MailChimp 101: Lists, Groups & Segments

MailChimp 101: Lists, Groups & Segments

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The foundation of great marketing is an up-to-date list of contacts, which includes important data such as who has opted in to receive your email campaigns or interacted with your online store. A MailChimp list is a powerful and flexible tool that helps you manage various types of contacts.

In this guide, we’ll cover a few basics about lists, groups, and segments in this article, including what you need to know before you start importing contacts into MailChimp, and how to make the most of your list.

What are Lists?

MailChimp's email marketing platform centres on your list. Lists store your contacts’ email addresses, as well as other important information. 

After you've set up your MailChimp account you'll need to create a list and configure its default settings before you can import or collect subscribers. If you already have an existing list of subscribers, it is crucial to import them into MailChimp. If you don't yet have any lists yet, you will need to create a new list for all new subscribers to be automatically added to.

Get Permission

Remember – The first step to building a successful list is to get permission from subscribers who want to receive your email campaigns. Permission is not only required by MailChimp, but it is also only common courtesy.

You wouldn't want people who hasn't given you permission, to report your email campaigns as spam. They would also be less likely to engage with your campaigns or make purchases.

Read more about permission here.

What Can You Do With Lists?

The flexibility of your list depends on how it is created, imported, and maintained in MailChimp. With the correct data and organisation, you can easily segment contacts based on a variety of criteria, and send certain types of content to specifically targeted groups.

How To Import a Spreadsheet of Your Existing Subscribers To a New List

Every new MailChimp list starts out empty, but fret not. MailChimp’s List Import Builder can help you quickly upload and organise an email marketing audience.

Here’s what you’ll need to add subscribed contacts to MailChimp:

• The names and email addresses of people who have opted in to receive your email marketing.

• An existing or new MailChimp list.

• A blank sheet in a spreadsheet program like Microsoft Excel or Numbers; saved or exported as a comma separated value (CSV) file.

Here is a simple step-by-step guide as to how to import your subscribers to your MailChimp list. 

How To Reconfirm a List of Old Subscribers 

If your list has a lot of stale email addresses, you may want to reconfirm the list outside of MailChimp. Stale addresses are old or invalid emails that haven’t been sent to in a long time, which can potentially lead to high rates of bounces, spam complaints, and unsubscribes.

To reconfirm a list, you'll need to export your list, bulk unsubscribe those addresses, and send the subscribers a link to your signup form.

Here is a step-by-step guide as to how to reconfirm a list of old subscribers. 

What are Groups?

Groups are a collection of subscribers, categorised by their interests or preferences. A group consists of a group category and group names.

Before you create a list group, you’ll first need to create a list in MailChimp. When you’re ready to create a new group in your list, first decide what you want to call your group category and group names.

For instance, say you want to promote a make up line, and you want to organise female subscribers by age. You can create a list group category called “Women subscribers” with the group names: 16 – 21, 22 – 30, 31 – 45, and so on. After your subscribers choose which group they want to be in or you manually organise them into groups, you can send daily emails to the daily group, and so forth. 

Your list contains a tonne of information about your contacts, from when they were added to your list, to where they live, and how they interact with your marketing. You can further use this information to filter contacts into segments, and then target them with email or ad campaigns.

Read more about MailChimp groups here.

Segmenting your Lists

What are Segments?

Segments are used to create target audiences based on shared data. When you create a segment, you’ll set conditions to filter contacts based on the information that’s readily available in your list; with each segment including up to five conditions.

You can build and save segments to use with email campaigns, ad campaigns, or both. You can also opt to save a segment in the list view if you know you want to target the same contacts time after time. Create as many segments as you want, and add contacts to multiple segments.

Here are some examples of segmentations you can create:

• Subscribed contacts who opened any of your last five campaigns

• Subscribed contacts who didn't click in your last campaign

• Subscribed, unsubscribed, or non-subscribed contacts who recently purchased a product  

We will discuss segmentation in more detail in the upcoming articles. 

What is the difference between Groups and Segments?

Groups are a category within your list that organises your subscribers by their interests and preferences, where else Segments are a specific set of your list subscribers with common qualities. 

Segments can be created to target subscribers by location, engagement, activity, and more – with a maximum of five filters selected.

Next Up In Our Series

We’re rolling out a series for more tips and tricks on MailChimp, and will go into more detail for segmentation in the next article.

For more information on MailChimp and how it works, feel free to contact Elkfox today! 

Image via MailChimp

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