Sep 14, 2010

MailChimp Faces Launching in v5.3

MailChimp's Dashboard shows your subscribers' social avatars

MailChimp Dashboard with subscriber avatars

When we launched Social Pro, it gave our customers fascinating insight into their subscriber lists. Suddenly, their databases were no longer full of "prospects" or "records." We could drill down into member profiles to learn more about them and actually see what they look like ("gasp! these are humans!").

Seeing those social avatars and gravatars is so profoundly fun, we decided to make that aspect of Social Pro a lot more front and center. In a few days, we’ll be launching MailChimp Faces. When Social Pro is activated, a random sample of your subscribers will be there to greet you whenever you log in to the MailChimp Dashboard. It’s a not-so-subtle reminder that these are real live people you’re sending to, and they deserve useful, relevant emails…

You’ll also be able to sort these faces to see your most active subscribers and your most recent subscribers:


Warning: Highly Addictive

Having access to a beta of MailChimp Faces for the last couple weeks, I’ve found myself spending hours just clicking through profiles and learning about the people who subscribe to my lists. Avatars can reveal a lot about people. For example…

I’ve got dog lovers on my list:


and plenty of cat lovers too:


I noticed some cheerful beer lovers:

and some serious bier lovers:


Um, freakishly weird alien creatures with lasers on their forehead:


Amish Lego fanatics from Portugal:


And I even learned that SANTA CLAUS is on my list:


Yes, I had to check that twice. Think he’s on my list to see if I’m naughty or nice?

And before you tell me that I shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, note that you can click on any face to get their hover card, which links you to their twitter, facebook, and linkedin accounts (if they made them public), shows you their approximate geolocation (if available), plus you can click to view their full member profile in MailChimp:

Click an avatar to display its hovercard

Click an avatar to display their hovercard

Now Email is Good With Faces

Mention email, and marketers think about pie charts, targeting and ROI. Email marketing is all business.  Social networks are where the personal stuff happens. But there’s no reason your email marketing shouldn’t be personal too. In fact, the way things are going with gmail and hotmail, it may become a requirement. We’ve been talking a lot lately about using email to be more social, using the Social Web to be more human, and how machines are developing a taste for "human-ity" when filtering our emails. MailChimp Faces and Social Pro reveal the human side of our lists. Chad, our lead engineer, puts it this way: "Empathy, damn it!" He was being snarky, but it’s true. Email marketing is not about just constantly marketing to your contacts. It’s about getting to know them better, so you can have more useful, engaging conversations.

MailChimp Faces, along with some other exciting new features, will be launching in a few days with our v5.3 release. Stay tuned for details, plus some exciting announcements.