Do you enjoy sending your newsletter every week? Wouldn’t you rather dedicate that time to a value-added task?

We all know that email is still the marketing channel with the highest ROI and many digital marketers take advantage of that! However, it can also become a very time-consuming task to prepare and send your newsletter every week or so. It doesn’t have to be that as you can easily have your automated newsletter, for free with MailChimp!

Another advantage of automating your newsletter is that you can trust it will work every time. It will have no broken links and relevant content without you lifting a finger.

time-consuming newsletter

 

1. The Trigger: Your Blog Posts

As for every automation workflow, an automated newsletter has a set trigger. In this case, it is going to be you newly published blog post. If you’re using WordPress, I suggest you read my blog post “How to put WordPress blog posts promotion on autopilot” that will teach you more about how to schedule your WordPress posts to be published at the best time. The following method will work with your blog’s RSS feed. Basically, an RSS feed contains your latest blog posts’ title, URL author, excerpt, categories and publishing date. It will then dynamically fetch that information from your RSS feed to include it in your newsletter. This is how you can send an email automagically!

If you want to automate your newsletter as I suggest, you will also have to set it up in MailChimp. It you don’t have a MailChimp account, please create and set it up first.

Now, in MailChimp, you will have to head to the “campaigns” section and click on “create”.

 

Create automated campaign Mailchimp

 

 

Then you’ll have to name your Campaign as well as choose the “RSS” campaign type.

 

Automated newsletter Mailchimp RSS

 

As you probably understood the part where your blog and MailChimp connect is with your blog’s RSS Feed. If you use WordPress, your RSS feed URL will be “yourwebite.com/feed/“. Simply input it into the field below.

How it works is that MailChimp will check your blog’s RSS Feed at given times and send your newsletter then. Something you’ll want to setup at this stage is at what time MailChimp does so. Another great thing is that MailChimp will grab all new articles since last time you asked it to check your RSS feed! For instance, if you set up your automatic newsletter to be sent at 1:00 PM every Thursday and have published two new blog posts since last Thursday, both of them will be included in this week’s automated newsletter!

Regarding at what time and day you should send your automatic newsletter, I recommend this article from Co-schedule.

 

Automated newsletter Mailchimp trigger

 

2. Setting it up

 

Mailchimp Rss newsletter flow

Next step is choosing who will receive your newsletter, pretty straightforward!

Then you will have to setup where your email is sent from, with what subject it will be sent and so on.

 

Mailchimp RSS setup

 

When it comes to your automated newsletter’s subject, I suggest just putting the newest article title with the following merge tag: *|RSSITEM:TITLE|*. If you have gathered your subscriber’s first or last name, you will also want to include it in the “Personalize the “To” field”.

 

3. The Newsletter’s Content

Now, what will your newsletter’s content be? Will it be only text? Will it have images, buttons or more?

The answer to this should be the result of an A/B test. You’re not a magician, and even if you are like Raphael Paulin-Daigle, you should be focused on testing and optimization.

When I tested this for my newsletter, it was pretty clear that I should keep my HTML template, at least for the moment.

 

A/B test email HTML vs Text

 

If you want to include an image in your email and use WordPress, you will need to use the RSS Image Feed plugin.

At the moment, my email template is HTML and looks like this:

 

email template html

 

In MailChimp, you will have to create your “template” so that it grabs the info from your latest blog post. For instance, here is how it looks for my current newsletter:

 

Mailchimp RSS design html

 

You can copy this here: into to body of your newsletter:

*|RSSITEMS:|*

*|RSSITEM:TITLE|*

*|RSSITEM:CONTENT|*

*|END:RSSITEMS|*

 

You will also want people to click in your email to access your new blog post. That’s why some links are also dynamically added on the image, button and else.

Very important, don’t forget to preview and test your email multiple times to make sure everything works!

 

Mailchimp test and preview

 

Then you’re all set, go ahead and click that “Start RSS” on the last page and get that MailChimp high five you deserve!

 

Summary

Everyone knows they should be sending a newsletter to their list often to 1) keep it engaged and 2) promote your new content. At the same time, nobody has time for this… Here is how you can automate your newsletter and never worry about it again:

  • Understand how it works between your new blog posts, RSS feed and so on
  • Set up your automated newsletter in MailChimp
  • Personlize its content once and for all!

Have you automated your newsletter? Any additionnal tips? Let us know in the comments below!

 

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Ambroise Debret

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