Jan 2, 2008

Sending Targeted Emails With Interest Groups

Whenever you create an email signup form, you should let people check little boxes to indicate what kind of content they’re interested in. Here’s an example of what I mean (from a restaurant’s email signup form):

That way, when you create a campaign, you can send it to specific groups on your list, instead of blasting out to your entire list.

Now, most marketing experts would tell you that you should do this because it allows you to send "more targeted campaigns" to your customers. Targeted campaigns sent to small segments of your list will get you better open and click rates, they say.

That’s true, but here’s the real reason you should include interest groups on your signup form:

Writing an email newsletter with content that’s actually interesting to everybody on your list is a huge pain in the butt. It takes forever. It’s agonizing.

Sometimes you’ll have an interesting, timely bit of news that’s only relevant to a tiny 5% slice of your audience. You’ll want to send an email to those people, because you know they’d love it. But the other 95% of your list wouldn’t find it useful at all. So what do you do? If you have interest groups, you can just send a quick note to that group. If you don’t have interest groups, you just postpone the newsletter until you have enough news "for everyone else." When you eventually get around to sending the newsletter (3 months later), it’s a big, long, 5-page honker that nobody wants to read.

Being able to send a quick note to a specific interest group will save you so much time, and that slice of your audience will love you more for sending them relevant content. In MailChimp, you can give your recipients a link that lets them update their own "profile." So they can change their interest groups, email address, etc.

Example Interest Groups

Here are some ideas for interest groups you can use for your list signup forms:

If you run a… Ideas for interest groups:
Restaurant/Nightclub General News, Events, e-Coupons, Recipes from the Chef
Grocery Store General News, New products, healthy living, Meal ideas, Sales and special offers, Store happenings
Non-Profit General News, Volunteer Opportunities, Legislative Alerts, Research, Letter from the President
Software Company General News, Press Releases/Media, New Features, Tips & Tricks
CPA/Accounting General News, Tax Tips, Business Tips, or Categorize by their business type

Add List Segmentation to Interest Groups

If you’re a MailChimp customer, you can target your campaigns with interest groups AND list segmentation at the same time. For example, a grocery store can send a campaign to people subscribed to their "special offers" interest group, then use segmentation to further target to recipients within a specific ZIP code. It’s pretty powerful stuff (and it’s free). Learn more about MailChimp’s List Segmentation capabilities…