Mailchimp: Promote to Your Craziest Fans

At this time of year, I see a lot of small businesses and creators making a common mistake. They start pushing a little too hard on the Sales and Promotions with their newsletters.

Black Friday, Holiday Sales, Special Discounts, etc.

I’m going to save the discussion about the pros and cons of coupons, sales and promotions for another time.

What I want to talk about is churn — the people who will unsubscribe as a result of your increased email activity.

There is a point at which continuing to remind your list of your latest promotion will see a spike in people abandoning your email list. And you won’t get those people back.

And worse, some (if not many) of these people are actually solid leads for your business that just got annoyed by your increased mailings. These are people that in the new year might have become customers. These are also people you paid to acquire with sweat, blood and money.

So this is where today’s tip comes into play.

Thinking of sending one more sales push this month? Afraid that you might cause people to jump ship? Try sending your last push to only your most engaged newsletter readers.

We all love to see our newsletter open stats, but it’s the clicks that really matter. These are the people who actually read your newsletter AND were motivated enough to click through and learn more.

These are also the people with whom you likely have the most equity and trust; those who are far more likely to put up with you pushing at them one more time.

To do this, we are going to subset of our list that contains the emails of the people who have clicked on our past campaigns. This is called a segment.

Here’s how you do this in Mailchimp.

Part 1: Create A Segment of Your Most Engaged

Log into Mailchimp and select your list by clicking on Lists in the top nav and then clicking on the name of your list.

Below, you see one of my lists titled, “Pursuit of Purpose Newsletter”. You should see a similar screen.

Now click on the Manage Subscribers to expose the dropdown menu (as shown below) and select “Segments”.

You will be taken to a list of your segments. If this is your first segment, the list will be blank. I currently show three segments on the account I am demoing with.

Click on “Create Segment”, highlighted in red above.

You will now see the Segment Preview panel where you can define who from your list is going to be placed into this segment.

Leave the first line set to “Subscribers match any of the following conditions:” and move to the next line.

Open the “Date Added” dropdown and select “Campaign Activity” as shown below.

Now click on the “opened” dropdown and select “clicked”. Your segment should now look like the image below.

Click on the Preview Segment button at the bottom left.

You will be shown a list of emails. These are the people who meet the criteria you selected. In this case, the people who clicked on a link in one of the past 5 campaigns.

If too few people are in this segment, click edit and make sure you set it to “Any of the last 5 campaigns” and not “All of the last 5 campaigns.”

If everything looks good, you can now click on “Save Segment”.

A pop-up will appear asking you to name your segment. Name it something like “Clicked any of the last 5 campaigns”.

Make sure “Auto-update” is checked. This means that the segment will continually update to match the rules based and include new subscribers and anyone else whose activity meets the rules. So it will always be the list of your most engaged as you have identified the rules.

Click on Save.

You are almost done. You just created the segment. Now we just need to send our promotion to these people. And that’s SUPER easy to do.

Part 2: Send Your Campaign to the Segment You Just Created

Start a new campaign to send and remember that first screen where Mailchimp wants to know who to send to?

Select the second option, “Saved or pre-built segment”.

And then you should see the segment you built earlier along with a bunch of pre-built segments that Mailchimp provides to all users.

Select the segment you built.

And now you can send that extra, last last push to those people who are the most engaged and help to mitigate any churn you might have otherwise felt.


Sean Howard is a photographer, coach and marketer at seanhoward.ca.