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Q&A: Why Donna Duggan wants to pay her success forward with Mailchimp & Co

With partner status and a pair of Mailchimp certifications completed, Donna Duggan is on a roll.

For UK-based email marketing specialist Donna Duggan, community has always been at the heart of her experience with Mailchimp. An invitation to a local event introduced her to partners from around the world who then inspired her to become a Mailchimp partner herself. Since that first encounter, she’s continued to deepen those connections—especially through the Mailchimp partner Slack workspace, an online community where partners and pro partners can collaborate together, share next-level marketing strategy, leads, and more. By signing up for Mailchimp & Co and becoming a partner, agencies and freelancers—like you—gain access to this exclusive workspace where you can start laying the foundation you need to help you grow your network.

Read on to find out how the Mailchimp & Co community helped Donna build her skillset, confidence, and agency—and learn how it can help you, too.

Why did you decide to specialize in email marketing? And how did that bring you to Mailchimp & Co?

Donna: I’ve always liked the personal side of email, so it was something I was doing for clients already. I was used to Mailchimp and never needed to try another email service provider (ESP) because it always worked well for me, but I hadn’t really concentrated on email marketing until I started seeing the marketing for Mailchimp & Co. That’s when I decided to try and become a partner.

And you succeeded, so congrats!

Donna: Thanks! If the pandemic hadn’t happened, I might not have done it, but Mailchimp & Co helped me grow my confidence, take myself further, and make it official.

Was there anything specific that helped you kickstart the process?

Donna: As a member, I got an invite from Mailchimp to brightonSEO (a marketing event in Brighton, UK). I was like, “Oh my god, how exciting is that?”

So, I went, met other partners there, and just really had a good time. It was so interesting hearing about other people’s journeys and what they had learned through Mailchimp & Co. It spurred me on, because then I met someone there who advised me to join some local networking groups and meet more people who have paid accounts. So, that’s what I did.

Were there other benefits that got you excited to join the program?

Donna: I had previously been more of a marketing generalist, as opposed to a specialist. But I always enjoyed email marketing, and when I saw the benefits of Mailchimp & Co, I knew straight away that it had what I was looking for: A certification to give myself the confidence, knowledge, and ability to use the correct terminology when explaining the Mailchimp platform to clients.

Mailchimp Academy conveniently delivered the lessons in bite-sized chunks, too, so I could take on the certification process around my kids’ home-schooling.

Note: For more on the benefits of professional certification, read “Exceptionally Certified.”

Was the certification process challenging? How has it helped?

Donna: It’s challenging, but I was able to draw on my 10 years of using the platform to get through it. It gave me the confidence to explain to my clients the correct terminology, like the difference between tags and segments, or the benefit of a welcome series as opposed to a single welcome email.

The certification badges have also helped because people can see that I’m qualified. When you’ve got the badges in your email signature and on your website, it really gives you a sense of authority.

As a Mailchimp partner, you can access your partner and certification badges in your Mailchimp & Co account to help grow your credibility.

Note: All courses are free for Mailchimp & Co members. Sign up for Mailchimp Academy to get access to exclusive courses that can help you sharpen your Mailchimp knowledge, build your marketing skills, and earn certifications.

What other benefits are you enjoying as a partner?

Donna: I absolutely love the Slack community. You learn so much—it’s just brilliant. I learn something new every day because people are so generous in sharing their tips. There doesn’t appear to be any sort of judgment going on, either. The moderators are great, too.

What role do the moderators play in the partner community?

Donna: They make sure that we're all aware of important changes and updates to the platform. They’re also happy to share their knowledge and help us newbies with our questions—even the basic ones!

You’re now a partner and officially certified in both Mailchimp Foundations and Email Marketing. What’s next?

Donna: I need to learn more about e-commerce automations, and I’d like to become a pro partner.

At some point, I’d also like to pay it forward like my mentors have done for me. I’d like to help people become partners or join Mailchimp & Co. I’d like to think that I could help people like others have helped me.

How could becoming a pro partner help you grow your business?

Donna: As a pro partner, my experts directory listing would be turbo-charged and could help me be more visible to prospective clients. Access to the Partnership Management team would also be a huge benefit. All of that expert knowledge at my fingertips—it would help me really help my clients.

What’s a piece of advice you’d give someone who’s just starting the certification process?

Donna: Attend the Let's Get Certified! live event. It can be the little push you need to get started.

Also, take your time, and don’t be afraid to start. It can be the hardest thing because you look at it and think, “I haven’t got 3 hours right now to do that!” But try to find the time because it was absolutely worth it for me.

Note: Members can register for Let’s Get Certified from the Mailchimp Academy page on your Mailchimp & Co dashboard.

Sign up for Mailchimp & Co and get access to exclusive tools, training, and resources that can help you level up your marketing skills, manage your clients more efficiently, and grow your business.

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