Mailchimp is great – especially with the free tier ( 2000 subscribers for free ) – using it is a smart decision. Here are some thoughts on how to get the most out of it:
Set up one or more lists
- Perhaps you want to have a list everyone can join, and another just for your clients
- Having two lists sounds like a great idea but it also means that if you want to utilize a two-tier approach you’ll need to curate and send two mailings which could mean more work. Of course you can send a “campaign” to more than one list. Just food for thought
Import your subscribers
- You probably have already realized that mailchimp has a lot of tools to import your contacts from outlook, gmail, etc. I think you guys were using feedburner previously and I’m not positive if you have access to that list of e-mails or not, but you can always send a message out via feedburner if it is still active and invite your contacts to connect via mailchimp
- Mailchimp offers an easy-unsubscribe link and you might get a few people who “jump ship” initially but it’s a good way to start your list.
- You will see notices in Mailchimp about not importing contacts that you don’t have a relationship with or that aren’t yours (chamber of commerce lists) and that is good advice to heed.
Set up a subscribe widget
- There used to be a wordpress plugin that worked great for subscribing people to mailchimp. I don’t know if it is publicly available but it would be important to install on your site to allow people to subscribe to one (or more) of your mailchimp lists. Gravityforms has one but GF is a paid plugin (worth it)
- There was also a plugin that I’m sure is no longer publicly available which can be used to create an archive on your website of previous e-mails
Tie it in with your blog articles
If you’re already writing great blog content and have developed a good following. A few ideas about how to connect content:
- The newsletter can have short articles that can be elaborated on in a blog post. The articles could also be related or a follow-up or precursor to a blog post
- I would advise against just republishing blog posts via mailchimp verbatim. Newsletter content should generally be shorter and can have a “call to action” like “read more on our blog” or “read more and add your comments on our blog” or something like that. Sometimes people make the mistake of publishing the same exact content on FB, twitter, blog, and e-mail and it’s OK but I believe shows visitors that the company wants to make some effort to “reach out” but doesn’t value those networks enough to spend time curating the content for each one. So, if possible curate your content to fit each “media vehicle” you use to publish it