Better email marketing with Segments and Groups in Mailchimp

The key to better email marketing is to have as many people as possible from your target market segments on your subscriber list, and send great content to them regularly.

If you have the right people on your list, people who are existing customers or real potential buyers, your e-newsletters should provide them with valuable content, prompt them to visit your website, buy your products or take whatever actions you want.

This of course will be a lot easier to achieve if you have developed a sound marketing strategy in the first place.

We often talk about key market segments that represent the ideal customers for a business as if they are a single type of person to help clients visualise them. In reality your customers and potential buyers actually have a range of interests and demographic attributes, and they want different things from you, or have interacted with your business in different ways.

In MailChimp, the e-newsletter software we recommend at Baker Marketing, it’s easy to use Groups and Segments to organise your subscribers and send them different campaigns tailored to their interests or other attributes.

We recommend you have a single List of all subscribers. Then you can create Groups within your subscriber list and and ask subscribers which ones they want to join when they subscribe. Or you can assign subscribers to Segments using the information that MailChimp stores in its database. Segments allow you to filter subscribers and then send them tailored information.

The key is to know when to use Groups and when to use Segments!

What is a Group in Mailchimp?

Groups are categories that help you sort your list based on subscriber interests and preferences. You can create hidden Groups based on information from your CRM or other database, or show a list of groups to subscribers when they sign up so they can choose which Groups best fit their needs.

In MailChimp, each Group in given a Group Title (an example for us would be “Blog Subscribers” for subscribers who want to receive our blog posts by email).

And under that Group Title are Group Names that indicated the choices they make when subscribing or that your assign to them (e.g. subscribe to Marketing Monday, subscribe to WordPress Wednesday, or subscribe to Other Posts). Any list can include up to 60 group names and the Group Titles and Group Names are saved as field data in your list.

So the structure of Groups looks like this:

  • Group Title (Blog Post Subscribers)
    • Group Name (Marketing Monday Blog Posts)
    • Group Name (WordPress Wednesday Blog Posts)
    • Group Name (Other Blog Posts).

You could also assign subscribers to Groups depending on whether they are current (active) customers, dormant (inactive) customers, ex-customers, or potential customers.

Groups are the right option for you if you answer “yes” to these questions:

  • Do I want to organise my list based on preferences my subscribers provide?
  • Am I importing subscribers into categories based on information I already have in a database?
  • Do I want to be able to move subscribers from one category to another in the future?

What is a Segment in MailChimp?

A Segment is a collection of subscribers based on common attributes of their activity in MailChimp. To use Segments effectively you should collect data from your subscribers when they sign up to your list or import existing subscriber information. Segments can also be based on fields in your List’s database, like data on what emails subscribers open, their location, or the groups they belong to.

Segments can be static or they can “auto-update”. When you import static segments they can’t be edited once they’re saved in your List. “Auto-update” segments target the same type of subscriber over time and MailChimp automatically checks your database to decide who gets a Campaign before you send to that Segment.

Here are some examples of Segments:

  • Subscribers who opened your last Campaign
  • Subscribers who clicked on a link in your last Campaign
  • Subscribers who recently purchased a product in your store that’s integrated with MailChimp
  • Subscribers who live in a state other than South Australia.

You can also create complex Segments that combine up to five conditions like the ones above.

How to set up MailChimp Groups and Segments

To create a Group select an existing List or create one by selecting the List tab in MailChimp. Then choose: Manage subscribers / Groups. Then click the ‘Create Groups’ button on the right-hand side.

You will be asked how MailChimp should show group options on your signup form and then you can create a Group Title and Group Names as described above. You can then add subscribers to Groups in several ways. To add an individual subscriber to a Group, view their Profile and scroll down to see ‘Groups subscribed to’.

The process for creating Segments is also accessible via the Manage subscribers / Groups menus. Once you have built up a reasonable List and have sent out a few Campaigns (or have imported an existing list with various attributes) the Segments option will really start to work for you, because MailChimp Segments need data to work with.

We’re here to help with MailChimp!

If you want help with MailChimp contact us at Baker Marketing! We’ve also worked with other email marketing platforms so whatever your preferred e-newsletter weapon is, we can assist you.



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