Mailchimp’s automation is a blessing and a curse. While it can effortlessly blast out engaging emails with no need to babysit the process, it can also spam your inbox.

How can you use automation in the right way to maximize the benefits and minimize the risks? In this article, we will discuss a few best practices so you can effectively harness the power of automation.

Set the Right Automation Goals

Let’s start by setting the right goal for your automation: getting more subscribers, making more sales, or boosting your engagement level by reaching more people.

For instance, if your goal is to increase your subscriber count, you might consider trying out a marketing automation strategy where you re-engage with past subscribers via automated emails or texts.

This could mean sending out weekly e-mails with helpful tips or cutting-edge research, or perhaps even a combination of the two. The key is to find a way to stay in touch with your audience without seeming too much like a marketing spambot.

Choose The Right List

When using automation, you must first choose the right list. Just like with any other marketing tool, you can get a lot of mileage from using the right list but only if you know how to harness its power. Your list is the key to effective email marketing so it’s extremely important to choose the right one.

The first step to choosing the right list is to ask yourself the right questions. Have you ever considered what makes for a truly influential list? What kind of people are attached to these addresses? How can you ensure that you will be able to reach your intended audience?

Once you have the answers to these questions, you can start to build a list that is tailor-made for your purposes. For example, if you want to send out marketing emails but only to a select group of people with access to a special offer, you can create a list where only those people receive your emails. This is also known as a ‘snowball’ or ‘seed’ list.

Test The New List Before You Use It

Once you have built your list and want to send out your first batch of marketing emails, it is essential to test it. Do this by clicking “Send Test Email” from the Email marketing menu, and then check your inbox to see if the email was delivered successfully. If it was, then great!

However, if the test email was not delivered, you will need to start over again and choose a new list. This is where the danger of spam comes in because if you do it often enough, even the unsubs will begin to flag your emails as spam.

Because of this, whenever possible, test your lists before you use them. On the other hand, if you do want to use a list but it has not been thoroughly tested, at least add a catchphrase or a funny line to the subject line to grab the reader’s attention. In addition to this, you can use A/B testing to determine the best possible subject line for your list.

Set Up An After-Action Review

In the same way you would review any marketing or sales plan before its execution, it is essential to review its results afterwards. Just because you put in the effort to build a list and deploy an automated marketing campaign does not mean that you should not evaluate its results. This is where an after-action review (AAR) comes in.

An AAR is a form that you can use to analyze and determine the effectiveness of a marketing campaign or plan. It provides you with the metrics that you need to assess whether your efforts were successful or not. For example, you can use the AAR to analyze the results of a particular email marketing campaign and determine the types of emails that subscribers are opening, interacting with, and converting into paying customers.

To set up an AAR, simply log into your Mailchimp account and navigate to the “Campaigns” menu. From here, click the “Create AAR” button next to the campaign you want to review. You will then be presented with a form where you can input the metrics that matter most to you. It is a good idea to create one AAR for each of your email marketing campaigns.

Use A/B Testing

You can use A/B testing to determine the best possible approach for your next marketing campaign. Simply click the “Experiments” menu and, from here, select “New Experiment.”

In the next step, you will be presented with a form where you can enter the name of the experiment and the A and B versions of your campaign. For example, let’s say your goal is to increase your subscriber count and you have two methods that you are considering. One method is to run an email campaign where you provide tips on how to optimize your blog for greater SEO and the other one is to run a social media campaign where you engage with existing and potential subscribers via status updates.

You can use A/B testing to determine the best approach. For example, you might decide that initially you will run the SEO-optimized email campaign and, if this proves to be successful, you can consider ramping up your social media presence. This way, you will not be spamming your audience but instead staying relevant and engaging with your subscribers via multiple platforms.

Optimize For Mobile

When someone decides that they want to read your content but does not have time to sit down and read a long blog article, they will typically turn to their mobile. In fact, according to HubSpot Blogs research, 77% of consumers read online content on their phones. This means that your chances of having someone read your content are greatly improved if you produce top-notch material for smaller screens.

To capitalize on this, you have two options. You can either create a shorter, snappier version of your article that will fit perfectly on mobile or you can create a multi-page, full-length blog article and then break it down into micro-blog posts for mobile. If you go the second route, you must ensure that each of your blogs is appropriately sized for mobile. This means removing excess images and using simple block quote formatting (no more than three blocks of text with no formatting). While this might be challenging, the rewards are worth it.

Content Is King

Last but not least, we have the content. As we mentioned before, without good content, all the preceding steps are rendered useless. When it comes to content, you need to walk the line between being informative and being engaging. Naturally, if someone is expecting a marketing pitch and is not particularly interested in your content, you will want to steer clear of pitching them. Instead, you should aim to provide useful information that will interest or educate your audience.

On the other hand, if you want to engage your audience, you can use several methods. You can use an engaging title to grab the reader’s attention, add a humorous anecdote or a fascinating fact to the content, or you can use an interesting headshot or graphic to enhance your article.

In addition, you should always look for ways to make your articles more interactive. This can be done in several ways. You can use a tool like Infobarrel to create interactive articles or you can even write the article yourself and use a tool like Striker to produce an interactive version.

Wrapping Up

In this article, we discussed how to effectively use email marketing with Mailchimp. As you might imagine, there is a lot more that one can do with a tool like Mailchimp but, above all, the key is to find the right answer for your requirements. If you want to become a fully-fledged digital marketer, you can start by taking our free five-day email marketing course, where we teach you the basics of email marketing. Or, if you’d like to dive right into action, you can download a free account on our affiliate platform, Hello Fresh.