Sep 19, 2011

Email Beamer: Send Campaigns via Private Email Address

There’s an extremely cool feature in MailChimp that not a lot of people know about, and we’re trying to change that with some big upgrades:

The Email Beamer
Every list in MailChimp has a private email address. You can send a message to that private address using Gmail, Outlook, Apple Mail, or even your iPhone or iPad, and we’ll automatically forward it as an email campaign to your list.

This means you can publish MailChimp campaigns while you’re away from your computer, on the road, or sitting in your makeup chair before the show (yep, someone asked us if this was possible).

 

In the past, this feature only allowed you to "beam" emails into MailChimp as drafts. You then had to sign in and hit "Send" from within MailChimp. Also, once your draft was beamed into MailChimp, it was a little difficult to tweak (unless you could code HTML).

In v6.3 of MailChimp, we changed all that.

Now, when you send an email to your list’s private email address, we’ll send back a confirmation email that looks like this:

 

All you have to do is reply with the word "send" in your message…

 

…and we’ll deliver your campaign to that list. You never have to log in to MailChimp to do anything.

But if you want to log in to check the campaign, or if you wanted to beam a rough draft into MailChimp then tweak it later, you’ll find it saved as a draft in your MailChimp account:

 

 

Click "edit" and you can modify the campaign with MailChimp’s built-in visual editor:

 

Using MailChimp’s Email Beamer

There’s really not that much to using the beamer. If you can send an email, you can use the beamer. The work is in the setup process.

Setting up

First, find your private email address.

1. Sign in to MailChimp, and click the Lists tab.

2. You’ll see links for "Email Beamer."

3. Click to get the Beamer address for the list you want:

 

On the next screen, you can grab the list’s private email address:

 

You can either copy-paste this into your address book, or click the handy vCard link to download it to your address book.

Tip: When you add your Beamer email to your address book, be sure you give it a nice description so that you can easily recall it or autofill it whenever you’re ready to send:

 

Send some tests!

You don’t want to be getting acquainted with this feature when you actually need to use it. Practice with it a little first.

  1. Setup a test list, with just a few of your test email addresses, or some friends or co-workers
  2. Grab that test list’s Beamer address, and add it to your address book (follow the steps above)
  3. Beam some campaigns. Attach images, or drag and drop them into your email app. See what happens in MailChimp when you use Outlook vs. Gmail vs. your smart phone.
  4. Use the Inbox Inspector to test any complex templates you’re beaming into MailChimp. Some HTML email templates that you beam will work great. Others, maybe not so much.

 

Try composing an email on your smart phone that includes photos, and beam it to MailChimp:

 

 

 

 

You’ll notice that we don’t do much to change the email, other than adding a footer with all the spam-law-required stuff (unsub link, mailing address, etc).

 

Verify your domains

For security purposes, we can’t accept a beamed campaign from just any email address. You’ll need to send us campaigns where the reply-to is from a verified domain (learn more about Verified Domains and see how to check yours in MailChimp). We’ll only send the confirmation message to your account’s verified email address. So let’s say you’ve set up an account for "Acme Bananas" and you want to let your Marketing Manager beam campaigns into MailChimp from her Gmail. That’s fine, so long as she uses a reply-to from ____@acmebananas.com. But she’ll need to be able to get the confirmation messages that we send back to "____@acmebananas.com"

 

A note on attachments

Some email apps, like Gmail, don’t let you drag and drop inline images into your content. Instead, you have to attach your images to the bottom of the message:

 

When this is beamed to MailChimp, we’ll display attachments below your content:

 

So do some testing from the email app(s) you plan to use, so that you’re familiar with how Beamer will translate your emails.

One interesting note is that all images from beamed campaigns get stored in your MailChimp account’s image gallery for future use. Which, if you think about it, is kind of an interesting way to quickly beam images straight into your gallery. Hmm.

 

Perfect for Travelers, Noobs, and Hot Tubs

The Email Beamer is great if you’ve got a client or co-worker who wants to use MailChimp, but hasn’t got the time or inclination to sign in and learn our app (ba-humbug!). Or maybe it’s someone who is always on the go, and prefers to use Gmail to compose their newsletters. Maybe there’s someone in your organization that needs to send simple letters out to your email list, but you don’t exactly want them inside MailChimp and tweaking your settings and stuff.

Set them up with their Email Beamer private email address, and bam — they can send from whatever and wherever they want.

Yep, you could even send words of wisdom to subscribers with your Blackberry while taking a hot bubble bath:

 

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