chimpLessons learned from over 200 Mailchimp campaigns

Yep, that’s another milestone for the Small Biz triage team.  You may now uncork your champagne bottles. <pop!>

S’alright, enough bragging from me.  If you’re looking for a quick rundown of some Mailchimp best practices for your small business, keep reading.  If you’re looking for more in-depth answers, read on anyhow, and then schedule a quick (and free) one-hour training call.

Why Mailchimp?

Email is the highest converting form of digital marketing,  but only when done well.  We prefer Mailchimp because it helps us make the best email newsletters and campaigns possible.

From Name

Send it from the heart: use your own name, not some generic info@.  More personal = more opens, every time.

Subject Line

Copywriting 101: Combine <choose one: clever, funny, alliterative, off-the-wall, aggressive, deeply personal> with straightforward.  In other words, compelling enough to merit a click, but not so clever, funny, or off-the-wall that it’s misleading.


Most email programs will display this as the content preview after the subject line.  Your bonus opportunity to entice an open.  Rules for subject line apply.

P.S. Block

Optional, but an effective place for a “Reply to this email” call to action.



It’s easy to embed images in a text block, but will make the mobile version look awful unless they’re in between 270 and 285 pixels wide.  Usually you can ignore this issue by using the image cards in the drag and drop editor, which will resize the image for a mobile view.


If you want to entice more clicks with an array of content in your newsletter/campaign, the sidebar is where to put your links/images.  This keeps those links visible up and down the main body of the email, which increases the likelihood of a click.  Some templates in Mailchimp allow you to put content after the P.S. block, but nobody ever clicks down there.  Trust me.


The option to unsubscribe from an email list is required by law, so don’t try to disguise it.  Why not embrace it?  Let the folks who don’t care unsubscribe, and you’ll be left with a better, more effective list.


Use link economy.  Focus only on links where you truly want the readers to click through and they’ll have fewer distractions.  If you only have one link you want readers to click, make it a big ol’ bright button to make it that much more obvious.  Use a variety of call’s to action for your links to keep it fresh and interesting.

6971577682_3f39521af7_bDon’t Be Lame

Epitomized by the vlog brother’s DFTBA (don’t forget to be awesome).  Boring content will either be ignored or deleted.

Stop Selling

The folks on your mailing list are already interested, so don’t abuse that privilege.  Give them interesting things to explore.  make your content useful to them in some way.  Show, don’t sell.


Early morning is a good time to send a campaign.  The odds of getting a prompt reply will be higher before lunch.  If you’re on PST like me, that means you’ll want to send it at 4:00 or 5:00 for your readers on the east coast.  The emails will still be there when us west coaster’s wake up.  Pay attention to what days of the week your audience is more likely to open a campaign as well.  For some, it’s mid week, for some: the weekend.  It really depends on your target market.  If you’re an ecommerce site, you probably already know what day of the week is your biggest sales day, so send the campaign that morning.

A/B Testing

aka how we figure all this stuff out.  Create two versions of the same newsletter and see which one performs better.  Should we send our newsletter from nate@ or seth@?  A/B split time, baby!  Do we get more clicks with a sidebar or with one column body/three column footer layout? A/B that stuff!  Remember to be scientific about it though: only adjust the thing you’re trying to test.  If you’re testing layouts and use different subject lines as well, all you data is meaningless.

Merge Taggin’

Merge tags are placeholders that will auto-fill with the data you have for each contact.  Example would be opening with |FNAME| tag that is replaced each recipients first name upon sending.  A fantastic way to personalize each email.  Just make sure to QC your merge tags so folks don’t get emails that start with “Oh hi there, info@”

That’s all for now folks.  There’s a lot of nuance to a well crafted campaign, so if you have further questions, why not schedule a free one-hour training call?