Mailchimp is a very popular program for sending newsletters – mainly because it’s free to use to send newsletters and other messages to up to 12,000 emails per month to up to 2,000 subscribers. I use it myself, as do the people who write quite a few of the newsletters I subscribe to. If you use MailChimp yourself, this post helps you to avoid two common mistakes that I see occurring very frequently (and if you don’t use it yourself, I bet you see at least one of these in the newsletters you subscribe to – feel free to share this post with their creators!).
What am I talking about?
Well, this is what you might see in your email box when you receive a newsletter:
Ignore the “[Test]” – that’s me sending test copies of my newsletter to myself for demonstration purposes. So, with email on preview mode, and then when you open the email:
… what can we see here?
- The email subject is simply “Newsletter”. Not that inviting.
- This is the biggie – there’s an odd bit of text in the preview that reads “Use this area to offer a short preview of your email’s content.”
How often have you seen the second point and been confused or even tutted slightly to yourself? (Note: as a kind editor, I avoid tutting. But I do smile wryly every time I see it and think, “I really MUST write a blog post about that one”).
How do these MailChimp mistakes come about?
I’m going to assume here that you know how to set up and send a MailChimp newsletter campaign, and just concentrate on eliminating these errors. If you need a step-by-step MailChimp walkthrough, let me know in the comments and I’ll put one together for you if enough people want it.
The boring email title error comes on the Campaign Info page:
If you set up your very first campaign with a title like this, it will carry on sending it like that forever, but this is editable. I’m not going to go into ideas for good subject lines here – first off, MailChimp obviously provides a link to some further information, as you can see from the screenshot, but I’d like to take a moment here to mention my client Nathan Littleton’s book, “Delivered“, which has masses of information on creating a good email marketing campaign, including lots of advice on subject lines (he’s not sponsoring this post: I edited this book and I got loads of ideas from it which I’ve implemented in my own newsletter, to good effect).
So, first things first: change that Email subject field to a good, interesting phrase and I’d like to bet that you’ll stop boring your subscriber list and get more opens.
The second one is the dreaded “Use this area … ” text. How does it get there?
Well, when you get to the Design screen in your campaign creation process, bits of helpful text automatically appear in your template to tell you what to do. And one of the bits of helpful text that always appears is this one, right in the top of the screen, and in ever such a small font so that you’re very likely not to see it:
And that’s where that text pulls from that displays in your recipients’ emails.
Whatever the design, it’s always up there. Your eye is of course drawn to the main body of the email – the nice picture, the lovingly crafted text you’re going to place into the template.
What do you need to do here? Simply click on that teaser text, just like you would to edit the main body of the newsletter, and you can enter whatever text you want to.
What should it look like?
Once you’ve given your newsletter a more dynamic subject line and eradicated that bit of pesky sample text, this is what your email recipients will see:
I think you’ll agree that you’d be more likely to open that one .. and so will your newsletter recipients!
In this article I’ve shared how to avoid two common MailChimp newsletter errors. Please do use the sharing buttons below to share this with anyone who you think might find it useful – thank you!