Tips to get more out of your Mailchimp free plan for your email marketing

Despite the growth of various forms of marketing such as social networking, SEO, SEM, inbound etc. email marketing keeps its place as a powerful tool to stay in contact with customers and visitors and also get new business opportunities.

89% of marketing professionals see email marketing as their main channel lead generation.

This key position maintained by email marketing also makes it an interesting market for companies that have developed different tools. From the more than 260 email marketing tools available, at Toky, we decided to use Mailchimp, partly because of its simplicity, great documentation and its free plan.

With the MailChimp free plan, you could have up to 2,000 subscribers and send more than 12,000 emails per month; this makes it an excellent choice for startups and small businesses.

But we’re not going to give you a Mailchimp tutorial because you can search in Google and YouTube and easily find thousands of options; we’ll share some ideas that we apply at Toky wich can allow you to get more out of this platform before you start paying.

1. Use an email with your own domain as the sender of your campaign and not a free email

When you begin a startup or small business, usually you buy a domain name but some start by using free mail services like Gmail or Hotmail. Using this free email as the sender of your Mailchimp campaigns could affect the mail delivery because of DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance). This policy was created against SPAM and is implemented in the mail server blocking the emails that come from a free domain such as gmail.com but that were really sent from MailChimp servers because they’re considered not reliable.

To avoid this, get a valid email account user@yourstartup.com. If you like you could use Zoho Mail where you can get up to 25 free accounts with your own domain name.

2. Validate the domain name of your business or startup in Mailchimp

To increase the authenticity of the emails sent, it is recommended that you sign your campaigns Mailchimp with DKIM (Domain Keys Identified Mail) and SPF (Sender Policy Framework) which basically tells the mail servers that your campaign wich has in sender user@tustartup.com really was sent from an authorized domain from tustartup.com mail server.

To do this you must go to your MailChimp account then to your account settings and click on Verified domains option that allows you to validate your domain.

Even if you can validate the domain with your email, you could also make a personalized validation but you will need access to your DNS. Look down the references for process details

Before deciding to launch a campaign in MailChimp you need to define what are your main objectives and what are the secondary ones you want to achieve. For example, if you want the readers to visit your site you should make clear buttons for it; if you need to promote products, you must use attractive pictures and links etc.

In our case, each newsletter has the main objective of showing the last article and a secondary that is to show details of our platform; for this, the main message and call to action are clearly in the first place and the secondary goal is next. Some extra links are provided in the mail footer pointing to social networks and to products download of our app and Google Chrome extensions.

Do you want to know how much traffic brings your blog to your website? look at this article

This is perhaps the best practice to get more out of your free Mailchimp plan. You must get used to reviewing the results of each campaign you send and qualifying subscribers in your mailing lists. Remember that your free account has a limit of 2000 members so before you start paying, you need to validate that in your lists are people interested in knowing about your business. You can evaluate this analyzing the results of your campaigns and the rating of the members on your lists, which is represented by stars. Mailchimp assigns a rating to each subscriber according to positive events such as email opening and clicks or negative as rebounds and unsubscriptions.

Cleaning a list is basically to unsubscribe a set of members you consider that are not interested in your emails leaving space for the really interested ones. These inactive members are a waste of space wich is limited in the free plan. Having 2,000 subscribers with 1,000 who have never opened one of your emails is useless; after unsubscribing inactive members, what you can do is invite them back manually to register with a direct mail from your account.

To clean your list you can make use of the list segment feature in MailChimp, where you can unsubscribe members with a single star, those are who have had little or no interaction with previously sent emails, or even those who have not opened any of the last 20 campaigns.

You should be careful when segmenting and filter by the subscriptions date since new subscribers can have 2 stars but because they have not had enough time for a better rating.

This cleaning could be made after having enough campaigns or when you’re approaching 2,000 subscribers. For details on how to clean your list, you can look in the references below.

Now, how about an even better way to communicate with your customers and team members? Try Toky for business FREE for 14 days. Visit www.toky.co

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Originally published at blog.toky.co on August 4, 2016.