Email Marketing with MailChimp- details of SMall Business Clinic workshopThis week we have been busy preparing for our “Email marketing with MailChimp” workshop. We are running it through the Small Business Clinic to a sold-out audience at Upper Newton Farmhouse on Thursday, so we need to be ready. Doing all the preparation has reminded us of a lesson that everyone should take heed of when they start something new: BE PREPARED!

Assemble your tools

Many software packages need to be configured to suit your needs before you can use them. For MailChimp the obvious need is for a mailing list: a list of people’s names and email addresses to whom you are going to send emails. You can leave it at that but if you do, you may miss out on some of the application’s useful features or make extra work for yourself later.

To continue the mailing list example: consider how MailChimp can help you target your emails better. Take our workshop as an example; if it’s taking place in Herefordshire we might decide that we only want to tell people who are likely to attend an event there, similarly Worcestershire. If our mailing list doesn’t include people’s locations then we can’t send a specific email.

You can add information to lists after the event, but it is easier to do so before you load up.

Plan what you are going to say

MailChimp has a powerful online email editor which you use to construct good-looking emails to send. You can put all sorts of interesting features in it, ranging from blocks of text and images to social buttons and links. The temptation is to build it as you go, but we’ve found it’s very easy to get half way through and then realise it’s not looking sleek or getting too long. It’s definitely better to plan what you want to say and how you want it to look before you dive in to the editor.

This isn’t just for MailChimp

Planning what you are going to say isn’t just important for MailChimp. In the social media world, just think how many times someone has got into trouble for tweeting something inappropriate. They might have thought it was as a joke but recipients might not see it that way. The reported cases usually involve celebrities, but businesses should be equally aware of what they say and how they say it.

Small Business Clinic workshops to help you

Through the Small Business Clinic we run our MailChimp workshop twice a year.

Perhaps we’ll see you there, but if not please do think before you leap into print/publish!