Something which has been on our own to-do list for far too long than I’d care to admit, we’ve finally got around to automating our email marketing campaigns. Firstly, if you aren’t on our mailing list yet, why, it’s awesome and we share some amazing content like this you’re reading now. Secondly, get signed up at the bottom of this page by entering in your email address.
Now let’s look at what we’ve recently got set up and how we’ve automated our entire email marketing campaigns so we can spend more time focusing on writing great content, running events and training courses and generally connecting with businesses and people much more efficiently. Why spend time doing something manually if you don’t need to, right?
What’s Wrong with Manually Sending Email Marketing Campaigns?
Ok, so let’s quickly cover this one. Firstly, if you are sending email marketing campaigns through something like Outlook, you are doing it all wrong. Head over to our Really Simple Guide to Email Marketing to understand why.
Now, we’re assuming you’re using an email marketing tool such as MailChimp. And do you know what, sending email marketing campaigns manually is absolutely fine. There is nothing wrong with doing this at all. But. If you are sending email marketing campaigns manually to share content such as Blog Posts or Events that you are running, you are wasting time doing this manually when you could automate the entire process. It’s all about saving time so you can be more productive in what you are doing.
So let’s look at how you can automate your email marketing campaigns with WordPress and MailChimp.
WordPress RSS Feeds
If you didn’t already know, virtually every type of content on your WordPress website has an automatically generated RSS Feed URL that can be accessed when you know where you are looking. Take a look through the WordPress RSS Feeds List for information on where to look.
For example, here is our main Blog’s RSS Feed URL if you want to take a look what this looks like;
Find the relevant RSS feed that you want to use to send email marketing campaigns to your audience as you’ll need this shortly.
Within MailChimp you can segment your Lists into different Groups based on what people have subscribed to. There are many way of organising your MailChimp subscribers, so we’re not going to cover that right now. For the purpose of this blog post, we’re going to use Groups to segment a single List based on what people are interested in which helps to keep everything easy to manage to avoid duplication.
To create a Group in MailChimp you navigate to your List, then click on Manage Subscribers then Groups which will allow you to enter in specific information about how you want to group people together.
The reason you want to create a new Group is so that you can allow your audience to subscribe to multiple different groups from the same Newsletter. This allows you to send emails to specific groups of people within your mailing list. Simply configure the relevant settings for yourself as this information will display when a user is updating their subscription preferences;
Ok, so now you’ve created a group, let’s start to join everything together. In the first instance you can even migrate people into specific groups should you wish.
Here is how the data you enter in this section will display when the user is managing their profile on your newsletter.
MailChimp RSS Campaigns
Create a Campaign
Firstly, create a new campaign in MailChimp but be sure to select an RSS Campaign as the campaign type as this comes with a few handy settings that have been automatically built in for you.
Confirm your RSS Feed Settings
Enter in all of the settings related to when you want to be sending your campaigns and where the data is coming from. In this example, we’re looking to send out content from the Developer Blog so we enter in this information here.
Select Your Recipients
Next you need to select who you are sending the emails to. Here you are going to want to send emails to a Group of users you have just created earlier. This could be for a specific set of content on your website or even a specific interest if your website has multiple interests on there.
There are a lot of options here so we’re not going to cover everything. Use the options that are best suited for your individual needs.
Personalise your Campaign Information as Usual
If you are reading this blog post, you’ll already be used to creating your campaigns as normal and personalising the relevant information so we’ll skip over this bit here. Just make sure you do this when you are creating the campaign.
Choose an RSS Template
Simplicity is key here which is why you should choose one of the default RSS templates which you can select. This will automatically include lots of handy information for you which will speed up your development for sending RSS campaigns.
Design your Email Template as Usual
Again, we’re not going to cover this part here. All of the pre-populated fields have been created for you when using an RSS template, so you’re all good to go. Simply personalise the look and feel of your campaign as you see fit.
Preview & Test
The next step is to preview and test your campaign. This is so important to do as you can really annoy people when you mess up a campaign and send it out with missing information and or incorrect information.
Start RSS Campaign
Then you’re good to go, start your RSS campaign running and you will never have to worry about manually sending email marketing campaigns again.
This really is just the starting point about what you can do when you start to automate your email marketing campaigns. Take the time to think through what you are doing, why you are doing is and what you are looking to get out of it. Automation can save you so much time when you think strategically about what you are doing.