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Send Campaigns from MailChimp

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    Using MailChimp with Drupal 7
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    Send Campaigns from MailChimp Series Sponsored by MailChimp
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    There are two ways you can send an email
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    to a MailChimp list; either through the MailChimp UI, or via Drupal.
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    In this tutorial, we'll look at using the MailChimp UI to send an email campaign to our mailing list.
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    We'll choose a template, draft a newsletter, send a test email,
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    and then finally send the real thing.
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    Then, we'll look at how we can use the values of the merge fields on our list to segment the list
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    and send a campaign to just the people in a specific location. By the end of this tutorial,
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    you should be able to send a new email campaign from within MailChimp to your list of subscribers
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    or a subset of that list. Let's go ahead and get started. We're sending an email
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    from the MailChimp user interface in this case. So the first thing you'll need to do
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    is log into your MailChimp account at admin.mailchimp.com. Once you've done that,
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    you should be on this dashboard here. We'll start by creating a new campaign,
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    so you click "Create Campaign" over here on the top right. And then you've got a few options.
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    What type of campaign are you trying to create? We're going to create a regular campaign
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    so it'll be an HTML email. A plain-text campaign operates pretty much the same way
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    as a regular campaign. The big difference is that you're just sending plain text
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    instead of sending a nicely formatted HTML email. You could also do an A/B split campaign
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    where you've got basically two different campaigns. You send one to half of your list
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    and the other to the other half of your list. MailChimp takes care of that sort of automatically for you.
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    You can then look at the metrics from that to try to get a sense of which one performed better.
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    And finally, you could also create an RSS-driven campaign, which we'll look at doing
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    in another tutorial. So go ahead and select the Regular Campaign option.
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    Once you've done that, you need to choose which of your lists you're going to send this email to.
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    We're going to send this one to our Weekly Newsletter list, which currently has three recipients.
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    And then we're going go say "Send to the entire list." There's also some additional options there
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    but for now we'll just choose "Send to entire list." Click next in the bottom right down here.
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    There's sort of a wizard of sorts that walks you through creating and sending this campaign.
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    So now we need to name our campaign. We'll call this "Weekly Newsletter - June #1"
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    since it's the first week of June, and we might as well just give it the same subject.
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    That seems fine here. Name of your campaign is what's going to show up
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    in the MailChimp administration interface when people are navigating through that
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    and maybe coming back later and finding drafts of the campaign and so forth.
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    Email subject is what's going to appear in the subject field of the email that your subscribers receive.
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    You can set the from name and the from email address. It defaults to whatever you configured
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    when you first created the mailing list, and I'll leave those as they are.
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    But I could, on a per-campaign basis, change those. And then there's a bunch of other options
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    that we can look at. Some of them are for paid accounts only, which my account is not currently.
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    But you can see that there some options that enable additional tracking-type stuff
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    if you have a paid account. You can personalize the "To" field. In a previous tutorial,
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    we looked at collecting information about our members or about our subscribers
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    using merge fields. We collected their first name and their last name and a few other things.
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    As you're creating a campaign, you often end up in scenarios where you can substitute
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    these merge tags, kind of like a token in Drupal, into a text field.
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    And in this case when MailChimp goes to send out a campaign,
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    it will replace the to field with the name of the person that you are sending each individual email to,
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    if MailChimp has that information. It's a nice way to personalize things a bit.
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    So you can enter merge tags there. We'll just leave it as first name. That seems fine to me.
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    Do you want to enable tracking for this? In some cases that's required especially for the free accounts.
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    And you can turn off certain features or turn on other features of tracking, should you want to use them.
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    I'm also going to leave these as is. I don't have Google Analytics set up for my site currently,
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    but if I did I might want to integrate it with MailChimp for some additional tracking information.
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    I do want to track how many people actually open the campaign.
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    It's not an eCommerce site so there's not much for me to do with 360 tracking.
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    You get the idea. It also has the ability to automatically update your social media accounts,
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    both for Twitter and Facebook, if you connect those to MailChimp.
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    Whenever a campaign goes out, MailChimp can tweet on your behalf and say
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    "A new campaign went out. Here's a link to view the newsletter in an HTML format online."
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    Kind of cool. And a couple of other options. I'm going to go ahead and just click Next here.
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    The next thing you need to do is choose what your email is going to look like.
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    MailChimp provides you a lot of options here. You can start with one of these basic templates,
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    which is what we're actually going to do since this is really just about demonstrating the sending.
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    There's a whole bunch of different themes. You can start with one of those and customize it
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    to fit your needs. If you had created your own template, you would find those under Saved Templates.
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    And we will go through creating our own template in another tutorial.
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    So for now let's stick with the basic template, but we're really going to stick with the most basic one.
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    We'll use this one-column option. One of the things that is interesting here is that if you click on the option,
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    like so, you'll get a preview of what that template looks like. So if you want to get a larger preview
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    of what these templates look like other than just the little thumbnail,
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    click on the thumbnail and it will show you a preview. This is kind of what it's going to look like
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    in your standard mail client like Gmail or Outlook, and this is trying to give you an example
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    of what it might look like on a mobile email client. Close that preview.
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    Once you've found the template that you want to use, you actually need to click this Select button.
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    So I'm going to click the Select button for the 1-column template,
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    and now I get a user interface that allows me to customize the content of this email.
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    So we'll go ahead and do that. You can customize your email by selecting any of the elements
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    in the template on the left over here and then clicking the edit link. So I'm going to edit this header.
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    So a short preview—we'll just say this is our Weekly Newsletter update for June 1.
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    That's fine. We'll leave the "View this email in your browser" link. I can add an image
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    so I'll go ahead and upload an image. The image gets inserted into the email there.
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    I can change the text here. We'll say maybe a welcome. I'm not going to spend a ton of time here.
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    This is really just to demonstrate that you can send these. This is the text of our email campaign.
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    Like so. MailChimp has automatically populated this footer down here
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    with a bunch of merge tags. And you can see it's inserting things like the company name
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    that you've associated with this list, a link to view the archive, and so forth.
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    Go ahead and customize these things as necessary, but I do recommend that you keep
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    your company name in there. The more information that you can provide in your campaign
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    that identifies who you are, the more likely people are to trust the email that you are sending to them.
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    Anyways, once I've composed the content of my email to my satisfaction,
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    I can do some tests with it. I can go up here and under Preview and Tests, I've got a few options.
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    One, I can enter preview mode, and this opens up similar to the browser
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    where we are looking at a preview of the template, except for now it's using my actual content.
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    So you can see our image here and a rough idea of what it would look like.
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    It's also started to substitute in some values for these merged tags, so I can see what that's going to look like
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    in the campaign. Looks great to me. You can close that. Another thing that you can do
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    is send yourself a test email. I highly recommend doing this as well.
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    The in-browser preview is nice, but it's not always an accurate representation
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    of what it's going to look like in your inbox. So send a test email
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    by entering in an address that you'd like to send that test email to.
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    So maybe I'll send the test email to myself. It goes ahead and sends it off.
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    It does give me a warning here about sending an email to myself from myself
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    and sometimes that can get caught in the spam filter, but it shouldn't be a problem in this case.
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    So it's already sent the test email. I could have sent that to any number of people.
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    Let's take a look. It should have arrived in my inbox by now, and there we go.
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    Sure enough, I've got the email in my inbox. I can click "Display images below"
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    so it loads the full image and get a preview of what's going to be sent in this campaign.
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    Looks good to me, so I'm going to switch back to MailChimp. Now back in the MailChimp UI,
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    I've got a few more options. One of the things I can do is save and exit.
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    A save and exit here will allow me to save a draft of this campaign. So maybe I've got it all put together
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    but I'm not quite ready to send it yet. Or maybe I need someone else on my team
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    to proofread it to make sure that I didn't mistype anything or make any mistakes in the email.
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    Or I can save this campaign as a draft, and anyone can come back and edit it
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    or actually come back to any of these steps listed here along the bottom and make changes at any time
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    until I'm ready to send it. So I'm going to go ahead and say "Next" because I'm content with this.
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    Let's say I've had my team verify that everything looks good. MailChimp does some extra filtering here.
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    It parses the email, and it just checks to make sure that things check out, that they look OK.
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    Do you have a good subject line? Is the list ready to be sent to you?
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    Kind of just making sure that nothing looks out of place. One of the things that will alert you here
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    is poor structure of the HTML or things that might be considered spammy.
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    So pay attention when it says you might want to consider this.
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    This all looks great to me, so now I'm ready to either schedule the email.
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    I can click "schedule" to send it out at some time in the future by choosing a date and time
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    that I would like to send it, or I can just send it right away. One of the things to be aware of
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    when you send this is that it's going to send it for the time zone that's configured for your list.
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    For my list that's Eastern time, so if I set it to 1pm Eastern, it's going to send it to everyone on the list
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    at that time, regardless of what their time zone is. Or, I can cancel that and just say "send it immediately."
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    Say, yep, let's go ahead and send this. Send now. MailChimp gives us a nice high five.
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    It says your campaign is in the queue and will go out shortly. Our list is really small,
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    so it'll deliver all of those very quickly. If you've got a much larger list, it can take a little bit of time
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    for everyone on the list to receive the email as MailChimp parses through the queue,
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    but it will eventually get through all of them. Another thing to note is that once you've sent
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    a campaign, you can't go back and send the same campaign again or really make changes to it.
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    Once an email is out in the wild, there's no retracting it and editing and making changes.
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    So again, it's really important to make sure that you proof these things before you send them.
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    All right. So that's sending a basic campaign. Let's look at creating a segment of our list
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    and sending a campaign to that. So I'm going to go through this real quick.
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    If I go to Lists, I choose my existing weekly newsletter list. Under the Segments button, here,
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    I don't have any segments but it gives me the option to create a new segment.
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    So I'm going to do that. And then I have to set up some conditions or filters for the list,
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    so I'm going to say if the location merge field contains Aspen,
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    like so—that's my segment—I can add additional conditions if I want to too.
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    It's kind of like building a view in Drupal. You set up some filters and then it filters down the list
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    to whatever is the result of applying those filters. I can preview my segment.
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    I expect there to be one person in the list. Yep, so I've got one person who has Aspen in their location's merge field,
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    and I'll go ahead and save that segment. And I'll give it a meaningful name.
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    Auto-update meaning as new people subscribe to the list, if they match the filter for this segment,
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    also automatically add them to the list or to this segment. So there we go.
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    I've now got a segment that allows me to send email to only people in my subscription list
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    that match that filter. And now I can go to Campaigns, create a campaign,
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    create a regular campaign, send it to the weekly newsletter, send it to a saved segment—
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    so this is different than what we did last time—and then choose your segment.
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    I won't go through the whole process, because other than this it's exactly what we just did.
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    But I did want to demonstrate the power of MailChimp to be able to segment one giant list
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    into smaller pieces. And that's how you send campaigns through the MailChimp UI.
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    In this tutorial, we went through the steps necessary
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    to log into MailChimp and send a new campaign, an HTML email,
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    through their UI, and talked about some of the other options as well.
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    We also looked at how you can create a list segment
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    by filtering your existing list down to a subset of the subscribers based on a merge field
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    or any of the other data that MailChimp knows about those subscribers,
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    so you can send an email to just that subset of the list.

Send Campaigns from MailChimp

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There are two ways you can send an email to a MailChimp list: through the MailChimp UI, or via Drupal. In this tutorial we'll look at using the MailChimp UI to send an email campaign to our mailing list. We'll also use MailChimp to segment an existing mailing list into smaller, more targeted, groups to send a campaign to, allowing us to be more effective with targeting those users on our list that we know will care about a specific announcement.

The MailChimp UI for composing and sending an email campaign is awesome, and has some great tools for content creators. In this tutorial we'll choose a a template, draft a newsletter, send a test email, and then finally send the real thing.

After that, we'll look at how we can use the values of the merge fields associated with subscribers in our list to segment the list and send a campaign to just the people in a specific location. Or example use case is that our hypothetical ice cream store has physical locations in Aspen, Carbondale, and Glenwood Springs. When a user signs up for our mailing list they can optionally let us know which store, or stores, they frequent. Then, when our Aspen store has its two year anniversary, and we're going to offer specials at just that store for the weekend, we can email our list and let them know. Rather than spam the entire list, we can target just those people who have identified that they frequent the Aspen location. Pretty cool.

By the end of this tutorial you should be able to send a new email campaign from within MailChimp to your list of subscribers, as well as know how to leverage list segmentation.

Further your learning

  • Can you give two example use cases for list segmentation?
  • What are the different ways that you can preview an email campaign in the MailChimp?
  • What are merge tags in MailChimp?
  • Further exploration: Explore the various templates and themes provided by MailChimp. Are there any that would serve as a good starting point for your email campaigns?

Series Sponsored by MailChimp

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