Jan 31, 2008

How NavySEALS.com Uses MailChimp with Google Analytics

night-vision.jpgNavySEALS.com is an e-commerce site that sells diving equipment, tactical gear, nightvision goggles, two-way radios—basically, all the cool stuff I wish I knew how to use, and that my wife wouldn’t let me buy in a million years (check out their website here).

I just spoke with Tony Vernetti, their e-commerce manager, about how they use MailChimp’s Google Analytics integration. I was kind of surprised at how much you could do with our own product!

If you haven’t heard, we added Google Analytics integration to MailChimp back in December. That means if you use Google Analytics on your website, you should definitely turn on this module in MailChimp (it’s totally free). Then, whenever you create a new email campaign, just check the "Google Analytics" box, and we’ll add little tracking links to your email.

That way, you can track what people do on your website after they receive your email. If you’ve ever wondered what your email ROI is, this is how you find it. Here are instructions on how to activate the Google Analytics add-on for MailChimp.

Now, I knew you could go into Google Analytics, then click on "Traffic Sources" and then sort by "Medium" to see how many clicks you got from a MailChimp campaign.

Getting Even More Out of Google Analytics

But Tony told me that if you activate the "Yes, this is an e-commerce site" option in Google Analytics, you get so much more. NavySEALS.com has a plugin for their e-commerce shopping cart, that basically pulls data from Google Analytics into a dashboard. He can see in the blink of an eye how much money an email campaign brought him, the number of transactions, avg value per customer, and more. He doesn’t want to disclose the software he uses, but these plugins are fairly common. Check with your cart vendor for some kind of "Google Analytics plugin."

If you don’t have this kind of one-click plugin, you can just log into Google Analytics to get the information yourself. Here’s a screenshot of what NavySEALS.com’s reports look like (with private stuff blocked out):


This is the same page we described here, but notice the "E-commerce" tab? That’s what you get when you activate the e-commerce option in Google Analytics. When you click that tab, you get a run-down on actual ka-chings from your email campaigns. Nice.

Tony says they’ve always tracked their email ROI like this. But before MailChimp, he had to manually tag each and every link in his email campaign (usually, there are at least 50 links, so that can get tiresome fast).

In MailChimp, you just check one box, and we do the rest automagically. Saves him a few hours every month (he sends lots of emails).

If you run an e-commerce site with Google Analytics, you should give this a try on your next MailChimp campaign. There’s no work involved—you just check a box. If you’re one of the thousands of creative agencies and web designers who use MailChimp for your clients, consider this as a little add-on service to offer your clients. Everybody loves to hear what their ROI is. Makes them feel smarter.

Instructions on how to activate the e-commerce module in Google Analytics (thanks, Tony!):