Email & Goal Automation with Mailchimp

Email & Goal Automation with Mailchimp 7 min read

Did you know that with MailChimp you can completely automate the newsletters and emails that go out to your subscribers based on their browsing habits on your website? The feature, aptly called Automation, allows paid users to set an if-then trigger to send out marketing emails. In layman’s terms: if they do x then send y.

 

It’s incredibly powerful and essential for subscription services.

 

I’d like to go through some of the basic use-cases first then I’ll jump into more of the technical implementation. Possible uses:

  • Someone signs up for your newsletter and you want to send them an email of events on a weekly basis
  • A user gets an email from you, visits your contact page but doesn’t convert (doesn’t submit anything)
  • A user visits your store, looks at a few products then clicks away
  • Your subscribers have been a member for a year now and you want to reward them
  • A user signs up for a free account but hasn’t made the jump to paying for a subscription yet

 

The list really does go on and on. As you can see, there is a fair amount of value in being able to target these users.

 

Your sales will go up if you target your users in a smarter way.

 

Now, let’s jump into the technical side. We’re passionate about Drupal so we’ll be using that for our integration. This really does fit with any CMS or custom solution, though. We’ll be focusing primarily on the Goal Tracking side as well but this can be expanded to use for other Workflow types.

 

1.) Set up a MailChimp account and pay for a membership

Yes, yes I know — you have to pay for automation. What a drag. Go here and signup then signup for a Pay As You Go account. If you already have an account, you can skip this step. You’ll definitely need an upgraded account to proceed, though!

 

2.) Create a basic template & set up a list

I’m going to skip right through this because it’s a basic process. MailChimp has made it incredibly easy to use now and it’s literally drag and drop. For more information go here: http://kb.mailchimp.com/templates/code/create-editable-content-areas-with-mailchimps-template-language.

 

3.) Install the Goal Tracking code

Click your account at the top then click “Account” from that dropdown menu. On the next page, click “Integrations”. Scroll down until you see “Goal” and enable that bad-boy. When you do so, it will give you the code to install in your header (don’t worry it’s asynchronous so it won’t slow your load times down).

 

In Drupal you’ll need to insert this in your html.tpl.php file.

 

4.) Time to set up Automation

Once you’re logged in, click the “Automation” tab at the top. You’ll probably see an empty list if you’re new to this so go ahead and click the dark grey “Create Automation Workflow” button.

 

At the next screen we’ll see the following:

automation-workflow

 

Go ahead and select a list by which you’ll be creating your workflow. We’re going to be focusing on the “Website Activity” method here, but as you can see — there are many options available. I implore you to click around and see what each has to offer.

mailchimp-website-activity

 

After clicking the “Select” button you’ll be automagically taken to the next page. The settings are very self explanatory. The only setting you’ll want to make sure you have checked is “Goal Tracking”. This will provide some valuable information later on.

 

5.) Set up your trigger

Now it’s time to set up what sets the automation workflow into action. Put in the URL that you want to target. More information on the actual settings can be found here: http://kb.mailchimp.com/integrations/other-integrations/integrate-goal-with-mailchimp#Set-Up-the-Goal-Integration.

 

The actual days it should be sent vary depending on what you’re trying to do. For instance — if you want to target someone while they’re still on the site: you’ll want to send immediately. If you want to give them a few days to digest the information and maybe provide them a coupon for your store — then you’ll want to wait a day or two to send it out.

 

6.) Set up the Emails

Depending on what you’re automating here you’ll want to set up one or more emails here. You can use the template you previously created during this step. I’d recommend at least two or more emails if you’re staggering the sends (i.e. sending on Monday, Wed and Friday) as you’ll want some variation in the content.

 

7.) You’re all done!

So now you’re probably wondering — OK, this thing is set up, how does it work? Great question. Here’s the step-by-step procedure:

  1. You send out a regular campaign
  2. The user clicks on a link from the email
  3. They browse your site and hit a specific URL (the one you specified earlier). For this example let’s say its your store page.
  4. They click through and don’t make a purchase (darn!)
  5. 2 Days later — They receive a coupon for a 10% off their purchase
  6. They use that discount and now actually buy something. We win.

 

The tracking code is essentially there to track their behavior on the site. It is only triggered when they click from an email to your website. That portion is essential to understand.

 

Now quit reading and get started on making your marketing smarter! If you need help, feel free to comment below or drop us a line.

 

 

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