May 7, 2009

How do I get my subscribers to give us more information about them?

brownies_smallAndy from Secret Chocolatier asks, "how can I get people to fill out their profiles on a routine basis?" This is a common problem.

You’ve got lots of subscribers who’ve given you their email address, and maybe fname & lname.

But you want more information (like birthday, ZIP code, gender, etc) so you can use our segmentation tool to send targeted campaigns to them.

The answer? Incentives. Specifically, Brownie bites (mmm, brownie bites)…

Prep your signup form

First, setup your MailChimp list signup form (and go ahead and customize the rest of the double opt-in process) to include all the extra data fields you want to collect from your subscribers. Here’s a video for that:

Let’s say you’ve started with a list of email addresses (from those who’ve purchased items from your store, and opted-in for email marketing from you), and you want them to self-append that list with fname, lname, and birthday (btw, there are services like FreshAddress that you can pay to append data for you, but let’s focus on the organic approach for now).

Create the "Update your info" email campaign

Send a campaign to your list with a giant picture of Brownie Bites (mmm, brownie bites), and tell people you’re doing a random drawing and will send the winner a free box of Brownie Bites (mmm, brownie bites) if they click the link and enter more information about themselves.

Be up front about it. People are suspicious about giving their personal information. Tell them you want to start giving away free birthday gifts once a month. Or tell them you’re just trying to do more targeted campaigns, so that you don’t overwhelm subscribers with too many emails (heck, point ’em to this blog post).

Anyway, instead of linking the Brownie Bites link (mmm, brownie bites) to a product web page, point them to your list’s update-profile page (here’s  how to do that).

Customize the Update Profile Page

Be sure you customize your update profile page to include some text like, "If you want to be entered in our monthly birthday drawing for free Brownie Bites (mmm, brownie bites) be sure to enter your birthday below." That was horrible. But c’mon I’m writing this at 5am. You can think of better copy than that. Point is, you can customize that update_profile page in MailChimp. Just look for:


Whenever you’re ready to choose the winner of your Brownie Bites (mmm, brownie bites), download your subscriber list:


In Excel, sort by the birthday (or whatever field you want) column, and choose a random subscriber. Here’s a quick tip: every row in your spreadsheet has a number assigned to it. Just Google around for a random number generator tool to help you pick a number. Or, just ask the person sitting next to you at the office (or a friend over chat) for a random number.

Notify the winner, get their pic

Now that you’ve got a winner, send them an email (personal, not from MailChimp) and tell them they won, and ask them for a picture of them enjoying your Brownie Bites (mmm, brownie bites).

Blog about it

Boom, now you’ve got content for your blog. Showcase the customer, get some kinda testimonial, and include their smiling, messy face with chocolate all around their lips. If they run (or work at) a small business, try to talk about their company more than yours. On the blog post, make sure you link back to your list signup form, so that readers know they should be subscribing to your list if they also want to win.

In fact, if you’re going to do this often, you might want to create a whole new category on your blog, like "Birthday Prize Winners." Now you’ve got one link where you can show off all those smiling winners. Boom. Hey, it’s 5am, and I tend to say boom a lot when I’m not fully awake.

Modify your big monthly newsletter

Thanks to the blog post and picture, you’ve also got some easy content for your big monthly/quarterly company newsletter: "Featured Brownie Bites Winner" where you can profile someone (be sure to include that blog category link to see all your past winners). That "past winners" link can also be placed on your list’s update profile page.

Modify your store page(s)

Then, go to your Brownie Bites product page (mmm, brownie bites product page), and add a link to your blog’s Birthday Prize Winners category, so that visitors to your store see all those pictures of happy customers devouring your Brownie Bites.

Mmm, happy customers.

Don’t have something cool (like Brownie Bites) to give away? Most of your customers would love a company t-shirt from you. If you don’t have that either, just give away something cool from one of your customers.  Now you’re helping your business and theirs. Win-win! Or, you could just give away some of those delicious Brownie Bites from MailChimp customer Secret Chocolatier.

Bonus project: Now that you’ve got this circle of customers-to-email-to-blog-to-more-emails-to-more-customers, setup an "update your profile" email autoresponder to automatically go out to new subscribers 1 month after subscribing to your list.