MailChimp 101: Intro to MailChimp

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We're not monkeying around with this one

MailChimp is the one of the biggest email marketing services for businesses, with over 15 million users and more than 1 billion emails sent through MailChimp every day. Unlike using a normal email provider like Gmail, MailChimp lets you keep track of complex contacts lists, find out information about how they interact with your organisation, write professional-looking emails quickly and send out highly targeted emails and ads. 

We like MailChimp for a lot of reasons, and this post is a general overview of what MailChimp can do for e-commerce businesses that use Shopify. 

What is MailChimp?

MailChimp is an email service provider that you can do all professional marketing emails from. It's not what you use to write your day-to-day operations emails with - it's what you use to send email blasts and newsletters out to customers and other subscribers. Organisations ranging from corporations and small entrepreneurs to student organisations and charities are using MailChimp because it saves time and money, and provides robust insight data about how people respond to your marketing. 

Here are the basics of what MailChimp does:

1. Create lists of all of your subscribers that you can then organise by interest, location and demographic or filter by their consumer behaviour

2. Write email "campaigns" using ready-to-go or build-your-own templates that look professional and visually appealing

3. Use automation features to send thank you emails, reminder emails and more to individuals based on their consumer behaviour

4. Test out how well certain marketing techniques are working with A/B testing and comprehensive reporting that connects directly with your Shopify and Facebook business accounts.

Why did we choose the Chimp?

Of course, there are plenty of other email service providers out there, like Campaign Monitor, Klaviyo and Constant Contact, but there are a few things we like about MailChimp in particular.

It's easy to use

MailChimp is one of the best in terms of ease of use, with step-by-step setup tutorials, clear and concise writing, and an interface that is visually appealing. They've made everything from importing contact lists to reading reports pretty straightforward. 

It saves a tonne of time

Merchants can use the templates in MailChimp (or design their own) to build professional-looking emails that seem as if a graphic designer made them, without having to know any fancy programs. They also have powerful sorting and filtering features for creating highly targeted audiences - just a few years ago we had to do this kind of email pulling by hand and it took forever. 

It's one smart cookie

MailChimp gives us more data than most other services, especially when we connect it to Shopify. It shows you exactly how effective your marketing is, what's working and what could use improvement. For example, you can see for Product A, 15% of purchases came from your most recent email to men in New York aged 35-55. Hats off to that email! It was less effective for the email sent to people-you-met-at-a-farmers-market.

You can see exactly how much your return-on-investment was for each email campaign or Facebook/Instagram ad. That means you'll be able to know that spending $100 on a Facebook ad translated to $4 spent on advertising per purchase, and got you 60 new subscribers.

MailChimp reports are visually easy to read and have tons of information. Plus they've got adorable annual reports for all to see.

Automate, mate

By far, one of the best things about using an email management system like MailChimp is the fact that you can automate tons of workflows when you connect to Shopify. That means you can set up an email to be sent automatically to a customer

  • When they sign up for your email list
  • When they put something in the cart and start entering their info but didn't check out
  • When they haven't clicked on your emails in a while
  • When they have been a subscriber for a certain amount of time

and so many more! This kind of feature makes you much more engaged with your audience, while giving you far more reach and taking way less time. 

There's nothing to download and you can take it anywhere

MailChimp works directly on your server, so you can access everything from your laptop, a desktop, your phone or someone else's computer when they're not looking. This means you don't have to take up any space, everything synchs in real-time, and you can work from anywhere. 

It lets businesses scale as they need to

MailChimp plans are flexible, starting from FREE to for itty bitty organisations and working their way all the way to $199 a month for pro enterprises. Compared to other services, it's pretty cheap for everything you get. 

Connecting MailChimp to an e-commerce platform

Keeping track of everything in one place is a good thing - but using MailChimp and Shopify takes it a step further. Like peanut butter and jelly, they're both better off with the other. 

See how your store is performing

There are a few places where you can find out how your store is doing. One is of course your Shopify reports from your admin dashboard. Another is MailChimp. When you open up your MailChimp dashboard, you see e-commerce performance alongside your marketing performance indicators. That means you'll be able to see your monthly, weekly and daily revenue, what percentage of that is coming from MailChimp, how it's changed over time, and the total number of orders.

MailChimp and Shopify connect seamlessly with Google Analytics, too. You can see information about website traffic, and how much of that traffic comes from which sources, right in MailChimp. 

Write the right things to your customers

If there's one big advantage of connecting MailChimp with Shopify, it's that you can see consumption information contact by contact. You can write an email specifically to customers who purchased items from your newest collections, are your big spenders, bought holiday gifts, purchased more than five things at once, or didn't buy anything at all. 

Writing targeted messages based on customer behaviour is something that can only really be done with an e-commerce and email marketing platform connected. And it can be helpful in retaining customers or focusing your marketing on returning customers. 

So what's it gonna cost me?

The basic plan is free and includes all basic features like creating email campaigns and creating groups and segments from your list. As you scale up, you'll need to purchase a plan that gives you more functionality, better reporting and the ability to email more people.

The Growing Business plan starts at $10 a month, and the Pro Marketer Plan goes up to $199 a month. The more advanced plans let you use Shopify together with your MailChimp account and use A/B testing to create the right messaging. 

Next Up In Our Series

We’re rolling out a series for more tips and tricks on MailChimp, and will go into detail as to how you can make the best of your account in the upcoming articles. 

Check out our other posts, including:


MailChimp Reports

Lists, Groups and Segments

In-Depth Segmentation

MailChimp is perfect for small-medium businesses. For more information on businesses with high-level requirements, feel free to contact Elkfox today; we can suggest alternatives that would cater to your business’ needs. 

Images via MailChimp