Mar 28, 2009

Email marketing a secret weapon for newspapers

secrets-of-the-city-logoHere’s a really smart way newspapers can use email marketing (and automation). Secrets of the City, based in Minneapolis, describes itself as "The daily digest of Twin Cities culture."

If you publish news every single day like they do, you probably don’t have time to sit down and write daily email newsletters. Which is why Secrets uses MailChimp’s RSS-to-email tool to automatically take content that they publish to their website, and turn it into daily emails:

safariscreensnapz005

Each section of their site has an RSS feed. So they’ve setup separate lists in MailChimp so that readers can subscribe to the section they like:

  • Secrets of the day
  • MNSpeak
  • Weekly events and discounts

Some go out daily, some go out weekly:

rss-email-secrets

The part we love about all this is that they can set all this up once, and then they never have to log in to MailChimp again.

That’s why we created our RSS-to-email tool in the first place.

Their different authors can log in to their own publishing system with their own levels of permissions and workflow setup there. All they have to worry about is writing great content, and hitting their publish button.

Behind the scenes, MailChimp takes care of delivery and tracking.

And unlike other RSS-to-email tools, MailChimp lets you totally customize your email templates (here’s an advanced tutorial).

And if you sell advertising in your email, we give you amazing reports that measure your ROI, geomaps to show you where people are opening from, and clickmap overlays to show you exactly what people clicked on.

What about all those mobile users out there? MailChimp has amazing mobile support. We’ll automagically generate mobile versions of all your campaigns, so that again—your authors can just focus on content.

Before turning the autopilot button on though, you can test your emails in our inbox inspector, and run automatic A/B split tests.

Kudos to the smart folks at Secrets of the City for also using Twitter and other social media in their mix:

other-secrets

because it’s a great way to get closer to your followers–um–readers, as this touching story from Jon Swanson, another MailChimp user, demonstrates.

See also:

Newspaper as a platform: Guardian Launches API

Import by URL – another way to automate publishing in MailChimp

MailChimp API – seamless integration between MailChimp and your internal publishing system and database

MailChimp’s blog plugins