What is the perfect email sequence you should send to your email list? How can you both welcome your new subscribers while maintaining your relationship with existing ones?

I strongly believe that every business will see strong benefits if they’re welcoming their news subscribers (called drip campaign or email autoresponder) and then keep in touch with a recurrent newsletter.

I’ve been a huge fan of MailChimp since I’m into digital marketing and use email as a core marketing channel. I strongly believe there is no better easy-to-use tool as MailChimp in the market right now. Not only does it allow you to manage your list or send email blast but MailChimp has developed very smart email automations and A/B testing abilities no matter what business you’re in. And the best part is that it only costs 10$/month for everything I’ve just described when you’re just starting out. If you’re not a MailChimp user, I encourage you to create a paid account following this link and you’ll get 30$ of free credit (and so will I)  which is 3 months worth of MailChimp!

But what’s the perfect email workflow of MailChimp drip campaign & newsletter exactly to achieve the ultimate MailChimp automation? What are some MailChimp tricks to use to your advantage?

 

The Perfect Workflow of MailChimp Drip Campaign & Newsletter

Let’s be honest, what better email workflow could you think of than this one?

  1. Welcomes your new email subscribers with a series of emails highlighting your best content – Drip Campaign or autoresponder
  2. Then that would automatically email them your new content as a newsletter
  3. All that automatically with MailChimp?!

The best way to understand its power is to test it by subscribing here:

The problem with MailChimp is that drip campaigns and newsletters are not combinable in MailChimp. Or, wait, aren’t they?

The Problem: Drip campaign vs. Newsletter in MailChimp

Did I mention I love MailChimp? I truly do something that it has progress to do about is workflows. In fact

In fact, some email marketing tools that specialize in just that have emerged like Drip, Active Campaigns or the likes. But the thing is they’re often pricier, and I wouldn’t want to change from MailChimp.

In MailChimp, you have 5 different sections to choose from in the menu, but Campaigns (Newsletters) and Automation (Everything drip) are separated:

Mailchimp campaigns automation

What if I told you I have found a way to do it?

So, how to Create the Perfect Workflow of MailChimpDrip Campaign & Newsletter?

Let’s set it up in MailChimp! You will need an account and an email list (you can also start a new one)!

If you’ve played a little with MailChimp already, you must know that the core elements of your account are your list, campaigns and your template(s). Let’s begin by setting up the list.

1) Setup your list the right way

Both your welcome drip and newsletter will have to be sent to the same sending list to make this work.

To set up your magnificent workflow, you will first need to set up your MailChimp email list the right way. By the right way, I mean with the right fields.

Usual fields are:

  • Email address (mandatory)
  • First name (it is a good practice to ask it to personalize your campaigns)

Here is an example of how it looks:

mailchimp list fields

 

In order to automate our perfect workflow, we’ll need to add a new field (also called *|MERGE TAG|* as it’s dynamic) which will determine who we send the drip campaign or newsletter.

MailChimp field merge tags

 

Then, the next thing to do is to 1) add a text field and 2) name and set it up as shown below

Add field mailchimp list

You will want to add a descriptive name (I used “Automation status”) to make sure you find it easily afterward. If you use MailChimp signup forms, make it non-required and non-visible, or it will show on your signup forms.

The most important thing to set up is the default merge tag as it will determine what email campaign (drip then newsletter) will be sent to each subscriber. Make sure to add a descriptive default merge value that you will remember. In my case, I chose “welcome” for new subscribers and “newsletter” for existing ones.

2) Prepare your drip campaign

Remember, the first part of your perfect workflow is to make sure you welcome your (lucky) new subscribers with a drip campaign/autoresponder. This sequence of emails sent at set intervals is a great way for you to introduce yourself or your company, showcase your best content and entice users to take specific actions that benefit you.

To set up your drip campaign, head to the “Automation” section in the MailChimp menu and click “Add Automation” and “Welcome Message”.

Then you will be able to set your drip email sequence as you wish. I’ll write an article on that topic soon, in the meantime, you can check MailChimp’s Automation instructions.

The really important thing here is to set an action for you last email so that subscribers who have completed your welcome series of email start receiving your newsletter. To do so, edit your email and click on “edit actions”.

Post-send action Mailchimp automation

Check the “Choose post-sending action” and set it to “Update Merge Field” with your merge text. In my case, it updates the “Automation status” to “newsletter”.

post-sending list action update merge field Mailchimp

Now that your new subscribers received their welcome package let’s keep in touch with fresh content by sending them your newest blog posts via your newsletter!

 

3) Prepare your automated newsletter

The next thing to do is to prepare your automated newsletter. The way I do this is with my blog’s RSS feed and the MailChimp campaign type called “RSS”. It will check at a set time if a new blog post was published on your blog and send an automated email to your list if it’s the case! If you don’t know how to set it up, make sure to check my blog post How to Automate your Newsletter Once and for All!

My automated newsletter looks like this at the moment:

email template html

 

While setting it up, you will want to set it up to be sent to your users whose “Automation status” merge field value is “newsletter”. Pay close attention as this will make or break your magnificent email drip then newsletter workflow!

Also, if you already had a list of subscribers before reading this article, you will have to update they “Automation status” merge fields so that your workflow works smoothly. The best way to do that is to:

  1. Export your list
  2. Open it in Excel
  3. Add your equivalent of “newsletter” value in the column “Automation status”
  4. Re-import it in MailChimp and make sure to check the checkbox “Auto-update my existing list”

Congratulations, you’re all set! You may now sit back, relax and look at your magic workflow in action and watch the leads and purchases come in!

 

Summary

Email marketing is still a core channel for most marketers in 2017. Equipped with advanced automation and integrations features, it would be a shame not to use them to boost visits and value-added actions!

A great way to do that is to educate your new email subscribers with a welcome drip campaign and then keeping in touch as you’re sending them your freshest blog content! MailChimp is my tool of choice when it comes to email marketing, and we’ve just walked through a way to automate this welcome then newsletter workflow with 3 steps:

  1. Setup MailChimp and add a field to your email list
  2. Prepare your welcome drip campaign
  3. When they’re finished with it, transfer your subscribers to your automated newsletter campaign

Et voilĂ , a powerful automation workflow with a nearly free and easy-to-use email marketing tool!

Ambroise Debret

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