the time to get in touch.

If you have customers who have made multiple orders or spent a particular large amount of revenue with you, wouldn’t it be great to reach out and say a personal thank you? You could create a Segment  as above by number of purchases or total amount spent and reach out to those customers personally.

I would recommend actually doing this personally but there is a way of automating this, which we will talk about below when we discuss using Zapier.


Birthday Treats


Really simple to do, but delightful nonetheless. When collecting information about your customer, give them the option to select when their birthday is. Again you might not do this on the initial sign up form, perhaps you have a preference centre they can fill in their preference post sign up. Maybe you could even send them a special email asking for their birthday and explaining that you’d like to send them something special on the day.

Please be aware that MailChimp has a special ‘birthday’ option you can add to your forms and you will need to use the ‘birthday’ option as opposed to the regular ‘date’ option.

Then all you need to do is head over to ‘campaigns’, sleet ‘automation’ and then MailChimp has a nifty ‘birthday’ option. Simples.

If you are a smaller business and fulfil your own orders, you might want to keep a list of birthday’s handy and slip in a birthday card to any order made by those customer’s who are ordering around the time of their birthday. A little extra manual work perhaps, but a nice little touch.

Using Surveys

Never underestimate the power of a good survey. Especially if that survey is in the form of a quiz (read more about using quizzes here).

Did you know you can insert surveys directly into your MailChimp campaigns using survey merge tags?

Even better, you can then Segment your list based upon your subscribers’ answers.

Not only can you use this to Segement your list by interest, for example

Question: Are you more interested in content about wedding photography or our photoshop presets?

But you can also us surveys in the more traditional way:

Question: How likely are you to recommend our company to a friend of family (maybe not written as stiffly as that!)

Not only can you then create a Segment to follow up with customer’s that aren’t so happy and find out how you can help but you can also keep a Segment of people who love your product and want to share it with family and friends. Might there be an email asking them to share something on social media to promote your company in their future?

Admittedly MailChimp’s survey system isn’t the most sophisticated. However, never fear, there is a free way to upgrade your survey prowess. MailChimp integrates with Survey Monkey.

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