In October 2016, I launched my first newsletter using MailChimp. For the first two months I only had a handful of subscribers, then a few more subscribed. Now, thousands of people have joined the NoCode newsletter. Since then I have learnt a lot about MailChimp — so I thought I’d share some of my tips.
This is the first of few posts I’m going to share about MailChimp. There are so many hidden features to discover, too much for one post. So expect a few other posts with some of the handy tips and tricks I have learnt over the past year.
I treat my monthly email newsletter very differently than other brands or blogs typically treat their newsletter. Inspired by Kevin Rose’s monthly newsletter The Journal, where he intentionally issues only one newsletter per month ensuring that it’s as informative as possible and is not filled with content for content's sake.
The focus of your newsletter is to provide value to your subscribers. Always keep this at the forefront of your mind whilst creating each newsletter.
Think of these steps below as your opportunity to onboard new subscribers and introduce them to your brand. You can add branded assets and custom text to your forms and set up a welcome email with a coupon or special offer for new subscribers.
Double Opt-In email
I’m not going to bore you with the details about Double Opt-In email but with single opt-in, people fill out a signup form and are immediately added to your mailing list, even if their address is invalid or contains a typo. Single opt-in can clog your list with bad addresses and possibly generate spam complaints from subscribers who don’t remember signing up, although some would disagree with this. Double Opt-In is standard for MailChimp, so let’s make the most of this by introducing a simple but incredibly effective hack to the flow below!
So what can we do to maximise this slightly annoying process for the user? First, lets look at making some subtle changes to the Opt-in email your subscribers first receive to confirm their subscription.
Path: Lists > select list > drop-down next to stats > signup forms > General forms > forms and response emails dropdown > select opt-in confirmation email.
👆🏻 As you can see it’s not the easiest feature to find. However, now you have the ability to edit a whole host of emails and flows.
I suggest keeping this email basic as we don’t want to detract the subscriber from clicking ‘yes subscribe me to that list’ call to action. I would change the header image to your personal branding and edit the default corporate text to something a little more personal.
What’s next? 🤔
Step 1: So the subscriber now clicks ‘yes, subscribe me to this list’ 🙌🏻 . They are then asked to quickly complete a simple Captcha form to confirm they aren’t a robot 🤖. As a default they are directed to a MailChimp conformation page. 👈🏻 Lets change that default redirect and instead take the subscriber your website.
Step 2: Add your website URL in the field above and click ‘save’ then boom 💥, now your subscribers will be redirected to your site.
You can redirect your subscribers to any page on your site, but depending on what you want your subscribers to do on your site, you could, like me create a custom page for your subscribers. My page below was inspired by Tobias Van Schneider’s newsletter 👌🏻
You can also let them know the type of projects you do, stuff you sell, what you blog about and share a short success story/testimonial or two, a PDF attachment or even a linked video. It’s your brand, so it’s your call.
The last step 🎉
Another little-known feature is the ‘Final welcome email’ feature. This optional email is disabled by default, but you can enable a welcome email at any time. The feature delivers an email after a subscriber confirms their subscription (last step we just looked at). You can use this message to send new subscribers a welcome message, coupons or promo codes.
Don’t overthink it. I like to think of newsletters like letters in your mail. When someone sends you a regular letter, you’re usually interested. But if your mail already looks like a random piece of spam, I’m probably not even opening it . — Tobias Van Schneider
Because I only issue my newsletter once a month this is a great way to include some of my previous content to get my subscribers up to speed and give them an idea of what they can expect.
I provide a few of the promo codes that I provide in my monthly newsletter, links to previous blog posts and some text about what they can expect in the newsletter. Again, at this point you could also provide a link to download exclusive free content for your subscribers.
Be sure to remember to keep the welcome message updated with your latest content as it can easily be forgotten.