Oct 1, 2009

Eventbrite integration with MailChimp

Ever since we launched MailChimp in 2001, our customers have been asking us to build an events management tool for MailChimp.

Thing is, we’d rather focus on what we do best: making email marketing awesome. "Events" is not our specialty, so we felt we’d never be able to make it awesome enough.

Then we discovered Eventbrite, which is the best events management tool we’ve ever used. And it just so happens they also have an API.

So we’re really excited to announce that MailChimp is partnered with Eventbrite, and our services are seamlessly integrated. Build events in eventbrite, then design & deliver awesome invitations in MailChimp (and so much more).

Here’s how the integration works…

Let’s say I run the PTA (parents, teachers association) for a local elementary school, and we want to hold a car wash fund raising event for the 5th grade class. Just so happens that MailChimp user Morris Brandon Elementary did this very thing recently, so I’m going to use them as an example.

1. Create Event & Sell Tickets in Eventbrite

The first thing I’d do is create an event in Eventbrite. This is very easy, so I’m not going to walk you through all the steps, but I will point out some cool features.

First, you can sell tickets for your event. I’m going to create "PTA Members" tickets, and "Non-members" tickets. PTA members pay less for tickets, of course:

creating-tickets

How do you collect money, you ask? Eventbrite makes that easy too. You can choose Paypal ,Google Checkout, or just let Eventbrite handle the credit card processing on their end. They take a teeny-tiny bit of commission on orders, but it’s cheap. Way cheaper than trying to handle it yourself. You can also let attendees "pay at the door" or pay with a combination of the above. Super flexible.

payment-options

If your event is free, then you use Eventbrite free. And as you know by now, we like free.

2. Design Awesome Invitation in MailChimp

After your event is all setup in Eventbrite, you go to MailChimp, connect your account to your Eventbrite account, import the event details (all done seamlessly through our APIs) and design your invitation.

So I’m going to log in to my account, and create an email campaign. As always, the first step is to select the subscriber list I want to send to:

select-list

When it’s time to select my template, MailChimp has a new Eventbrite template as an option:

select-eventbrite-template2

It’s under the "My Templates" tab, then scroll down to the "pre-designed templates." Yeah, that’s sorta new. We’ll be adding lots more cool templates there soon. You’ll also notice the new twitter template there that we introduced a few days ago.

Anyway, the Eventbrite template will have a blue button asking you to "connect to eventbrite."

connect-to-eventbrite

When you click that button, we’ll ask you to enter your API key (you can get that from your Eventbrite account settings):

enter-eventbrite-key

Just copy-paste that key into our little screen, and we’ll connect to Eventbrite using the magic of APIs.

After the connection is made, I select the event I want to import to MailChimp:

select-event

Next, it takes me to my pre-built template, with all the event details ready to go:

stock-eventbrite-template

Notice it pulls in the event date, location, description, and even includes a Google Map.

Here’s where we can use MailChimp’s template design features to take this invitation a step further.

First, I’m going to create and upload a header graphic:

upload-morris-brandon-header

I’m a decent "photochopper" myself, but if I didn’t have a design application, MailChimp’s picnik integration would come in very handy here.

Once my header’s uploaded, I can tweak the template design a little by selecting one of MailChimp’s built-in color palettes:

color-themes

And then I can use MailChimp’s handy iStockphoto integration to search for "car wash kids" photos:

car-wash-kids

and insert one into my invitation:

car-wash-kids-istock

After the template’s looking the way I want, I just hit the send button like I always do.

But just for kicks, I actually backed up a step, and went to MailChimp’s campaign setup screen, and tried our new Subject Line Suggester to see if it would give me some ideas for a better subject line. I want as many parents to open this email as possible, afterall.

I typed "school, invitation, and invite" and here’s what I got:

subject-line-suggester

Hmm. Based on these suggestions, I might try, "Exclusive invitation to Morris Brandon parents" vs. "Morris Brandon invites you to our 5th grade car wash fundraiser" in an A/B subject line test.

Twitter Integration & Tracking

If you’ve got a twitter account (who doesn’t?), be sure to choose MailChimp’s twitter integration option and let us post a link to your campaign. It uses our eepurl link shortener, which allows us to track who tweets and re-tweets your campaign:

tracking-tweets-about-email-marketing-campaigns

Ticket Sales Stats, too!

Did we mention that MailChimp will pull your Eventbrite stats in to show you total ticket sales? It’s in the "Eventbrite360 report" and it looks something like this:

eventbrite360-stats

We’ll show you how many tickets you sold, and who bought them.

Followup Emails, Segmentation, and more…

What if the event needs to be postponed? This actually happened with Atlanta’s recent floods. The school had to send an email out postponing the car wash. Easy enough to send a followup email to the same list in MailChimp. And with our automatic mobile campaign feature, you can be confident that even parents "on the go" will receive your alert, properly formatted.

In another scenario, we might use MailChimp’s A.I.M. Reports in combination with our easy segmentation tools to send out a followup to all those who didn’t open or click the campaign.

Or, we can segment the list by proximity to a ZIP code:

zip-segment

For larger events with lots of lead time, I might even create an autoresponder sequence of reminders and followups before and after the big event. To maximize deliverability and click rate, I’d also suggest passing your event invitation through MailChimp’s one-click Inbox Inspector. It’ll render my campaign in all the major email programs, and check it in all the major spam filters to help pinpoint any problems with my campaign before I send.

RSS-to-email alerts for new events

If you host lots of events on Eventbrite, they’ll actually build an RSS feed that alerts people whenever you create a new event. You know where I’m going with this? Automate your alerts by using MailChimp’s RSS-to-email tool with Eventbrite’s RSS feed.

Powerful Combination

As you can see, Eventbrite and MailChimp make for one extremely powerful, easy-to-use combination.

We think this video shows how excited we are about this (warning: there’s smooching involved):