How to setup MailChimp Automations – Absolutely FREE!
Yes, you read that right! You can use MailChimp automations for free, even on the Free forever plan!
I get that some of you may be thinking, “so what?” While others are busting at the seams, “Let me at it”!
Well today I’ve got good news for both parties – the “So whats” will be getting the lowdown because that’s “what”. And the “Let me at it’s” will be getting the red carpet, this-is-htf-you-set-it-up stuff.
MailChimp as an email marketing system.
MailChimp makes email marketing easy with it’s user friendly interface and drag-and-drop design panel. It’s the easiest (and now the smartest!) way to get started building a list of email subscribers to support your business. Did I mention it’s 100% free for up to 2000 subscribers or 12,000 email sends per month (whichever comes first)? Aahmmm.
And now with free email automation, it really is like having an extra pair of hands to run your business. Prior to automations becoming free, folks like myself would either pay $10 p/m to have that feature (which was totally worth it!) or schedule a bunch of emails using MailChimp campaigns. The latter meant a lot of double handling, duplicating emails to send to new subscribers and basically, a horrible mess over time. Now, I bet you’re wondering….
Put simply, an automation is a series of emails that get sent to your subscribers when they meet predefined criteria which is called a trigger. A trigger can be a number of things including but not limited to:
- A new subscriber joins/leaves your list or group within your list.
- Subscriber activity based on previous emails you’ve sent ie; opened/didn’t open an email, clicked/didn’t click a specific link in an email.
- A subscriber purchases/abandons your shopping cart.
Now, as you might be starting to see, automation is a powerful tool. It can help you send the right message to the right person, exactly when they need it but best of all, you only have to set it up once and it’ll continue working for you for as long as you want and that’s why it’s like having an extra pair of hands to run your business.
Still not convinced?
Here’s 5 real world examples of MailChimp Automations you could be using in your business
- A welcome series that’s triggered when a new subscriber joins your list. You can use the series to introduce your business to new subscribers, let them know what to expect from being a subscriber and show them what sets you apart from the rest by sharing your expertise.
- A client on-boarding series that’s triggered when a lead submits a service inquiry form on your website. The purpose of this series would be to send out any information or questionnaires they might need prior to your work together, educating them about your service and really getting them excited about working with you.
- A follow-up series that’s triggered when you complete a service for a client. You could help them get the most out of your work together by sending tips and resources relevant to their purchase.
- An e-course series that’s triggered when someone signs up for your program. Take for example my 14-day Website Planner e-course. It’s a series of 10 emails including 1 welcome email + 9 lessons that go out every second day.
- A lead magnet series that’s triggered when someone signs up for one of your lead magnets from your site. It’s a great way to deliver the lead magnet and provide additional, relevant content especially if that lead magnet leads into a paid product.
Well that’s just beautiful Theressa but… HTF do I set it up?
Great question! Let’s put email automations into practice with a quick and easy Welcome Series shall we?
1. Create a Welcome Series Automation
Log into your MailChimp account and navigate to “Automation” from the menu.
From the next screen select “Add Automation”
Then from the menu options on the right select “List Activity” then “Add Automation” under the Welcome Series option
You’ll then be prompted to give your new automation a name and to select the appropriate list if you have multiple lists. When you’re done, click the “Next” button.
The next screen is your Workflow Screen which MailChimp automatically sets up a series of 3 emails:
- Welcome to my list
- Getting Started 1
- Getting Started 2
From this screen you’ll be able to manage your automation so let’s take a look at the “Workflow settings”.
Edit Workflow Settings: The input fields will already be populated so just double check that they’re correct then check all options you’d like to use for this automation.
When you’re done, select “Update Settings”.
2. Design each email in your automation.
Next you’ll want to personalise and edit each email in your workflow.
So, navigate to the first email in the series and select “Design Email” on the right.
You’ll then be taken to the setup screen where you’ll be prompted for information specific to this email.
It should be pre-populated but you’ll want to pay special attention to the first 2 fields as those will need changing for each email in the series.
Name your email: Although this won’t be seen by your subscribers, you should still do your best to give it a descriptive name so it’s easier for you to manage when you want to tweak things later. Names like Email 1, Email 2, Email 3 will be little help when you’re short on time + looking for something specific.
I name my emails based on what’s inside each one for example:
- Email 1: Welcome. Download Checklist.
- Email 2: Education. Website Goals. Worksheet Download.
- Email 3: Education. 4 Common Mistakes.
Email subject: Now this is the bit your subscribers will see. Make sure it’s relevant and enticing so they’re more likely to open it up.
Double check the rest of the fields then click the blue “Next” button on the bottom right of the screen.
From the next screen you’ll be able to choose a template or layout for your email. If you’ve got a template saved that you’d like to reuse, you’ll find it under the menu item “saved templates”
Choose a template/layout and click the blue “Next” button at the bottom right of the screen.
You’ll then be taken to the actual design screen where you can edit the email with your copy, images and brand colors. Now, if you’re new to this just click the “Take a quick tour” link as shown in the image below.
Once you’re done hit “Save and Continue” on the bottom right of the screen.
You’ll then be taken back to your workflow screen where you’ll need to complete all of Step 2 for each of the emails in your series.
If you want to add additional emails to your series, just click the “Add email” button at the bottom of the screen.
3. Set Your Trigger
Decide how and when you’d like your series to start.
Above each email in your workflow you’ll see the MailChimp default trigger for your automation is set to “1 day after subscriber joins your list”.
It’s entirely up to you how and when you’d like this series to start but for the sake of this tutorial, let’s change the trigger to go out immediately after a subscriber joins my list.
But before you do this, it’s wise to turn off your “Final Welcome Email” so your subscribers don’t get confused by multiple emails coming at them.
To do that go to:
- Lists >> Select the list you’re working with
- Sign up forms >> General Forms
- Then from the drop down menu select “Final Welcome Email” and uncheck “Send a Final Welcome Email”.
Now that’s done, you can go back to your Automation workflow screen and select “Change trigger”. Then from the drop down menu select “immediately”.
If you’d like this automation to trigger whenever you import new subscribers then make sure to check the box “Trigger when subscribers are imported”.
Then select “Update Trigger” in the top right hand navigation.
Back on the workflow screen you’ll see “Edit schedule” which allows you to choose the time and day this email should go out. This is really handy if you have a regular email schedule and don’t want to bombard your subscribers.
For example you might send a weekly email to your entire list on Wednesday morning in which case you might want to uncheck Wednesday from the drop down box or you could change the time to send in the afternoon only.
When you’ve decided when your email should go out select “Save Schedule” button at the top right of the screen.
Now, I’m not going to get into segmentation here as it’s a whole post on it’s own. But, what you should know is it’s another powerful tool to help you send relevant messaging to subscribers at the right time.
Segmentation allows you to filter subscribers based on information you’ve already gathered about them. For example, what lead magnets they downloaded, where they live, when they signed up and that’s just for starters. You can read more about MailChimp Segments here.
Next you’ll see “Edit Actions”. This option basically allows you to choose what should happen after the subscriber is sent an email.
To put that into context, let’s say a subscriber has been sent the final email of your Welcome Series. What do you want to happen next? Should subscribers be placed into another automation (ie; a pre-launch automation for a service or program), do you want them to be added to another interest group? Or maybe you simply want to tag them as having been through your Welcome Series? It’s entirely up to you and once you’ve decided, MailChimp will complete that action automatically.
So go ahead, check the “Choose post sending list action” box and more options will appear. Set your post sending action and select the “Update Action” button at the top right of your screen.
4. Start your automation
And finally, it’s time to start your automation.
From the workflow screen, select “Next” at the bottom right of your screen.
If there are any errors in your workflow, you’ll be prompted to fix them before you can start your Automation but once they’ve been resolved simply click the blue “Start Workflow” button on the bottom right of your screen.
And that’s how you setup MailChimp Automations!
Once you’re comfortable with setting up an automation the skies the limit with e-courses, sales funnels, on-boarding clients, nurturing your list and ultimately, turning subscribers into paying clients.
Now that you’ve got the tools + the “how-to”, there’s no excuses left.
I’d love to hear in the comments below how you plan to use MailChimp automations in your creative business.
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