Dec 28, 2016

How MailChimp Marketing Uses MailChimp Automation

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It’s been a banner year for the ol’ MailChimp marketing family. We revamped our homepage, experimented with our very own online store, and sent more than 200 million marketing emails to more than 14 million users around the world. That’s a lot of emails sent to a lot of users, and one thing we’ve learned is that timing is everything.

Sending an email to the right people at the right time is crucial for the marketing team, and sometimes the right people means everyone, and the right time is right now. If you’ve been a MailChimp user for a minute, you might’ve seen some of our greatest hits: "We’ve updated our Privacy Policy," "WordPress plugin reminder," and, of course, "Standing Outside a Broken Phone Booth with Money in My Hand."

A lot of our messaging is meant to spread the word about specific events (feature announcements, new partnerships, hot dog costumes), but other messages fare better when they’re sent to the right person at the right time. How can we know, for example, when a user is ready to dive into comparative reports?

Enter automation! We created workflows to automatically send emails specifically targeted to different kinds of users, and this year we added more than 30 automated emails across 5 automation workflows. Here’s what we’re sending.

A getting started series

A few years ago, our "getting started" emails consisted of a lone automated series that was glued together from a ragtag stream of legacy autoresponders. Now, when signing up for an account, a new user can opt-in to receive a 5-part email series on setup, design, and reporting. At the start of the year, we unified this workflow, audited the content we were sending, and ran some tests to better optimize clicks. After months of tests and tweaks, we were able to boost the overall open rate on this series to 37% with 20% of openers clicking the first campaign. Nice.

Event-based messaging

If you’ve spotted us at a recent event, you might’ve seen a Dwell-inspired trade show booth my studio apartment could only dream of. You might’ve also seen a few iPads hooked up to MailChimp Subscribe, our signup form app for iOS and Android tablets. Subscribe helps us collect email addresses from attendees and add them to an event-based list. The list is connected to an automated welcome series that’s triggered for new subscribers, so anyone who stops by our booth and is considering a new account can quickly sign up to learn more about the basics—and benefits—of MailChimp.

Features that grow your business

As your business grows, you might upgrade to a paid account to enable some additional features. And, with a little help from Kale and the MailChimp API, this plan data is passed from what I refer to broadly as "the database" directly to a group in our list.

This year, we’ve created a series for users who upgrade to a paid account that delves into Inbox Preview, Timewarp, and even has a Murphy Brown-esque automation about automation. Plus, we completely redesigned a separate workflow for new MailChimp Pro users that includes a timely how-to for creating your first comparative report.

The benefits of connecting your store

In recent years, we’ve been working hard to add new features that help e-commerce businesses learn more about their customers and sell more stuff, and automation helps us introduce those features to new users. When someone marks the "I’m an online seller" checkbox at signup, we’ve developed a workflow that introduces them to abandoned carts, segmenting by customer behavior, and individualized product recommendations. Most importantly, the percentage of users taking advantage of e-commerce features continues to increase each month. Go team.

Now, it’s your turn.

So you’ve connected your store and want to set up your own automation? Pre-built workflows make it easy to send an automated email when customers make their first purchase or leave something behind. Explore our Knowledge Base if you need some inspiration on how to personalize the experience for each customer. And let us know how it works for you!