In today’s post, we’ll be talking about advanced Marketing Automation, the final step in the Four Step Marketing process. Sometimes I meet business owners who tell me that they’re too busy to follow-up with prospects by email. They then add that even if they had time to email their prospects, their prospects would be upset if they received these emails. Unfortunately, these business owners do not understand segmentation and have been burned in the past by over emailing and abusing their lists. Prospects do want to hear from you, but they want pertinent information and want to choose when they’ll receive updates. Today, I’ll share about Mailchimp’s RSS blog automation system, and how you can set up a system to automate your email marketing and create SEO friendly blog content at the same time. While this is a fairly advanced set-up, once you have it up and running it is 100% automated!
Clarifying Your Target Audience & Blog Categories
For simplicity sake, I’ll use my blog, mattlaw.co as an example on how to control the delivery schedule and content. First of all, my blog has a couple of different purposes. We use it to help existing business owners who want to learn about entrepreneurship. I share tips and pointers to help them win in business. Eventually, these business owners could become marketing clients at LMSinternet.com. The second group of people we serve are those looking to start a marketing business. This group could join my training program, Four Step Marketing Consultants.
Now if I want to create archived SEO friendly content to be found online, all I have to do is publish posts on my WordPress blog. That’s great news, but what if I want to email that content to one of my two groups of readers automatically? In case you didn’t know it, every blog post has an RSS feed. For example, my blog’s RSS is http://www.mattlaw.co/feed/. This feed or code can be exported to different systems and used for a lot of different purposes. Mailchimp goes a step further by taking that RSS code (blog posts), and sending it out at specific times, to specific groups. So for example, based upon my target audience, I can reach out to them specifically, with the right information at the right time.
Drop Down Delivery Schedules & Specific Groups
It is important to understand Mailchimp’s list settings and fields. You’ll want to create a drop down item which spells out your blog’s delivery options. For example, you might put daily, weekly, or monthly as the 3 options in your drop down list. For every option you create, you’ll have to create a campaign in Mailchimp. By doing this, everyone can choose to receive emails on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. This field should NOT be a hidden field as you’ll want to give subscribers the option of updating their profile and when they receive your blog posts by email.
But what if I want to further customize the delivery down to a specific group of people? Let’s call my my two groups entrepreneurship and marketing. Now what I could do is make groups inside of Mailchimp and let the user select their interest when they opt in. Further more, I could add subscribers automatically to a specific group based upon where they connect with me. For example, if someone requested a quote on my corporate website, I could automatically put them in the entrepreneurship group and select monthly delivery in the drop down. The point I’m making here is that I can create groups and then allow subscribers to select a group or automatically push them into a group based upon actions on other websites through API. By creating the delivery options and groups, I can now specify when and what the subscriber will receive.
Mailchimp’s RSS Campaigns & Chimpfeedr.com
Let’s start off with defining my targeted group and what I might want them to receive. Let’s say, I want to only send entrepreneur tips out to my entrepreneur group I just made. Mailchimp’s Chimpfeedr.com is the starting point. You can basically add one, or any number of RSS feeds and Mailchimp will combine them into one single feed, which will become your email campaign. So if I take my blog’s entrepreneurship category and add it to Chimpfeedr, I’ll have all my posts about entrepreneurship. If I wanted to, I could also add success stories or any other category on my blog. All of those would go into one single chimpfeedr feed which I would designate as the entrepreneur feed.
The next step is to create an RSS campaign. All Mailchimp RSS campaigns start off by you defining the RSS feed you’ll be pulling content from. You got it! You’ll provide the feed given to you by chimpfeedr which includes all the RSS feeds you want them to receive. In my example, we’re targeting the specific group called entrepreneurs and we’re only going to email them the feeds we added to chimpfeeder. Here’s the campaigns we’d need to create for this group.
RSS Campaign – Entrepreneur Daily
RSS Campaign – Entrepreneur Weekly
RSS Campaign – Entrepreneur Monthly
Yes, this group needs a daily, weekly, and monthly campaign. Because if they change their delivery options, they will basically change which campaign they’re on. Once you have the 1st campaign created, you simply duplicate it and change the delivery option in the campaign settings. In my example, I created a daily, weekly, and monthly delivery for those who are in the entrepreneur’s group. I could then duplicate the entire process and make a new chimpfeedr feed to reach a different group, such as marketing in this example. I’d then have set up delivery for daily, weekly, and monthly for the group who was interested in marketing. Sounds deep huh? Here’s how to pull everything together.
Segmenting Conditions & Simplification
When you set up your RSS campaigns, you’ll want to be sure you set up segmentation for the delivery type and groups you’ll be sending to. For example, for the daily entrepreneur list, you’ll want to segment it so that it only goes to the list who have “daily” in the drop down and also to the group that has entrepreneurship selected. You’ll do the same for each delivery type and each group you have. You’ll have to create a separate RSS campaign for every delivery option and every interest group.
Matt, can’t I simplify this process? Yes, this is a complex set-up. Frankly, most marketers and bloggers will be too lazy to set it up correctly like I’ve shared. If you want to send every blog posts to everyone on your lists, you can use your blog’s main RSS feed. If you do this, every single blog post will be delivered to every single person on your list. This would be fine if you had only one specific target audience. You also don’t have to add the drop down option for delivery either. Instead, you can opt to send at a specific time you select. Here’s what will happen though. If you have one single delivery option and it is too often, then subscribers will only have the option to unsubscribe. If you have different interest segments on your list, but send everything to everyone, they will be annoyed and will unsubscribe. Poof!
Doing Things the RIGHT Way
I’ll admit it, it takes longer to set up multiple RSS campaigns and give the end user delivery options. It also takes longer if you’re going to use groups to segment different categories of your blog. While I agree 100% that it is a pain to do it this way, I will tell you that it is worth it. Why? You see, every lead or customer in your database is extremely valuable. You spent money to generate this contact and they are valuable to your business. Why would you abuse them by sending them too many emails or content they don’t care about? When you don’t allow your subscribers to control how they hear from you and what they receive, something else can happen. You’ll start seeing your emails go to the spam folder because subscribers are sick of hearing from you and mark your messages as spam. This is the worst as now even valid subscribers who are interested in your message won’t see your emails.