MailChimp gets a lot of flack, nowadays, in the small business and blogging circles.
When I first started blogging, MailChimp was the absolute go to for email marketing. Every source out there, or so it seemed, was recommending it.
Every so often a different alternative might be offered, but MailChimp was pretty universal.
And then came along Convertkit.
In our little corner of the internet, at least, everybody suddenly started to immediately switch over. Something that may have been influenced by the fact that Convertkit has a generous affiliate scheme whilst MailChimp has ‘Rewards’, which isn’t quite as compelling.
That’s not to say that Convertkit has no merit. Indeed, part of the huge draw of Convertkit is that it has a few key features that MailChimp users had been crying out for. Indeeed, there are many features that I pray to the big, email deity in the sky for MailChimp to implement.
However, I think a lot of the reason that many people flee from MailChimp is because they are simply not utilizing MailChimp to it’s full advantage. I know when I first started using MailChimp, I was only using a fraction of its tools.
So, the aim of this series is to help you turn MailChimp into the powerhouse for your business it can be.
As such this post is a bit of a beast, so you might want to pin IT to your Pinterest board or favourite the page so you can come back and read each section as you need. I’ve also include a small contents summary below so you can jump to the most relevant elements.
I’ve also included links to our introduction to MailChimp series if you need help setting up the basics of MailChimp, from setting up your account, creating sign up forms and setting up automations.
MailChimp Beginner Series
- How To Set Up MailChimp
- How To Create and Embed Your Sign Up Forms
- Advanced MailChimp: Automations and Segments
THE WELCOME EMAIL MASTERCLASS
PART ONE: OPTIMISE YOUR SIGN UPS
PART TWO: OPTIMisE YOUR MAILCHIMP LISTS
- What Are Groups?
- How To Create Relevant Groups
- What Are Segments?
- Converting Subscribers That Haven’t Purchased
Turning First Time Customers Into Repeat Customers
How To Create Loyalty Schemes for VIPs
Optimise The Email List Building
The second part of this series will focus on super powering your MailChimp lists.
However, before we start working behind the scenes, we need actual email subscribers to work with. So, part one of this series will take a moment to make sure our list building strategies are optimized.
If you are reading this then I assume you have your email list set up with MailChimp and you have already created customized MailChimp forms. If not, do not fear – we have posts for beginners too which explains fully how to set up MailChimp and the forms.
So, first, let’s go through the check list of considerations for creating super power opt-ins.
As you might expect from someone who created an entire course based on creating the perfect Lead Magnet, I have a lot of feelings about the best opt-ins you can create for your website. As someone who is looking at taking their email list to the next level, I imagine you have already improved your forms by getting rid of snore inducing language like ‘sign up’ for newsletter updates.
So let’s skip past the usual, basic advice and get into the serious stuff.
What Are You Offering?
A discount coupon, a free eBook, a resource library, a checklist, a challenge or perhaps a free online course. What you can offer as a lead magnet is only limited by your imagination.
FYI by far the most successful way of bringing in large amounts of people in one go, for me, has been challenges. You can read more about how we put those together here.
Sadly, whilst the volume and quality of content is most certainly important, it’s hard for your potential subscriber to ascertain from the outside. Your eBook might be literally the best thing since sliced bread, but from the opt-in box in your sidebar, it might not look anything special to me.
How do we rectify this?
We spend hours, days and weeks thinking about the name of our products. What should we call it? What SEO words can we include? Does this contain enough emotional and power words to entice people in?
And yet when it comes to our Lead Magnets, the temptation to ‘download our eBook on how to clean your jewellery’ somehow just trips out of us. It happens to me. I’ve seen it happen on hundreds of websites.
Treat your Lead Magnet like it’s a valued product.
Instead of ‘download our eBook on how to clean your jewellery’, might we write ‘Instantly up-level Your Jewellery: enter your email to unlock ten industry secrets to the million dollar jewellery shine – including one drug store dupe you won’t believe‘.
Does it run the line between being enticing and a little bit click baity, perhaps. Try and stay on the right side of the line!
When we sell a product, what we are selling is a ‘difference’ to our customer. A positive difference. There should be a clear improvement in our customer’s life between before and after. It might be simple, like lighting a candle that keeps bugs from bothering them on the terrace, it might be a financial increase, a confidence boost or just something to help save them time.
In the same way your opt-in needs to provide an actionable benefit to your visitor. A small win, a time save, a step closer to their bigger goal.
Make It Count
Let’s say you completely nail the lead magnet. People are signing up in droves. Excellent, good work.
Is this leading to an increase in sales?
Needless to say, if your lead magnet is attracting thousands of people onto the list – but they are thousands of the wrong people, then you may as well not have any sign ups at all. Now it’s unlikely that you are offering something as a lead magnet that is totally unrelated to your product, what more often is the case is that you are offering something that doesn’t connect to your product as the next ‘logical’ step.
Your lead magnet should be something actionable, that provides a small win but after your visitor has consumed that content, it should lead them to taking the next step in that journey – buying your product.
And maybe you need to put in a few more steps, like building up loyalty or dealing with some more barriers that prevent visitors from buying. That’s fine, that’s often the purpose our welcome email sequences serve. However, make sure that there are not any gaps that your customer can fall through. Each step should lead them toward your product in a logical and consistent way.
For example, if I am looking for an engagement ring, you might offer me a ring sizing chart I can print off to find out what my finance’s ring size is without running the surprise for them. That’s still quite a few steps away from me committing to spend several thousand pounds on a diamond. In this case you would want to put in a few educational steps on clarity, cut and other important considerations to inform the buyer and help them make the right choice.
If it’s just a case of going from ring sizing chart to immediate pitch, you might find this too big a leap for you customer to take.
Pitch It To The Right Audience
My lead magnet is valuable and free, why aren’t people downloading it?
A question we often pose to ourselves when we create an amazing lead magnet but no one seems to be downloading it. Or at least not in the droves we might expect.
In this case we need to take two things into consideration:
- Relevance and
Creative Market is a great site where you can download all sorts of creative graphics, templates and photos. Each week they offer six free downloads of various graphics from the site.
Although I download many of these free graphics, most of them drown in my downloads folder and never see the light of day again. I don’t download all of them. Simply because some of them are completely irrelevant to me.
It may go without saying, but just because something is free doesn’t mean that someone will download it. Further to that, it needs to be both so relevant that someone will download but also that they will then read/use your lead magnet after they have downloaded it.
Although you may think your lead magnet is free, it is not. It is still asking your audience to invest their time with you and time is precious. It’s not just the time that it takes to enter their email, but the time it takes to consume the content you have provided.
A seven day email course might be completely relevant to your audience member, but if it is the first time visiting your website, they might not be so interested in committing that amount of time to you just yet. Equally, it might be so relevant that they do sign up to it, but fail to open then emails each day because they haven’t the sufficient level of commitment or trust in your brand.
How Do We Resolve This ?
Make sure that what you are offering is relevant. For example, a visitor browsing the jewellery section of the shop should be shown a different incentive than someone browsing the menswear section.
Equally, a first time visitor to your website should be shown a quick and easy opt-in that requires little time investment. For example a discount or a checklist.
But how do you know whether the person visiting that page is a new or returning customer? Or whether or not they have already opted in for that lead magnet already?
Option One: Educated Guess Work
There are certainly ways you can hack around this problem.
Who is your page aimed at?
For example, as you may notice, we have a number of email tutorials on this site. Although you can never be one hundred percent certain, I am am fairly sure that those people visiting Part One of MailChimp for Beginner’s are business owners at the beginning of their email marketing journey. Equally, I might surmise that those who have more interest in setting up welcome sequences and sales funnels are those who are a little more advanced.
Based on the content of the page, therefore, I can offer different opt-ins based on the level of experience that I believe the visitors will have.
What’s Your Most Common Landing Page?
You know in Google Analytics you can find the page that most people are landing on when they come to your website? For Creative and Coffee, it’s usually our How To Overcome Fear post. This makes sense, as it has currently been shared over 15 000 times and is quite frequently the first part of my brand that visitors ever see.
From this, I can assume that the majority of people who visit that post are people who have never heard of me before and I have created the opt-in (and welcome series of emails) to tailor to that audience member.
This, as you can imagine is hardly full proof. For a start, although it is mostly new visitors who go to that page, it is certainty not 100% new visitors.
What’s Your Most Common Exit Page?
As with landing pages, you can pull up in Google Analytics which page people are mostly exiting from too. Now, there are other concerns here, such as why people are exiting from this page. However, this is also a key place to make sure your opt-in picks up the slack by making sure that you are capturing people emails before they leave the site (and you) forever.
Although you can put particular strategies and reviews in process for these exit pages, again, we know that people might exit from a variety of different pages. So how do we combat this?
Perhaps this is where we might want to get a little bit more advanced with our list building. For example, have you tried using an exit pop up?
This brings me nicely onto option two.
So before we go into this, I think we all know in business the fine balancing act between ‘time and money’. In the beginning we often have time but no money and eventually the balance slowly starts to tip in the other direction. The problem with the tipping point is the time where we have to decide whether it is worth investing the money.
So, for those of you who have hit the limit of what you can do with free tools and want to move onto the next level, may I suggest option two.
Option Two: List Building Tools.
I have been a long term resident of the ‘free tools or nothing’ group.
But as much as I hate to admit it, I hit the wall in terms of what I could accomplish with free tools alone. The time investment that I was having to put in to constantly be inserting lead magnets, going back to update them, tracking down every single page that needed changing and trying to work out which pages to put which upgrades on was tiring.
It was taking up a huge chunk of my day and I felt like even though I was getting more leads, the time it was taking me was causing me to loose money elsewhere by having to pass up opportunities due to workload. Not to mention the fact that I felt the site didn’t present as professionally or as seamlessly as it could.
I resisted all forms of paid helped until OptinMonster came along. Now, to be one hundred percent transparent, I am, indeed, an affiliate for OptinMonster. Insert flashing lights and arrows here.
That means I receive a small commission if you purchase through my link. However, I have a link at the end of the post which is affiliate free if you’d like to investigate OptinMonster but don’t want me to earn any commission, because I’ve wronged you in a past life or something. Sorry about that.
Of course, I don’t recommend any tools that I don’t use myself and I am suggesting that you might like to read more about it OptinMonster because I believe it is the key tool that can transform your website from an ‘OK’ marketing tool, to a seamless audience experience that will be working away without you constantly having to tinker with it all the time. Unless you want to.
Let me explain.
OptinMonster allows you to change content based on who is viewing it.
No more educated guesses as to what kind of visitor is viewing which page and when. OptinMonster actively changes the content it shows your visitor based on the parameters you set.
Let’s take a quick look behind the scenes.
As you can see, OptinMonster has a range of option in terms of content placement. Side bar, exit pop ups, within blog posts, mobile specific pop ups. . .
Now what’s really great about this, is that you can set different content based on what page that person is visiting, what pages they have visited, what opt-ins that have previously signed up for and any particular cookies you may be tracking.
What does all this mean for us?
New VS Returning Visitors
In the same way we talk very differently to people we are meeting for the first time and our close friends, we want to change our content based on whether someone is visiting us for the first time or is a returning visitor. For example, with a new visitor you might want to offer a special discount for new customers or reserve offers relating to your higher value packages for return visitors only.
This ensures that the content you are showing will always be relevant to the person viewing it, making sure you aren’t leaving any money on the table.
Visitor Has Viewed ‘X’ Pages
You can take this a step further and also display content based on the number of pages that your visitor has viewed. I really love this feature. You know when you arrive on a site for the very first time, you are scrolling down the page and all of a sudden a pop up shoots out with a discount?
Now, of course, with both MailChimp’s popup creator, as well as within the OptInMonster platform, you can adjust the timing of your popups so not to be so aggressive (and also be on the good side of Google). However, what is really great is that with OptinMonster you can control what you show your visitors based on how many pages they have visited on your site.
This means you can tailor your opt-in offers to someone who has only read one page of your site and have a different offer to someone who has read ten pages of your site, something that we would hope indicates are lot of interest in you!
Interacted With Campaign
With OptinMonster you can display content based on what campaigns your visitor has already signed up for. Let’s say someone has signed up for your ‘starter’ lead magnet, a downloadable workout calendar for example.
With OptinMonster you can change your content based upon what the visitor has already signed up for. So, what is the next step in your client journey? If we keep with the example of the fitness calendar, the next step is most likely motivating them to actually start the calendar. So what motivational content could you promote to people who have already opted into your calendar campaign?
This helps create a closed loop where the visitor lands on the site, subscribes, receives an email to return to the site and then is looped back into engaging again by signing up for more content. Rather than opting into the email list, visiting the site and then going elsewhere.
So often we think of re engagement campaigns as simply sending emails out to people who haven’t purchased or opened our emails in a while. By using OptinMonster, you can make sure to turn your website into one massive re-engagement campaign as well.
Speaking of re-engagement campaigns, let’s move from the website to what we can do from inside MailChimp.
In part two of this series, will we be discussing the way you can seriously up level your MailChimp campaigns and automation to create amazing sales funnels to help you convert more subscribers on autopilot.