I have worked with MailChimp since 2015 when I was introduced to this powerful email marketing tool in one of my college courses. After seeing what MailChimp could do and receiving requests from other students for a weekly newsletter, I looked into using MailChimp for our student organization.
In November that same year, I talked to my team to see what information we should add to the newsletter, and then I started collecting some email addresses. In December, I sent out our first weekly newsletter, which is still being sent out, besides summer and other breaks, by another student now.
Creating and sending out these newsletters on a regular basis was a great way for me to gain more insight into sending out mass emails and how to use MailChimp. Some things I learned more about were CAN-SPAM rules, email metrics (such as open rates and click rates), how to collaborate on email campaigns, and how to set up MailChimp signup forms on websites and Facebook pages.
Challenge - Open Rate Metrics
I looked at the open rate metrics regularly to see how many people cared to see the emails. If the open rate was low, I looked at the email to see what could be improved. If the open rate was high, I looked to see what went well. One challenge I came across with open rate metrics, however, was that some students said they were opening emails, yet MailChimp did not say they were opening them.
Another problem I had over time was that some of the subscribers graduated. Some of these students unsubscribed, but others did not – which this usually caused the open rate to decrease, as graduates wouldn’t have much of a reason to look at these emails. So, I learned that open rate metrics are helpful, but not always the most accurate.
Challenge - Information Gathering
Another challenge I faced was getting information from other leaders for events and activities for the newsletter. Some events were planned in advance so we could easily advertise them in the email, while some events were planned last minute, so getting info about them in the email was not possible. Having a clear call to action to our Facebook page from the email was important so that people could still hear about the events even if the events were not publicized in the newsletter.