Jul 7, 2015

Using Twitter Lead Generation Cards to Grow Our Lists

Update (1/10/2017): Twitter has retired their Lead Generation Card feature. Going forward, if you wish to share a link to your MailChimp signup form on Twitter, you can do so using our social share options. For more information, visit our Knowledge Base.

Update (1/3/2017): On January 10, Twitter will be retiring their Lead Generation Card feature. After that date, you’ll no longer be able to create new cards, and existing cards will stop passing information back to your MailChimp account.

You probably already know that it’s easy to set up a MailChimp account and start sending emails. You also probably already know that it’s not always so easy to grow your list.

Maybe this sounds familiar: You sign up, import a CSV, and add a signup form to your website and Facebook page. You’re going strong, feeling great. Then you check your list growth and it looks something like this:

List Growth

Flatter than a pancake in Kansas.

But don’t cue the sad trombone just yet! After you’ve set up the basics with your MailChimp account, there are still so many ways to grow.

One way to do that is through Twitter Lead Generation Cards. If you’re already active on Twitter, as most small businesses are, these cards a great tool for promoting your newsletters and collecting new signups with ease.

Recently we did our own experiments with the cards and a few of our mailing lists, and we learned a lot. Let’s take a look.

Building the house of (Twitter) cards

We designed Lead Gen Cards for 7 of our mailing lists, including our Getting Started series, our design team’s newsletter, and our quarterly collection of tips, case studies, and research, MonkeyWrench. Here’s one—looks good, huh?

List Growth

Lead Gen Cards get posted straight to your feed like any other tweet. And readers can subscribe right within their Twitter feed, with one click. Their email addresses are already confirmed within the app, so no additional opt-in is required. The new contacts pass directly into your MailChimp list.

You could stop right there. But we didn’t.

The sound of segmenting

We went a step further and specifically targeted certain audiences with our Lead Gen Cards by promoting them on Twitter.

Twitter’s ads manager offered a wealth of data and allowed us to isolate countries where MailChimp is growing the fastest, pinpoint specific mobile carriers, and reach users with defined interests based on who they’re already following.

Twitter campaign segmentation

We focused this particular ad on users who seemed similar to our existing followers. When promoting a card for our UX Newsletter, we adjusted the targeting to share the tweet with folks who were likely fans of Smashing Magazine and A Book Apart.

Lead Gen Cards work great with Twitter Tailored Audiences, too. When we were announcing the MailChimp Digest newsletter, we knew that a monthly roundup of company news would be of the most interest to our current customers. So we exported our list of all 8 million MailChimp users to a tailored audience. From that list, we matched over a million Twitter accounts and used this new data to determine the promoted tweet’s reach.

That’s not all, folks

Again, you could call it quits right here and probably see some great results. But we wanted to reach back out to our Twitter audience with an even more targeted message.

When someone subscribes to your newsletter from a Lead Generation Card, they’re automatically added to a unique segment within your MailChimp account. So after we collected some new subscribers to The Thread, the collection of email conversations we hosted in partnership with California Sunday Magazine, we used the resulting segment to send out a back issue featuring a conversation between the musicians Ben Gibbard and Mark Kozelek.

Twitter Card automation

This let us offer new subscribers something to hold them over until the next newsletter arrived, and offered an example of the content they could expect. We repurposed an existing template and enabled the automation in less time than your average guitar solo.

The results

Across all campaigns, links to our Lead Gen Cards appeared 340,000 times. From there, 1.4% clicked through from their timelines to view a full card, and a quarter of those Twitter users clicked to join.

We didn’t double our list size or earn hundreds of thousands of signups, but some of the improvements were significant: The MailChimp Digest grew by 7%, The Thread added 12%, and MonkeyWrench picked up 174 subscribers. And outside of our lists, the ads brought in some new followers and started a few conversations. Win/win/win.

But this was also only our first experiment, and we know we can do even better. Now that there’s a group of respondents, we can analyze their segment in our MailChimp list. We might look for popular devices or use Discover Similar Subscribers to generate a comparable segment to our first conversions. Even swapping the card image or trying a different call to action could make a huge difference.

Feeling inspired to get started with your own Lead Generation Cards? Connect your Twitter Ads account and create your own cards today.