Working with MailChimp, and how building a brand is about the people

September 4, 2016

This is a story. A story about how I got feedback on my web design services. Come, take a listen.

The Beginning:

I started using MailChimp about 3 years ago when my alma mater asked me if I knew how to create email templates for newsletters. I didn’t, but I was going to learn. Normally, this process is how it works for me when I am trying to complete projects that have many different tasks — I just dive in head first, and hope for the best. Rather, I work for the best (read “Ego Is The Enemy” by Ryan Holiday for context). And though my school never used the email templates that I created —I had learned quite a bit about MailChimp, and some of its powers.

Fast Forward:

Here recently, I had the task of creating a website that included quite a bit of automated email marketing. Emails would be sent upon signing up for a newsletter, and then a sequential set of timed emails would be sent after the first. This process got me thinking about what I had learned. Especially since I had created a few more emails for other companies over the years, and seen some of the success of email marketing. “Now, how could I use this for myself,” I thought. Then, I remembered that I’ve been needing to get testimonials from previous clients to showcase on my website. MailChimp would be a great way to re-introduce myself to clients, and to let them know of my current direction.

My 5-Step MailChimp Process:

I log in MailChimp, feeling fairly confident, and begin the email creation process.

Because MailChimp is so widely used and well documented, it didn’t take long for me to get my bearings and create a successful email. The following steps outline the process I took in creating my latest MailChimp campaign to gather testimonials (note — this is how I did it, but you are welcome to complete the process any way you like).

  1. First, I created my email list with Google Docs of 9 previous clients that had purchased web and logo design from me, and downloaded the created list as a CSV.

2. Then, I imported my list into MailChimp by clicking the following options Lists > Create List > Create List > (input my list details) Save > Import subscribers

Now, how could I use this for myself,” I thought.

3. Then, I created a fairly simple 1 column template (Templates > Create Template) that I could later use for other email marketing opportunities.

4. Next, I created a “Regular” campaign where I used the template that I created. In that new campaign, I was able to create an email specifically for what I needed — including a banner that I had created, a “First Name” merge field, my link to gather the feedback, and a meme (because memes make me smile). Then, I completed a few test sends to myself to make sure that the formatting was correct.

5. Lastly, I sent the email off to the 9 email addresses with hopes of receiving feedback. Good, bad, indifferent — any feedback would be good so that I could better understand my clientele and improve the service.

That Was Pretty Good:

Of the 9 emails that were sent, I have currently received 6 responses. Those are pretty good numbers! Now, email marketing isn’t known to be that successful (I had a 66% completion rate), but the email went quite a bit better than the industry standard because I personally knew the people I was emailing.

Epitome:

The epitome that you will read next has come from many failures, and a few successes-it went better than the industry standard because building a brand is about the people receiving the service, and not the service itself.