Create a Welcome Series on Mailchimp
I started using Mailchimp pretty early on in my blogging journey, for basic RSS updates to my subscribers.
Later on, I learned about the advanced features that email services provide: Like automation’s and advanced segmentation. I experimented with ConvertKit for a while, and also used ActiveCampaign for a few months as well. And then magically, Mailchimp made these features free. And that is gold my friends. That is gold.
I’m not going to go into a debate of which service is better. I think all of these are superb, but for financial reasons and practicality, I switched back to Mailchimp to use those features.
And there’s so much we as bloggers can take advantage of!
What are automation’s?
Mailchimp defines automation’s as:
An email or series of emails sent to a contact based on a specific trigger.
For example, when you buy online, you’ll often be sent an email later about similar products you might be interested in. If you browse through the website (as a subscriber), add things to the cart and then leave, you’ll get notified that you abandoned your cart and will be subtly prompted to resume your shopping…
In this case, we’re going to work with a person simply subscribing to your list as a trigger. The action of subscribing will activate the welcome series automation.
Why should you bother with a welcome series?
Why indeed if your current campaign is serving its purpose? You’re writing great content, and subscribers trickle in, and it’s all good. And it is. But it can be better. Think about what happens when you normally subscribe to someone’s blog.
- Click the subscribe button
- You receive an email notification telling you that you have to confirm your subscription. (This is very important and it’s actually illegal if they don’t ask you to do this)
- Boom, you’re subscribed. Thanks for dropping by.
- You receive emails each time a new post is published.
And that’s it.
Again, it’s perfectly fine because that is why people subscribed in the first place, to get your posts conveniently in their inbox.
Automation features help us connect with our subscribers. It allows for the susbcriber to feel they’re important and in your mind. That you’re not just sending them stuff, but actually having a conversation with them. And the first step is the welcome series.
How does the welcome series work?
This below is the skeleton of how our welcome series automation will work.
Okay, let’s do this!
Step #0: Log into Mailchimp Account or Create an Account
Mailchimp has several plans.
I’m on the Forever Free plan, which means it remains free as long as I have no more than 12000 subscribers and don’t send more than 2000 emails a month, which is a pretty sweet deal for beginner and seasoned bloggers alike! Once you go beyond that, I might recommend switching to another service but that’s an entirely different topic haha.
Step #1: Access Automation options
Once you’re logged in, in the the top bar menu, there’s the Automation label.
Step #2: Add the Welcome Series Automation
Now scroll down everything until you find the List Activity section.
Here you’ll find a bunch of different and cool things you can do, which you can explore at your leisure whenever you want.
Now, there are two kinds of welcome options.
- Welcome message -> A single hello from you that the subscribers receive when they join
- Welcome Series -> Several emails timed from the moment that a reader joins
We’re going to go with the Welcome series, so make sure you click Add Automation on that one.
On the emerging window give a name to your automation -don’t worry, nobody will know if you name it 123, or ilovedwonderwomanomg.
Step #2: Stop and make sense of this Automation dashboard
Okay, there are 3 things we need to pay attention to here.
1. Edit the Workflow settings
In the Workflow settings screen, you’ll have to confirm or edit a couple of things like:
- From name -> This will be the name your subscribers see as a sender. You can choose your blog’s name, or your own. And it’s entirely your choice.
- From email -> The emails have to come from somewhere, so be sure to enter a valid email address.
2. Edit trigger
If your screen is showing the same as mine, then you’ll have to edit this.
Edit the trigger to immediately, instead of waiting one day. We want our subscribers to receive this first email as soon as they join.
The other things available for editing you can leave alone. If schedule is set to every day all day then it’s fine. This means that no matter what day or time the person subscribes, they will still receive the email right when they do.
And now we’re ready for number 3!
Step #3: Design email
For those who have been Mailchimp users for a while, you’ll be no stranger to the screen that pops up, because it’s the regular one you get every time you design a new email, right?
3.1 Email settings
- Write email name: Something like ‘Welcome1’
- Write email subject: This will be visible to subscribers. With mine, I’m going to go with ‘Welcome to Reverie Society’.
- Make sure the from email is correct.
3.2 Choose template
I recommend going with the basic templates. I’m choosing the 1 column one for mine.
3.4 Actually design the email
First, don’t get overwhelmed by all the options. The good thing is Mailchimp’s email builder is drag & drop. Feel free to play a bit with the content options to spice up your email. But simple really is better sometimes, so usually I ignore everything and just stick to the 4 first options: Text, boxed text, divider, and image.
Now, what to write?!
The first email is the most difficult, but I’ve got you covered.
The first email is much like your own blog About page. It’s all about telling what you’re about and reminding people why they signed up, and it’s the best choice they ever made.
Introduce yourself and what you do, and basically establish a connection with you reader. We’re both humans, so we’re going to be BFFs!
Explain about what they can expect from you. This way you make sure this is a person that is really interested in your content. Maybe they signed up because they saw ONE post about cooking, but once you clarify you’re a book blog, if they want to continue, they will, and if not, they won’t. Yes, this is a bit of a stretch, but hey, it could happen.
It’s also a way to showcase your skills a bit if you teach things, and get people excited about what is to come.
What I mean with Deliver, is that here it’s a good idea to offer your subscriber a sort of gift. An exclusive blog post, a checklist, graphics for their blog, a snippet of your WIP if you’re writer, stock photos if you love photography… The possibilities are endless.
Step #4: On with the second email
Great! Now you know how to edit the settings of the emails, and at least that part is out of the way.
So, in the first email you talked about the content they can expect from you. Now it’s the time to show that content. Choose one of your best posts and instead of merely linking to it, paste it on to your email to make it easier to read.
Note: We’re going with the default of this email being sent one day after the other. You can edit this of course, but it’s recommended you leave it that way.
Step#5: Almost there! Third email
This is one of the most important emails, because this is the one you should be updating the most often.
In the first place, like in the graphic we looked at before, you might want to leave a list of blog posts of any type here, to give your readers a sense of ‘what next?’. Now, if you want to take it a step further, it’s a good idea to add a call to action.
For example, if you’re hosting, or have recently hosted a blog tour or giveaway, it would make sense to send your readers in that way. If not, then just put more emphasis on the list of blog posts, and maybe also invite them directly to contact you on social media.
Step#6: Make sure everything is A-Okay and Start Workflow!
Now that the three emails are designed, Mailchimp shows you if there’s any problem with them, and most of the time everything is fine. If there’s something wrong, the specific problem will be marked so you can quickly edit whatever it is that is causing it. And then you’re good to go!