Small Business Free Email Marketing with MailChimp

    Small Business Free Email Marketing with MailChimp

    Today, a client of mine asked if I could pro­duce a pret­ty email that she could send out to her clients. She sent me an exam­ple email. It didn’t look exact­ly like many of the emails I receive from big brands, but it wasn’t ordi­nary. This wasn’t an email with plain black text on a white back­ground; this was fan­cy, col­or­ful, and unique. I told her I’d be more than hap­py to cre­ate one for her, but I’d also give her an option to do this her­self for free. I sug­gest­ed that she use MailChimp.



    What is email marketing?

    When you will­ing­ly (or some­times unwill­ing­ly) pro­vide your email address to your favorite store, restau­rant, or online retail­er, you’ll prob­a­bly hear or see a small state­ment declar­ing that your offer­ing has just land­ed you onto a mail­ing list. When you check your inbox a day lat­er, you find your first wel­come let­ter from that par­tic­u­lar com­pa­ny. This is called email mar­ket­ing. It’s a way a busi­ness can keep remind­ing you of the great deals they have going on, send you a hap­py birth­day card with a coupon, or entice you in some oth­er way. This type of mar­ket­ing is effec­tive because it’s already known that you are inter­est­ed in the prod­ucts or ser­vices. How else would they have got­ten your email address? It wasn’t a shot in the dark on their part.

    What is MailChimp? How can small businesses use it for free?

    You, small busi­ness own­er, can do this too. Yes, you can pay a design­er to whip up some­thing super snazzy if you can afford to shell out $100+, but all the essen­tials to cre­at­ing a basic email mar­ket­ing cam­paign are free. You can start with MailChimp, an email mar­ket­ing and email list man­ag­er. If you have less than 2,000 sub­scribers (peo­ple on your email list) & send less than 12,000 emails per month, there is no charge! Of course, this is a freemi­um ser­vice. Freemi­um just means that if you desire to pay for upgrades and extra fea­tures, you always have that option. It’s how these com­pa­nies sur­vive. They allow you to use their prod­ucts for free in hopes that some­day you will need or desire the use of their paid fea­tures. So for small busi­ness­es, this is a great option to have around as you bloom and grow.

    Home page of MailChimp

    There are a few sim­ple steps to cre­at­ing an email mar­ket­ing cam­paign. You can com­plete them all in one day, maybe even in less than an hour if you are young, quick, and web savvy! No offense Mom­ma! Of course, first you must have an objec­tive for the email you wish to send out and a list to send it to. Before you set up a free account, make sure all the con­tent (text & images) of your first email is final­ized. After you are set up in MailChimp here is the quick and dirty run­down of how you’ll get to the fin­ish line:

    1. You can cre­ate dif­fer­ent lists of peo­ple with their e-mail address­es and oth­er infor­ma­tion. Exam­ples: a birth­day list, a free prod­uct give­away list, or an invoice list. You can keep these lists sep­a­rat­ed and add peo­ple as you go along. The next time you sign in, they’ll be sit­ting there wait­ing for you to do some­thing with them.
    2. Cre­ate a new cam­paign and choose the mail­ing list you want to send it to.
    3. You have the option to choose a tem­plate or use MailChimp’s awe­some drag and drop edi­tor! I love it! This is the design­ing part of the process. Type in all the infor­ma­tion you want and insert pho­tos. You can even change the back­ground, text, and link col­ors. I’m so in love with the new drag and drop edi­tor because it auto­mat­i­cal­ly cre­ates a mobile-friend­ly ver­sion of the email for you! That is huge!
    4. Choose when that baby will be sent out and BAM! That’s it; you’re done! Easy Peasy!
    5. Make sure you fol­low up. I’m pret­ty sure that even with the free account, you can track who opens your emails and who doesn’t. This helps to fig­ure out how to elim­i­nate peo­ple from your list. Say you have some­one who hasn’t opened any of your e-mails in 2 years, you might want to delete that per­son of your mail­ing list. It’s not doing any­one any good. Also, your cus­tomers are the best gauge you have to under­stand what works. There is no set method. Pay atten­tion to the results you are get­ting from your email cam­paign. Watch, lis­ten, and learn.

    The Legalities of Email Marketing

    There are some legal­i­ties we have to deal with when it comes to send­ing out mar­ket­ing emails. These come from the CAN-SPAM Act. Google it if you’ve nev­er heard of it. It’s actu­al­ly against the law to send out emails with­out an “opt out” link if it is being used for adver­tise­ment. The opt out link allows the recip­i­ent to stop receiv­ing emails from your mar­ket­ing cam­paign. The law also requires you to tell the per­son how you got their email address and why they are receiv­ing the email. MailChimp auto­mat­i­cal­ly adds this into your email. You’d have to real­ly pay atten­tion if you wish to remove this par­tic­u­lar sec­tion at the bot­tom of the email (not rec­om­mend­ed). It’s also not a good idea to use mis­lead­ing sub­ject lines or uneth­i­cal con­tent in gen­er­al.

    Teach Yourself

    There are tons of YouTube videos, and MailChimp has their own tuto­ri­als on their site. So start there if you are brand new to all of this. If you start to get deep­er into the details, you can do some pret­ty mirac­u­lous things with MailChimp. There are plen­ty of short­codes that allow you to use stored infor­ma­tion from a per­son you’ve entered that automag­i­cal­ly (yes, automag­i­cal­ly) per­son­al­ize your emails.

    How I Use MailChimp

    Per­son­al­ly, I use MailChimp to send out reminders when my clients’ pay­ment due date is get­ting close. I use MailChimp’s pay-as-you-go option so that I can take advan­tage of a paid fea­ture called an autore­spon­der. I have an email list set up with all of my clients, their pay­ment amount, and their pay­ment due date. An email goes out auto­mat­i­cal­ly one month before their pay­ment due date, remind­ing them that the time is get­ting close. Then a sec­ond email goes out two weeks before their pay­ment is due. This fea­ture saves me tons of time and stress that would oth­er­wise be spent mak­ing calls, send­ing snail mail, or track­ing down my clients for pay­ment.


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